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I've spent much of my time in my own back yard. In view of current drought and fire conditions I have been working at using less water while keeping lawn, flowers, fruits and vegetable garden growing. The lawn shrunk a little and a drip system with timers is helping me keep things alive through this heat.

For fire safety, I've cleaned gutters, raked and raked leaves, pruned up some trees and removed a few plants. We have too many trees near the house to be really safe, I'm just trying to improve my chances.


Ive done some honey-do projects too. A new retaining wall, flower beds with Lantana, Butterfly bush, some jasmine, and some others.

For fun I'm tinkering at building an electric trike. A friend gave me an electric scooter for parts. I am having fun! I call it a "big wheels" for old guys. It's a scooter frame and front wheel, a bicycle fork and handlebars, and old riding mower seat, and the drive axle from a self propelled mower.

It needs some footpegs, the seat raised 2 inches, and the drive axle I used has a clutch that slips. Oh well, it's a hobby, if everything worked the first time I'd have to find a new project.

Aug 24 Update... Footpegs are done, seat mounted, and the drive axle doesn't seem to slip now (I drained the 140 gear oil and added a light machine oil.)
Now I'm tinkering at mounting the scooter 24v motor and a v-belt drive to the drive axle. I'm still working on that.

Aug 28 Electric motor mounted. Driven pulley, done. I even managed a clutch, of sorts. It pivots the motor which lets the belt slip. Now I still need to mount the pulley to the motor. (in the picture it's just jammed on there to see how it all lines up.)

Fire resistant plant list

Save work and save water xeriscaping.

UC Davis Irrigation guide


Tiny greenhouse, only 64 square feet, but works well for me.

Three 55 gallon barrels of water absorb heat during the day and give it back at night.


Ten feet of 1/2 inch welded wire made this one yard compost bin.

I've learned some things about making compost. The first was that is nearly no wrong way to make compost. It bothers me when people burn leaves. It's so easy to let them go back to your soil.
Another thing I learned about compost is just how much more there is to learn. It appears that a compost made from 25-30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen breaks down quickly and generates more heat. I'm trying to stay organic and "Earth friendly". Since we generate so much more high carbon material(leaves and dry grass) than nitrogen rich grass clippings I add alfalfa meal to my compost.
I make a tea with the alfalfa meal and feed my plants with that. I filter the solids out of the tea and add them to the compost as well.

Page last updated August 28, 2014