I mentioned in my last post that Dan and I are being hosted by his wonderful Uncle Doug and Aunt Izzy. Know what else is being hosted by Doug and Izzy? A lot of plants. A LOT of plants. And most of them are fruit-bearing, meaning that Izzy and Doug basically have a food forest in their backyard, and oh my word, is it pretty. What you’re looking at is a baby pear, but there are also all kinds of grown-up fruit: Those are (R-L) apples, peaches, nectarines. The fact that we’re in Fruitland, New Mexico, seems really appropriate.
Izzy starts each morning off with a kale smoothie, which also comes from the garden:
And this basil plant reminded me of home (or, it reminded me of my last home, where a basil plant lived on a subleased balcony for 2 months):
The garden here is beautiful–I have way more plant-porn photos, but perhaps you don’t actually need to see 15 pictures of flora today? No? Let’s talk about where all this is growing: in a desert.
Fruitland gets about 1/3 of the precipitation that Austin gets per year, on average, according to the weather channel–which is to say, it is a desert out here. The landscape is made of rocky plateaus and bare, sandy slopes, with some scrub brush, and supposedly there are antelope sneaking around out there, though I haven’t seen any yet this trip. There are some rivers that swell with runoff from Colorado mountain rains, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that these rivers look oddly out of place–like a toddler drew a green crayon-line through someone’s sepia-sketched masterpiece. It is dry out here. The land is parched.
Which is why it can be really useful to have a pump on an irrigation channel coming off of one of those funny-looking rivers:
Doug tells me he pays the outrageous(ly cheap) sum of $76/year for “all the water [I] can pump out” (Doug also told me that upon discovering this, Doug’s father-in-law/Dan’s grandpa, who spent a small fortune on the annual upkeep of a small grass yard 10 miles away, stormed off the property in envy-fueled frustration). I haven’t calculated the overall cost-per-yield, but that means that there’s a lot of food that comes off this property every year for…um…pretty cheap.
(Is it too punny for me to say I’m green with envy?)