Happy Sunday . . . from the Perspective of a Puggle.

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Good morning!! My name is Gracie.  I am Adam’s trusted Puggle. I just wanted to show you around the farm this morning.  Adam’s been pretty busy lately with all the chores and his office and trying to be a human.  I thought I’d show you what it looks like from my view.

So, follow me . . .

Much of the day is spent by my pack just napping in the kitchen.  You know . . . Arizona is HOT!  It’s 108 degrees out there right now.

But when I do get up and run around, I get to visit the chickens.

IMG_1889This is Rudy.  He’s the rooster that takes care of all the chickens.  He also wakes me up at 4am . . . what a bird brain.

IMG_1888Rudy chases around his 20 hens and seems to keep them in line.  These three hens follow Adam around begging for food . . . now that I think of it . . . maybe they think they are dogs?

IMG_1893This is Annie.  She’s not a puggle like me, but she seems like a true farm dog.  She likes the chickens too.  In fact, she likes to wait until all the chickens are gathered into one spot and then runs full blast into the middle, scattering the chickens . . . she calls it “chicken bowling.”  Can you see her grinning?

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Adam has a really nice mate.  He calls her Tiffini.  She came home with two of these furry small whiney things.  Tiffini calls them “kittens.”  They named them Aravis and Mini.  All they ever do is drink milk and poop in a gravelly thing that smells terrible.  They have blue eyes and when I look at them they smack me in the nose with their claws. I’m not quite sure about them yet.

IMG_1895When it is hot, the ducks get into the pond and bath.  Somehow, they can stay on top of the water.  Every time I’ve gotten in . . . I sink.  Isn’t fair . . . but the water is always cool.

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Sometimes, Tiffini empties out the leftovers from the big cold food container called the “fridge” onto the lawn.  The chickens and ducks love that.

IMG_1927Oh yes, I can’t forget to tell you about the goats.  They eat everything.  I think that they’d even eat my ears if I remained still long enough.   This is Daisy.  Her head is quite hard.  That’s all I’ll be saying about that.

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Did I tell you about the ducks?  They have the ability to create a mud hole out of a teaspoon of water.  But their eggs are quite tasty.

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Oh, the fish . . . I can’t forget the fish . . .

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Adam calls them Koi.  I’m not really sure what that means, but they are really cool to watch and they taunt me . . . constantly. However, Adam seems to want to keep them around because their waste feeds the plants and the plants clean the water.  Adam says that it’s an aquaponics thing.  I just know that I prefer the taste of the water to tap water.

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But it’s not all fun an games around the farm.  Occasionally, we have a few visitors.  Gophers that is.  Meet George, the King Snake.  He climbs.  He climbed up on an old shelf in the tack room this morning to catch the mouse that’s been living there. He chases mice and gophers . . . Oh, and he eats them too.

Well, that’s the farm.  Come, again, and visit.

Hope you have a really nice Sunday.

Aquaponics . . . A Work in Progress & A Great Hobby!

“Aquaponics . . . what in the world is that?”

It is the question that I get all the time when people first see the raised garden grow-beds sitting above two 50 gallon water tanks powered by eight beautiful little Koi.  I’m about two and a half months into my aquaponics gardening experiment.  Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water.

Koi in Aquaponics Tank

I installed my aquaponics system in late October and look at the results in just two months:

Adam's Aquaponics Garden

Three different kinds of lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, stevia, lemon grass, cilantro, cauliflower, and bell peppers . . . to name a few of the plants that are doing very well.  Here in Arizona, we just got our first below freezing temperatures (it was 30 degrees the last few nights) so I’ve had to cover the plants at night, but they are doing very well.

Koi tank and sump tanks

The 50 gallon trough on the RIGHT holds the Koi and the 50 gallon trough on the left acts as a sump tank keeping the water in the Koi tank balanced.

Pump

A single water pump pulls water from the Koi Tank to the highest grow-bed at the top of the image above.

Modified Venturi Gravity Siphon

Venturi Siphons

Then using simple 1 inch PVC modified Venturi siphons, the water is pulled from each grow bed by gravity back into the Koi tank and sump tanks.  (Yes, those are shotgun shell Christmas lights).  The grow-beds are lined with 45 mil pond liner and filled with “Pea Gravel.”  (No dirt – just water and gravel – amazing!) Water was crystal clear within 48 hours of starting the system.  It really is THAT simple.  (My father is probably rolling over in his grave.)

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I have been amazed at the rapid growth of the vegetables and herbs . . . three times faster than I had imagined.  The only maintenance in the last two months has been feeding the Koi once a day . . .

The Family Puggles

and occasionally topping off the water in the Koi tanks (my dogs prefer to drink the water out of the Koi tank instead of their water bowls).

Adam's Aquaponics

My wife loves the fact that she never has to water the plants, and she has yet to pull a single weed . . . gotta love it when you provide maintenance free food for your family.