Black Mesa Ranch
Snowflake, Arizona, USA
Featured pages on this site
David's Culinary Blog
See our goats in action in this professionally done Whole Foods YouTube promo for our cheeses.
See BMR owner/cheese maker, David, make Pasta with Goat Cheese in just one minute.
But, wait, there's more!
Take a 4 minute "tour of the ranch" on YouTube .
4 Awards 2010 ADGA National Competition
2 Awards 2008 ADGA National Competition
4 Awards 2005 ADGA National Competition
3 Awards 2004 ADGA National Competition
1 Award 2010 ADGA National Competition
2 Awards 2005 ADGA National Competition
2 Awards 2004 ADGA National Competition
Click here to read the online version of Kathryn's booklet
This site last updated:
November 30, 2012
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Endorsed by more than 36 humane organizations, the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® program is nationally recognized as the Gold Standard for certifying animal welfare.
This, our second summer here, was the first year we fully planted the garden. It did quite well, despite some impressive efforts by mother nature to thwart us.
The spring wind storms were particularly strong and sustained this year, lasting weeks at a time rather than the few days we had been expecting based on weather averages. Time and time again we had to remove inches of "blow sand" from the various garden beds in order to harvest (asparagus, herbs and rhubarb) or to try to plant. Despite all that, temperatures were fairly mild and we were able to get a good early start with some plants including some peppers and tomatoes transplanted outside by mid-May (predicted last frost date here is June 1).
By early summer things were looking really great, by and large, though my entire bean crop had failed to germinate and my peas all died when only an inch or two high.
Early Summer's Garden Outlook was Great
I also had some set-backs at the orchard. Of the 500+ sunflower seeds I planted out there, only about 2 dozen germinated before the vermin got to them - hundreds of neat little hole where I had labored to have plants. I gave up on them and will try another planting method next year. Also, my cane fruits did very poorly again with maybe 3 or 4 total out of the several dozen raspberry, blackberry and black raspberry pants making it past spring.
The summer progressed bone dry as evidenced by the series of devastating wild fires that made national news as they swept through the region in late June and early July. For weeks our skies were darkened by smoke and ash from the blazes.
The near-by Rodeo-Chedeski Wildfires darkened the skies here.
The fires drastically disturbed the grazing and travel patterns of deer and elk herds, driving them much further North (toward us) than they normally came. In a matter of just a couple of days, while we were occupied with evacuation plans and fire-fighting preparations they found our orchard and, having no problem with the 6' fences, damages most of the trees there. We responded by raising the fence to over 8' in height which stopped the incursions, but the damage was done, setting back the growth of the trees a year or more. Several of the trees were killed outright.
At the other end of the spectrum from fire, the first week of August brought us a huge but brief thunder storm and deluge, dropping over 2” of rain on top of our part of the mesa in less than 30 minutes. All that rain quickly funneled down to us in the valley creating flash floods everywhere. Unfortunately, the direct path of one of those instant rivers which brought tons of rocks, mud, and tree & cactus parts off the mesa ended at the garden. We took a full week after the storm and did little but dig and haul the 4-6" of sand, gravel and debris out. Amazingly, many of the plants somehow survived being completely buried for several days before getting dug out.
The herbs all survived, the zucchini, tomatoes, chilies, peppers, green & Spanish onions, broccoli and squash which didn’t get hit quite that badly all recovered quickly and continued to produce bountifully. The pumpkins took the stress as a sign that they’d better finish their work and shortly thereafter started giving us loads of early orange squash. The corn and potatoes didn’t fare so well. The potatoes began dying right away (we were able to harvest just a few gallons of red news) and the corn, while staying alive was stunted and the ears didn’t develop properly. The whole bed of red onions decided to call it quits (we got maybe a gallon of tiny 1 to 2 inch onions) and our entire crop of Brussels sprouts, which had been just coming up as seedlings, were completely destroyed.
Making the best of the situation as we could, I took the flood as an opportunity to re-work some of the beds as I was planning on doing in the fall anyway: enlarging them, removing some of the pathways and upgrading the irrigation. We also did some major re-grading work to channel any future flash floods around and safely past the gardens.
Many plants recovered quickly from the flooding after being dug out of the muck
In September, as summer drew to a close the weather turned fantastically mild and lovely. We harvested bumper crops of jalapeno, Fresno, bell, Big Jim, and banana peppers, the tomatoes were still producing lovely, juicy, red fruits of extraordinary quality, and (of course) there were more zucchini than we knew what to do with.
Some of Autumn 2002's Bounty