Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Living and learning in Wonder Valley

When we moved to Wonder Valley in September of 2017 we had a lot to learn, and out here you have to learn quite fast.

This list is a work in progress, one finds out here in the great Mojave time moves slow but problems can pop up with no notice whatsoever. Here is the first installment.

Take for instance getting the right fence.  We learned our lesson abruptly one morning when I came out our back door to check on our dogs. We had 40MPH winds the night before, winds ripping through the neighborhood, howling and rattling the rafters. As I walked out into the yard I glanced to my right to see our relatively new chain link fence blown over on it's side. We had it installed by professionals with shade cloth to provide some privacy from our neighbor, little did I know shade cloth can be tricky on a fence in Wonder Valley. What we learned was the chain link posts should probably be far closer together to withstand our desert breezes especially with shade cloth attached. Make sure your contractor is using only the best, strengthened posts!

The same advice on fencing applies to shade cloth used for canopies and porch covering. Out here in God's country that shade cloth acts as a sail during wind storms and your shade cloth could end up a few miles away quickly.  Posts to create a shade canopy should be made of heavy weight steel posts or 4 X 4 wood posts if you want to keep your canopy on your property and not a neighbor's 2 miles away.

One thing to plan for if you move to our little community will be how you get your mail.  Many folks have mail boxes along Amboy Rd and Route 62, since that's as far as USPS will go to deliver your mail. Many have had their mail bamboozled by those that want your credit card statement or Amazon package. We found the post office in 29 Palms less than efficient and rented a box at 29 Postal Plus on Adobe Rd for our mail. The drive in to get it isn't that bad and now that Starbucks opened it's just another excuse for a frappuccino.

Speaking about going to 29 Palms to get your mail we learned to be sure you have have a good spare and a jack in good working order. We have had 5 flats in our two and a half years here mostly due to potholes and various hazzards that make their way out into the middle of the road. If you are successful in avoiding flats also be careful with road shoulders as they are often very soft and not kind to vehicles that are not so desert friendly.

I will close out this week's edition of the column by talking about our ongoing war with the desert pack rat.

Spring rains bring beautiful desert flora and that food source also brings an abundance of critters to our homes.  We have been lucky not to have these little friends in our cabin but they have taken a toll on my cactus specimens and fledgling trees.  It's a never ending battle and I have learned to stick with specimens that are loaded with long spines as opposed to the smoother varieties that have less spines.  I've had my formerly four foot Mexican Fencepost eaten in half over night. 

I've tried all of the natural repellants like peppermint and dish soaps and the only thing that has worked so far is planting the species the rats don't find yummy and keeping others out of their reach. I have refrained so far from going all Caddy Shack on them. There are enough bombs exploding nearby.

See you next week with more things we've learned in our desert community.

Ronnie Ruff
Wonder Valley