What's Going On? A Farm Update.
|Sunsets and ponies...|
Shortly after signing those closing papers and getting the keys to the modular mansion I (Lynn) attended a nearby permaculture convergence. I had heard the term permaculture before (the ashram where I attended yoga school also offered permaculture courses) but I wasn't quite sure what all it encompassed. The two day event offered 1-2 hour topics ranging from worm composting to grey water harvesting to foraging for edible weeds in your own back yard. I was able to gain a greater understanding of the lifestyle and farming methods as well as meet local people who are already embracing permaculture principles. There will be lots more on that in future posts.
Since our move in date was June 13th and we had a few things to coordinate for the move-in, we decided to hold off until next year to put in an official garden. First on the list was to get our scant belongings out of storage in California. When we first hit the road in 2012 we got rid of nearly everything we owned except for a few pieces of handmade furniture, Clark's dream couch and a few momentos that we decided to keep since we had room in our storage container. "Rent" on the unit was cheap enough to justify a few years of payment and, now that our house is at least partially furnished, we're glad we kept it all. At least we have somewhere to sit and haven't had to go into debt to do so.
We also got our ATV's shipped from South Dakota, where a good friend was taking care of them in exchange for their use. Since we have a couple of acres to take care of it's nice to be able to hop on an ATV and go from one end of the property to the other. We have irrigation rights so checking on the water flow several times a day isn't uncommon. And, since we live on a county road it's perfectly legal to ride our ATVs to other farms and public land access points making it slightly more fun than using the Jeep all the time. Wooohoo!
|Taken from our backyard looking toward the town of Cortez...|
|Milkweed blooming near the pond.|
|Stacking bales to build a chicken fort!|
I contacted our new neighbors scattered along a 20 mile stretch of rural county road and asked if anyone was selling mulch hay or straw. Within two days we had 36 bales of free hay (half of which were feed quality) and we set to task on building a hay bale chicken coop for our future flock. Inspiration came from the straw bale housing movement along with Andy Lee's book Chicken Tractor: The Permaculture Guide to Happy Hens and Healthy Soil.
|Heckle and Jeckle in the chicken tractor.|
|Our charming rooster, Heckle.|
Worm Composting Bin: After watching a demonstration at the Permaculture Convergence I felt like this was a project I could easily make without much effort. It's taken some trial and error, but I think it's going well (at least my worms are still alive!). A very helpful book is Worms Eat My Garbage.
Recycling Storage Center: Now that we're stationary we can easily recycle the things we can't compost. Sort of. Our town's waste management facility doesn't currently offer roadside recycling service (there are plans to incorporate it in the near future) so we have to physically take our stuff into town...and it has to be separated. They also only accept #1 and #2 plastics so we've had to be more aware at the point of purchase to *try* to ensure if we have to buy something in plastic that it can be recycled (or reused). Case in point, I recently changed shampoo brands because my old shampoo containers are plastic #6. Anyway, we have 5 separate bins and Clark has been working on an amazing storage area for them in our sunroom. Photos coming as soon as it's painted!
Edible Landscapes With a Permaculture Twist helped take away my fear of making these beds.
|Our plywood planked flooring purposefully rustic, made with our own hands, installed with love (and a lot of nails).|
Benny: If you've been following our blog for a while you'll notice a trend...we like to adopt dogs at the most inopportune times. We adopted Nellie a week before we crossed the Canadian border for our Alaska Adventure last summer. Well, we got another wild hair and adopted Benny the Border Collie a few weeks after moving into this home...because, there's nothing like dealing with a 5 month old, highly active puppy while trying to remodel, build stuff and settle into a place. Hey, who says we're not living on the edge now that we're not traveling? He's been a great dog...challenging at times, but really great...and super cute. In case you're wondering, Nellie loves Benny and is finally learning how to be a dog and play. Avi, the male, grey cat also loves Benny and they hang out together often. Miso, the calico cat, thinks all dogs are dumb.
Getting to Know the Area: When we're not working on projects (or resting) we try to get out and about meeting neighbors, checking out local stores, finding hidden gems and generally trying to get to know the area. We're surrounded by National Parks and Monuments. There's plenty of hiking, biking, rafting, fishing, ATVing and outdoor activities all around. There's also more local resources than we had first thought. Part of moving to this area was so we could focus on growing our own food and sourcing local products as often as we could. We've now learned that there's a flour mill in town, a corn mill in the town just to the south and a milling company in the town north that sells dried beans. There are two small wood mills with locally sourced wood (and wood chips). There's a plethora of local breweries as well as distilleries and coffee roasters. Our town offers a Farmer's Market all summer (there are two others within a few miles of us) as well as a winter market at a local greenhouse/nursery. Colorado grown (or made) products are proudly labeled and sold in most stores. The sense of community is abundant here...and it makes us even more sure of our decision to live here.
Looking over this list it seems I'm missing so much! Everyday is an adventure and seems to bring a surprise. The biggest struggle so far has been dealing with Internet (something that most fulltime RVers can empathize with). Because we're so far in the canyon we have limited options. So, I've put off updating the blog for fear of using up all of our limited (and crappy) Hughes Net gigs. But, everything is happening so quickly that I want to stay on top of all the changes here. Thanks for coming along with us on this new journey!