This Land is Our Land

This Land is Our Land

We now officially own our land. One year after deciding that this was where we wanted to set down roots, it finally happened. We had some lag time with the title company and then a few other issues needed to be straightened out but as of yesterday, we closed.

I was looking back on this blog at my entry for October 3, 2018, and that was when we decided this was home to us. A lot has changed in a year. People have come and gone, plans have shifted, time has slipped through our hands, but we’re here.

Now we can set our plans in motion. We have so many things we want to do but chose not to start anything until we knew this was going to be home…for good.

Three years ago when Dom dislocated his knee and was unable to walk for almost a month, he created the above vision board. Nothing causes us to refocus in on our life goals like a serious illness or injury. We have carried this vision board from West Virginia to our new home in Glenwood. It sits in my coffee packaging room to remind us of how far we’ve come and all the things left on the board to fulfill.

In red, I’ve circled all the things that have already manifested…right down to the round tents and the dark skies! We dreamed, we went off the beaten path to get ourselves back on track, we pursued our passions, we found a place with bountiful diversity, we are home in nature, this land is our land, and even the trees circled in the lower left-hand corner of the board looks like our land. I think I’ll repost this board and circle new things that manifest as we move forward!

I also want to create a new board that will be a continuation of the one we started, because we’re always changing and growing.

Four years ago at this time, we sold our home in Los Lunas, and almost to the day four years later we are now in an even better place without a huge looming lifetime mortgage or outrageous bills that would force Dom to work two jobs. That was the ultimate goal for us. We wanted to be in a position where we could build our own environmentally safe house where I wouldn’t get sick from mold. We’re halfway there.

Over this last month, we’ve accomplished a lot!

We got the underside of some of the oak trees trimmed up and removed the huge grapevine bush to make way for our outdoor kitchen. We’ve been cleaning up the wood slash that was in different areas to cut down on fire danger. I think this was the most tedious job I’ve had to do in property clean up. It’s ongoing when you live in a place that is so dry it can easily become a tinderbox and go POOF! in an instant.

We’ve been enjoying BBQs and friends hanging out. We have some friends staying with us for a while and Simmi has been in her glory having kids to play with every day.

We have a White-Nosed Coati living nearby. He doesn’t seem to have any family so I’m unsure how long he’ll stay in the area.

The rock foundation was busted up and the covered porch was removed. I’ve been moving rocks away from the area so that the trailer can be hauled off soon. If you would have told me last year I would be strong enough to haul rocks alone for 4-6 hour time stretches, I would have told you that you were insane. But here I am strong as an ox. It took two years to recover from biotoxin illness but I did it! Every time I go outside and walk around I remind myself of how far I’ve come. From the trees I cut down, to the wood I haul, and the boulders I throw to save our rickety wheelbarrow from certain death, I am strong again.

Every time I procrastinate, it’s because I am still in an old mindset believing it’s going to hurt, or I’m going to have to stop because I’m in too much pain. Then I go outside and start moving my body and I become addicted to the fact that I am NOT in pain and it doesn’t hurt to move…it actually feels good. That’s how I know I’m getting better.

Dom works about 60 hours a week right now. He’s working on a build at the Apache Creek Firehouse, and there are two clients that hired him to do some repair work on their log cabin and deck. He chose to only take one day off, and that time has been spent cutting firewood from branches we cut months ago. In two weeks the firehouse will be finished so his schedule will open up and be a little more fluid again. He’s started designing our cabin and he’s hoping to get that started soon.

The firehouse addition is a monster job. The concrete work, steel framing, metal roof. Oye! He’ll be happy when this job is complete. There are three more roofing jobs after this that are lined up and will take him through the winter months if the weather agrees.

The temperature has plummeted to about 17 degrees at night. What does that mean for us tent folks? Nothing really. Haha

It’s amazing how much living in a home with four walls and a heat source can dull us. We’ve become scrappy creatures over these last six months. When we moved here the temps were hovering at about 22 degrees. We looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders wondering what the big deal was. It was 17 last night and it was fine. We haven’t hooked up stoves or a heat source in our tents yet. We sleep well in the cold. Geez, when I think about it, in Scandinavian countries parents leave their kids bundled up in the cold to sleep during the day.

The key is warmth. Are we warm at night? Absolutely! 17 degrees and toasty warm under the covers. No fear of Simmi being cold either. If she were cold, believe me, we would NOT hear the end of it. The protesting would start and not stop until we got her warm.

When the trailer is removed, we’ll be moving our tents up next to the rig and we’ll install some heaters. Simmi will have a catalytic propane heater and we’ll have a woodstove. I’m still on the hunt for a few of them. A friend of ours gave us a tiny one that was super cute, but not big enough to warm the tent before we go to bed. We’re not planning on heating our tents throughout the night, just an hour or two before bed so we’re cozy and can enjoy the early part of the evening by firelight.

I’m really happy with the way things have progressed and the future is looking bright!

The Curious Case of Greta the Great

The Curious Case of Greta the Great

I’ve been observing, listening, and wondering something as I watch this young woman I’d like to call “Greta the Great” take the world stage. What has everyone so nuts? What has caused many of you to lose your humanity and rail against a 16-year-old who is speaking passionately about something that concerns her and all of us? Okay, maybe you’re not concerned about climate change, but I am. Just not in the way that she is. My views are the opposite of hers in that I know we are actually headed into the next grand solar minimum. However, HOWEVER, no matter what my views, my research or even my opinion, I will not under any circumstances dehumanize this young woman.

I am floored by the lack of decency that I have seen in social media as well as articles written against Greta. They are quick to talk about how she’s jetting off here or there, judging every small step she takes. Judging her facial expressions, judging her clothing, judge, judge, judge. Right. Got it.

Let’s talk about her stern-looking face. Would it surprise you to know that she’s on the autism spectrum? I’ve heard terms like “her dead Illuminati stare” or “she’s vacuous and brainwashed by the elites.”

Really? Did you ever consider that maybe many of her facial expressions are due to being on the spectrum? No? Well, the only thing I can conclude from the judgment against the faces she makes is that many are projecting their own feelings onto her. That’s what I see. If from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, boy…what does all this hatred say about your heart?

The number of conspiracy theories that come out of the mouths of people surprises me to no end. She has been called “Hitler’s Youth” because she wears a braid. Really? You went there?! I don’t get the connection. But then again I don’t spend my days as an armchair warrior/activist for truth, so what do I know, right? What’s an armchair warrior/activist? Well, that’s someone who is on every conspiracy website, listening to every youtube talking head they can find to confirm their paranoid suspicions that we are being controlled by the rich, that we are being farmed by the elite, that we are being poisoned and treated like animals by unknown sinister half-bred lizard people. And everyone must know this hidden truth right now before it’s too late! Like Henny Penny when the sky was falling (or chemtrails were forming) as they punch the sky and do absolutely nothing at all about it. Passionate about fisting the air and telling everyone to fuck off as they continue to not contribute to the wellbeing of others. That’s some of the greatest idiocracies I’ve seen in my lifetime. I don’t have time to entertain half-wits who sit at their computers all day putting down people doing what they can to heal the earth.

No doubt I’ll be next as someone raises their fist to me claiming me to be in secret cahoots with the elite. Nope. Guess again.

I find it curious that Greta finds the courage to speak up for something she believes is happening in our world, and she is being spoken about as a victim of child abuse. Really? Do you really care about child abuse? If you do, please lead the charge in your very own community against such things instead of dictating from your comfy seat at home that she’s being brainwashed and abused. If you really care, at least have the decency to be like Greta and speak up for those children lost in your own communities.

I also find it curious that many feel she is misinformed about the earth. You don’t have to be a scientist to see that our planet is in terrible trouble because of the actions of humans. I see it every day in the overconsumption of products, the amount of garbage that goes into our landfills, the oil, and gas that is extracted from the earth. Sure she believes something that is on the opposite spectrum of what I believe, but I credit her for passionate action taken on behalf of her generation and those who come after her. I credit her for caring enough to say something. I credit her for caring because honestly, most people I know don’t give a rat’s ass about the environment.

They care not about the plastics that are causing irreparable damage to all life forms on a cellular level, plastics that are everywhere littered on the planet, burning fuels that harm all living things, working to buy things to use things to throw things away. I get it. We all have to live right? But we can live differently. I don’t believe our planet is going to burn up from greenhouse gasses and CO2 emissions, but it is harming us in the here and now. That much is clear. We’re dying a slow and agonizing death keeping our comfy lifestyle status quo, and here’s this little girl made out to be the new boogie man because she sees what’s happening to our planet and us and wants all of us to become uncomfortable with our comfy life.

I get it. You get it too. I don’t think you like a little girl telling you that you’re doing life all wrong.

No one does.

Yet, there she is, larger than life. Greta the Great kicking ass and taking names.

I haven’t been brainwashed. I commend and encourage her to keep going. And as far as other young people following her? I say let them. There are worse things they could be doing like playing video games all day, not paying attention to how much energy they consume, not paying attention to where their food comes from, not being concerned about landfills, not being concerned about the air they breathe, or the unethical products they use. Or maybe they should just go back to taking selfies all day, binge-watching shows on Netflix and being ensconced in celebrity gossip like everyone else so they don’t make you feel uncomfortable about your own life and proclivities. Oh wait, when they do that, they’re called “entitled Millenials.”

No matter what Millenials do, it seems that they are still criticized and treated like dimwits.

Want to know where that comes from? My generation and many in my parent’s generation. My generation is filled with entitled disillusioned people. My father’s generation? Many of them are caught in a revisionist paradise where their parent’s “did the best they could with the little they had” and talk about how life was so much better in the 50’s and 60’s. Right. No, it wasn’t. They have a habit of revising the past to fit an era gone by fantasy world women were compliant and made a man “feel like a man,” where children were submissive and respectful to their parents, and where everyone was so much more kind to each other. I beg to differ. Back then if a child was abused they told NO ONE. They suffered for years in silence. If they spoke out they were branded a liar and the family would protect the abuser. Children WERE being raped back then. They were being abused. Fathers were absent, mothers often in a drug-induced stupor. I know, because it happened to me at the hands of my own parents. I wouldn’t change it for the world, nor will I ever revise my life story to make family members feel more comfortable or for a sense of self preservation and pride.

I grew up under my father’s hand, and I will NEVER revise what happened to me or what I was forced to endure as a child. Yet that generation’s pride is so overweening they must say that their lives as youths were so much better than this current generation. Oh, and then they talk about how they were drafted and forced to fight in a war. Right. So much better back then. I guess that only applies to white men because if you were a different gender, your skin shade or hue darker, it wasn’t so great in the 50’s and 60’s. Forget being a mixed couple back then too. It’s a crock of crap that the 50’s and 60’s were so great.

What I do know is that time is ticking away for that older generation and soon they will be in the grave where all their nonsense will be swallowed up by death.

Let no one in my generation or older ever let the youth of today feel dehumanized by what the older people say. Millennials, don’t lose your humanity. Don’t become embittered and angry because you think that is the only way to get things accomplished. Don’t be like those who lead the charge against you. You’re better than them in every way!

Keep going Greta the Great! I’ll continue to be inspired by your passion and love for this great planet of ours, even if we do disagree on key points.

For those who think I’m full of shit or pissed off at what I have to say…Rise up, take your power and do something amazing in this world…

Just like Greta the Great.

Now, in my opinion about this whole movement for a global strike, I think care must be taken about how it moves forward otherwise our beautiful young activists will be fighting for the status quo in disguise.

What I mean by that, is if the charge is against fossil fuels, let’s not sway in the opposite direction for green technology without first examining our habits in daily living. The thing that drives our use of oil, gas, and coal is our need to travel distances to work, work in places that consume energy, purchase products that use huge amounts of energy to produce, and also fuel us on a very basic level with food. We need to personally examine our own lives and judge our own actions before we make a decision on how we force others to live.

Because of my electrohypersensitivity, I don’t use electricity the way others do. But even before discovering my sensitivity to electricity we decided that we didn’t want to live using much electricity at all. It’s one of the reasons we’re called Firelight Farm.

Striking is not the only way we make change happen. We must also take action every day in our own lives. Plant trees, grow a garden, raise animals. If you’re busy in a consumption vs. production kind of life, begin to make small changes for your life and your community. It’s us who must not only strike in-inaction in front of world leaders but also lead the way in our own communities, in our land, right where we are. We don’t need permission to not litter, or to buy ethical products, or work in a way that values other humans and living things. A global strike until “the powers that be” make decisions for us moves us back into the status quo. We are powerful beings, and if you don’t feel powerful, become knowledgeable in something you’re passionate about and put it to work for you. Not everyone will go on strike, hold signs up for change, or go on a hunger strike. Not everyone will chain themselves to a gate to make a statement. Some of us are doing the work quietly and passionately every day. Some don’t care. This is true too.

The problem is also not as simple as switching to not eating meat either. Again, that becomes a black and white alternative that doesn’t take into consideration the needs of others. In the process of saving the planet and living things, let’s not lose our humanity, because it is one of our greatest strengths as people. People will eat meat. Let’s work to change the narrative about the overconsumption of animal products that are farmed in an unethical and cruel way. I don’t believe that “Meat=Heat” or that cow farts are causing CO2 to rise. This is where opponents to Greta’s work are losing their shit. They don’t believe that the earth is warming. They also don’t believe the earth is cooling, as I do. Interesting right?

In my way of thinking, we cannot rid the world of eating animal products for the sake of the planet. As total solar irradiance continues to fall and we see that cosmic galactic rays bringing more storms and massive floods, those crops we’re growing will need to be planted at later times, flooding will cause mold, and the low solar irradiance causing crops to not ripen when they should, animal products will be important. But just as important is what we choose. We can choose ethical and humanely sourced animal products or factory-farmed big ag products that harm the environment.

The choice is ours. It shouldn’t be taken from us because nothing is gained in doing so. The planet will not heal if we harm our own people by taking away their choices. What I love about Greta’s message is that she is challenging your decisions. Should it lead to our rights being taken from us? That’s a good question, right? It’s not one that I worry about since we will be raising our own animal products and living in a way that heals the earth…not harms it. How about if I lose my right to farm for animal products? Would that happen? It’s possible but I’m not concerned with that since it has nothing to do with the life I live at this very moment. I’ll address that problem if it ever truly arises. Currently, I have larger looming issues, like building a very earth-friendly place for us to live this winter. Taking care of the trees on our property, thinning and doing surgery on those trees that are sick, adding new trees this fall and winter, and getting our gardens finally finished. Yes, we are doing our part, even if I don’t agree with Miss Greta.

But how we live personally isn’t everyone. And I think that is where the squeeze comes in.

Instead of criticizing and judging this young vibrant generation for their ideals and dreams, let’s become a part of the conversation and offer up real solutions for our own lives that make a difference for generations to come.

There is so much fear-mongering going around and it’s hard to watch. Fear is an element that can consume us when we don’t have all the facts. It drives anger. It’s often associated with being marginalized or left powerless. This new beautiful generation is leading the charge partially in fear and anger because their future is truly unknown. We cannot force others to live a certain way, and as the youth see this push back, they become even more afraid of what life will be like in the future.

Will you solidify their suspicions that everyone hates them and therefore they fear the future, or will you come along side them and show them there is nothing to fear because our humanity is strengthened when we inspire and love one another, even if we disagree.

Note: This is my blog and I moderate all comments. I do not allow abusive talk or trolling. If you comment and I feel you’re just causing trouble like a hairy internet troll, it will never post. All comments must be approved by me first before posting or they will end up in spam or trash. I say this because the subject of Greta is a touchy one. If it’s not respectful, it won’t be seen…period. šŸ˜‰

A Flurry of Activity

A Flurry of Activity

The months of July, August and now September have been a flurry of activity. With our lives in a constant state of flux (the story of my life) sometimes I feel I don’t have a second to breathe. Our attention and time forever pulled away from us towards something pressing that needs to be done. Property clean up, well and septic inspections, getting rid of things on the property that isn’t needed, and it keeps us in a holding pattern with what we want to do just out of reach!

It’s frustrating but necessary. The one thing that Dom and I learned in walking through this life together is to remove those things that stand like a roadblock in front of us before trying to blaze a new path forward. In the past we would push and push passed something difficult and end up feeling frustrated. Now, we get frustrated as we remove those things that hinder us from moving forward FIRST so we can have a clear vision of how we will proceed.

The weeds are high, the fruits and veggies I planted are still ripening, and little by little the landscape is changing. One trailer is now gone, and in a few weeks, the next trailer will also be gone. Dom had to take down the porch that was connected to the second trailer, and then he has to jackhammer the foundation and remove all the concrete and stones before the trailer can be taken out.

It took most of the day to remove the roof and most of the lumber, which is being reused to build a new area for our washer and dryer and for my coffee roaster.

Some areas of the stone foundation are about a foot thick and the stone and concrete stairs that lead to the door are over three feet thick.

Dom is currently working on three different building projects so his time is extremely limited. We reserve Saturdays for him to rest and take Simmi for some daddy and daughter time down in Silver City where they can play at the park. Most of the time I stay at home with the much needed quiet and catch up on work that might have slipped through my fingers during the week.

We’re under a time crunch with the people coming to take the trailer by the weekend of the 27th. Dom is also going out of town for a few days. I’m often left scratching my head wondering how it will all come together! It’s overwhelming at times.

Not much has happened with the roastery because when we got rid of the first trailer, some of our furniture was being stored in it. We had to move our stuff into the roastery. See, constant flux! We’ll be moving one of our bell tents near the back of the roastery and using it as a storage tent. Once the roastery is completely cleaned out, we can start stuffing the walls with straw light clay.

On the back of the roastery, some of the lumber and roofing from the trailer were used to build an overhang for Ruby my coffee roaster.

This coming weekend Dom will shoot to have another overhang and platform built for the washer and dryer. They were located in the porch that Dom took down. We’ll be moving them to the back where our bathroom is and the washing machine will be plumbed into the hot and cold water. The gray water from the washer will run through a series of brown filters before it empties into the new garden near the roastery.

These are all the little roadblocks that were in the way before we could get down to business!

We were supposed to close on our property the end of August, but the title company was pretty busy, so our new closing is October 1st. We’ve had inspections done. The well inspection passed, and then the septic fun started. Gus Faust was our septic inspector. He did an amazing job, worked with us trying to figure out exactly where the septic even was, and finally unearthing it so it could be inspected. It’s a great system that was installed in the 90’s in perfect condition. The one thing about the system is that there was an addition built onto the front of the rig, and we need to remove it. The septic needs a clearance of 5′ all around it.

That’s another roadblock that needs to be cleared.

Gus removing soil on top of the septic tank to inspect it.

Our shitter isn’t full! Haha Yeah, I had fun putting Cousin Ed on our tank.

Next steps are to remove the front addition. We’ll be reusing all the lumber for a small addition on the side of the roastery. Below is a photo of what would work on the side. To the right of the roastery was where the first trailer was. Now that it’s gone, we can build a patio and the addition for coffee tastings and events.

There have been so many roadblocks but I’m very glad for them. It has caused us to slow down a bit and rethink how we want to move forward. In the process, we have gained new experience as well as insight into what is really important to us. If it wasn’t for the addition needing to be taken apart, I would have never even considered putting an addition on the side of the roastery. Sure, it will take a bit longer, but man, is it going to be fantastic.

I was gonna try and go at breakneck speed to get our market garden completed but then decided that breaking my neck for a few veggies is low on my list of priorities. With the two dogs no longer around, the deer have come and decided that they aren’t afraid of us so they have been hanging out in the garden eating up all my cucumbers. They can’t resist all the acorns that are falling from the oaks. They haven’t touched our peppers…yet! But I feel that one of these days I’ll go out and see all my plants topped.

We’ll finish up the market garden sometime this fall, and start marking the new kitchen garden as well. With our coffee business ramping up and getting ready for homeschooling Simmi in mid-September, I’m still learning how to balance it all. We go at a snail’s pace, but I enjoy every frustrating moment of it all.

We cherish firelight evenings in our tent as Simmi reads to us. The soft glow causes us to calm our brains down and enjoy our time together. After the addition is put onto the roastery, we will be turning our attention to building a winter two room shelter. Most of what will be used will be gathered from our property. Dom has been designing it over the last several weeks. We could go through the winter in our tents, but we’d like to pack them away until late spring and then put them back up for guests in a new location.

I love cabins with living roofs, so that is what we are going to work towards. I can’t wait until we can break ground to start this project.

Our lives have been a flurry of activity…and I love it!



Recovering from Emotional Pain

Recovering from Emotional Pain

“Givers need to set limits because takers rarely do.” ~Rachel Wolchin

The month of June we’ve summed up with the phrase, “the shit show.” There were a lot personal things that happened to us as a family. Things that I’m not at liberty to discuss because I would never out someone for personal satisfaction. I will, however, talk about us during the shit show.

Dom and I have always felt we had much to give. At times we give until it hurts, and then we give some more. But we don’t give blindly. We give to others based on patterns we see in their lives. If we feel they are doing all they can but just can’t seem to get it all together, we’ll come alongside and help in whatever way it might be. It could be a construction project, helping to pay a bill or two, a listening ear, a meal, or even just some coffee to let them know they’re thought of fondly. We give as we see the needs open up. It’s in our nature.

It led us to Maine and on that crazy odyssey I’ve written about on our website. Helping others. Yes. Being taken advantage…yes, that happened too.

But this isn’t a sob story about how others have wronged us. This is a song of victory about how we find out who our people are and who is just using us. Sob stories always involve someone who was “trying” to help someone and got burned. They got bilked out of their money or life savings or some other story like that. It’s the little old lady who’s pills were taken by the unsuspecting drug addict posing as a kind neighbor. Or the lovely but lonely person who had their things stolen by someone who claimed to be a friend.

Crimes happen most often by people the victims knew.

This is similar to what we’ve been through. However, the difference is that as we came to understand we were being taken for a “ride,” we put our foot down and said no…no more.

But does that work? Nope.

We blame ourselves only and take full responsibility for our actions that led to others taking too much from us. No one else is to blame. As soon as we saw that our time and money have been siphoned away from us, we put a stop to it.

There are patterns that we’ve learned over this last year that I feel have helped us reach the end chapter of our four-year odyssey. These patterns are important to understand especially if we want to move forward in our lives.

These patterns don’t look like patterns because it takes time for them to form. When friends and family are involved, the lines to those patterns become fuzzy, blurred, or missing altogether.

How do we really know who needs our help? How do we help without becoming jaded and losing all faith in humanity when we get burned?

The answer, we discovered, has more to do with their conduct and less to do with how we want to help. We used to help others because we didn’t want to see them suffer. It seems noble right? Well, I’m here to tell you that in our case it was nothing more than not wanting to feel BAD or guilty…especially if it was in our power to help. Did you get what I just said? It would seem that our desire to help certain people was really done out of an alterior motive of not wanting to feel bad. It really had nothing to do with the other person.

Now, add to the mix, someone who has done something terrible to your family. They lied, they stole from you, took all your time, and then cried and flipped it all on its head to make us the bad guys. What do we do in that situation? Do we cave in and just let it go? Or do we love ourselves enough not to do something because we feel “bad.” Emotions are powerful things. When people start using your emotions against you, that should be a red flag.

Let’s talk about red flags!

Red flags are those almost invisible things that warn you someone is trying to pull one over on you or isn’t who they keep claiming to be.

My list of red flags:

  1. Someone who never quite gives you all the details, but claims they were wronged. They need help, but you can’t seem to get the truth out of them.
  2. A person who at first seemed to hit it off with you, but over time they pull away and you are left as the only one who communicates with them, and instead of good communication you get a vague sentence or two about nothing at all. You might be willing to chalk it up to “hey we all get busy with our lives” but don’t go there. Just because YOU get busy, doesn’t mean that person who is always on their phone or computer, is busy.
  3. The time suck. This is a HUGE red flag. If a good majority of your own personal free time is taken up with someone else’s problems, which they refuse to handle themselves, you are being taken for a long hard ride down victim ally. Don’t go there. Examples would include doing hard physical labor for someone who could do it themselves but want you to do it for them for free. Driving them places because they no longer have valid insurance due to nonpayment. Paying their bills because they spent their money on “wants” not needs and don’t even have a job or work schedule is sketchy.
  4. Someone asking you to be responsible for their _________ fill in the blank, because they can’t do it. They don’t want to face the consequences for their actions, they want you to be responsible for their stuff or life in general, and will make you feel guilty if you don’t do it. This has a LOT to do with paying for someone else’s lifestyle choices. BLOOD SOAKED RED FLAG.
  5. Someone who claims they have done so much for you, however, nothing was given freely. Instead, you paid fair and square. It would be like if someone sold you a car for $12,000. The car had great sentimental value to the seller. You purchased the car from them. You go on your merry way, and later on, the seller comes back to you wanting something, and when you refuse, they claimed they did something great for you. What did they do? They sold you a car, you purchased the car. It wasn’t given to you. You purchased it with your hard earned money. Don’t ever let anyone make you believe that they gave you so much when there was a price tag attached and you paid in full.
  6. Someone who claims to be one way and talks all the time about being honest, ethical, moral (fill in the blank), and by their constant actions prove they are liars and the opposite of what they claim. Liars always tell the truth…remember that! They’ll tell you with their actions when their words betray them.
  7. If you’re investing more time and money into a friendship and it doesn’t seem that it’s a reciprocal relationship, it might be time to reprioritize. What is happening is that you are allowing yourself to be used, and it isn’t a friendship at all.

Those are just a few red flags. There are many more that I could write, but this post isn’t about red flags. It’s about understanding ourselves and how we move forward despite having our asses handed to us because of the decisions we made.

I refuse to be a victim. One thing both Dom and I say to each other when we feel wronged is, “Victim is not a good look on you.” That is code for change your attitude, you did this to yourself.

It doesn’t mean that we sweep being wronged under the rug. No, on the contrary, it means that we hold those who have wronged us responsible. To not hold them accountable is to remain a victim. We hold them to account for what they have done to us. We do this because we love ourselves and each other. I would never allow anyone to take advantage of my husband’s generous nature. If I saw it happening, I’d nip it immediately. But when we have together made decisions to allow certain people into our lives or to give when we don’t know the full story, we invite uncertainty and become vulnerable. There’s strength in vulnerability and we’ve learned to embrace it. It says to the new person in our lives, “We have no reason not to trust you, but if you give us a reason we will have no choice but to let you go.”

Letting go of people or situations is difficult for some. In a way, it means giving up. But not to us. Letting go is how we say “I love you” to our own souls. It dares us to allow our souls to shine. It dares us to keep our hearts soft and malleable when all our emotions want us to recoil in bitterness and resentment. Letting go also means that those you’ve invested your time and love into are being released from your life. It’s like grieving the loss of a friend or family member while they are still alive.

For us, letting go of friendships have been difficult. We love deeply and fully, and when we need to say goodbye, we realize just how much we’ve invested. When we realize that we made the right choice in letting go of someone, we get to see what they are really made of.

This brings us to the chorus of our victory song, so to speak….

When a friendship or relationship ends, you get to see their true colors unless their true colors were there all along hiding in plain sight. No, the chorus of our victory song is about making the correct choice in ending a friendship and watching that person become destructive, vindictive, and violent as a consequence of our decision. These are all real actions. The person who says they love peace, truth, and love, but destroys your property and puts your child at risk…which would be more accurate? Their words or their actions? It doesn’t feel good while something violent is being done, but it becomes a solidification that you did the right thing in letting that person go.

I might strike a nerve with some in what I’ve expressed. Mostly because we all want to give. But you are responsible for your giving. You might believe that you are doing it out of good will because your heart hurts for this person in need. Just remember, regardless of the outcome of your giving, you are still responsible for your actions. Giving to others never absolves you from being accountable for your actions. Giving to others is very similar to making an investment in something. Would you invest in a company on the stock market that would lose all your money or would you invest wisely? What would happen if you invested and all your money was lost? Would you blame the company or your decision-making process? I know that I wouldn’t blame the company if they lost money, I’d hold myself accountable for not doing the do diligence it takes to make a wise investment.

Relationships are almost the same as investing in stocks except that with bad relationships if you’re not careful you could end up losing your integrity if you don’t stay true to your soul. And that is more costly than any dollar figure you could throw out there.

As we close the last chapter of Our Nightmare Four Year Odyssey, I can say with all certainty that investing in the right relationships will help heal the wounds from bad investments. Forgive yourselves for making the wrong choices, and love yourself enough to make new friends. Invest in yourself by being a true friend to your soul. You won’t be disappointed and it will help you recover from the emotional pain of being personally accountable.

Full Steam Ahead!

Full Steam Ahead!

“The way you do anything is the way you do everything” Martha N. Beck

Getting back into the swing of farm life is more challenging this time around than when we had our organic CSA in Los Lunas, NM. Back 8 years ago, we spent the first six months rehabbing the house (it was a real shit hole!) and then started doing earthworks and planting trees. A little garden in front, fruit trees to anchor the different growing spaces and that was about it until the following year when we laid the work for our farm. I didn’t have work outside the home so I could concentrate on planning and getting seeds and trees. All our time from morning till night was spent advancing our goals. We learned about life and death on the farm. We also learned about loss. About who we could trust and who we needed to avoid, it happens with families. But no matter who we slice it, we have always done things the same way.

The saying, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything” applies so fittingly to me in my daily life. I don’t wait for things to manifest before I’m willing to make something happen. I keep moving, keep striving, keep motivated. It’s in my nature. I still wake up amazed by all the life growing up around me. Berries ripening, invasive plants I try to become friends with, small critters who live among us curious about who we are. It’s how I do life…every day.

Back when we operated Luna Hill Heritage Farm, I ran around all day trying to get everything done. Animals to feed and care for, plants to harvest, seeds to sew, weed pressure, bug pressure, making meals, homeschooling, spending time with my family, trying to maintain friendships.

Can it all be done?

Yes. But there needs to be balance. Daily. If our lives are consumed with putting out fires all day long, that is how our lives will be. One big knot of worry and chaos. I know I always bite off more than I can chew, but this year I’m learning to pace myself.

The list of things that needs to be done in this place grows by the day like a hungry monster. I need to constantly re-prioritize everything according to what’s going on, especially since this time around we are also building our coffee business. With our coffee company in its first full swing of commercial coffee orders coming in (we put our business in a time out while we got settled), weaving in chicken feedings and watering my little seedlings get shifted a bit.

Here’s a list of all the things that need to be accomplished before we can even start our market garden. My hope is to have our first fall crops in the ground by mid-July:

  • Horse tape needs to be finished
  • Brush around tape needs to be cleared
  • Move horses onto pasture full time
  • Chicken coop/compost run needs to be completed
  • Set up feeding and water station near the coop for chickens and ducks
  • Move chickens to the new coop
  • Turn compost piles
  • Install a permanent tomato bed on the west side of the compost chicken run and plant tomatoes (by mid-June)
  • Make new soil from compost for market garden
  • Finish adding old manure to market garden beds
  • Finish forming the market garden beds
  • Weed the market garden
  • Purchase 150- 1/2″x10′ PVC, 10- 1″x10′ PVC, and rebar to create low tunnels for market garden beds
  • Purchase 6ml greenhouse plastic for market garden
  • Purchase two bolts of tulle for market garden
  • Purchase 100′ hose and high-velocity sprinkler for market garden
  • Purchase 4-way splitter
  • Purchase pond liner for the duck pond
  • Put up new fencing around the duck run and pond

All that has to be completed by mid-July if we’re going to get crops in the ground for the fall. All the warm season fruits and veggies are in the teepee greenhouse waiting for when it will be safe enough to be planted outside. I would like to get them in the ground by mid-June the earliest. We’ve learned living in the high desert that warm season crop seedlings become desiccated by our dry winds, have to tolerate high fluctuations in temperature variations between daytime and nighttime, and can be hit with an unseasonable hard late frost. In my experience, it has always been more than one late frost. The high desert is not the easiest place to grow food, but once you learn how your area of the high desert functions, you can plan accordingly.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when planning a garden is believing that because it might have been unseasonably warm one year or for the last 10 years, that everything will be okay and you can start planting those tomatoes in mid-May. If those crops are covered at night and for freak weather events, then yes, by all means, get those babies into the soil. For me? I’m not so quick to do that. This is our first year growing things in the Gila Forest. The microclimate here is beautiful but just as unpredictable as a college kid on spring break!

Our ongoing holdup at the moment is the chickens. They’re everywhere and until they are contained fulltime in their new space, my hands are tied and I’m limited to what I can accomplish.

I’ve had a few plants sitting outside and so far the chickens haven’t bothered with them. Honeysuckle, trumpet vine, Spanish lavender, and rhubarb. It would be a different story, however, if I were to put them into the ground! The first thing those chickens would do would be to scratch and dig at the base of the plants. They can’t do that when the plants are still in pots. So I wait and work on the endless list of other things that also need my attention. Like property cleanup, cutting down dead trees and branches, painting and rehabbing the business hub, chicken proofing my coffee roasting area. That one was big! I thought I was going to go on a chicken killing spree when they got into the area where I roast coffee and crapped all over the floor. Something about the new set up made them say, “Hey! This is the PERFECT place to throw a party and crap all over the clean stainless steel table and floor! Woohooo!” Yeah, it took me an hour just to clean it all up and sanitize the work table. Then I chicken proofed it. My insane need for cleanliness when it comes to my coffee roasting area almost sent me to the loony bin. We also learned that you can’t leave the door open to the business hub because the chickens will walk right in and make themselves at home. Oh, and forget trying to work with any kind of tools. One of the chickens decided to make Dom’s tool area the perfect place to sit and learn how to build something. I think she’s was mostly entertained by Dom’s work habits. I find him highly entertaining and watch him often. Maybe the chickens got that from me?

Yeah, they need to go into the coop!

“The way you do anything is the way you do everything.”

What are the things you do on a daily basis and end up being the way you do everything in life? What is the reoccurring theme? Are there things you wish could be different? I know I’m always working to improve daily habits. I’m my own worst enemy at times. But still, here I go…full steam ahead!