Our search continues for some land or even a house that we can settle down into, but as life would have it, we need to stay closer than 40 minutes to doctors and therapists. Our grand daughter Simone was just diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech and she will need to have intensive speech therapy everyday. If we are way out in the middle of nowhere, even if it is only 40 minutes from a proper medical facility or a center to get her speech therapy, how much time and effort will that take up in our day? She is well worth the effort, so we are going to need to search for a house with land that will be much closer to the different facilities.
Permaculture principles encompass more than just growing food. Designing our homestead must take into account not only the needs of our family at home, but outside the home as well. We’ve found a few houses that have potential, but in order to keep costs low, we have needed to look at fairly rundown houses. Its not easy finding a home in the city that has land, but I know we will find something. We want our home to be centrally located to both medical facilities as well as the Parajito Mesa.

The picture in the upper left hand corner is a house we went to see. It is a 2,900 square foot, 4-5 bedroom, two story pueblo on a half acre of land. The property sits just three miles from the Parajito Mesa and would be an awesome home once completed. The neighborhood where the house is located is mainly equestrian…lots of beautiful horses and upscale homes. The property is being offered at an extremely low price since the rehab of the house halted and the owner wanted out.  The photo on the right is of the front of the house where some of the exterior was improved. A lot of time and energy went into fixing the house and it shows. As I looked at the interior, I saw something that I don’t always see…construction done right. I think that is what I liked most about this house. The house must have had some problems with a busted pipe inside, as well as roof drainage problems, but from what we saw, these things were addressed right away. The house offers us a blank slate so we can design the house in a way that would suit our needs. But alas, there are many offers on the house, and it will be scooped up very soon. We aren’t ready to put an offer on any house until we have seen all our options. Here are a few more pictures I took of the land:

This weekend we’ll be going to see another home, which I’m a little freaked out about. Its an old house, and I’m highly allergic to mold. Typically New Mexico and the southwest is very dry, but when there is an old home and the plumbing hasn’t been maintained, or roof leaks were allowed to persist, mold can develop. Add to that a swamp cooler and humidity levels rise, activating the mold spores already present. I’m not saying that there is mold in this particular house we are going to see, but it is old and unoccupied right now. The house is almost 3,000 square feet, partial adobe with six bedrooms and three bathrooms. It sits on 3/4 of an acre and backs up to the Rio Grande. Even though I haven’t walked the land yet, I am fairly excited to walk the Riparian Zone which is just behind the property.

Here is a few aerial screen shots of the house backing up to the Rio Grand:

Will urban homesteading be our destiny? It may! We are adjusting and scaling down the vision we had for a homestead in a rural area. We can still accomplish our goals, it will just be on a much smaller scale. Part of that vision was to have heritage cows, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, alpacas, and donkeys, and now we’ll only be including some angora goats and rabbits, a small pig or two,  heritage chickens, ducks and geese to support the system we set up. If the property we buy has less than a 1/2 acre, then we will need to further scale down the types of animals we want to include in the system.

There are a number of things we are interested in doing on the homestead. All of them will take time to develop, and none will be implemented right away, here is our partial list…things will be added or omitted when we finally purchase:

  • Tropical green house on the back of the house so we can grow our own coffee and other exotic fruits and plants
  • Growing gourmet mushrooms
  • Vermiculture- selling worms, beautiful composted soil and worm tea
  • Silk production- this is for our own use and would not be for sale
  • Angora rabbit fibers
  • Angora goat fibers
  • Eggs- Definitely would be for sale since we can’t eat or cook them in the house due to Simone’s egg allergy
  • Food forest if our land backs up to an open field or riparian buffer

There is more that we want to do and I’ll add to that list as we move forward.