Its been a year since we first moved in and its hard to believe that time has flown so fast, but here we all are!
So much has happened over this last year and thank god we have  been chronicling it all.

I don’t know if I could recap a whole year, but I can say with all honesty, it has been a great year.

Beginning the process of creating a homestead started to change me last year. I had all these ideas, plans, dreams and hopes for our little patch of earth, and I couldn’t wait to get started.

I definitely didn’t idealize or romanticize having a homestead, especially since I understood the reality of having a special needs toddler on my hands, health issues, and a husband that worked 60+ hours a week.

If anything, I think what changed the most was my ability to keep my feet on the ground and plan from a realistic starting point.

I tried not to bog myself down or get over worked. I wanted to do each thing with excellence, taking my time to do it right.

I think so far everything has turned out well. Another thing that changed for me is how I plan out gardens and even the interior design of our home. I used to plan out things according to what I thought would be befitting in a certain space, but now I need to consider dirty shoes, farm animals residing in the dining room, changing my lists of what I think is a priority and finally the biggest thing I’ve learn so far is how to start to dole out time for myself. That has always been a problem for me since I am always pulled in so many directions through out the day…finding myself at the end of the day totally spent and mentally retarded.

Last year at this time we were just getting moved in, dealing with extreme humidity, trying to clean the house, and waiting for the cable guy to come. I don’t know what drove us more crazy last year…the lack of coolness coming from the nasty old swamp cooler, or not having a phone, internet and cable! Both, I think, were equally torturous.

On this day last year, my crazy ass sexy husband stood on the back edge of the moving truck, after he put the loading ramps out, and proceeded to push our PIANO to the edge where he stood. He then told me, “Make sure it doesn’t tip as it comes down towards you.” Uhh??!!! What??? OMG, are you kidding me? No, he was dead serious!

He pushes the very large and extremely heavy piano down towards me, and there I am trying to keep the damn thing from falling…ON ME!

Shit, forget about falling on the ground. Whatta bout me? LOL I had the strength of at least three men as I pushed the piano which was dangerously tilting over my freaking head! I did it though…I guided that piano like a champ, and no one was rushed to the hospital that day.

We were able to accomplish so much in the months that followed moving in:

  • The office, master bedroom and master bathroom are complete.
  • The living room (previously the dining room) is complete.
  • The long ass hallway is done.
  • Simmi’s room is done.
  • Noah’s room is done.
  • The laundry room is done.
  • This year we almost have completed our kitchen.
  • Walls were erected in the basement to create another large space
  • Tumbleweeds were tackled and subdued too late in the season.

We still have a lot of inside work to do, but right now we are concentrating on the outside work. Our first Thanksgiving was awesome, and it was such a pleasure to have most of my children home for Christmas. I am looking forward to the day when their lives aren’t too busy and they can all come for the holidays.

We dealt with some major illnesses, with Dom, Noah, my Dad, and Gina all having some degree of illness. Then the unthinkable happened, and I was taken to the hospital with pneumonia.

I have a very long history of getting pneumonia and a few times I almost lost my life because of it. Usually I get a bacterial pneumonia, end up in the hospital for a week or two and then I deal with the long recovery afterward.

This time I had a viral pneumonia, and it took almost a week for them to figure that out. I made a pretty fast recovery since it usually takes about 6 months for me to recover…this time it only took a month! Talk about miracles.

March of 2011 was really the start of our outdoor work. We started our mini kitchen garden, started planting fruit trees and fast forward to this day…we have a very different landscape. I am truly amazed and blessed by all that has been accomplished by our family this year. Everyone has worked their asses off to make our house and land a home.

I asked Dom, Vicki and my dad to write a little something about what its been like for them over this last year and here is what they had to say:


“Wow, a year has passed so quickly and during the past year I have been faced with the daunting task of building a homestead with my family, all the while working 65-70 a week, away from our home.

Because of that, the tasks that we thought only I could do had to be performed by Angela.

This became a learning process for me, and I had to let go of some pride and perceived value I gave to myself for performing a task. I have come to value the accomplishments of what my family is able to do in order to fill the gap of my absence.

Learning to balance work life, family life, love life, and now homestead life has been overwhelming at times and I have learned that giving up a shift or two at my second job in order to spend more time with my family or finishing up a project is well worth the lower income.

Getting caught in the “doing syndrome” with so many trees we want to plant and the edible landscape we are wishing to create along with the cottage industries we are developing, I fell into the trap of moving from project to project and adding on the maintenance routine around each completed project.

I became so involved with the projects I stopped observing what we created.

I stopped reading and learning about what others have done and are doing right now with homesteading. I am looking forward to another amazing year of growth in the high desert.”


“Until June 30th of 2010, I lived in an apartment in suburban NY.

I liked to go to the mall, I ate my diet frozen meals, and I was afraid to have anything to do with plants (my limited experience made me believe I had a black thumb).

Herbs came in bottles, fresh just meant a new bottle. Trees were just, well, there.

Most bugs were sucked up by my dustbuster as soon as I spotted them. Roadrunners were just in cartoons.

Now? I shop aisles of Home Depot like a pro. Herbs can be picked from our garden whenever (though I’m still working on identifying them by sight).
We buy and plant our trees and shrubs and flowers. We’ll be eating our own veggies soon, and I’ll be able to pick all of my salad ingredients right from the ground.
I shovel and dig and haul. I eat healthy ,delicious food. I will learn to milk a cow, I will eat animals I have helped raise. I love being involved in every single part of this.
I love watching our house being transformed in to a home. Hot, sweaty, dirty, sore. Who cares, it’s all for a wonderful reason. Being able to provide for ourselves, and some day, for others. I’m learning sooo much, having experiences I would never have imagined two years ago.
Bats make me smile, not all bees are to be feared.  And dirt and sand are unavoidable here in the desert, it’s absolutely everywhere. Deal with it 🙂
Of course I miss my family and friends  in NY, but I hope that some day they can come and enjoy this as much as I do. In the mean time, I know they love hearing about our ventures, reading about our progress, seeing the pictures that tell our story so vividly.
Every single day, something new. And I’m eager to see what each day will bring. I love my new life, and the amazing family and friends  I’m sharing it with. Their knowledge is so extensive, my education is neverending. I look at everything so differently now.  Angela and Dom, Noah and Simmi, thank you so much for allowing me to experience all of this with you, to be a part of your lives.”


Rick Koestler-

“When I arrived in New Mexico for my retirement this past January, I really wasn’t prepared physically for the extreme change in altitude and climate.

Those two entities rocked my world. Living over a mile high in an extremely arid climate left me with everything from nosebleeds to nauseous bathroom excursions to a dangerous rise in my blood pressure.

Thank God I had acclimated entirely in exactly sixty days. From then on it was a whole new, elevated experience, and I felt like I was living in paradise.

The cool, crisp mountain air is like an elixir from heaven, gently floating over my head through my bedroom window each night.

Once I was able to work again, without losing my breath getting out of my car, I began driving to Los Lunas twice or three times a week to help on the homestead. My daughter Angela and son-in-law Dominic began to describe a homestead plan that totally blew my mind. The plan was to create a high desert farm that, once laid out in the most efficient manner, would practically take care of itself.

They’d begun planting this past March, and from a barren, sandy soiled acre and a quarter of land, the property is now teeming with life. In less than three months they’ve created separate berms containing every sort of herbs, vegetables, trees and perennials.

The property is so beautiful now. I’m so proud of my family’s perpetual hard work and the love that they express performing it, that I’m blessed beyond compare every time visit and join in the effort.

They began adding animals to the mix starting with 15 Magpie Ducklings and three chicks. Dominic, Vicki (a dearly loved friend considered family) and my grandson, Noah, have dug out a 30-foot area in front of the vegetable garden that will eventually be the duck pond.

Retirement for me is anything but boring, now that I’m so close to most of my family and a part of the most exciting adventure I have ever endeavored to enjoin.”

I wanted to put together a slide of all that has happened over the last year, but I do NOT know how to work the movie program on the IMAC. I feel lost. I remembered that I could do a project on, BUT they only allow a certain amount of photos and video if you don’t have a premium account. So…I’ll just have to put the before and after photos here:


Kitchen before and after
From pantry to office
Laundry room before and after
Front entrance before and after half wall is taken out.
Big ass hallway before and after
Air conditioning being installed.

Chicken pasture before

chicken pasture after.
Simmi last year on July 17th, 2010
Simmi this year.
Last year…before
This year…after: Fig trees, pomegranate tree, grapevines, Western sand cherry trees, and in the picture below now added this past week are two nectarine trees, and lots of shrubs.
You can see more updated photos by browsing throughout the site.
Thanks for reading!