“A home is a kingdom of its own in the midst of the world, a stronghold amid life’s storms and stresses, a refuge, even a sanctuary.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a fantastic celebration, even if by celebration I mean that you couldn’t keep your eyes open past 10 and blissfully slept your way into the new year.
The day after Christmas we took a road trip to buy three Stout Overland 5000 Bell Tents. We purchased them from a man who owns a glamping business at the Grand Canyon. Brand new, these tents cost between $1,200- $1,700 each. They are four seasons and each tent has a stove jack for a woodburning stove.
On the right is a photo of what bell tents look like when they’re all decked out. Each of the tents is 16 feet in diameter and the center pole height is about 10 feet, which is great for Dom since he’s so tall.
Our original plan was to create a series of hybrid tent cabins to live in, but after we finally added the cost of each tent with canvas, lumber, and other materials we would need, the cost was around $850 per tent to create. That was WAYYYY out of budget for us.
As I was looking through craigslist for tents, I came across an ad for three bell tents. The price was hard to pass up, so Dom and I decided to purchase them. The look is very different than what I had drawn out on paper for our tent cabins since I wasn’t thinking of creating round tent structures, but it will work just fine.
The bell tents take only about 30 minutes for a person to put up, which is FAR less time than it would have been for us to build the foundation and frame and then sew the canvas for the top.
By choosing these tents, we have saved ourselves a lot of money as well as time. You can’t go wrong with that great combination.
The man we purchased the tents from also threw in two more tents for free to use as spare parts for our tents, but he said that if I’m creative enough and can mend the other two tents, we’d have five. I’ll be examining the two extra tents to see if they can be salvaged. If so, we will use them to create one of them as our kitchen, and the second as our living room/dining room. It will be a house of 5 tents.
Our coffee company will also have its own tent and it will be the only tent with full power for use of my computer, Agnus, and some of the electronics and lighting I use when I’m working. This tent will also have a work area for Simmi to create her jewelry, art, and school work.
Dom and I will have our own tent, and Simmi will have her own.
We’re pretty excited about how everything is coming along. Next week we will start the process of mending any small holes or tears in the tents, prepare the location for the tents, and start going through our things to see what we don’t want to take with us.
As we think of everything that needs to happen before we can move down there, we’re estimating that we won’t be living down there full time for at least two months. It all depends on how quickly we can get certain things accomplished.
We have electric and well water, but we still need to get a phone guy out there to put in our line.
I love how things are evolving. I also really love that we don’t have a mortgage or looming debt hanging over us! Dom and I had a discussion about forest fires which happens frequently in Gila where we are. We love that if we needed to evacuate the area, we could empty the tents, and take them in the car with us. It would only take an hour or so to get them all collapsed and put into the car. That is a HUGE weight off of our minds because when you live in an area that is prone to fires, losing a house can be devastating! If we lost our belongings we would still have tents to live in. How cool is that?!
The land is currently covered in snow, and we’re supposed to get more snow through next week. It’s the perfect time to go over each tent to make sure they don’t have any little holes, rips or tears. I do need to reinforce some areas, but until I get each tent out and all the areas marked that need repairs, I won’t know what I need to complete each repair. It might be a patch kit, or I might need to get a used duty sewing machine. The sewing machine I have has a hard time sewing the binding on a quilt, so I wouldn’t even attempt to make repairs using it.
I’ve never worked with a round space before, so it was a little difficult for me to conceptualize how everything would fit into each tent. I wanted to have everything to scale on paper so I knew what would fit, what would still need to be made, and what we need to get rid of or store away for when we build our house.
In a room that is square or rectangle, it’s easy to draw furniture and walkways into a room but when you’re dealing with a circle and the ceiling starts out very low and works its way up to a 10-foot height, things get a little tricky. So I created the size of the tent to scale on paper, and then each piece of furniture was cut out to scale as well. That way I could manipulate where each piece would go and it would show me just how much room we had to walk around.
When I worked on Simmi’s tent, she didn’t quite understand how her bed and shelves were to scale, so I found an ephemera cutout that I use in my art to be Simmi and placed her on the bed. That seemed to work for her and then she saw just how big her tent was.
In Simmi’s tent, she will have her bed, two small nightstands, and a series of 5 or 6 two-tier shelves. These will hold all her prized possessions and clothing. She wanted a larger table and two chairs for her and her friend to do activities like arts or crafts. We will most likely get a small portable propane heater for her tent, but we are still unsure. I am uneasy about having a woodstove in her tent. She is old enough to have one, but if we did allow it, it would need quite a bit of “mama reinforcement” otherwise I’ll be up all night wondering if a stuffed animal got too close to it, or she put her clothing a little too close to the stove.
I go through at least a hundred scenarios in my mind of what could possibly happen when an 11 year old has a woodstove in her room. A propane heater is more appropriate. Where we live right now there is a propane heater in her room, but she doesn’t go near it. We only used it a few times last winter, and since then got another heating source for her room.
I could be completely overreacting to the heating situation. I just know she’s fascinated by fire, and when we have the woodstove going (which is nearly 24/7) in the main part of the house, she’s always hovering around it, sitting by it, and enamored with the glow of the flames. She can’t help herself. What kid can, right?!
There will be no electric in her tent, just a few battery operated lanterns for light. We’ve played with the idea of putting an electric heater in her tent, but I really don’t want any electric in either of the tents where we sleep.
The tent in the photo to the left I’m still messing around with. This tent is more of an idea since we don’t know what shape the extra tent given to us is like. We would need to build a new dining table (ours is way too wide) but our chairs can all be used.
I have other drawings, but I’ll post them at a later time.
There have been family concerns as we’ve started to discuss our master plan. Dom and I seem to be the family pioneers, doing things that aren’t typically done by our extended families. We don’t know anyone in either of our families that has ever lived in tents while building a house. It seems so….primitive.
But there aren’t many families that set out with the goal of not having a mortgage either. Or a non-electric house. Or limited types of technology because of my sensitivity to different types of motors in both sound and electric magnetic sensitivity.
But here we are! On quite the adventure. On Facebook, youtube, and Instagram I have found many families who have lived in tents during the years of building their farm and home, and those who have chosen to live in RVs. Anything to avoid paying rent and utilities in one place, while trying to build a home or infrastructure in another.
I often think those who are carrying more than one mortgage or paying rent AND a mortgage must be so stressed out. Or maybe they found a better way.
For us, this is the best way. It’s healthy and freeing to reconnect to the natural world. I believe we as a people are far too disconnected from the “real world.” Nature is the real world. The changing seasons with its ebb and flow of fleeting light in winter and extended shine in summer all play into the health and well being of us as humans. We are so disconnected from the sun, spending most of our days inside at work or in our homes. If we go out, it’s only briefly. We have come to fear the elements.
Living in fear is a poor use of our time and energy. We have this gift of life, and yet we hide away in dark homes or in closed up buildings all day at work. We are no better than animals in the zoo who have lost our true habitat.
We must not fear the unknown. We don’t have all the answers, but it’s okay not to know. We do not walk into this life natively, believing that nothing will ever harm us, or that we will never be inconvenienced. It’s going to happen.
Will there be bears and mountain lions? Yes. Are we aware that they browse our property? Yes, and I’ve found bear scat on one of our walks. It happens to be exactly where we’ll be putting our tents. But wildlife has always been a part of the real world. The world we are entering. Learning to live with them and keep ourselves protected is important. I can tell you this much though, it isn’t like braving the wild real world of Alaska where grizzlies roam.
Being afraid of the real world should be a personal indication that you are disconnected. Reconnection is the cure.
Anyway, I digress!
Here are some photos from Christmas 2018- New Year 2019:
Christmas eve was filled with excitement and wonder. We think Simmi is secretly an elf (Like Buddy the Elf) because as soon as the weather turns cold in early fall, she starts singing Christmas songs and it doesn’t stop until after we put the decorations away. This is also a struggle since she would keep Christmas decor up all year if she could.
Even though the electricity from the lights bothers me, I deal with it because I’ve always loved white lights at Christmas. Simmi would have been upset if we didn’t have lights around the window too.
Christmas night Sara joined us for dinner. She always has something stylish to wear, from well-appointed unique hats to the lavishly gorgeous embellished suede and lamb fur coat. And lets not forget the badass boots that go above the knee. I know you can’t see those in the photo, but she’s sporting them! Sara will be moving onto the land sometime in 2019 with her three gorgeous horses.
This is Josey (Joseph) and Leaf.
This is Galeno the great. I gave him the last part of his name because he’s a fatty and likes to keep eating. Haha.
My girl in her silliness wanted me to take a photo of her new hair style. She was pretty pleased with herself!
A very sweet friend of ours, Wendy, gave Simmi water colors, paint brushes and lots of creative things for Simmi to do. Simmi was plotting for at least three days which one of Wendy’s gifts she would open first. Wendy did not disappoint! Thank you Wendy for all the love you put into make Simmi’s Christmas magical.
The first thing she painted was a horse. Of course!
Christmas night was filled with great conversation, awesome food, and lots of laughter.
By the end of the evening, I think we completely wore Sara out. Haha
New Year’s Eve was fabulous. We definitely drank a little too much wine that night! We also hydrated too with plenty of water. What? You don’t drink ice water out of a large wine glass? 😉
New Year’s day we woke up to a foot of snow!
Not a soul to be found on the roads!
From the weight of the snow, Sara’s hayport collapsed. After we had some coffee and breakfast, we headed down to her place to get everything dug out.
We had some help from a neighbor getting the tarps out.
Sara one of the best humans I’ve ever had the privilege of getting to know. She’s a horsewoman and an extremely gifted writer. I’m creating a space on our blog for her to write.
New Year’s day breakfast. Ya can’t beat homemade flatbread, brie, grapes, and meat.
Josey was sporting some icicles.
It’s been an amazing start to the new year.
“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” Steve Jobs
Becoming a mitochondriac has been a process for me. For a number of years I have been making subtle changes to my life. Nothing happened overnight. Instead, the changes that I’ve made have stood the test of time. It’s not easy to change. Whenever I’ve changed a part of my life, there were unintended consequences but if I stuck with that change it made a huge difference in my life over the years.
My quest for wellness has been a 25 year journey. My children have never known their mother as being healthy and strong, or vibrant and active. I’ve been ill for 25 years now. Let that sink in for a moment. Two and a half decades of being sick. Lymes disease, peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, SLE, biotoxin illness, severe mold allergies, extensive hospital stays being in intensive care with my life hanging by a thread because of pneumonia sometimes twice a year, alopecia, miscarriages and complete infertility, morbid obesity, and the final blow in the latest of diagnoses…Celiac disease.
I’m not well. And it shows. With the exception of going raw for more than a year and finally being in remission, that was the only window of time when I was vibrant, strong, and healthy. Two years in 25.
My quest all these years was to find a way to NOT be on any medication. For someone with an arsenal of ill health under her belt, I’m not on any medication. If I’m diagnosed with something, I have a knee jerk reaction and right away start researching how to get rid of a particular autoimmune disorder. The Celiac diagnosis was particularly difficult for me to handle. I already knew that I had a sensitivity to gluten, but I had no idea that my neurological problems were actually tied to gluten. High blood pressure is also another unintended consequence of eating gluten for me. I’m a fat Celiac. Most Celiacs are frail and thin. However, regardless of whether a celiac is fat or thin, we aren’t getting the nutrients we need from food. I haven’t had any gluten since I was diagnosed in 2014.
Tweaking my diet has been an ongoing challenge. I’ve made lasting changes to how I eat. You would think that someone who eats as healthy as I do, would just drop the weight quickly.
Morbid obesity is a mitochondrial disease. Old school thinking is “calories in, calories out.” If you eat 1200 calories a day, exercise, drink water and stay away from junk food, you’ll lose weight. Here’s a fun little story…
Back after my son was born, we were living in NJ. At the time we were vegetarians. I’ve always provided my family with nutritious food. No junk food. I started going to a doctor in NJ who was famous for his practice of fasting and reversing disease. Back then I was considered morbidly obese, and he said that if I just followed his plan and exercised, the weight was guaranteed to come off. I stuck with the diet, ran three miles a day, and didn’t lose even one pound over the span of a few months. He thought I was lying about exercise and what I was eating. He accused me of binge eating and being lazy. And then he fired me as a patient.
My doctor said he could not waste his time with me if I wasn’t serious about my health.
But I was. I have always been very health conscious. It makes no sense, right?
Here’s what Dr. Jack Kruse has to say about obesity and mitochondria:
The truth is, obesity is a quantum disease that dramatically alters quantum signaling that occurs on the inner mitochondrial membrane. The change leads to a dramatic change in current on the inner mitochondrial membrane due to changes in subatomic distance in proteins of cytochromes that alter vibrational resonance. This makes us very energy inefficient. The changes in protein conformation diminish energy transfers by altering bond lengths in Angstroms. When energy transfers are diminished, people have to eat more to offset the change in the Angstrom distances in the cytochrome complexes found on the inner mitochondrial membrane. The conformational changes lead to protein folding errors in the proteins that couple oxidative phosphorylation to the correct metabolic and environmental signals is lost or becomes very inefficient. The folding errors increase the subatomic lengths of bonds in the chemistry of molecules.
One thing scientists are correct about: obesity is not a disease of carbohydrates, excess protein or an excess of dietary fat or excess insulin. It is a metabolic process to limit collateral damage from a loss of energy transfer in the cell. It is tied to not being able to correctly tell time any day of any season of the year.
Obesity is tied to an inability of the brain to process the proper amount of photons and electrons in the body in all places it matters, specifically in the hypothalamus essentially throwing off energy balance between our semiconductors, our inner mitochondrial membrane, and our leptin receptor. The obese never get the correct signal from their metabolism or the environment, to tell what the energy balance status really is in their fat cells. Because they can not decipher this message correctly, and they are losing photons and electrons to the environment because of a lack of proper quantum tunneling and quantum time; they have the sense and perception that they must eat more to improve the current of flow over their altered inner mitochondrial membrane that now leaks like a sieve because of the altered chemical bond lengths. This is also why obesity is linked to all diseases of aging. Obesity and diabetes are two circles of a Venn diagram in this enigma. That much is crystal clear. Where they intersect is the key to solving the puzzle. To solve it takes systems thinking not reductive science by itself. At their core of this intersection is where mitochondrial inefficiency issues live.
As I stated in Part One of my Secret Life series, it takes a LONG ASS TIME to digest what Jack has to say. It’s so worth it though!
Currently, I’m correcting my circadian biology. Dom and I have been working on correcting it for nearly two years now. It’s not easy. Why? Because it means changing how I do life each day. This is why it is taking me so long to get my shit together. To sleep at night in complete darkness? I would go through phases where we would start to practice it, but then I’d get some sort of autoimmune flare up which always keeps me up at night. Tossing and turning in bed? That’s torture to me. So the vicious cycle of putting the tv on at night starts. Which ruins my circadian biology.
One way I’ve hacked that problem is to wear my blue blockers every night. It takes about an hour for my brain to finally calm down and I get very tired when they are on. Another thing we do is not have any artificial light on after dark. We use candles.
Getting my body to start healing is the most important thing I can do for myself. As long as I’m obese, I know I have a mitochondrial problem. Other people may not have a problem with obesity. Their issues might stem from migraines or other other disease processes where you need medication. High blood pressure is a mitochondrial problem. I used to have extremely high blood pressure. It would feel like my head was going to pop off. The medication I was on was very strong. After I stopped eating gluten, my doctor was able to get me off the blood pressure meds because my blood pressure regulated properly. However, there is one other thing that causes my blood pressure to spike now…EMFs. If I’m in a city or place with lots of WiFi and cell towers, my head will start to feel like it’s going to pop off. It’s scary sometimes. So I avoid going to cities as much as I can.
When my circadian biology is working properly, my hormones will also start to normalize. I’ve spoken to many women who can’t sleep at night, are restless, have problems with their monthly cycle, and are either depleted in progesterone or are estrogen dominant.
Our modern lifestyles are the perfect storm for infertility and hormonal problems.
Natural Fertility Info explains melatonin and fertility this way:
Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland, a small endocrine gland located between the two hemispheres of the brain. In relation to fertility, melatonin is also produced by the follicles (eggs) within an ovary, the mass of cells that surround the follicles, and in the immature follicle itself.
Melatonin has been found to be a powerful free radical scavenger exerting strong antioxidant effects, important for supporting cellular health and protecting an immature egg from oxidative stress, especially at the time of ovulation. One small study of 115 women at the Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan showed melatonin may increase egg quality by reducing the level of one oxidizing agent called 8-OHdG in the ovum, which is a natural product of DNA oxidation.
Another study in the Journal of Ovarian Research states that, “It has been believed that melatonin regulates ovarian function by the regulation of gonadotropin release in the hypothalamus-pituitary gland axis via its specific receptors… Higher concentrations of melatonin have been found in human preovulatory follicular fluid compared to serum, and there is growing evidence of the direct effects of melatonin on ovarian function especially oocyte maturation and embryo development.”
Melatonin also helps control body temperature, the timing and release of female reproductive hormones and possibly egg quality. In fact, melatonin has been found to control the onset of puberty in females, the frequency and duration of menstrual cycles, and even when a woman stops menstruating and enters menopause.
Preliminary evidence suggests that melatonin may help strengthen the immune system as well.
During pregnancy, melatonin in the blood passes through the placenta not only supporting its function and health, but also aiding in the creation of the fetal suprachiasmatic nucleus or SCN, where a human’s central circadian regulatory system in located. Because of its antioxidant effects, Melatonin may also protect the developing fetus from oxidative stress.
In conclusion, recent research of the role of a healthy circadian rhythm and cyclical production of melatonin is proving to be critical for optimal female reproductive hormone function, menstrual cycle timing, ovarian function (including follicle function- both health and quality), as well as placental function.
One can influence her circadian rhythms and melatonin production simply by waking when it becomes light outside and sleeping when it is dark. While we understand that many of us are not able to sleep the entire time it is dark outside, you can create a routine that allows you to slow and enjoy calm as darkness sets in and avoid bright artificial lights (from televisions, computer screens, hand-held devices, cell phones, etc.) at least one hour before bedtime at night (No TV in bed!).
Learning a new way to live life each day isn’t easy, and yet it’s so simple! I’m still just a Black Swan hatchling. I’m a mitochondriac who is striving to get my mitochondria healthy again. I am getting there, slowly but surely.
Since I started to religiously keep the lights off at night, go out and sun gaze in the morning and throughout the day, drink great water and begin to eat foods that are deuterium depleted (no longer eating foods that are high in deuterium) I’ve dropped one dress size. Go figure! This is something that is working for me. For every pound that I lose, I have gained a more robust mitochondrial function.
It’s a great trade-off.
Dom and I have discussions every day about the kind of center we want to open. It would be a place to jumpstart your circadian biology. This would the place you come and unplug from EVERYTHING. Leave your cell phones and wireless devices at home. It’s a digital detox. It’s actually becoming a trend in many coffee shops and cafes around the country. Cafes are opting no to provide any kind of WiFi or even places to plug in devices, because we as a society have forgotten how to really talk with one another. Our center would be free of all electrical devices. You’ll ground, drink great water, eat food from our garden, and our animals will not be grain fed, but instead pastured so that the meat will be deuterium depleted.
We need a place where artificial light doesn’t exist. Our place wouldn’t have any at all. Just Firelight. Under our dark clear skies at 5700 feet in elevation and not a cell tower in any direction. I want to create this. I want people to get excited about being able to unplug. To know that they aren’t alone in this.
We need land with water rights donated or purchased and away from any other neighbors or town and away from major roads. We need to build the infrastructure.
If a project like this resonates with you, drop me an email at email@example.com
Dom and I are both sprawlers. Actually, Simmi is a sprawler as well. Dom has his bottles of mead and beers fermenting, along with lacto fermented veggies and pickles, Simmi leaves a trail of belongings everywhere and doesn’t like to throw anything away, and I have jars of things rooting or being nurtured on the counter.
I chose the north side of the house where our kitchen is because it gets some moderate light and won’t be too hard on my little water babies soaking up water and love.
I started my water baby collection back in March when my orchids were suffering. Our climate doesn’t offer any moisture in the air, and can be quite a challenge to keep injured orchids from dying.
On the right are my orchids last June, just coming to the end of their flowering. The blooms last through the winter and after the flowering stops, they go into leaf growth. I obsessed for weeks prior to relocating to New Mexico about how my six orchids would make it across the country in the dead of winter with no heat. Three survived the trip and three died.
In an effort to save my remaining orchids, I started the process of trying to save them in February, but it seemed hopeless.
I know it sounds ridiculous to be so attached to these little beings, but they mean the world to me.
After I wasn’t getting many results pampering them and seeing that my remaining three orchids were declining still, I chose to put them in a water culture, which is just a fancy way of saying that I keep them in a jar with a third of the jar filled with water. One of them is so pathetic that I keep her in a full water culture.
It’s working. Finally.
One of my orchids finally grew two new leaves. I’m waiting for the other two to start to sprout. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m optimistic and I refuse to give up on them.
So, in no particular order, here’s a look at what’s on my counter:
The new leaf growth on one of my orchids.
The second orchid hasn’t sprouted new leaves yet, but I’m hopeful. She’s in a full water culture.
This is what she looks like in the water.
The third orchid. She’s juicy and ready to leaf. I’m hoping this month it will happen.
A clipping from one of my random house plants.
Rooting Rosemary. These were from clippings I got at the grocery store.
I love to see the roots of new plants that never had a chance to make it.
I LOVE this tree so much that I took clippings home to root them and plant them by our house. This is White Poplar. Back about 15 years ago when it was a medical mystery why I was sick beyond having Lupus, my doctor arranged for me to get allergy tested to see if mold could be tied to my recurring intensive care stays at the hospital. It turned out that I was indeed allergic to not only many different types of mold, but to poplar, willow, birch, (12 trees in all) different grasses, horses, guinea pigs, cats, and dust mites. I thought I was just allergic to the pollen with those trees until I went into anaphylaxis after drinking real birch beer. I finally identified the clippings as White Poplar and I wanted to know what the medicinal and food properties were. It turns out that poplar contains salicylate which is another compound I’m highly allergic to. It’s also in birch.
Now I know why I’m allergic to those particular trees. It’s the salicylates in the trees. I’ve gone into anaphylaxis with aspirin and ibuprofin. It’s not pretty! So, while I won’t be using any of the trees I’m allergic to for medicinal purposes, I will still be planting them. How can I not? They are so beautiful.
The pretty buds ready to send out roots.
Oh green onions how I love you! Did you know you can keep green onions on the counter in water and they will continue to grow for you? You can even clip down to a few inches above the roots and it will grow back for you. Next time you have slimy green onions that slipped to the back on the fridge, remember you can always put them in water. Don’t worry if some of the green leaves die or change color, because it is always setting out new green growth. The water needs to be changed every day or they will die from a lack of oxygen.
See the new growth? The old growth can be clipped with a scissor and used. Just discard any small portion of the green onion that is yellow or brown.
This lovely collection is Dom’s different brews. He has some natural beers and mead. All his brews are wildcrafted and pack a wallop if you drink too much! He did a first racking of the meads the other day, and it was pretty strong.
Dom’s kombucha. Behind one of them is a coffee kombucha he’s working on.
Transfering mead to a new container. Oh, and in the background you can see I also keep romaine lettuce in a jar of water. Only the base of the romaine touches the water. I don’t recommend keeping it in water if you won’t be eating it quickly. The water needs to be changed daily, AND if you don’t like to eat lettuce everyday, it will continue to grow. I once left romaine in fresh water for a week and it was not edible because the inner leaves turned bitter. If you’ll be eating it within a day or two of putting it in the water, it will taste fine.
So that’s what was on my counter. Next week the rosemary will be potted and put outside. I do have rosemary already growing out there, so I take more cuttings and root them as well.
Thanks for reading!
We’re home! We arrived in Reserve, NM on January 25. Altogether the trip took 5 days and 4 nights. Most of our hotel stays were moldy in the bathrooms and just added more insult to injury with regards to my health. One of the hotel stays was so bad that we had to flee at 6:00 am because my breathing was so labored that I couldn’t stop coughing and sneezing.
We are located about 12 miles south of the main town of Reserve. Our house is a tiny little adobe building with two bedrooms and open area where there is a kitchen, dining area, and living room. We were amazed that we could fit all our stuff into this little structure. We had to get creative with the space in order to make it work, but it’s coming along nicely.
I thought I would give a picture tour of the property and at a later date, when our house is fully set up, I’ll give a little tour of the interior. We still have pictures to hang, more clothes to unpack, and shelves to hang.
Sometime in the future we’ll probably paint as well, but for now, because I’m still recovering it wouldn’t be wise for us to paint. The chemicals would affect my lungs too much. This little adobe place is a landing of sorts. It’s a mold free environment for me to heal, and as we get to know the area, locate a place where we can build our house. Our hope is that we can build very close to where we are at right now.
The house we want to build would be completely non-electric. That means no solar or alternative power either. It’s fine for in the buildings we’re using for our coffee business and other exciting plans we have, but our home will be built with no electricity. I’ll touch upon that subject at a later time.
So, where do we live? We live on a 40-acre plot of land that has three spring fed ponds (stocked with fish) in the Gila National Forest. We are at an elevation of 5,700 and we are surrounded by astonishing beauty, amazing rock outcroppings, canyons, evergreens, grasses, and wild game. The water here is crystal clear and tastes like heaven.
Just a week ago, I couldn’t walk more than a few minutes without sitting down, and I needed a nap at mid-day or lay down for a short period of time because I would become too dizzy to stand, and now one week later not only can I walk without running out of breath, but I can walk a whole block, as well as walk to the ponds. The first pond is directly behind our house up a little hill. Because of that hill, you don’t even know the pond is there. The first pond spills over and travels to the second pond, and then to the third pond. I have not made it as far as the second pond, but in the next week I know I’ll be able to accomplish that as well. I’m trying not to push myself too hard.
I’m so excited about these ponds. They are pure poetry.
In looking at it from an aerial view, it’s easier to see the vast beauty of the 40 acres. Over the next year, I’ll be planning out the different zones surrounding the riparian areas. Then observing the best way to utilize the land for orchards, gardens, and market gardens. It’s such a big project that it will take years to complete. I feel beyond blessed to have this land to cultivate.
Our county has a very large population of elk. The elk outnumber people and can be a nuisance or downright destructive in agricultural systems. I was so excited to see the first 10 acres being prepped for elk fencing. We don’t have a date yet on when the fencing will be installed…and I was so thrilled to see the tractor out there today!
There is a cute little greenhouse and a few garden plots that looked like there were tyme and other herbs growing maybe last year.
Here is another exciting area. Behind the cottonwood tree is the wood structure that will become our coffee roastery.
Here is a close-up shot. It’s just a stick built shed. The whole building, including any additions we put onto it will be done in salvaged very old doors and windows, and the walls will be infilled with straw-light-clay. The coffee roaster will be a cob/stone hearth, and the coffee will be wood fire roasted. I will be talking with the people who made my coffee drum about making a 20-30 pound drum custom for our new roasting hearth. Our inspiration for roasting coffee this way comes from Summermoon wood fired coffee. Below is a photo of their roaster. Ours will be similar in many ways.
The building will have very little power coming to it, and off the side of the building will be the art studio I need for creating the different products we sell for Buffalo Mountain Coffee Roasting Company.
I roasted our first few batches of coffee on February 1, and after a few roasts, I was able to get a feel for what it will be like to roast in the high desert. Altitude can affect how coffee is roasted, so I wanted to make sure I could get it consistent with how I roasted when we lived in West Virginia.
Our Etsy shop for our coffee company is now open for business if anyone is interested in buying coffee. Click here to visit our Etsy shop.
I will be working on Buffalo Mountain’s website to offer coffee for sale there as well, it was just a low priority last year while we were building our business.
Okay, back to our little tour…
Here’s a cool little building that is right next to the roastery. At first, we thought it might be something we would want to restore and make our home, but after seeing that it is so close to the access road for the pond, we felt it would be better served as a bait and vermiculture area. Worms baby! I think it would be a great area to sell worms since people love to come fishing at the pond.
It’s in rough shape, but it’s dry inside. It just needs a little TLC and a torch. Haha, no, just the TLC and a roof.
And no, it’s not haunted.
You might be tempted to think that it’s just termites holding hands, but under that weathered wood is plastered walls. 😉
Our house is heated by a tiny little woodstove. It does a pretty good job of keeping us warm at night. We also have two propane heaters, but we don’t use them often.
This gorgeous creature showed up and is such a great outside companion for Simmi. We’re allergic to cats, so it was nice to see him show up and hang out with us. There are three other cats as well, but they don’t stick around like he does. Simmi named him Fluffy Lucky.
There is also a gorgeous beautifully natured dog that comes around. Her name is Whisper and her person is a contractor who works in town a lot. She tags along with him, and comes to hang out with me when I’m roasting coffee. She got her name because she doesn’t make a sound. No barking. She’s like the perfect dog.
Life is good here! We are settling in, making a life for ourselves here, and enjoying the beauty of New Mexico once again. It’s good to be home.