Great Expectations for 2019

Great Expectations for 2019

It’s amazing to me that at this time last year I could barely breathe walking from part of a room to another, I had to shave my head because my hair was falling out so much that it was everywhere. It’s disturbing to see hair all over the place! Moving back to our home state of New Mexico was an act of desperation much like when we first arrived in New Mexico ten years earlier. We learned our lesson that this is our home forever. My mold allergies are so bad that our home state is the only one with the ability to help me recover.

And I am recovering, slowly but surely.

It has been nearly four years since we were raising animals and farming. Now that we have our land, we are moving full speed ahead, biting off more than we can chew, and I’m sure we’ll make plenty of mistakes along the way. I don’t fear making mistakes at all. I never have. It’s how I grow and it keeps me flexible when I want to stay rigid.

Jumping back into farming is something I am so very excited about. Proper planning, however, is key to being successful and profitable. We started the tradition of writing out our goals when we started homesteading in Los Lunas. It feels good to get back into the practice of writing our goals again. In every place that we were at from Vermont to West Virginia, we had grand plans for establishing a garden and keeping small animals, but I would get so sick from each house we lived in that we would need to move.

We moved a total of 10 times since leaving New Mexico four years ago. In 2019 we will make another move onto our land.

2018 was a great year. Our coffee roasting company, Buffalo Mountain, has thrived and made 10 times the amount made in 2017. We can’t yet take an income from it, but I believe by the end of 2019 we will be profitable enough to start paying ourselves. Buffalo Mountain pays for all its own supplies, operating expenses, internet and phone, and electric bill. We will be building the new roastery on the land and it will have an art studio, commercial kitchen, and a farm store attached.

We moved here to Reserve in February, and with the amazing support of our friend Jennifer, who allowed us to rent her little adobe this year, it helped us to get established in Catron County.

Simmi made a new friend named Angel and they have become great friends. It’s the first time she has had a real friend to play with…ever. it’s a pretty big deal!

Simmi has made great progress in her school work. She was evaluated by a dyslexia specialist when we lived in Vermont and we were told that she has profound dyslexia. This is not a bad thing, it just means that she processes information when reading or doing math differently than other children. Children with dyslexia have many strengths. I am also dyslexic, but mine is not as advanced as her’s is. So I work at her pace which is very slow, with lots of days in between for her to process what she has learned. If I do school work with her every day, she goes into overload and won’t stop rubbing her eyes because it’s like there are letters or numbers missing from what she’s reading. She believed that she was dumb and not smart because she couldn’t read like her friend Angel. It was very frustrating for her, but recently she has come to accept that she learns differently than other kids and that it’s okay to do things at a slower pace. I think she’s doing fantastic!

Dom has been working hard this year as a cook at the restaurant next door to us and also taking on side projects and maintenance work. He’s still emotionally recovering from this last move. The emotional stress of my illness over the last three years has really taken a toll on him. While I no longer have to worry about toxic mold exposure, I am still suffering with electro-hypersensitivity. My inability to deal with wifi and electricity, in general, has gotten worse since September of this year. My only solace is being down on our land where there are no frequencies at all, and if neighbors do have wifi in their houses, they are far enough away from our property to not affect me.

We made many new dear friends this year, and some of those friends became family to us.

We have our own land to call home and an emerging farm that is co-owned by Dom, me, Toulousse & Saint, and Sara. Sara will be moving to the property sometime in 2019. Toulousse and Saint are already there. I’ll be adding them to this website in the new year.

We gained a new son-in-law, Kyle, when our daughter Shoshannah was married in June of this year. Kyle is one of those rare, gentle and beautiful souls that captured my daughter’s heart and wouldn’t let go. I feel so blessed that they found such a great love in one another.

As we bring 2018 to a close, it’s time to look forward to the goals for 2019. While our list is extensive and so grand that we may not be able to fit it all into a year, it doesn’t have to fit neatly into a one year span. Let’s look at these goals as part of a Five Year Plan.

Firelight Farm’s Goals for 2019

  • Establish the market garden: Build the greenhouse, stake and build the grow beds, add row covers, install irrigation
  • Build a chicken coop and compost run
  • Line the duck pond and put up fence for the duck run
  • Build topbar beehives
  • Build a freestanding full bathroom: This will have a worm composting flush toilet (Solviva design), sink, shower and bathtub, and a washing machine. The bathroom will be located between the market garden and the French potager garden.
  • Build the produce washing and workstation, and animal evisceration (for meat processing) area next to the bathroom: This is the heart of any market garden or garden in general. It’s where fruits and vegetables are processed for the market either on farm or at the farmer’s market.
  • Build a tool shed between both gardens
  • Build our hybrid canvas tents: We will be building four 12’x12′ tent cabins. One is for Dom and I, the second tent is for Simone, the third one is for guests who come to visit us, and the fourth is for furniture and boxes as well as storing our kitchen supplies and food in. There will be a large covered area where we will have our kitchen and dining room table. The free standing bathroom will not be located too far from our camp.
  • Build a canvas tent cabin 12’x12′ for our coffee company, which will be located near where we will be building the roastery.
  • Establish the French potager garden
  • Plant fruit trees
  • Build a tropical greenhouse: This is for our personal use because we want fresh avocados, citrus, figs, and other tropical fruits that won’t grow in our hardiness zone.
  • Build the coffee roastery: This roastery will be built from logs that our neighbors have sitting up at their property. It was as if it has been there for the last ten years waiting for us to arrive. Haha, at least that’s the way I’d like to think of it! There’s enough lumber for our business complex which will be the roastery, a commercial kitchen for making cold brew and lactofermented vegetables, and the farm store.
  • Begin improving the pasture for the horses
  • Clear and remove rocks from the front of the property along the river for the future flower farm: This area is about 30’x200′ feet by my best guesstimation. 😉
  • Build a horse barn for Sara’s three gorgeous horses that will be coming to their new home
  • Build Sara a house. Sara is like a mama to Toulousse and I. We adore her and feel so blessed that she’s a part of our family.
  • Purchase ducklings and goslings
  • Purchase worms
  • Build a rabbitry and worm beds underneath
  • Purchase meat rabbits
  • Build a quail aviary
  • Purchase quail
  • Build a scaled up black soldier fly shed: Black soldier flies are one of my all time favorite creatures. The larva are highly nutritious for poultry and the adult black soldier fly is an elegant creature, living for only about a week. Adults do not have a working mouth and do not carry vector-borne diseases. I could gush on and on about these little creatures.
  • Build the farm’s outdoor kitchen and covered dining area: This will be for Farm to Table events
  • Purchase EZ Up Tents and things needed for the Silver City Farmer’s Market
  • Purchase or acquire a donated a Suburban or farm truck: We desperately need a large working vehicle that can haul a trailer and for Dom to continue working. Right now we only have one vehicle.
  • Establish a few commercial accounts for our organic fruits and vegetables and animal products
  • Build chicken tractors for meat birds. (See photo of chicken tractors below)
  • Purchase meat chickens and turkeys

Is your head spinning yet? Mine popped off just writing it all down! There’s more, but I think I’ll stop there. When I build the page for our Farmstead Milestones, I’ll add the above list with the rest of our goals, because the list keeps growing. It’ll never stop growing as long as I have breath in me.

I hope you all have an amazing New Year!

2019 is the year of great expectations and will be filled with strength, courage, wisdom, laughter, friendship, financial abundance, and lots of love!




Prepupae on the Run


The Black Soldier Fly prepupae are on the run. Okay, so they don’t run or even wiggle very fast, but still, we keep finding prepupae in the oddest places around the house. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, black soldier flies and their offspring do not carry disease vectors, and so to me, the larvae are more like caterpillars that turn into butterflies. Actually, here’s a funny little side note (speaking of butterflies), did you know that lots of butterflies love to sop up manure juice? Nom, nom, nom, so the next time you think it’s precious that a butterfly lands on you, you should probably ask it what it was drinking and sitting on. Black soldier flies don’t do that. I must say that it’s not a butterfly’s proudest moment, but it’s true…they love poop. But I digress!

So our ramp in for the BSFL bin doesn’t prevent them from falling off the side and missing the bucket. The end result is little black IMG_1242larvae trying desperately to find dark warm place to pupate. Since they’re getting ready to pupate, they’ve emptied their stomachs of any food, and will no longer eat anything. It would be a mistake to think they are looking for food or water. All they want is a warm, dark, safe place to pupate. That’s not too much to ask right?

We walk around with a jar on patrol to find little larvae and return them to a safe spot.

Each night and even during the day, we’ll look for these little guys trying to find their way to a resting place. My sweet husband doesn’t share the same understanding as me when it comes to disease vectors, and I found him crouched over a few prepupae trying to scoop them up with a fly swatter. I cocked my head to the side and said, “What the heck are you doing?” and he started chuckling, stating the obvious, “I’m picking up the larvae.” I then asked him why he was using a fly swatter…why not pick them up with your hands? He was crouched down in front of our door at the time, and I said, “I bet there is more dirt on the floor coming into our house than on those little guys.” He quickly got over his hesitation to handle these little guys with his bare hands and started picking them up with his hands.

No biggie. Up close BSFL look like something prehistoric. To the touch they are smooth, and not slippery or slimy in anyway. If Waffles found one on the floor, he would encounter the best treat ever. Waffles crate is actually in the room where we keep the black solder fly bin, and I’m sure he’s probably had a few wiggle their way into his crate.

Black soldier fly larvae are very nutritious for pigs, and I look forward to time when I have so many of them that I can grab a handful and give Waffles a special treat! What? You don’t dream of sticking your hand in a bucket full of maggots? *Snork!*

We don’t have any black soldier flies yet, but I think they could emerge soon. I think I’ve collected about 500 prepupae so far in the bucket over the last week. This morning there were a lot more than usual, which I was thrilled to see.

If this particular bin were outside and the catching bucket were just a trough, chickens and ducks could just walk up to the trough and eat whatever fell in. That’s the beauty of the black soldier fly bin, it’s a self feeding system. The only reason we have the bin in our house it to make sure all the pupae survive and make it to adulthood, mate, lay eggs, and continue the process. In late spring, we’ll move the bin outside, and set up several more of them, including in the greenhouse.


My little dark babies are part of the key to the amazing health and vitality of chickens, ducks, pigs, game birds, in all stages of life. From being a young chick or duckling, to being a full sized pig, black soldier flies can provide everything they need.

One last thing about BSFL…

Keeping them is a full on sensory experience. What I mean by that is that the black soldier fly larvae engage your sight, demanding that you look at them. They perk up your ears as you listen to the way they chomp through the food scraps or wiggle around in the wood shavings with the familiar sound of “snap, crackle and pop.” Remember that breakfast cereal? Well, that’s the sound that comes from the bin and the shavings. They beg you to touch their smooth bodies after they come out of the bin, and the earthy smell they create in the bin, invites you to stick your nose in the bin a little deeper. And depending on what part of the world you were raised in, you might even be tempted to taste one. I haven’t been tempted eat my little dark babies, but no judgement on anyone else who’s tempted. Go ahead, and report back to me on the taste please!