It feels like only yesterday that I wrote about compassion, and yet, here I am more than two months later wondering where the time has gone? I’ve written infrequently on my blog because my dance card is quite full these days. I have several projects I’m working on that are a labor of love (I cannot disclose them at this time), homeschooling Simmi has started again, I’ve been working on the backend of this website to create an updated version that will be a magazine-style layout, and we’re moving into the fall/winter mode which means working on the interior of our rig again.
Work continues on Noah’s cabin, and as he gets closer to being able to move in, I can’t help but think of finally getting Simmi into her own room. That in turn leads to us gutting the rig to make it more functional for us to be in. Which then allows us to create a proper living room and dining room space. It has to happen in that sequence. Patience is key to making the transition go smoothly.
Below are photos of progress on Noah’s cabin. He has financed everything himself and he will have a debt-free cabin when everything is finished. Having no debts for his cabin will allow him to buy a newer vehicle without a car loan, pay for school without a school loan, and provide him with greater cash flow. Why pay rent throwing money away when you can own your own home free and clear? Eventually, if he wants to remain here, he will have the opportunity to build a larger home where ever he chooses on the 14 acres. All my children will have that opportunity as well.
Dom and Noah are shooting for the end of October for him to move into his cabin. The cabin won’t be completed until probably the spring, but before then, he’ll have the exterior board and batten, insulation in the floor, walls, and ceiling, drywall up, and flooring down. Trim and finish work will come later. The goal was to get him in his own private space. He can continue to work on the interior through the winter after the walls have been mud and taped, and his loft has been stained. In the spring a covered porch will be added.
The next project after that will be to insulate and put drywall up in Simmi’s room. Currently, Noah is sleeping in Simmi’s room. We’ll be able to fix her space, move her in, and get her comfortable. Right now she’s sleeping in the main part of the rig.
We had a highly productive tiny garden this past summer. I was very surprised and delighted at all that I was able to harvest. I didn’t weigh anything this year, since it was all an experiment to see what would grow well and what would languish or not grow at all.
We’re excited to start planning for next year’s garden. I learned a lot about my region and the ebb and flow of our microclimate. It’s been a great learning experience.
Another thing we’ve been working on is the temporary goat area. I reluctantly decided to finally warm up to the idea of getting dairy goats. I’m more of a sheep person. I could probably write a whole blog post on why I prefer sheep over goats, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with the animals themselves…it’s all because of my personality. Anyway, after careful thought and consideration, I made the decision to go ahead and start planning on having dairy goats.
We’ll be getting Nigerian dwarfs, mainly because that’s all I am emotionally equipped to deal with at this time in my life. Sounds weird, right? They will have a permanent home near our commercial kitchen, however, until that kitchen is completed, they will be living in the area that will eventually become the duck yard.
Dom, being very motivated by my decision to finally acquiesce to having goats, went to work straight away getting the goat area ready. He still needs to build the three gates for the different entrances, but for the most part, it’s nearly ready. We chose this area because we want the goats to eat the weeds in the market garden. They will have access to it throughout the winter months into spring before we start planting.
The fencing for this area was created using felled trees on the property and fencing from other areas. The wood planks were donated last year from a lady in our town who was getting rid of old wood fencing.
I love watching him work and execute plans that I’ve created. It’s always an unexpected treat watching him put everything together shirtless. Haha
That just about wraps up my update. Autumn came quickly and, just like that, it will be spring before I even blink! One thing is for sure, I’m looking forward to finally getting our rig gutted! I’ll try and make a more concerted effort to blog more than I have.
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!
We have a mini-collection of repurposed materials, and this coming week we’ll be adding to that collection if everything goes as planned. I always need to hold onto plans loosely since free or inexpensive materials tend to go very quickly. I’m a member of Freecycle and at any given time a product being given away might be claimed by someone who lives closer than I do, or can go and swoop it up quicker than I can even get in my car!
Freecycle, the free section on Craigslist, and even Facebook Marketplace has been instrumental in collecting needed materials.
Back when we first moved to New Mexico in 2008, we came with only the clothes on our backs. We needed beds, furniture, cooking supplies, clothing, rugs and more. Everything we needed was found on Freecycle or Craigslist. We rebuilt our lives utilizing those two resources. I still have some of the things acquired on Freecycle or from Thrift Shops because their sentimental value far outweighs their real value.
Part of the structure we’re building contains a lean-to greenhouse that will go the full length of the structure on the south side. Our original plan was to frame it out and use greenhouse plastic, but we might actually be acquiring large windows for it! This was such an exciting find. If my plans fall through for picking up these windows, we’ll just use greenhouse plastic.
The reason for the lean-to greenhouse is to house our kitchen and bathroom. Because of my mold allergies, it never fails that a leak of some sort can develop when there’s indoor plumbing. Building a kitchen and bathroom outside the actual structure, yet still a part of it will help keep the structure free of all water damage unless that damage comes from a roof leak.
We have three heavy duty metal and glass doors we brought with us from West Virginia. Dom collected them from an old job site. Two will be used on the east and western sides of the greenhouse, and the third one will be located where the coffee roastery will be built on the eastern side of the structure.
We also have an old short water heater, which we’re thinking will be used to create a rocket stove mass water heater. Geoff Lawton has a video on how it works if you’d like to watch!
We spent the whole day in pallet land. Wait, let me back up a bit, first, lets start with yesterday. I was perusing craigslist yesterday (one of my favorite places to shop since I hate going to the store…ANY STORE OR MALL!) and came across a rabbitry for sale. What intrigued me about the ad was the it was only for $75 bucks (no pun intended). So I emailed him and he got back to me with the dimensions…4’x8′ rabbitry. Wow, really? So we rented a uhaul trailer and decided that since we had it, it would be a good day to pick up pallets. When we got to the house, I was impressed with how clean the rabbitry was. It was a bit weathered and would need a new roof, but Dom asked if $60 would be okay and the man agreed (Thanks Mike!). The extra cash paid for some gas for the upcoming marathon of traveling from business to business trying to score some intact wooden pallets. We brought the rabbitry home, unloaded it, and headed back up to Albuquerque for the pallets. One place was a bust, the second place was okay, but the third place we went…we really hit the jackpot! We’ll be going back to this particular place because their whole property was LOADED with intact beautifully strong wooden pallets. You’re next question might be, “What the hell do you want those for!” Well, we’ll be creating our main outdoor garden (we’ll also have an aquaponic garden in the greenhouse) comprised of many raised garden beds. The area we’ll be putting them is approximately 30’x60′ which turns out to be 1800 square feet. The beds will be 4′ W x8′ L x 3′ H and some may be smaller. The slats on the pallets will be filled in and to show a sample of what can be done with pallets in the garden, here is something I found online: While the beds won’t be configured this way, it does show what can be done with pallets. We have four piles of compost made and we’re going to need a LOT more than that for this undertaking.
I was inspired by a youtube member that had all his raised beds in his front yard. His name is John at Growing your greens.com and his layout really got me thinking about how to best configure our beds. The location for this garden is on the north west corner of our property.
Here is his video if you’d like a shot of his garden:
We filled the whole trailer top to bottom with pallets and then Dom got all pallet greedy and wanted to go back tomorrow for more. We can’t do that, we need to get the angora rabbitry roof done tomorrow on his day off and more fall clean up around the property.
The other things that can be made with pallets and we WILL be making with pallets are:
The foundation and storage area for the Utility kitchen
A few dressers
Top bar beehives for the spring
A platform for our slaughter station
Containers to hold our Avocado trees
Our first humanure station
On a more serious note, we’ll be taking down two drakes on Tuesday of next week. Stay tuned for our first slaughter. I hope it will be done as quickly and humanely as possible. Its very important to us to get it right the very first time.
Yesterday I don’t know what got into me, but I decided to take Simone to the park.
I know to some reading this, you may be thinking, “yeah, so? I take my kid to the park all the time!” Well, this child of mine has multiple life threatening food allergies.
We’ve taken her to places where kids hang out, and the result is always the same…some sort of bad allergic reaction just from touching things that other children touched after eating and NOT washing their hands.
The biggest culprit is peanut butter. Peanut butter residue does not come off easily. We can never take her to a McDonalds to go into the kid play area either.
Soy oil has the same affect on Simmi as peanuts, peanut oil and so on.
Anyway, I want to take her to the park more than once every year, and yesterday she was in her glory. She loved going on the slide over and over again. Then it happened, she started breaking out really bad. At first I thought to myself, wow, I found a place I can take her to each morning and she’ll have so much fun!
Then my optimism turned to doubt and fear as I watched her face and body start to break out. Within 45 minutes she had hives, was itching and scratching and finally I said, “are you ready to go home” and that little cutie pie picked up her things and started running for the car.
She was in pain. The poor little thing was scratching and ripping at her skin. She wants to go again to “special” (I told her we were going to a special place, so she just settled for special as the name) after her boo boo’s went away. I feel torn taking her to these places when I know the outcome is horrible for her. But I need to try too, because I can’t keep her in a bubble.
She usually needs to be holding something in her hands, today it was “raffie” and he accompanied Simmi on the slide over and over…till it hurt.
I’m glad we waited to allow her to go to school this year.
She is far too vulnerable since she can not say anything more than “boo boo” when she gets hurt.
Sometimes she can’t even tell us where the boo boo is.
That can be scary, especially if she were to eat something that could kill her.
All is well now, her rashes have subsided and she is once again ready for an adventure.
Last night Dom took her for a ride down the block to our neighbor’s house and Simmi got to ride a horse for the first time. I wish I was there to see it! Next time I’ll get pictures.
I feel like I’m on overload right now.
I know Dom feels the same way.
We have so many projects going on all at the same time, that sometimes it feels like I can’t catch my breath!
These are the projects going on right now:
Dom’s in the middle of building the rabbitry (it looks kick ass!)
The pond still needs to be finished- 50% complete
The duck house needs to be constructed
We’re exploring all our options for building our bio-dome greenhouse
The utility kitchen is being painted and items for the kitchen are still being collected
Dom brined 40lbs of cucumbers that will sit in a large pot for three weeks.
Dining room is somewhere on our agenda to complete before the holidays
One more big project that is looming in the back of my mind, is a new website we’ll be unveiling next year sometime.
While Simone was playing and having fun yesterday, I was pondering how this new website would function.
I purchased the domain name yesterday, but it will be a while before we unveil it…just know its all about food!
We have animals to buy, more structures like the animal shelters and adobe bread ovens to build before we can even launch the site. It will be quite a unique website with instructions, video, recipes and going where we haven’t seen any foodie go before…we are super excited about it.
About Evangeline Grace
Thank you for visiting my blog. I've entered my 50's, and as I delve into the next exciting chapter of my life, I’m so pleased to be able to share it with all of you. I am a lifelong artist, writer, vocalist, crazy organic farmer, and own and operate Buffalo Mountain Coffee Roasting Company.