Our First Full Week on Our Land

Our First Full Week on Our Land

We did it. Finally, at long last, we are getting settled on our land. There were a few things that changed prior to moving onto the land and it worked out really well, but we needed to shift our plans. Originally we were planning on building our coffee company’s business hub along with our bathroom and outdoor kitchen. However, our friends who would have lived right next door to us decided to move and made their three RVs and workshop available to us. This was a godsend. I was under the gun (Dom was too!) to get Buffalo Mountain up and running as soon as possible which would have meant that our coffee company would operate from inside one of our bell tents until the building was finished. But now we will be rehabbing the main RV, it will become the business hub until we build our roastery and commercial kitchen.

The RV was a large Winnabego and four rooms were added onto the RV to give them a bit more space. This was their landing pad for when they build their dream home…but their plans changed. I can relate for sure. I can’t tell you how many times our plans have changed within just a week or two. Anyway, we are super thrilled to have the opportunity to transition our coffee company fairly quickly. One room will be used for my art studio, the second room will be used as our office, the third room was created to make the bathroom much bigger, and the fourth room which is located in the front of the RV will be used for handling coffee, bagging up products.

The way we were operating Buffalo Mountain before was extremely tight. We had only one room to use for EVERYTHING. If I needed to put together coffee wedding favors for 100 guests, the room needed to be cleared out so that I could work on the art for the front of the favors. The largest wedding I’ve done had 200 guests and I needed to get everything done in a room that only fit a 3×6′ table.

I’m also a hardcore introvert, so having two extroverts bopping around (one who is with me 24/7) and only having a small space to work was challenging to say the least.

But we made it work.

And now I have a room for each important part of our coffee company. I no longer need to have my office in our bedroom or trying to teach Simmi a new lesson since I homeschool her at the table that I need to work at. She now has her very own special nook for her art projects, beads, and her little tv.

The front of the hub, pictured above, will be painted and finished. They were in the process of building the rooms which were ingeniously created from pallets. The inside is still unfinished, so we’ll be finishing the rooms and painting everything in the next few weeks.

We have been sleeping in our tent but didn’t get much set up down in camp. We turned our attention to getting the hub ready for all the equipment, supplies, and inventory.

Today we brought down our chairs and rug for our tent. We’ve been living like hobos for the last week. We let Simmi sleep with us while she got used to living in tents. It’s a big change for her…for all of us. Tonight she’ll sleep in her own bed in our tent and tomorrow she’ll be moved to her own tent. All her things were moved into her new space. We need to build low profile shelves for her clothes.

Even though our tents are four-season tents, we decided that because it is already spring, not to bother hooking up the woodstoves. The nights have been chilly, but our blankets and comforters are super warm. Simmi has a habit of sleeping with 6 blankets, even in the summertime. There is no way that this child of ours could be cold! The first night we were here the temperature got down to 22 degrees. Since that first night, it’s gotten much warmer at night.

We have our kitchen tent set up, but we haven’t moved our kitchen supplies in yet. We need to purchase a hose to run to our camp so we can create our kitchen sink. We have an on-demand camp water heater that hooks up to propane. Once we have our sink set up, we’ll be ready to live down there most of the day. For now, we’re cooking in the RV, and catching up with laundry.

Simmi did well going back and forth every few days with more of our boxes of things. She wasn’t happy about being crammed into one seat (she likes to sprawl) but she was a trooper.

The horses are doing well. They’re antsy to get out on pasture. Dom made some strides getting more posts up for them and now they are spending a few hours each day out there. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we can get the rest of the posts up and the tape going for them.

I love seeing them every morning and throughout the day. They have such a beautiful presence about them.

Our kitchen tent. It’s more for eating and hanging out. We’ll be setting up a separate smaller area for our camp stove and sink.

The photo above was from our time living in Maine. It was the first time we had an outdoor kitchen and it helped to prepare us for living outside again.

Mineral Creek has been flowing. We usually cross the creek to get to our camp, but now we have to take a back road from Mogollon.

We live in such a beautiful part of Catron County.

We’ve been watching a few of our friend’s dogs and Simmi is obsessed with feeding them. They’re fatties, but for some reason, she is always concerned with their nutrition.

Our special guests until May. Puna and Bohdi. These fatties are always ready to attack with lots of love and slobbery kisses.

The round pen is up in the pasture.

There’s a swing in front of the hub and Simmi is on it at least 3 times a day.

One of the things I love so much about the land are all the sprawling scrub oak trees.

In the back of the hub is a shade garden with cactus, scrub oak and juniper.

This photo was taken at midday. The shade is a welcome addition in the heat of the day.

Dom’s workshop.

Another structure built with pallets. We’ll work on finishing this building too.

Inside the workshop.

This week we’ll also be working on creating a new coop for the chickens.

This past week my new bible arrived. I’m not kidding you! This book is a treasure trove of amazing ideas. Author Anna Edey created many different systems for managing graywater and blackwater from toilets. The one system I was most interested in was a composting flush toilet where worms are at the heart of the system. I’ve known about her composting flush toilet for a long time, but just ordered her book two weeks ago.

Our bathroom at our camp, along with our graywater will be created using the Solviva method. Eventually we want to convert the business hub over to this system as well.

Things are going well and we’re making great strides.


A New Farm in Our Future

A New Farm in Our Future

It has been a very long and difficult year for us as a family. At this time last year, we were busy trying to sell our house, getting ready for our move to Maine, trying to get our son ready for his first year in college, and we were excited that our dreams were about to become a reality.

As many of you know, that dream quickly became a nightmare. I have grieved the better part of this past year over the loss of my animals, my gardens, and even my calling as a farmer. Even though some pretty terrible things occurred in pursuit of our dreams, the outpouring of love from family and friends has been unbelievable.

We are so thankful. Dom has the most amazing job in the world building gorgeous GeoBarns for clients, we have a very thoughtful and considerate landlord who has made our stay in Woodstock, Vermont, beautiful and memorable, wonderful and supportive friends who have helped us transition to Vermont, and family who made it possible for us to hope and dream again.

Our lives are filled with blessings and we are now overflowing. My health is recovering as well from the mold exposure and subsequent autoimmune flare-up. The Gluten Challenge I had to participate in last year prior to being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, damaged my body in ways I fear I will never come back from as it is still affecting me. One way inflammation shows in my body is through weight gain, and weight that is extremely difficult for me to get rid of now. I’ve gained more than 50 pounds, of which 35 pounds or more happened in the first month of the gluten challenge last year. The weight is uncomfortable and my body has a hard time carrying it.

I’m currently on the Wahls Protocol Plus™ after wanting to pull my hair out over the lack of improvement happening with my health on the Autoimmune Protocol. The Wahls Protocol™, however, is working for me. Thank god! I am finally making progress, and while it is her most aggressive diet plan, it was already what I was attempting to do prior to reading her book. I was already eating mostly raw foods while omitting foods that aggravate my autoimmune issues.

So I’m on the mend! And it feels good. And now that I’m feeling stronger and more vibrant, I’m also happy to report that we will be making a final move to New Hampshire. I can’t disclose the location, date of our move, or details about the farm yet, however, I will say that we are super excited that a farm is once more in our future! Dom and I decided that we didn’t want to start from scratch and build a farm from the ground up. I guess if we were in our twenties, that would be something we would venture into, but I’m almost 50 years old, and as the primary farmer with Dom helping when he can, I am in no way ready to reinvent the wheel. The clear choice was to do a long-term farm lease.

Farm infrastructure is expensive, and I would prefer working within the parameters of established orchards and perennials, and then add to that my exciting work as a soil farmer. That is where my calling lies. It is within the life of the soil. Without all the players in an ever-changing and diverse soil life, nothing could grow properly. I credit everything that I’ve learned about soil health to Elaine Ingham. Many people pay close attention to the types of seeds they plant, the kinds of fertilizers they use, and if they are organic- the types of organic products they could use to deter pests or even weeds. Not me. I’m interested in knowing that all the correct organisms are present in the soil because if they are all present and thriving, so will anything that grows in the soil. When there is an imbalance from overuse of fertilizers (organic or inorganic), tillage, etc. there is always a decline in soil health and an uptick in weed pressure, and pests. Build the soil back up, and you have less weed pressure, deeper root systems, healthier annuals and perennials as well as vibrant healthy animals, and ultimately a community of soil life that will sustain us year after year, if they are treated right, nourished, and tended to.

In the coming months, as I’m able to disclose the location and more about our new farmhouse, my excitement will be growing! I won’t be very active in this space until after we move since our landlord is selling the house we’re in and I need to make sure things look great when we have a showing. Trying to balance that and packing things away that aren’t essential is difficult to balance, but we’ll do our best.

I’m also busy building two other websites, homeschooling Simmi, I have some contractual work I do from home, and building a flexible garden plan for the new farm. I say flexible because until I’m there each day experiencing the microclimates in different areas of the farm, I won’t know for sure where everything will go in terms of gardens and animals.

It’s all very exciting though! Time will fly by, and all the sudden the moving men will be here to take us home.

It will feel amazing to finally be settled and NOT need to move again. We knew this house we’re in now was not a permanent solution for us. If the house was in a price range we could afford, we would have purchased it from our landlord. Its only on a few acres of steep slopes, but that wasn’t an issue for us. Hopefully, the right buyers will come along to purchase this house, because it is well worth the investment!