Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Goodbye Calliope and Our Journey Continues....

We finished our amazing time at Calliope Collaborative with a nice home made pasta dinner and some fun photos. We spent the last few weeks of our time finishing the roof on the cold storage house, taking care of animals, finishing some stairs and doing small projects. We learned so much from this farm and have learned many skills to take with us to other farms. We had so much fun with this family and will miss them.

Our journey has continued to Mora, New Mexico which is about an hour and a half from the last farm going North into the mountains. It is about an hour South of Taos and at 7600 feet. Currently the snow is melting from and huge storm and we are happy in a small Adobe house with a wood burning stove. We will be here through Christmas (Mexico is not happening) and possibly through January. We will be switching off and on with the two sister farms here, La Sierra Farm and the Hummingbird Ranch Community. It is a very exciting time and we are blown away by the beauty here and possible future home for us.

We will update more soon with a video summing up our last farm and some pictures of the beautiful farm here!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Building a roof!

We are currently in the process of building a straw bale cold storage for the farm here. We have been busy putting chicken wire around the straw so we can mud it and building a roof as you can see above for protection. We are learning how to build a roof which is a really good skill and having fun doing it! Soon we are going to put tin on top of the wood frame and then finish mudding the straw bale house once the night time temperatures are not so cold. Below Winston is cutting the edge of the roof framing.

Beans and Veggie's!

Caitlin harvested most of the beans as you can see in this picture. This consisted of picking the pods off the vines and then crushing in bags. After crushing the pods she put them in a bucket and picked out the empty pods and the remaining beans in the pods. After this she waited for a good gust of wind to come and blow the empty pod remains away. You can see all the empty pods on the ground. Yay for beans!
This is one of the greenhouses where mostly chard, arugula, collards and mustards are growing. It is luscious and green and keeps us fed every night. Every morning we open each side of the greenhouse and pull off the remay cloth so the houses can warm up. Then at night we put the remay cloth back down and close the doors to keep in the heat and the plants don't freeze. This is just one of the greenhouses. The other greenhouse which is much longer has some chard, carrots, shallots that we just planted and beets.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mudding a Straw Bale House

Today we spent most of the day re-mudding a chicken straw bale house. We will finish the mudding this week and then start on the cold storage house next week. Here is a little sneak peak of mudding a straw bale house.

Herb Garden

Here is a little video about the herb garden we made. More herbs will be planted when we get them!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Calliope Collaborative

Our life at Gavilan has come to an end and we have moved Southeast of Santa Fe to a farm near Anton Chico, NM called Calliope Collaborative. It is much warmer here being 2000 feet lower with almost 80 degrees today! We are living in a yurt which is next to a passive solar straw bale house with solar panels and solar hot water. There is a family of 4 with the kids under 5 years old. They are a very sweet family with lots of energy and motivation. There are 6 acres of farm near the river and irrigation with goats, a pig, chickens, roosters, dogs, cats, 2 horses and lots of ducks. They have 2 greenhouses with abundance of greens, garlic, and onions growing right now. So far we have butchered one goat, (which was an experience), feed the animals, cleared weeds from the yard, made an herb garden, cleared tomatoes and tilled the ground with manure compost and planted shallots and we sheet mulched the front yard for yummy soil in the spring! We are learning a lot here and there is much more to come. We will begin mudding the walls of the straw bale food storage house next week. They are very knowledgeable about living simply, sustainably and close to the Earth and are constantly experimenting and trying out new things. We are having a great time here! More to come soon!

Monday, October 26, 2009

What we are up to on the farm...

Currently we are doing very well. It is getting colder and colder outside but still beautiful fall days. We recently had a thunderstorm and a couple days of rain which made everything nice and muddy. We are mostly splitting firewood for the winter, learning to make bread, cooking, cleaning and hanging out. The biggest project we have been working on is the passive solar house. We dug holes about 3 feet deep and put in the large Juniper tree trunks freshly harvested from the surrounding forest. Then we leveled them off and made sure they were straight. Caitlin made wooden pegs for keeping the structure together. We are trying to use hardly any nails. Today we sanded two more of the top beams and got extremely saw dusted!

This past weekend we made our first trip to Santa Fe, which is a very pleasant town. We have one more week here at Gavilan and then will be moving on to Calliope which is an hour and a half Southeast of Santa Fe!

Valley of the Moon

One of the greatest things about this farm here in New Mexico is the amount of land they own and the beautiful landscape. About a 15 minute walk from the house there is a canyon called The Valley of the Moon. At the top of the ridges are all ruins from the Pueblos who lived here. Pottery is scattered around and some human remains. It is a very magical spot and really fun to climb around and explore. It is like a national park in their backyard with a lot of incredible energy flowing.

Chaco Canyon

On one of our days off, we went to check out Chaco Canyon Historical Site which is about 2 hours away from the farm. Chaco Canyon is the ruins of the Chaco peoples who lived here 1200-800 years ago give or take. This picture is only a small portion of what the buildings looked like. Some of the big buildings had 600 rooms in them and were five stories high. The architecture and getting a glimpse of what their lives were like was an amazing experience. Basically this place was a very large city that took up much of a valley. Archeologists believe that it was the administrative, spiritual, economic center of their civilization and people from far North and South came to this site. Every building is lined up with the stars, moon and sun. Basically these people were extremely smart and advanced.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Our First Farm: Gavilan Trading Post NM

We made it! We arrived here at Gavilan Trading Post on Thursday October 8th. It is very beautiful here with 989 acres to roam on and lots of livestock to feed. There are 120 goats, some milking goats but most cashmere. There are two cows, lots of chickens, cats, dogs, ducks, horses and a great family who lives here. There are currently 5 people that live here right now. They are one family and have many visitors come in and out. We took a tour of the land on Friday to see the layout and where we can go hiking. There are many Indian ruins here with caves that were used for ceremonies about 800 to 1000 years ago. We have yet to explore those areas. We are very excited to be here and really enjoy getting our hands in the dirt and milking goats! We spent Friday and Saturday harvesting the last of the potatoes and veggies and pulling out the dead corn stocks and feeding them to the goats. We eat all meat from here and all the meals are made from scratch. We are living extremely off the land at the moment and it feels really great. Here are a few photos of what we have been up to and the land. We will have more later!

Traveling to New Mexico to WWOOF

After much festivities we finally hit the road on Sunday October 4th at around 4:00 pm. Our first stop was in Santa Cruz visiting a friend and stayed the night there. We got up early the next morning and drove 8 hours straight to the Mojave Desert. We arrived late in the day but took in the beautiful desert with Joshua Tree's, Yucca and Sage surrounding us.

We got up with the sun the next day and drove straight to the Grand Canyon. Here we awed at the sight for a few hours. The Grand Canyon is very grand indeed. This was Winston's first time seeing the canyon and Caitlin's second. It was on Winston's list of things he wanted to see before he died, so he can check that one off now. We stayed in a campsite nearby and we were welcomed to the site by a herd of Elk in rutting season. This was quite the surprise and absolutely amazing. There were maybe 15 females and babies with two 6 by 6 bucks. It just so happened this was all taking place right in our campground so we spent a while in the van waiting for them to move on. We got some great pictures and footage on video. We will post the video when we have better internet later.

Friday, October 9, 2009

On to Baker City we go...

After Ashland we went to Eugene and then on to Baker City in Northeastern Oregon. Caitlin spent time visiting with her family and we went to her childhood cabin on The Snake River which borders Oregon and Idaho. Here we laid around, boated, swam, fished, target shooting, campfires and had ridiculous conversations. The cabin may not be around much longer so we cherished this moment very much. Caitlin wrote a nice little poem while sitting in the hot cabin swatting flies.

"The Snake"
What is this river you call "the Snake"
that winds and flows and rattles with shape
I leave a child wandering here
with mystic eyes and laughs of cheer

The snake is calm but angry too
with devil life beneath the blue
I left my friend here that I once knew
She was sweet and compassionately true

The sun is hot and the air is dry
a hammock blows in the windy sky
the bees are busy and here comes a fly
as I swat the life out of the little guy.

After we left the river we went to Caitlin's grandmas house where Winston got to really know Georgia. She is 87 years old. We left Baker and drove 12 hours to San Francisco where Caitlin's cousin got married at City Hall. We had a great ceremony and reception at the Caballo Point by the Golden Gate. A party followed the next day in Oakland with friends and family. It was very beautiful and lots of fun!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Vincent Van GO!!

Check out our cool van!!

Our Journey to Oregon

Etna was great, wow what a place! Friends, fun, water holes, skinny dipping, music, drinking, forest, mountains and lots of laughter. Right now we're in Ashland, OR visiting Winston's Dad. On Saturday we saw a play called Equivication at the Shakespeare festival which was fantastic and Sunday we celebrated Win's Dad's birthday with the fam. We'll be here for the week then on to Eugene to see Caitlin's sister and some Friends. Then we're on to Baker City, OR to see Cait's Dad's family and maybe do some boating, and camping.
Now your probably wondering to yourself, this doesn't sound like a lot of WWOOFing to me. Well, you'd be right. We really needed to see our fathers before we left, we won't be around for Thanksgiving or Christmas and we had to store our stuff somewhere. So it was off to OR first. Plus we're having such a great time. At the beginning of October Caitlin's Cousin is getting married in SF so we'll roll through town quickly then its off to NM to do some WWOOFing. WOOHOO!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Journey begins........

Here we are on our first stop....Burning Man!! We spent one week covered in dust and having a wonderful time meeting people, seeing amazing art and enjoying our time off after packing our house. We love the community that is created at Burning Man, everyone is looking out for each other and people care. Its an example of the way the world could work. We took our van out for its maiden voyage and it rolls like a champ! It is comfy with all its accessories and serves us very well. We have decided to name it Vincent Van Go. We have returned and are in the process of dusting off. Next stop is Etna up in the Trinity Mountains to spend some time with our good friends and then off to Oregon we go!