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!