Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fire on the hill, art, and working on the land.

Fire on Wind Mountain, Taos County, NM.

The fire is still burning north of our Earthship.  It was started by lightening on July 17, 2012. Some days it appears worse than others. Yesterday when we got back from working on our land in the southern end of the valley, the fire was raging. When it got dark, I could see the flames. There is no updated news on the NM fire info website, but I suspect the fire has grown now that it has jumped the ridge. Thankful for the highway between us and it. We do have corral panels moved down to our land in the event we have to move the llamas.

In other news:

The art opening was a blast. Arte des Descartes XII at the Stables Gallery in Taos, NM. There was an incredible amount of art there...all of it made out of recycled materials. Wonderful. Even the live band was a "junk" band called Check Magaphone. They were absolutely splendid. The little kids danced. There was food and a wonderful assortment of colorful characters that make up this great place I live in. Isn't it great when so many people are out there, not afraid to be themselves, no matter how quirky? I love this town!

Check Megaphone at Arte Des Descaters XII, Taos, NM

The little gallery, that before seemed just an old adobe building with cracks and peeling paint, was transformed into a haven for artists and art lovers, a mecca of fun under the trees, and I was transported back to another era when Mabel Doge Lujan might have held such a party, or salon, at her home. I imagine the same sorts of artistic and interesting people would have attended such an event and even lived in Taos at that time. This is a town that seems to draw the most amazing folks to it. We must attend more art openings.

Out at our place, we finished the roof on the pallet shed. It's coming along nicely. It still needs a door and to have the window installed. Soon we will put some mud plaster on the outside walls. We are thinking of trying a straw/mud insulation on the inside walls.

Roof framework on pallet shed.
Metal on pallet roof.

And we got another course done on the Earthbag Cistern. We are four high now. We decided to cover the first three layers with plastic and then back filled with gravel to keep any moisture away from the foundation of the cistern.

Four courses and gravel back fill on Earthbag cistern.

It is slow going out on the land, trying to live in another place and get out there to do enough work to make a difference. I wish we could just move out there, but it will be a while before we can get a live-able structure up.

This week Richard begins his fall series of classes at the homestead. This weekend will be a chicken processing class, where he and participants will butcher four of our old chickens and prepare them for the freezer. I can't take part in it...not yet, and I don't want the kids to see that. That would send my autistic daughter off on a fit I might never see the end of. So, the kids and I will hang out in the house, in the back rooms, like we usually do during classes.

The following week Richard plans on doing a canning workshop, which has garnered so much interest we might have to schedule more than one. Can it be that folks are finally interested in food security? It is definitely a good skill to have as the times change. Plus, if you have a backyard garden, canning allows you to preserve some of the lovely fruit and vegetable bounty. I sure do miss the raspberries we had at our old Victorian house in Colorado Springs. And, I really enjoy making grape jam from local grapes. Maybe I can find some around here somewhere. Maybe down in the river valley towards Santa Fe where the vineyards and winerys are.

As we head into Fall, we are doing what we can to create our own food security and long term security on our little piece of land in the Taos Valley. There is always so much to do and I feel like winter is fast approaching. We still have to get hay and build a place to store it! We have to top off our propane tank (for hot water and gas cooking stove), resupply our wood pile, pick up some organic potatoes and straw from the San Luis Valley in Colorado, which means we have to get a hitch put on the van and get it running more reliably.

Still so much to do....

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