Thursday, August 2, 2012

Frosty the little llama, roads, mud, pallets and earthbags

Today I'm fasting, and the urge to eat is incredible. Richard and I decided we would begin this fasting/detox regiment at the beginning of each month, for at least three days to begin the new month with clean systems. But it's hard. Haven't gotten past three days in my fasting attempts, which is when everyone claims the hunger subsides. I'd like to make it to that point.

Frosty the new llama boy.
Yesterday we picked up another llama. His name is Frosty and he's seven or eight years old. I found him on Craigslist for free. He's a little llama, like my two boys. Today, he's standing out in his yard humming, nonstop. I think he's pretty upset about the whole arrangement. We have him separated from Turbo and Vader, but in connected yards so they have time to adjust. Frosty is a gelded male, like my two llamas, but still, they will probably challenge each other and try to decide who gets to be the new boss. My money is on Turbo...he's been strutting around like the king of the playground, showing us his "crazy" eyes, ever since we brought the new llama home.

Turbo and Vader looking on at the new llama.
I enjoyed our ride into the mountains to pick up Frosty. It was green and there were lots of trees. Lately I have been missing the trees, in a bad way. But as we drove the scenic mountain roads yesterday, and I looked at the huge Ponderosa Pines, I knew with the fires hitting the southwest, it is far better for us to be in a more defensible space right now. Still, it was so nice and cool up there... and there were little creeks running next to the roads. I miss standing in mountain streams on hot summer days.

Pallet coop.
Also at home, Richard has been busy on a pallet chicken coop for the Jersey Giants. It's finished now and the chickens have been moved to their new yard. Still too many roosters crowing in the early morning hours though. They are twelve weeks old now. Another month until they can be processed for the freezer.

Richard is getting pretty good with building out of pallets. This time he cut the pallets and then infilled with other pieces of pallets to make solid walls. There is a hinged roof and three nest boxes inside. The space underneath the coop allows the chickens to find shade when they need it. Pretty cool. I will post a more detailed blog about this later.

Out on the land, we have been repairing the road in front of our place...the spot where we got stuck, hoping to prevent a similar situation in the future. We brought in two trailers full of base course, which is sand mixed with gravel, and filled the ruts we left  the day we planted the Kia and trailer in the mud. Hopefully this will keep others from getting stuck too.

Next weekend we are planning the beginning of the ongoing workshop to build the Earthbag cistern, and we want people to be able to get there. They will still need high clearance vehicles to clear the mound of grass and sand that fills the center of the tiny dirt track we like to call a road.

Richard also finished the shade structure, which is the most wonderful thing! And we even hung up a hummingbird feeder for the little bird that has been buzzing us the last few times we have been out there working.

Classroom space cleared.

While Richard put the finishing touches on the shade building, and finished up the walls of the pallet shed, I cleared more sage. I got the 30 x 50 foot space cleared for our classroom/temporary house, and a space cleared for a pallet hay barn. I'd like to stock up on hay for the winter...before it hits $18 a bale like it did last year.

Pallet shed, west side.
Front of Aly's Earthbag house.

I haven't been posting much, and so much is going on. We made it over to Aly's house a couple of weeks ago to help her plaster the inside of her house. That was fun. David and Simone were there too, and they left a few days later to head back home to Maryland. We sure did appreciate their help while they were here. Thanks guys!

Mixing up the mud plaster at Aly's house.

And...the ducks started laying eggs! Well, at least one of them. I saw some rather suspicious mating behavior yesterday, so one of them might be male. Maybe we will have Pekin Ducklings next spring. That's be fun.

And on a side note, but very exciting for me, I got accepted into my first Taos art show, which is pretty darn cool, considering this is a REAL art town.This event, Arte de Descartes XII (sponsered by Wholly Rags) is about art made from recycled stuff, which is right up my alley, but since all of my recycled wood masks were done so long ago, I had to come up with something new. I asked for wood scraps on Facebook, and a wonderful lady in town has been supplying all the wood scraps I need for many art projects to come. After I get the piece hung up in the gallery--August 23, I will post a picture of it. Still making art for the young at heart!

Having fun in Northern New Mexico!

Stay tuned for the Earthbag Cistern news and directions on how to build a pallet chicken coop (for up to six hens).

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