Thursday, August 9, 2012

It's been raining! And, I think my ducks are gay!

A few days ago, as I was hanging clothes outside on my "solar clothes dryer," it suddenly struck me that something subtle had changed. The light, the air, the movement of the wind, everything was somehow different in the slightest way. It's the beginning of August. That faint smell of fall in the air, that can't be real, can it? But, I fear it is, as I wake to chillier morning and notice the sun doesn't come over the horizon now until 6:40 am. I believe Fall is on its way and maybe faster than we think. With climate change, how can we know anything for certain anymore in relation to our seasons and our weather?

It's been raining a lot. Thankfully our cisterns are full, almost to the point of overflowing. Good news, since Richard had the old truck towed into town to get checked out again. He put a new fuel pump on it. That did not solve the problem of it's frequent stalling. Hopefully it won't be anything expensive. Our cheap truck may not be such a good bargain after all. But, at least the mechanic has showed an interest and even offered to buy it. There is a way out.

With all of the rain, we decided to prioritize our water catchment systems, and began the Earthbag cistern out on our land this past Saturday. It was the first day of our "workshop." Ironically, there seems to be little interest in this desert community for learning how to build a cheap cistern. We were disappointed by the turnout. Maybe everyone is too busy building their own houses. Regardless, we continue on with our building.

Richard fills the last bag to finish the first two courses on cistern.
We actually got the foundation courses done on the cistern...the first two levels of bags which hold gravel. Then we painted mud slip on the bags to protect it from the sun.

Mud slip on bags.

When we went back Wednesday, yesterday, we were disappointed to see the rain had washed most of our mud slip off.
Mud slip washed off.

On the plus side, the buckets I stuck under the preliminary guttering on the shade structure were full to the brim and had even over flowed. Too bad that water wasn't going into a barrel or a finished cistern!

Bucket o' water.

So, yesterday, we worked on finishing the gutters on the shade structure and hooked up a couple of barrels to catch that precious water. We will need lots of water to plaster our cistern, and our pallet shed.

Rain barrels to catch rain runoff from shad structure.

Pallet shed...

We got it wrapped in paper and stucco netting. It is ready to plaster! Well, I think the roof is next, with an overhang to protect the walls from the rain.

Pallet shed, papered and netted, ready for mud plaster.
We hauled in another load of gravel to put on the floor of the cistern and decided to use the remainder for the floor of the pallet shed.

Gravel on floor of cistern...sloped to allow drainage to one side.

Gravel floor  in shade structure.

Our road fix held up well to the rains. We need a bit more base course and in a few more areas along the three miles to our property. Is it our responsibility? I guess it is if we want a road we don't get stuck in.

Roads. We went by our friend Susan's bus, on the other side of the hills from our Earthship, to pick up the feed bags we took her last summer. She has so many grain bags from a brewery in Santa Fe, she doesn't need our bags. But we can use all of the bags we can get.

We took the back way to Susan's, what I affectionately call the Renegade road. There were several questionable spots, where the mud crossed the entire roadway. I envisioned the car stuck again, and was afraid, but Richard plowed on through, trailer swinging on the back of our remarkable SUV that seems to go anywhere and tow just about anything. Not bad for a KIA.

After we made it out of that development, my nerves we frayed. There were lots of mud pits in lots of places. I am not a fan of the roads in Taos County. A four wheel drive vehicle is a must. Especially if you live on Four Wheel Drive Road. I guess getting stuck is fairly normal. I think we need a winch on at least one of our vehicles. That'd be handy on our truck...if we could get it to run consistently.

My two girls.

At home on our makeshift farm, it turns out both ducks are female. We are now getting two duck eggs every morning, and we have two ducks. So, unless one duck is laying two eggs a day, I think they must both be girls. I guess that mating behavior I witnessed last week...perhaps a gender identity crisis? Or maybe our girls have a particular fondness for each other. This wouldn't be new. One of our llama boys certainly loves his pasture mate and isn't afraid to express his love. I wonder, were they born this way? Is this naturally occurring behavior? Maybe I could take them all back up to Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs for some counseling. Do you think they counsel gay farm animals? Do you think they could "fix" them?

Just kidding, of course. I accept and love all of my animals, exactly as they are, and we give them the space to be who they need to be. With all of the nonsense floating around these days about Chick Fil A funding anti-gay hate groups, I couldn't resist. Yes, I'm boycotting Chick Fil A in support of all of my gay friends. Maybe I could take my gay farm animals to a protest at Chick Fil A, and all of the right wing nuts could explain to me how homosexuality doesn't occur naturally.

Seriously though, we should all avoid ALL fast food joints because the food is poison. We try not to eat fast food because we don't know what the "food" is. And, it makes people sick. Over the long term, the American diet, which is filled with high fat foods and fast, convenient foods, is killing Americans. It's that simple. Eat local (support local businesses and not the Corporatocracy) and eat organic. Chick Fil A doesn't fit in there anywhere.


  1. It's really nice to see things moving along for you guys. Sorry you didn't have the turnout for the workshop you were hoping for.

    I love your pallet shed! I need to do one of those too.

  2. The pallet shed is great! And nearly free! This Sunday we are going to roof it, if you wanted to stop by. As for helpers, well, maybe everyone is busy building their own, right? It's hard to get motivated to go and work somewhere else when you have so much to do at your own place. I totally get that!