Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holidays...or not.

So, it's that time of year again...that time I love to hate. And this year we aren't even pretending to celebrate any of the traditional consumerist holidays. They are all tainted with lies and consumerism. We decided not to participate, but to make our own traditions and celebrations instead.

This year when everyone was spending their Thanksgiving stuffing themselves, we decided to go out into the woods to search for sticks. I read about a Native American custom of making prayer/spirit sticks, which then would be planted in the ground on the Winter Solstice by the head of the family. We thought we would give it a try.

Into the woods.

While most of the nation was inside watching football and eating turkey, we spent the day hiking through the pristine, quiet woods (no hunters out) looking for our perfect sticks to transform into objects of power.

Looking for sticks.

The next day, which Americans celebrate as Black Friday, the biggest day of greed, we cooked our organic, free- range turkey, which we bought locally from a turkey farm down in the river valley. The turkey was delicious, and expensive, but a nice treat. We never did get around to raising turkeys this year. I also made the kids a homemade and handmade gift to show my gratitude for being their mom.

Car bridge over the Rio the turkey farm. One car wide and a little scary.

Homemade dinosaurs from scrap material.

The prayer sticks turned out great. We worked on them December 20th, in celebration of the Winter Solstice--a big one this year. Residents in our town of Taos have been working toward raising money to install a pyramid on their land. There is a lot of talk about pyramids working with the energy during this Winter Solstice to bring in good things. Pyramids. Hmm...

So, we decided to build one. At first we were going to build one out on our land (with pallets) and then anchor our spirit sticks to the directional corners. But, it began snowing here around December 14, and hasn't really stopped, or at least the dirt roads haven't cleared, and it is so cold. We haven't been out to our place for a while. So, with time growing short and the Solstice fast approaching, Richard decided to build the pyramid out of conduit from his hoop house projects and put it in the house. The only place it would fit was in the kids' room. So, that's where it is, with the prayer sticks anchored to each corner. It looks cool. We meditated in the pyramid on the Solstice, and yesterday when I had a stomach upset, I sat in the pyramid for a half hour and felt energized and my stomach issue cleared up.

Pyramids are said to have healing properties. No, it doesn't seem to matter if it has solid sides or not, only that it is angled correctly, in direction and in how it is built. Richard spent a lot of time figuring out the dimensions and angles so it would be correctly energized. We added distilled water and crystals, plus the prayer sticks that have copper wire...all to pull the beneficial energy in.


Prayer /spirit sticks on the pyramid.

Duck and chickens in the snow.

Before the snow and the freezing temperatures came, we did manage to get some mudding done on our pallet shed out on our land. That was great fun. We hooked up the mixer to the generator, which made it go a little faster. I really enjoy the "flow" of putting the mud plaster on the walls.

Doesn't look like a pallet shed anymore.

We also decided to insulate the shed with a light straw and mud insulation, which we packed into the spaces in the pallet walls. This is still ongoing. We had to clear out a rat's nest and cover the floor with a few inches of gravel, which we also filled inside the first few inches of the pallet walls. We hope this will keep the critters out of our shed. We did get all of the outside walls plastered with the first layer of mud before the snow came. And it all dried. Lucky.

Light straw and mud insulation.

Richard has also been building chicken coops out of disassembled pallets and selling them on Craiglist to raise money for hay for our llama herd. The girls and boys are all doing great, but they sure do eat a lot (well, not as much as goats, or horses, or a cow).

Richard's pallet chicken coops.

Big bale of oat hay.

We have made several trips around the area to find hay. One to the San Luis Valley for alfalfa, one to Espanola for oat hay, and then another to Espanola for some wonderful grass hay. Richard has been building chicken coops like mad....until the snow came.

Llama smorgasbord.

The pallet feeder works great. It is between the girls and the boys on the fence line so they can all get to it. The little llamas reach up from underneath and the rest dig into the hay from above. So many of them are now spitting at each other, to try to scare off the competition. It doesn't work--the spitting, but it is funny to watch the llama antics at feeding time.. Everyone gets their share and everyone seems happy enough.

Yesterday we went to a Solstice ceremony at the New Buffalo Center, and to see the pyramid they brought up from central Mexico. It seems more like an art piece to me, but was still designed to capture the energies. We participated in another labyrinth ceremony, but this time my little girl was a little bothered by the crowd moving in for a group hug (of about 50 people) and the humming (Ohm...) so we snuck out and missed the talk around the pyramid. Too bad.

But, we have our very own pyramid at home in our warm and sunny Earthship. I love this house. I hardly even notice how cold the temperatures are outside. Except when we brought the chickens into the spare room for a night with temps around -11. That was a bad idea. The roosters started crowing at 3am. It was a night of little sleep and I found myself eagerly awaiting the rise of the sun so the flock could go back out to the coop. Now we put heat lights in the coop. The downside is the power drain. Being on solar, the lights suck up the power over night, and we usually lose power in the morning sometime, before the sun comes up. This morning we hooked the generator up to the house. This is only going to work while Richard is on vacation for the week. When he goes back to running his computer for eight hours, we won't have enough power for the lights.

How we took our on grid lifestyle for granted, with heat lamps and electric water de-icers for the livestock. Life is more interesting and more challenging now for sure. But, we love it and we are doing great figuring it all out. And, it's kind of fun.