Saturday, February 2, 2013

The weather is a little bit strange this year.

Well now, it seems like it has been forever. Not much to write about, I guess. We have not been out to our land for some time, what with the snow and frigid temps, and now the melting of the snow and the mud. Hope everything is okay out there.

Unusual bet.

We suffered through a couple of weeks of absolutely frigid, below zero temperatures. We plugged in the light for the chickens at night and ran the generator during the day to boost our lost power. The llama water froze, in spite of the heater we put in it...that froze into the bucket of 24" of ice. Every morning Richard takes 2 hot 5 gallon buckets of water out to dump into the llama water. He then tries to break the ice out. It was freezing again by noon there for a while. And to my horror and dismay, a couple of wild bunnies got themselves into the water over night, but of course froze quickly and in the morning were just  an image frozen into the ice. Richard dumped them out and cleaned out the trough and filled again with hot water. A mess. So cold...wind chills down to -31 F overnight. Temps down to -15 F. I was so worried about the llamas that I have decided to make them llama coats from a pattern I found online. So I asked for donations of comforters, sleeping bags and horse blankets. Got a few things, including three horse blankets from a kind lady down near Santa Fe who runs a horse boarding facility. I think I can alter them a bit and they will be great for some of the girls.

With no snow to speak of...too cold, and no melting of the snow we did get previously...too cold, our water situation has been rough. So I hung the horse blankets out on the clothesline to get moisture to maybe clean them a bit. And Richard hauled water. Or tried to.

Every time someone used the water trailer, something broke. The fittings are all plastic, and with temperatures below freezing as our new normal, it wasn't too surprising, but it created a big headache for everyone. Richard found new pieces in town and managed to fix it. We had to put chains on the van to pull the water trailer on the snow pack and ice. Lucky the chains for our handy Kia actually fit on the van...not perfect, but well enough to make it work. We are thankful for those chains.

So, we hauled water, and blew through our stack of firewood. I have to say with some awe though, the Earthship  stayed at about 60 F overnight without heat. In the back room (Richard's office) it got down to 54 because the door is closed overnight. Still, we put every blanket we owned on our beds and slept in socks and full pajamas. It was fricken cold!

And being the person I am, unhappy with snow and cold, I began to research moving someplace warmer, someplace south. Although, it seemed that even Maine was warmer than we were at this point. So, I looked at Edgewood and Moriarty, in central New Mexico, because they were not experiencing the cold temperatures we were, even 200 miles south. We drove down there one Sunday to explore, but it was not what we were looking for. The mountains seemed so far away. And there was no sage brush. How could I live without the sage? All was not lost on our twelve hour trip...we did pick up those horse blankets and we went shopping and stocked up on groceries when we passed through Santa Fe.

So, back to where I am, again. The temperatures are back up, and for a week or so, a bit warm for the season. It rained. Melted the snow and turned the world to mud. Taos mud is unforgiving. And then it snowed again and refroze the world around me. Back and forth, but no where near as cold as it was a couple of weeks ago.

With the freezing and thawing, we seem to have developed a leak in our roof where the porch meets the rest of the Earthship. The porch looks to have been added on later. We have someone coming to look at it this week. The pipes to the cistern that take the water off of the roof were frozen solid, and some have come apart. That needs to be fixed too.

Roof is leaking.

That pipe is full of ice and this roof work is a mess.

We also inherited some chickens a week or two back as one of the men we sold chickens to last summer, brought some back. They moved into a house in town and could no longer have them. So now we are back into eggs. Lots of eggs. We get about a dozen a day now. We sell some to the neighbors, but they are stacking up in the fridge. The kids love eggs. How many ways can we eat eggs? Fried, scrambled, hard-boiled, and Richard made a souffle yesterday. Free range, organically fed chickens. Anyone want to buy some eggs?

So, except for experiencing global weirding first hand, there isn't much going on out here on the farmstead. Richard did get the second half of the roof on the girls side of the llama barn, just in time for the rain. He also put some boards on the front to block some of the wind. It's getting better all of the time. He's still making chicken coops out of pallets and selling them quickly on Craigslist.


Pallet wall on llama barn...and a little bit of siding at the far end.

Looking through the llama barn...see that NM sunset?

Metal roof on the second half of the llama barn

Maybe in the near future we can get back out to our place and see how well our mud plaster held up on the pallet shed.

Just enjoying our time in the Earthship, waiting for Winter to be over.

Honey on the planter box, rain coming down and a rose in bloom, next to the avocado tree.