Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Rethinking it all.

It's hard to be excited about farming or much of anything really when the negative news of the world finally sinks in. The Southwest is in a severe drought with no possible end in sight. Fires and more fires. Is this the new normal?

We are having a lot of trouble finding local hay at an affordable price. Believe it or not, all of the farmers around here grow alfalfa, but they won't sell it local, and instead, they truck it south to the dairy farms in southern New Mexico where they get high dollar for it. These are the same dairy farms that are selling off cattle because of the lack of water? These are the same dairy farms contributing to the problem because dairy cows are simply not sustainable in a desert environment.

So, yeah, I have been depressed. We rented this little farmstead with great anticipation about the water rights. We hoped we could grow our own hay and have an enormous garden with produce to can up for the winter. No water. We did get a little more than expected because the man who runs the ditches and gets most of the water for his cattle and alfalfa operation decided to give us a little extra. His reservoir was flooding you see. So we flooded some of the fields, and got some weeds going, but we have never had enough water to seed and flood the big 17 acre piece, which is what we were hoping for.

So, we have been reconsidering everything. If the Southwest has no future and will dry up within 50 years, how can we expect to have a sustainable homestead here? As a result of second guessing, we have been researching alternative places to go.

Maine? I was born there, some of my family is there, and there is plenty of water. And cheap properties. But, it is a long, long way away.

Pueblo, Colorado, which is back over the mountains to the northeast of where we are now. It is a small city and we are familiar with it. There are health food stores, a nice library system (Taos library has decided to charge a $10 yearly fee to anyone living out of town limits, so we opted to give our cards back.), a zoo and parks for the kids, doctors and dentists, access to a holistic vet and alternative medicine, a growing art scene, a hospital, and 2 1/2 inches more of rain per year than where we are now. Plus, big bonus, Pueblo does not sit over the shale deposit that takes up so much of Colorado, so there will be no fracking there. But, living in the city exposes us to flouridated and polluted water, polluted air, noise, crime and the potential for craziness if the economy gets worse (like it isn't going to get worse?).

We have been looking for a small farm property outside of Pueblo city limits, thinking we could take the critters and continue on, like we always do. But that may just not be possible. Financing is a big hurdle with our abandoned house in the frack zone a couple of years back. They foreclosed on it and so our credit plummeted even more from the low point it already was. The only solution is to rent or to find an owner carry property, which is do-able, but not very easy to find. As a result, all of my time has been eaten up with trying to find that perfect property, but not knowing if we are keeping all of our farm animals or if I should be trying to find homes for them.

Everything is up in the air again and our future is uncertain at this point, except immediately, where in reality, we have no money to do much of anything.

Here are some photos of the day we got water from the irrigation ditch.

Preparing the ditch. The tarp diverts the water to the field.

Water in the ditch.

Here comes the water.

Not so bad on a hot day.