Sunday, September 28, 2014

Leonardo the baby llama

We just had a baby llama/alpaca...huarizo cria. A mix between an alpaca and a llama is a haurizo.

New cria

Taylor our black female llama had her baby this morning, or about noon. He just showed up in the field. No problems, no stress. Llamas give birth so easily. It took him about an hour or so to get to his feet.

Baby llama/alpaca born in the sand

He's so cute!


We relocated Taylor and baby to a separate pen and put Patty in there with them, expecting her to give birth any day now. I think they are early though. 350 day gestation. I think we got Alonso last October, but I suppose we are within a couple of weeks of due date.

Staying close to Mom.

In any case, here he is...Leonardo, the newest addition to the farmstead. 26 pounds of legs and fluff.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

One loft done, but winter is coming fast

One loft is done in the shed/tiny house. The sub floor is down, and now we need some kind of cheap but clean flooring. We may be looking at making our own hardwood flooring our of 1 x 6" boards. While pallet flooring seems like a cool idea, it would be a lot of work, and yet that may be the only real option.

lumber for the loft and wall

building the bath/kitchen wall


Richard putting down subfloor.

loft with bath/kitchen underneath

Richard and the kids have been painting the shed. It turns out our leftover paint is a Mauve sort of sand color. Was the Earthship we rented really that color? We bought it to paint our tin barn roofs as the covenants in that community would not allow reflective material of any kind. It was Oops paint with some added color, so it is interesting.

Kids painting the shed/tiny house

Richard painting the shed/tiny house

So, I have been on the hunt for cheap, re-usable building materials. We may have a new source for some things.

We are seriously considering a rental farm/house with acreage for the winter. Things are just not moving as fast as I would have hoped. Richard has had a job change with a 20K pay cut. Yes, really. I have to get out there and find a job. Unless by some miracle people start buying my art. Check it out at these links.(

So, we are looking at the rental property on Tuesday and will make our decision on that. Otherwise, we keep plugging away on the tiny house, hoping to find some money to get insulation in. That's a big one. $1500+ for the spray foam for the roof and walls. Good stuff, but expensive.

We are most likely going to process our remaining 6 chickens and turn them into soup stock. They are molting now, two plus years old and not laying. It is too expensive to keep feeding them high price organic feed with no return. Plus trying to keep them warm through winter. Not worth it. The same may be true of our 4 turkeys. If we get the rental, we can turn our freezer back into a freezer, instead of the fridge it is now, and freeze the turkeys. We will even have a working oven for a turkey on our Day of Gratitude.

The rental is sounding pretty good right now. And, I'd really like a nice long soak in a bath. We could eliminate our storage, I could find my art stuff and maybe begin painting again...or whatever.

The kids have started the online school this past week. It has been a nightmare, trying to figure out schedules and share our one laptop, which will not download any apps. We are supposed to be getting two laptops, one for each, but they have not arrived yet. In any case, the volume of stuff they have to do, and even worse, the volume of stuff I have to do... is intense. I'm beginning to wonder if this was the better choice. I thought it would make things easier with a schedule and actual assignments. Poor kids these days. The crazy stuff they have to learn to be indoctrinated into a society that is failing. But, I'll give it some time before I bail on it. I am pleased the kids seem to be about where they are supposed to be as far as grade level.

And, in my spare time, I'm still sorting hemp seed, trying to clean it out of the other plant matter.

The neighbor dog has been to visit a few times. He's a sweet thing, but I worry about him chasing chickens. My dogs don't like him coming around and neither do the llamas. It turns out he's been having seizures and just wanders off in confusion. So, I gave neighbor Larry some Cannabis oil to give him about two weeks ago. I also did an energy healing on the dog and walked him through the labyrinth when he was here one day. The dog has not had any more seizures, but still comes to visit. I worry, as Larry said if he has another big seizure, he will have him put down. Sad. Please let the natural medicine work for him. I believe in the power and healing properties of the Cannabis oil. So far so good, as long as they keep giving him the oil.

We also picked up the stove that was in Larry's barn. It needs some work.

the stove

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The tiny house has arrived.

The shed/tiny house came yesterday. That was exciting. I could see it rolling down the road about a mile away, and shouted "here comes our house!"

Thankfully Richard put a new sign at the end of our road, where previously there had been none. We didn't want our house to get lost. (The driver still got lost...turned down the road I told him specifically not to. That's happened before.)

But, the tiny house arrived and it was interesting watching the driver unload it. That trailer had all kinds of bells and whistles and could move independently of the truck. With special hydraulics, and another cross axle, he placed the house exactly where we wanted it.

Our gravel pad was perfectly level too! The house is sitting in its new home now, waiting to be finished.

Since we opted not to get any extras, we have a lot to do. The first thing Richard did was install electrical outlet boxes and light switch boxes. We have to run the wire before we can insulate. Someone is coming today to give us an estimate on spray foam insulation for both the tiny house and the office.

Interior (Exterior dimensions: 14' x 20')

We are going to try and install another door on the west side, in what will be the tiny kitchen. We already have a nice glass door (actually we have three of them) that we have been moving around with us. With a little bit of lumber, some hinges, some cutting and building (a header, footer) we can have our second door in. Ultimately this door will lead to an enclosed porch that will wrap around the west and south sides, giving us passive solar heat, and expanding our living space.

We also have to start building the lofts. But first, the bathroom wall has to go in, which is pretty dependent upon finding a bathtub, so we can make sure it fits. I guess we can build to spec and buy the tub from a box store later.

Actually, we have to paint the outside to make it weather tight. We skipped the paint for a savings of $175. We have a five gallon bucket of paint we used for the roofs and barns at the rented Earthship a couple of years ago. We can use that and some stain we having been using on the wood trim of the office. That needs to be done in the next few days.

I know it's not much to look at now, but we are all super excited. It is so much bigger than the RV we have been living in for three months. We can't wait to get in there.

We are also going to pick up an old woodstove from Neighbor Larry and see if we can get the north/east corner fitted to hold it (fireproof walls and flooring) plus get some stove pipe. We will probably have to paint the stove too, but it would be nice to get it in and ready to go. Then we can at least move our beds in and sleep in a warm space.

Windows. We also need windows. Not much to choose from at the local restore. I'm still looking.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hemp Harvest

It is time to harvest the hemp. All week it has been time. I have been filling paper sacks with the stuff and then laying it out to dry on screens in the office (which is still not finished).

Hemp drying on our freezer converted to fridge.

Hemp drying on screen.

After the leaves and stalks dry, we get to collect those tiny seeds. This is the same stuff they make hemp oil out of. If we had an oil press, we could do that too.

Industrial hemp seed --Finnola

But, we will save the seed to plant next year, and maybe save up for an oil press. I am going to try to make Hemp CBD oil out of the stalks and leaves. Which means, I get to collect all of that dried and pulverized material as well as the seeds.

The Forest


We went to the forest today to collect firewood. Even though we don't have a chainsaw. Even though we don't have a wood stove. Yet. One of the gated woodland communities was doing its yearly fire mitigation and offering firewood for free, already cut into five foot lengths. Easy. All we would have to do was pick it up. Ha ha. Nothing is ever easy and it didn't quite work out that way.

These trees don't look angry. Or do they?

The narrow dirt roads were filled with pickup trucks and trailers. There was hardly room to drive by on the road. In addition, there were people cutting down trees, which fell mostly next to and into the road. If you were smart enough to bring a chainsaw, it was easy pickings. If not, you had to wander around looking for cut pieces that no one had claim to yet. Guess which group we were in?

Tall trees.

That only worked for so long. Then, we met our landscape guy, who has a cabin up there, and was cutting his share of wood. He told us he would cut some for us. Very nice. But even better, another guy came along with a chainsaw that we got to borrow for a couple of hours--until we filled our trailer. Then we helped our landscape friend load his wood while we chatted about local garlic and covenanted communities. He's trying to sell his cabin up there.

Thick Forest

I thoroughly enjoyed our time in the trees, although, I have to say it scared me a little bit at first. What, me, nearly raised in the mountains, afraid of trees? Well, it has been a long time since I have been among trees, and I mean big, tall pine trees and Aspens you can't put your arms all the way around. That forest was thick. I couldn't see my kids when they wandered fifteen feet into the trees. I was intimidated by the enormity of it all. And it was amazing (but not like the forest in Portland, Oregon, by any means), like a giant cathedral constructed by Mother Nature. You could worship there. Give reverence for the majesty of trees, of the forest, of Nature.

Am I sensing some distress in there?

It was overwhelming though, as if the trees were all yelling at me. (Talk to trees, uh-huh.) I know they weren't really yelling at me. Maybe they were just angry trees. Maybe they were sending out unhappy vibes because annoying humans spent the weekend chopping some of them down. Don't tell me trees don't have emotions.

It was a beautiful forest, but the homeowners association of that place is hardly making a dent in their attempts at fire mitigation. There were dead trees everywhere. Standing, leaning against live trees, fallen on the ground, and the few they cut next to the road isn't going to do squat when that forest starts to burn. Rich out of state people beware, your pretty little log cabins will burn just as well as the dead trees.

It was fun being in the trees, and forming some weird comaradarie with all the other folks who drove way out there to collect free trees to turn into firewood. I'm not a big fan of burning wood, but for this upcoming winter, I will do just about anything to keep my family from freezing, and that includes collecting firewood and even taking the old antique wood stove resting on cement blocks that Neighbor Larry has in his barn and offered to us for free.

Next weekend we are going back out there for more wood and to spend more time with the angry trees.

And on Tuesday our tiny house arrives, courtesy of the Amish.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hemp harvest time

We are harvesting our hemp daily by hand. We get a few plants a day and pick up the ones the rodents cut down. We are collecting a lot of seed. Can't sell it. We have to figure out what to do with it, besides save enough to plant again next year. We are thinking of trying to find a press to make hemp oil from the seed. I'm also hoping to experiment with making Hemp cbd oil from the leaves and stalks. That oil is supposed to be great stuff for health.

We got our Facebook page up for our recycle business. It'd be great if everyone could show their support by liking our page.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The bare minimum

We ordered our shed/tiny house this past week and it will be delivered on September 9, only one week or so from now. We are super excited, but know we have so much to do. The shed we are getting is much smaller than the one we wanted. Sort of. No porch. No lofts built in. Plus, we had to scrap all windows and all but one door to bring the cost down. So now we have more to do. I am on the search for windows and other cheap building materials. We are also looking for propane range and a decent wood stove. Whatever will get us through the winter.


We did get the glass in the office this week. This building is coming along now. As is the hay barn which Richard got a roof on as well. He is currently putting the masonite from the floors of the Jaroso farmhouse up in the turkey house. We used that masonite to protect the pine floors of the house we rented. Now it will serve as walls for the barns. We will most likely stuff the pallet walls with straw as insulation, but I have been toying with the idea of using llama wool too.

Hay barn

I'm still working on the labyrinth, as bottles and jars allow. I wish I could start planting the herb spiral, but it will have to wait until we move the cistern up next to the shed/house. I sure don't want to carry buckets of water the three hundred feet or so from the well, and I'm not sure we have enough hoses to run that far.


We are starting up a recycle pick-up business in Alamosa. There seems to be a need. Maybe. I hope. We are calling ourselves Recycle Roundup. We will provide bins and pickup at the curb for those who might want to recycle but never really have the time or can't get around to it. If you are in the Alamosa area and are interested, please e-mail me for more details.

We have been selling off appliances and other things we no longer can use in our off-grid living situation to make money for the tiny house conversion. I am hoping to run by the Habitat for Humanity store this next week to look for windows or flooring or even a gas stove.

In the hemp field, we have a rat problem. Either that or the chipmunks have been sawing off our hemp stalks and leaving the tops, with seeds all over the ground. I have been collecting the sawed off tops and whatever seeds I can rake off of the ground. It appears we might be growing hemp there next year too--unintentionally. I put the hemp tops in a large paper bag in the hope that it will dry and the seeds will develop enough to be viable. Blasted rodents.

Hemp stalks

Another chihuahua joined our farmstead this week. He's a cute little guy we like to call Pico. Pico poco. Little bit. He's only about three months old now, so we are house (camper) training him and trying to teach him to walk on a leash. The other animals just don't know what to think of him. The llamas are curious as usual and come to the fence with ears perked up whenever we walk Pico by them. Next week he is off to get neutered, because it is so important to spay and neuter all of our pets. There are just so many pets out there that get euthanized because they don't have a home.