Monday, May 4, 2015


Box O' bees

Finally, after so many years of talking about it, we got bees! They came in a Nuc box, and we have to leave them there until the neighborhood gets more flowers. Where are all of the dandelions around here? Is it possible that people have sprayed them into non-existence? That will not be good for the bees. That is the problem world wide, isn't it? People, please stop poisoning our planet.

So this is a nuclear hive (kind of like a swarm), which has several frames inside the box and includes a queen, her brood, and her drones which have overwintered in this box. It's supposed to give us a head start on the season. They have honey in there to survive the winter. It's all taped up to keep the bees from crawling through the cracks, which they do. The bees are much smaller that I anticipated, not like the wild bees I am used to seeing around.

Back of  Nuc box with a bee

The weather has been relatively mild here (odd for this time of year) and not freezing too hard over night, so I put a pot of flowers out near the Nuc box. It's a pot of petunias that have been living in the sun room. What we really need are some dandelion seeds. We do plan on planting clover here pretty soon. We planted a bunch of Irises, transplanted from our land, and raspberries, lilies, roses and a few lilac bushes. We also bought a bunch of Siberian Elms (25) and chokecherries (25) to plant here. We just have to get it done. With that purchase from the Forest Service, we also got some Bee Balm and Potentillas. They are trying to offer plants that will attract and feed the bees.

Hive kit

In a few weeks, we will transition the bees into the hive we bought as a total hive kit, which includes gloves, hat with veil, smoker, brushes to clean the hive, and a book: Beekeeping For Dummies, which I probably ought to read soon.

So excited. Hope we can keep them alive. So far so good. They are flying in and out of the open door on the front of the Nuc box.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Shearing the herd

Here are some of the pictures from shearing 2015. It was great fun and the shearers were awesome! We have lots of fiber, in most colors, if anyone is interested in raw alpaca or llama fiber.

Frosty, Taylor and Leo, waiting to be sheared.

Waiting in line.

Vader goes first.


Vader, furry beast.

Vader - lots of fiber

Dark Vader, almost done.

Frosty before.

Frosty after.


Turbo naked.

Patty's turn.


Baby Star gets sheared.

Star, looking for Mama.

(From right to left) Rico and Tom  and John the shearers.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Alpaca fun

We picked up our three male alpacas this past weekend. Aren't they cute?

new alpaca boys behind electric fence

We learned very quickly that a) they are not lead trained and will kush at every given opportunity when you are trying to get them from one place to another, b) they do not respect electric wire fence and will continue to climb through it until it is replaced with field fence, and c) they are as bothered by humans as llamas are are not afraid to spit when really threatened.

The first two days the boys were good and stayed where they belonged. But then one, Rico, the pure black boy got out to play with the female llamas, and he continued to get out after we continued to put him back in his paddock and refortify the fence with more wire. So we made him his own pen out of the cattle panels we previously used for the pigs. That made him mad and he tried to climb the fence, but eventually gave up and settled in to his new temporary home next door to our old white alpaca, Alonso. So then, the second alpaca, Manny, the whitish one got out to play with the girls and see what his buddy Rico was up to. The remaining alpaca, Sampson, the brown one, simply paced the fence line, but never got out. He did however spit when we caught him to tie him up so we could replace the fence.

And we did it! We took down the electric wire and unrolled 330 feet of field fence and tied it to the T-posts...all in blowing dust, dirt and 30 - 40 mph gusts of sand filled wind. And before Richard had to go to work in the evening.

In just a couple of days we will be shearing, which is an entirely different sort of camelid game.

Aren't they cute????

alpaca boys behind field fence

Babies - Huarizos Leo and Star

Llama congregation

Monday, March 23, 2015


Sand Hill Cranes, Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge, March 2015

We went to see the Sand Hill Cranes yesterday. What a remarkable thing. The fields full of dancing, talking birds never ceases to amaze me. And I still want to fly south with them....

Sand Hill Cranes in Monte Vista

I had an epiphany in the midst of my Grad school angst. While I realize now I will never have what it takes to be a full time shovel bum, I also realize that my passions to save the planet have remained the same. Through all of my work, I manage to tie in some form of environmentalism or sustainability, because that's who I am. That being said, I am planning on attending an archaeology field school for the summer, but this time on a day basis. There will be no living in a tent for this old woman. I have had enough of primitive off-grid living! I am an expert at hauling water and making do with next to nothing. Actually, for me to attend full time, R would have to quit one, if not two of his jobs and stay home with the kiddos, something we simply can't afford.

So while I whittle away at my classes, we try to dig ourselves out of our financial mess. We paid off the shed/tiny house with our tax refund, but still the dilemma of the county not allowing us to live in it, per county code. Okay, whatever. We have tried to sell the land, pulled back, decided to keep it. I work on my labyrinth and it ties to me to the land in ways I don't even understand. I am at a loss as to what to do, so I will do nothing.

I realized I don't want to give up any more animals, my llamas and my dreams of a farmstead. Why can't we make it work? We have not tried hard enough, not dedicated ourselves to the right cause, being torn between this and that and fantasies of negativity. The world may end. I may die tomorrow, but I want to keep my camelids, regardless of any outside thoughts on the matter. So, I have plans to acquire 3 adult, male alpacas in a rainbow of fiber colors. I want to make felt batting and quilt camelid comforters. Ha ha. No, sort of really. We shall see, we shall see.

I will resurrect the Green Desert Eco-Farm and put the Sanctuary to rest for a little while. Who wants to worship the Earth, besides me? My church of one. I affect change in only myself.

The farm will get a new life! And maybe I will too. We have put a bee hive starter kit on layaway at the local feed/hardware store. I am excited. We can get a colony from a local honey producer after we get our kit paid off. It is vitally important that more people try to keep bees for the Earth. And plant Milkweed for the Monarchs. I'd like to do both.

We also bought a new batch of chicks for the farmstead egg laying endeavor.

Chicks. Reds of some variety. Rhode Island, I'm thinking.

In the next month we will pick up the alpacas and get all of our camelids sheared. That should be fun. An event I have invited the public to attend. That may have been a bad decision, given my love hate relationship with people in general.

The wind is blowing, the weather has warmed and Spring is here. We are trying to get garden space created in this rental house. I am so tired of moving our raised beds around. I am so tired of moving, physically, but intellectually I may always be a nomad. We still need to find a bus to convert.

As usual there is too much to do and not enough time or hands, or money. But, it is what it is and today I live for today. I have started another juice fast. It has been a while and with the new season comes change. I will resurrect old farm dreams and my old strong, healthy self. And it will be good. Or good enough at least.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Grad school

Doing the Grad school thing. Time and that's about it. Richard is also thinking of doing the Grad school thing. I guess he is feeling left out.

Now, there isn't time for much of anything except the day to day stuff and school. Richard is working two jobs as we try to dig out of this financial nightmare we find ourselves in because of the pay cut from his first job. I am still peddling my art.

And that's the news.

I have this crazy idea of moving the shed/tiny house down to the Taos land (none of the land is selling, here or there). Perhaps they are not as code crazy down there where a good percentage of off griders are living in hand-built houses that never were inspected. Most of the houses on the west Mesa are not even supposed to be there...the lots are too small for infrastructure, like septic tanks. But amazingly, people know how to use compost toilets. The volume of "illegal" housing is far too great for the county to assess, let alone come down on. Not that they won't try in upcoming years. It's always a gamble, I suppose.

Still thinking on it. I wonder how hard it would be to relocate the shed with the horrid Taos mud roads? What season should we shoot for? Late spring maybe before the monsoons but after the melt.

As it is, we have lots of time. Grad school is two years and our lease on this rental is through October.

I am still trying to rehome llamas and simplify material possessions. Who knows where we will end up when this crazy Grad school ride ends.

We have to keep adventuring through these hard times. The climate is unpredictable and the imminent methane release in the Arctic is frightening. Time has no value, but it may be short indeed for the human species. Let's all live a little better and love a little more, shall we? By better, I don't mean spend more and collect more crap. Instead, find some spiritual truths and move to higher consciousness. Perhaps we can change the outcome with the unified power of the energetic mind.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New year, new things

Well, it's a new year so new things must be in store.

We are still trying to downsize the farmstead and find homes for our animals. It won't be much of a farmstead then, but it is what it is.

We are growing tomatoes and kale on the sun porch even now, when the outside temps are still in the single digits. Although this week has been amazing, warming up into the 40's F during the day. The tomato plants are starting to bloom.

In just a couple of weeks I will begin the first of my classes towards my Masters in Cultural Resource Management. I have to say I'm excited and a little scared. It has been a long time since I went to college and now, with these two little wild children and their online home school, time is at a premium. But, it shouldn't be any worse than going to college during the day and working all evening, which is what I used to do. How did I ever get anything done?

Richard is so excited about me going to school that he is looking into pursuing his own Masters. A sustainable MBA. That should be interesting. He is working on finding the right program. We shall see. With both of us working on our Masters in our spare time, life is going to get interesting at home. Will there be any time for farming?

I'd sure like to get a nice kitchen garden going this spring and grow enough to put away for the next winter. The past few years have been really tough because we have not had our store of home canned goods that we grew accustomed to. Financially we could have really used those extras.

We are thinking there will be no hemp on the farmstead either as the state raised the registration costs to the point we can no longer afford it. Plus there is the testing fees, if one is lucky enough to be chosen. Let's just count on that. Yeah, we think we will skip the hemp. Too bad too. I have a ton of seeds. Ha. I should just wander and throw them in the wind. Like Johnny Appleseed. That'd get the county and the state all up in arms. Maybe for real. Better not do that then. I don't want to get shot by the law enforcement, which seems to be a real risk these days, although less for me, not being a black male.

We are really considering moving Down East when we finish our new degrees. So, once again I have been browsing the real estate pages. looking at ancient old farmhouses back in the state from which I once originated. They say that they are more likely to accept you there if your family has been there since colonization. Well, my heritage has, but I have not, being raised in my mother's home state of Colorado. I even have rumored ties to the Native American tribes of the north east. If only I could track down my Native heritage. I wonder if they would accept a long lost relative, one without the typical Down East accent it takes a while for outsiders to understand? Maybe you can go home again. Or, maybe not.

I have been a nomad for so long now, where exactly is home?

We are looking at buying a school bus to convert while we get our degrees. Then at least we will have our own home, built by us. I wonder if we could accomplish at least that? Then no matter where we go, we will always be home.

So the land is still for sale. All of it. I am feeling restless, confused, not sure where to be. My heart is breaking with each animal I rehome, but I know it is for the best. I am anticipating good things with the many changes happening now. And while I so want to run south to where the birds overwinter, I also realize that it would probably be best for our future family to go back to the place where I began. If the climate is going to change so drastically in the next few years, we need to be in a more hospitable climate, where the water is plentiful. And who knows, maybe it will warm up enough there that I will be able to tolerate the winters.

Two years is still a long time, especially for us, and a lot can happen. We shall see what the Universe holds for us. And with new degrees, the job opportunities may lead us in entirely different directions than we would ever expect.