FARM JOURNAL FEBRUARY 2017 This month turned out to be the most trying of the winter months. The temperature was great and the snow was lovely but after an extended 4 straight days of hard snow in Conejos county we ended up being snowed in a mile from any road that would be plowed by the county. It ended up being a rescue mission completed by Morgan's Dad, who called in a big rig snow plow to come bale us out. He arrived swiftly and surely within the day and even plowed us several snow catches to avoid the big drifts that occur on the property. It was a welcome release from 6 days total stranded at home. Thankfully our vegetable and chicken feed supply was in abundance and we made it through with little discomfort from our normal roughing it routine. We also adopted 3 young unwanted goats from a dairy farm that we plan on helping us keep the weed and bramble population at bay. Their names are Benjamin, Shaman and Elijah :) JANUARY 2017 A Happy New Year indeed as we welcome the year of the Rooster. With the new year comes the cold, although we didn't know it. Days and weeks of snow and icy temps down to -40 at night and nothing above 0 in the day. The critters continue staying cozy in their homes and we do our best to battle cabin fever amidst all the snow days. DECEMBER 2016 Typical Valley Christmas, no snow but chilly temps. The chickadees seem to stay a comfortable temperature in their insulated coop. The days it snows they hang out in their solar sun room. Lizzy grows and becomes every more diligent in her dogly duties. She runs patrols frequently throughout the day and never misses the opportunity to ward off intruders. It feels safe. The river is running high and a group of beavers have taken up residence on our tract. Abe coats his favorite trees with a beaver proof coating to discourage them from choosing favs and they continue about their business cleaning up and creating wetlands on the property. We turn focus inward to video and music and complete our 3rd annual Holiday video gift series for Hannukkah. NOVEMBER 2016 Things are slowing down and the garden begins to lay down. Abe continues teaching garden class at the school and I continue finishing the house. I prepare to close building and await inspection. OCTOBER 2016 We worked diligently on finishing up the house and making preparations for winter. The leaves have started to turn and the air smells like fall. We work on insulating the coops for winter and stocking everyone up on their nutrients, in the form of scraps that we acquire from the local food coop. SEPTEMBER 2016 Contruction on the house halts and harvest begins. We spend most of this month harvesting at the community garden and at the farm. Our apple tree produced eight ruby red apples the size of soft balls even though it only stands 4’ tall and has 3 branches. We did well beyond our expectations. The mulch method proves to work great in this clay filled sandy dirt. We continue adding diferent mulches to bring the organic material up in the soil. Egg production slows as most of the hens go into one last molt before winter. I got to meet Mike Hearne of “Mike Hearn’s Big Barn Dance in Taos” while filming at Howlin’ Dog Records. All in all it was a fruitful month. AUGUST 2016 Work continues on the farm and at the Community Garden. Flowers are still blooming and the harvest begins at both gardens. We turned focus to closing the house for winter. JULY 2016 The garden is starting to really come in strong. We can see the legumes and rehabilitators that we planted on the north coming in. We continue scattering mulch across the North end and Irrigation for the Martinez ditch begins. We got a lot of over flow from the neighbors. There is more water here than I’ve ever seen in one place of the valley and as it passes through everything gets soaked. Many plants and weeds come in which we have prepared for. We mulched the weeds and planted easy going hardy crops over them. The garden looks like a hoard of flowers and the neighbors bees are everywhere. We also attracted a hummingbird who later brought a friend. We start harvesting early crops and drying wild harvested herbs. Egg production continues to rise and several chickens go into brooding. We used the incubator we had in combination with hot hands warmers to ensure the success of several chicks whose mother abandoned the nest early. We ended up with 17 new additions to the farm. First babies born on the land. We raised the walls to the house in a day and were able to zip them up the next. JUNE 2016 Building continues. I built a small 3’ x 4’ shed to house our grain and seeds. I continue framing on the ground and have Abe’s help on weekends. The river starts running slower and we are able to cross. We continue to fix fence. We also rolled the existing pro-shed on logs to the house site and turned it into a power house. We planted the garden and scattered seeds across the north side of the property in preparation for irrigation. We also planted a red crisp apple tree that was already pollinated and had apples on it and many other tree and shrub varieties. We planted five small plum trees, a raspberry bush, three choke cherry trees, a juniper, a rose bush, many small cottoneaster shrubs and chinese elms. We started planting early vegetables also. MAY2016 Foundation pour starts. We laid our plumbing pipes and we mixed the entire greenhouse wall by hand with our caked cement that was donated by Quality Concrete. We spent about 6 hours on that. We decided to hire Mathias concrete to come deliver the rest because it seemed to be taking too long. It took us about an hour to pour the remaining foundation wall. I spent most days framing the 20’ x 10’ walls on the ground. I spent a day building a small 7’x10’ pole barn shed out of an old futon frame and some posts to house more tools and shovels. APRIL 2016 April was a very productive Month. I prepped a garden space on the farm while Abe prepped the community garden space in town. We had the upward bound students come out and tour our farm. We hosted a plant identifcation and nature walk which Abe organized a scavenger hunt for. We had the kids hunt and find several old tools that they then had to use in a group teamwork exercise. They were a great group of kids and we tried many edible forest foods that day. On a sad note, this month we also lost one duck and another duck lost its eye in an unexpected predator attack. The one eyed duck stayed in intensive care for about a month and made a full recovery. We later acquired a blue heeler puppy we named Lizzy. We haven’t had anymore attacks. We also started to see a dramatic increase in egg production. MARCH 2016 March hits and so does the cold. We hooked up the well-house so we could get water to the animals. At this time the well house roof was still in three different places around the property. We organized a watering system for the animals that only required us to run the pump every three or four days. We collect water in 50 gallon water drums and disperse as needed. We also adopted ten more hens that came with one very large but terrifed rooster, we later named Samuel. He’s nice now.They came with their own 10 box nest tower, complete with gear, food and an incubator. We began clearing the septic line and water lines. I spent most of this month prepping the build site. The land periodically floods, so I decided to build a 4 foot platform to set the house on just in case. I started with concrete rubble I had delivered for free by some workers who were driving it to the dump. I layered that with gravel,sand, clay mix and compacted 3 times over the course of a week. Meanwhile Abe started his new position as Garden Educator with Cone- jos County Clean Water (CCW) and was working every day and helping me on the weekends. I set the foam forms for the foundation and prepped the site for the concrete pour. We waited till May to pour the foundation to avoid unpredictable changes in temperature. FEBRUARY 2016 Moving begins! We spent this entire month relocating the animals and their gear along with tons of mulch, grass hay. We hauled all the chickens and ducks in their eight portable coops. We also brought a pop-up camper to house our 4 cats and plants. We had an unexpected snow hit a few days after moving in. JANUARY 2016 This year January 16th 2016 we acquired the land that we sought in Conejos County. First thing was clean up and preparation. Clean up is still an ongoing process. We started by building an 18’ x 36’ pole barn structure for the animals to take refuge in. We added a south facing pitched bay window to the front of the chicken coop side to keep the chickadees warm.