Thursday, July 4, 2013

Our First Days

All thanks and praise are for Allah, our Creator and Sustainer. On Thursday 20 June, 2013, we finally made it to Healing Earth, our land in Roy, New Mexico. The trip from Kansas City, MO was smooth and uneventful, with speculations as we saw the landscape driving through Oklahoma and Northern New Mexico about whether our land would have any traces of green in the current drought. As we approached, we saw vast expanses of open fields, with rich green plants at the sides of the road from the rain run-off and covered with dry green/blue grass and a nice scattering of flowering cacti and other drought tolerant, flowering plants.

Many things have been done in the first week, with even more to do over the coming weeks. Category, by category, here is what we've covered.

Property Lines:
We have contacted the county surveyor to come and provide the specific boundaries for our land. We have provided him with a copy of the deed and drawing of the land, and he will be providing us with a quotation for his service and come one day next week. Once this is done, we can move forward with building our bathroom and shower stalls and composting unit. He came out on Tuesday July 2nd and informed us that Homestead Road is actually part of our property. It is a county road, and they have eminent domain over it, but it means that we had a visit from the Commisioner's office to inform us that a culvert for our entrance will be provided within a month.

There was no access to our land off the road. We accessed it through a gate on the land next to it. We called the County Hall to inform them we need an access gate off the county road, and just 5 days later, the following Tuesday, we had an appointment to address the issue. We now have permission to install a gate, and the county will put in a steel culvert at the gate entrance once the gate is completed. The cost of the gate: between $81 - $118, but there is a sale going on next week, so it should be a bit cheaper than that.We may also have to install gates at the bottom end of the 28 acre parcel and at the beginning of the 23 acre parcel. However, we learned from the County Surveyor that there is an allowance for a road between our two properties that the county will be responsible for. We will be checking to see if they plan to lay a road any time soon, in which case they will provide both high quality fencing and gates for both properties.

One of the thing foremost on the list of things to do this summer was to drill a well. We planned to drill one on each section of land, starting with the northern section this year. The cost per well would be anywhere between $3000 - $12000, depending on the depth they find water. There is, however, no guarantee that they will find water the first or even third try, and dry holes must also be paid for. To get a consultant to come and do siesmic testing to give relatively accurate data on where to drill, the approximate depth of the water, and the yield would cost at least $5000.

We then learned that at the water tower in Roy, we can buy water at the rate of $10 + tax which works out to $10.69 per 1,000 gallons. It would take approximately 90 years of buying water to equal the drilling of just one well, not taking into account any money wasted on drilling dry holes.

Regardless, we would need a storage tank for the water, so we purchased a 1,650 gallon water storage tank ($640) and also a 195 gallon tank ($300) that can fit on the back of our truck for filling and transporting water, that were delivered Wednesday 27 June. We plan to have one 1,650 gallon tank at the center of each housing complex for private and immediate access to water, and at least one other on the 23 acre plot for the retreat. In addition, we plan to get 55 gallon steel drums and perhaps 275 gallon tanks in cages to catch rainwater.

Composting Toilets (Humanure)
We purchased two privace shelter tents to be used as temporary toilet and shower facilities along with two Luggable Loos and a large galvanised steel tub. We got free cover material from the county, who cut down and chip up trees at the side of the road and the chippings are free for anyone who wants them. We got cedar chips, so our composting toilet smells amazing! There are various other sources of free cover, which we have found or have been informed of. We also got some free pallets and constructed the firct cubic meter composting unit. It is used to compost fruit and vegetable scraps, leftover bits of cooked food, paper,hair, nails, and cut up card board.

We purchased 100 3"x4.4"x8' landscape timbers and have started constructing a 4 unit bathroom and show stall structure. However, we ran out of the super long nails needed and won't be able to get more until Friday July 5th, after which it will be completed inshaa Allah. It is extremely heavy, so we will have to use the truck to raise the walls.

Land Contours
Originally we had planned to use the 23 acre plot for residences and homesteading with the 28 acre plot used for the Islamic retreat. However, after seeing the two pieces of land, we have swapped it around. The 28 acre plot has far more flat areas that are excellent for building on, and more suited to our needs for zones, food forests, animals, and accessibiity. There is a good slope going to the back part of the land, where there is privacy from the road. That will be our place to set up temporary housing, but permanent residences will be built up on the highest areas of the land for drainage, overlook, and practical  purposes.
The 23 acre plot has a large seasonal lake bed area that is currently filled with high dry grasses. The ground is much more uneven, all the land is highly visible from the road. and the variety of terrain will lend itself well to a campground and retreat cottages.

Plant life:
The area is covered with what looks like dry blue grass. After just three days of rain, fresh green grass is sprouting up everywhere. There are at least two types of flowering cacti scattered plentifully around as well as other wildflowers, plants, and grasses. There are a few squash plants (look like zuchinni) over on the 23 acre plot that might provide a little food this summer. We have planted 23 fruit trees to start a food forest. They are divided by a naturally formed gully which carries rainwater, that we plan to plant melons along and also berry bushes.
We are also harvesting seeds from all the fruit we eat, and have planted a dozen peach seeds. We will do the same for apples, pears, plums, and apricot.

There are many other things to share and we hope to post photos very soon. Stay tuned.


  1. As Salamualaikum!

    Alhumdulilah everything is going smoothly! Homesteading is a dream of mine, I'm currently researching a balcony garden :)

    Not sure if you like them, but avocado trees are also awesome to plant and can be harvested by the seeds! will you also be setting up shops for trades etc? Healing earth sounds like the perfect little sunnah town :D (Insha'allah!!).

    Jazakaallahu khair for the update! And A early Ramadan Mubarak to you and your family!


    1. Wa alaykum ussalaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh Faith!

      We love avocados, but our zone is 5.5 - 6, so we are planning to dig out Wallapinis next summer so we can grow them as well as other warmer climate and tropical fruits and veggies inshaa Allah.

      A balcony garden would be lovely, as so many things can be grown in tubs and layers maashaa Allah.

      Yes, we plan to set up a shop for selling produce, a pick your own business, organic homemade goodies, natural personal care products, and the like. We also plan to establish an online store down the line to sell natural fiber Sunnah clothing (now I KNOW that this is right up your street, maashaa Allah!)There are many ideas and possibilities, so we will see where Allah guides us. The main focus will be to have enough infrastructure in place to host a Ramadhaan program in 2015 inshaa Allah.

      I pray your Ramadhaan went well and that all your fasting, ibaadah, and dua' were accepted. Barak Allahu feeki!


  2. I am not sure I this just going to be your summer/vacation home or have you you guys moved to NM?

    1. We have moved to NM, in the sense that it is our permanent home in the USA. We still live in Madinah and are going over the summers to develop the land and build a home, ranch, and Islamic educational retreat there. The general plan is that when we finally leave Madinah, that will be our permanent home, bi ithn Illah.

  3. Asalaamu Alaikoum warahmatullahi wa barakatu...

    This is something my wife and I have discussed doing. Alhamdulillah, Allah has made a way for you to do it first. May you be rewarded for your efforts. We have set a goal to have this same idea accomplished by 2023 providing Allah permits us. If you don't mind, I was wondering if you could send me an inbox sometime ( me know how things are moving along.


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