Out of the big list of things we hoped to accomplish:
- we bought a used stock trailer;
- hosted a family for a couple of weeks;
- hosted another brother for four days;
- planted trees along the alongside the dirt road inside the gate and some along the fence;
- got some wooden cable spools for use as tables;
- got 8 telephone poles for our projects next summer;
- built wooden "lovable loos";
- did a bit of soil preparation and landscaping; and
- built a solid, wooden 10' x 10' structure comprising 2 bathrooms and a kitchen.
We bought the stock trailer in Tennessee, on our cross country drive to Healing Earth, maashaa Allah. It proved very useful, as we were able to transport our saplings, straw and hay bales, and various other supplies in it. We later used it to carry the wooden cable spools and to transport a live sheep that we slaughtered. We actually used it as a kitchen after that until the kitchen and bathhouse were built. As I whipped up honey soy salmon, egg fried rice, stir fried veggies, and Thai corn fritters for iftaar, we could see the potential novelty in taking it on the road as a traveling restaurant!
We managed to build a wooden 10'x10' structure, divided into three parts comprising two bathroom units and a kitchen. It was difficult, because Shariyf had to do it virtually alone, bi idhn Illah, as neither the girls or I had the strength to be of much use. We did what we could to hold up 2x6 boards as he hammered them in, but in the end it was through his sweat, backache, callouses, and cuts that Allah provided us with our little building. To us, with all it's imperfections and things still to be done, it is a beautiful blessing, al hamdul'Illah! I enjoyed cooking in comfort in the kitchen for the last week or so of our stay there...a huge difference, maashaa Allah.
We did not plant our sunflower seeds this year, deciding it would be best to do it next year when we are there to both tend to them and reap the seeds. Another reason was that Allah blessed us with many sunflowers already growing near the borders of our land, which came into bloom near the end of our stay maashaa Allah. With the plentiful rain, we had thousands of wildflowers, beneficial herbs, and edible plants interspersed throughout the wheat and blue grama grass that grew as tall as three feet in places. It was very encouraging to know there was plenty of grazing for animals as soon as the rains came.We dried some of the herbs, such as fringed sage, snake broom, and a type of mint. Next year we hope to harvest and dry the majority of the different herbs for our own use and sale in our farm shop inshaa Allah.
We took a road trip over the Eid ul Fitr where we first went to Santa Fe for the first day of Eid. We then visited Patricia in Chimayo, who breeds and raises Mammoth donkeys with her husband. We were welcomed and she took time to show us the donkeys, considering which would be suitable for our family and needs by next summer, and generously offered to train us, wa al hamdul'Illah. We now have things in place to go spend a few days' of training there next summer and buy a Mammoth Jack and a Jenny. We particularly want to raise these donkeys, as they are becoming rare to find, are larger than horses, exceptionally strong for work, intelligent, and very gentle for learning to ride on.
Our trip continued up to Taos and the following day we went to Robert and Joy, of handmilking.com, up in Questa. They warmly welcomed us and introduced us to their cows, chickens, and other animals. Here we were convinced that a Jersey cow was the best option for us and changed our minds from our original plan to get a Dexter cow. We felt a real connection with Robert and Joy, especially as they started out on their 5 acres with nothing and are building it from the ground up, just like us. They have offered to do a private training program for our family next summer, when we will spend a few days there and purchase our pre-trained dairy cows inshaa Allah. It was the third day of Eid and we mentioned that our visit to them was part of our Eid festivities along with plans to make some ice cream. Such a generous soul, Joy gifted us a quart of raw cream, 2 lbs of fresh butter, and 6 of their freshly laid eggs, wishing us a very happy Eid!
Many other connections were made over the summer, including enhancing and developing our relationships with the people of Roy, and Mosquero. We joined the Chamber of Commerce and were put on specific task forces - I am helping produce the Chamber's newsletter and Shariyf is part of the Geo-caching and Internet advertising. We learned what businesses are desperately needed there and what jobs are available and trades required.
Shariyf has been accepted as an apprentice by Ken Garrison of Star G Honey, to learn all about the business, from the planting of specialized crops and positioning the hives, to harvesting and packaging of raw honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, and beeswax. He has also offered to sell some of our baked products alongside his honey at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market. Tyler, the most amiable and helpful teenager in Roy, has agreed to teach Shariyf about raising goats.
Esther Mitchell is looking forward to learning to build with cob and coming to monthly "Meet Mai" afternoons, where I will teach sustainable homesteading skills, including cooking from scratch, making your own personal care products, and utilizing all the plants indigenous to our area inshaa Allah.
Both the residents of Roy and Mosquero have bemoaned the absence of a bakery, and we hope to meet that need by selling organic baked goods in Healing Earth's Farm Store and perhaps even a Tea Room, inshaa Allah. Left, right, and center Allah has presented us with avenues to make a living and learn the valuable skills that we will need to run our farm sustainably maashaa Allah.
We also have been greatly helped by Shelley Summers, who is the drop manager for Azure Standard, in Las Vegas, NM. She offered to pick up our initial order and keep it for us, so we had our bulk food supplies immediately upon arrival at Healing Earth. She gifted us with organic veggies she is growing as part of her CSA. She gave us a wealth of information on others doing similar things to us within a 300 mile radius. She showed us where to go for raw milk and cheese and informed us of a Muslim in Las Vegas who owns Blue Moon Fashions. Shelley gave us plants that were established so we could eat from them during our stay, seeds, a big bag of her delicious dried peaches, and some pinon salve that proved fantastic for all those bites, cuts, and scrapes.
For all these connections and so much more, we thank Allah - the Most Perfect Provider of every need! After that epic post I will end so you can rest your eyes, LOL, unless you want to see a few photos on the facebook page!