[Anna] Well I felt that I should post something since mom posted. We have actually been looking at seed catalogs (I feel so naughty) even though things are so crazy. We’ve decided to try a few warm-hot weather veggies that are very short season (60-65 days or less) and of course a few more fruit trees. I’m very interested in testing out a Trugold peach and seeing if its flowers take our late spring frosts. I’m also dying to plant sweet potatoes and romanesco (is it cauliflower or broccoli) but I think that’ll have to wait until we have more time to devote to horticulture. We are definitely putting in strawberry (~150 plants) beds this spring as well as asparagus. I’ll have to look up the varieties again and post them later.
We’ve also started planning the utilitarian greenhouse that will attach to the south side of the barn. It will be 60′ long and 15′ deep and be shed style (no glazing on the roof) with a 12′ ceiling. We’re kicking around extended the rocketbench stove into the greenhouse (the other 1/2 will be in the barn apartment) where we can use it to heat the greenhouse, warm a seed starting bed, and feed the fire w/o making a mess inside the apartment. We also still trying to decide if we want to have built in beds. We’ll be building the structure out of pressed adobe blocks (we bought the machine recently from a guy in Silver City who makes them), salvaged double-paned sliding glass doors, and (mostly) home-milled wood from our forestry timber project (we’ve finally finished 1/2 of that enormous tree thinning project). More on that later as well as descriptions on what we’ve completed inside the barn when I’ve collected some photos.
Joâ€”Can’t believe it’s been so long since the last postingâ€¦here’s an update on the last year.
Bel is working on her masterâ€™s in special education, and teaching special ed at a local elementary school. She has 4 or 5 special kids and is really enjoying her internship, even though itâ€™s a balancing act doing it on top of the course work. But sheâ€™s managing to pull off good grades. Next year sheâ€™ll be a full fledged teacher, and will finish up her masterâ€™s, and get her certificate. She also manages to do a little babysitting for Anna from time to time.
Gilly is back with us too! She moved to ABQ after finishing her masterâ€™sÂ in San Diego. Sheâ€™s living with Anna while she looks for film work. There are a couple of studios here and more coming so we think she just needs to get a foot in the door. She registered with the union, and is sending out resumes. Sheâ€™s been a godsend for Anna & Eric, helping with the children. We told her she could live in the barn with Wink and me, but she said we had to put a door on the bathroom first!
Life in a barn is cozier than it sounds. We have almost all the amenities, running water, a hot shower, indoor (composting) toilet, a kitchen, a wood stove for heat.Â The kids are up here onÂ the weekends, but snow, wind, and low temps are slowing the work.
Aly, Winkâ€™s baby sister, moved out here last May, and has really helped out on the farm. With her help, we got the bathroom in; finished up loggingÂ off 15 acres of our 30 acre contract with the forestry department; put in the staircase; framed in the upstairs wall; milled, planed, and laid in the upstairs floor (halfway); and did a lot of gardening to boot. She met Israel, fell you know where, they bought a house together a couple of miles away, and still find the time to help us.Â But she doesnâ€™t cook. Darn…
WinkÂ bleeds a lot, and his back is killing him, but the challenge of building a farm compound from scratch, or just maintainingâ€” the solar (scraping 4 inches of snow off), the water catchment system (we accidentally drained our five thousand gal tank while winterizing the irrigation system then had to hook the windmill back up again to fill it), repairing the water pump and burst pipes, keeping the generator going, periodically hauling a ton of manure (for the spring) from a neighborâ€™s, and planning, always planningÂ the next stages (the greenhouse, breaking ground on the main house next summer…) the sheer scope of what weâ€™re trying to do can be daunting, but he keeps on plugging.
The day to day chores are still there to be done tooâ€”housework (fun to do a whole day of chainsawing then come home to get dinner on, and throw in a load of oil soaked workclothes!), keeping up with the dogsâ€”Pudge and Charlie have adapted to NM, (though C had some issues), keeping food in the house with the nearest shopping in ABQ, getting the xmas newsletter ready!. Planning the greenhouse, and picking out short season cultivars for spring planting (hey itâ€™s 18 degrees out there!), and doing lots of babysitting, on top of helping with the buildingâ€”well I stay busy too.
ANNAâ€”I think mom covered most of what is going on with the family. Iâ€™m trying to balance childcare, teaching (which is really more of a sanity rejuvenator), and finishing my dissertation on fetal/infant skeletal disease. I should finish this spring. I was planning on finishing before Juniper was born, but alas, none of my children like to stay in the womb past seven months. But Juneyâ€™s great. Sheâ€™s sitting up by herself, and standing against furniture. Sheâ€™s a laughing, cheerful little girlâ€”and boy do we appreciate that.Â Now at 7 months she is eating three meals a day (also nursing). She can sit up on her own, sometimes roll over, likes patterns on cloth and chewing on stuff as long as a pacifier isnâ€™t involved.
Bruce is a joy and a challenge. Itâ€™s a good thing heâ€™s so handsome, charming, and sweet natured. Heâ€™s doing a preschool/speech therapy/occupational therapy gig twice a week and seems to really enjoy going and playing. Heâ€™s counting consistently to 7 and 8 and occasionally gets all the way to 10. Heâ€™s great at matching games, and loves puzzles. Heâ€™s extremely high spirited and athletic. Heâ€™s starting to get how basketballs and soccer balls work. Heâ€™s also developing an interest in robots and is totally enchanted with snow.
Eric is still working in public health researching teen tobacco prevention and health care disparities. Much of his passion now lies with sustainability issues, global climate change, biodiesel, peak oil, etc. Heâ€™s also taken up bowhunting. His first hunting trip in November was a disappointment (bad weather came in) and more bad weather in January meant no deer or elk meat for us this season. But he’s getting lots of practice with his bow, and the rabbits are becoming more cautious.