The farm is in southern New Mexico. We live in the Chihuahuan Desert and nearly at the border of Texas and Mexico.
There is substantial evidence of the area being setting for at least 1,100 years and just up the road a bit from the farm is:
Three Rivers Petroglyph Site
Three Rivers Petroglyph Site is one of the few locations in the Southwest set aside solely because of its rock art. It is has over 20,000 petroglyphs, dating from 900 AD to 1400 AD, making it one of the largest and most interesting petroglyph sites in the Desert Southwest.1
We have visited Three Rivers many times as I am a huge history buff and this is a great place to *be part* of history as you are able to walk among the petroglyphs and through the dwelling area. Here is one of the most well known petroglyphs from Three Rivers:
I snapped this photo years ago and every time I look at it I want to go to Three Rivers instantly! Three Rivers documents that people have been living in this area a good long while. Then when we document when the Spanish came to New Mexico it is easy to see that the area has been settled a good long time as the Spanish came in the 1500s.2
New Mexico is not only a place that is sustainable but it is a place that had European colonists here "22 years before the Mayflower landed." 3
It is easy to imagine what a place is like when one has never been there. You see it through what TV, movies, books, or people talking allows you to see it. The truth is this: the desert southwest is a very viable place to live. It is a place that can sustain you in modern times or in means of old that you can implement. I would like to share that here on the farm we utilize both the technology available and the methods used in times past to thrive.
Living in New Mexico is surprisingly easy. The climate makes for adaptation on when one goes outside to work but a simple adjustment makes each day as usable as other places. On the farm we have our own well. Yep. We have water. With the well and well planned gardening techniques we can grow pretty much anything that is grown elsewhere.
Here are some photos of things we have grown in our little desert farm:
Herbs and greens
a variety of summer squash
and winter squash
to every kind of pepper.
The method is to conserve the water in a raised bed style of garden. We use tires. Although we are in the process of relocating the garden, this is how it looked before the plants began to grow:
and here the garden mid season:
and this is the garden in a year that was quite rainy:
|this was from a VERY green year with far more water than usual as you can see!|
The idea that it is not a climate that one can survive in is not realistic. Water preservation and desert gardening have been in place for centuries. In fact, at the Gila Cliff Dwellings north of Silver City, New Mexico, Native Americans grew quite a bit of food in a style using each plant in the most beneficial ways.
Bill and I spent several days in the Silver City area, and I was invigorated with how much the Native Americans did with so little and have continued on my quest here on the farm to live with that mindset a bit tweaked for 21st century living.
In addition, we have been able to raise a multitude of critters including ducks and geese because we have our well and could create an environment that allowed for them to thrive.
First with small sleds, then a child's pool became their watering hole. Here on the farm the ducks we raised were part of the Mafia...
While sharing about what we have done, we have also researched a good deal about this climate we live in, and discovered how and what could keep us alive if we had to forage. There is a great deal available in this climate~but one must know and be aware.
As I close I wish to share some things I think of as a resident of such a rural, desert climate. First, in the case of a power outage, the farm and its inhabitants can survive. We have water and can augment things to adapt to no electricity. We have wood heat as well as a method of cooking indoors on the woodstove, or outdoors on the firepit to cook and prepare meals and prepare water for bathing, drinking, and washing even clothing. An outhouse can quickly be put up to handle the necessity of health and safety of human waste~which in a city becomes a major issue quite quickly. Living in the desert is a wonderful life that has granted us the opportunity to have a place that does provide for many of our needs.
Living in New Mexico on the farm has been a lovely experience and I hope and pray that Bill and I continue to live here for the rest of our lives~even if we must share this environment with my greatest fear~ the snake.
1"Native American Culture in New Mexico." New Mexico True. Web. March 11, 2016. http://www.newmexico.org/true-history/#article75740
2 Torrez, Robert, J. " A Cuarto Centennial History of New Mexico." New Mexico Genealogical Society. Web. March 11, 2016. http://www.nmgs.org/artcuar2.htm
3 "500 Years of Hispanic Culture." New Mexico True. Web. March 11, 2016. http://www.newmexico.org/true-history/#article83463