When we began this farm, it was in name only. I grew up back east, and know what a typical farm looks like and loosely envisioned that here. We named the farm The Double Nickel Farm and truly put the cart before the horse, because we knew we were willing to invest some sweat~equity towards our dream. But in southern New Mexico a battle is ongoing with the Mesquite bush, the sage, the cacti, the soil, and the critters. We have problems with rattlesnakes, javelina's, coyotes, as well as some folks that recently moved to the canyon that won't secure their dogs. Each year we set a new goal, and realize that this farm may take several more years to come into focus, but everything here...Everything, has been done by us. Initially we began headfirst acquiring animals. The kids and I mucked out sheep pens on a local ranch in trade for the start of our Navajo sheep. I did not want any sheep, but sheep that are native to the southwest, so we cleaned out stalls.
We also, mostly due to lack of any surplus funding, have lived by the low cost~ no cost method of building our farm. I have shared posts about how we built a coop out of campaign signs as well as other re~purposing methods. This year we set a goal of fencing the entire perimeter of the property. We have fences for the sheep pens, the cow pen, the birthing pens etc, but we need that added barrier. Fencing for barter/trade/ or work takes a bit more time, yet, we finally gathered everything we need, and last week began.
It is not easy. The thorns in the Mesquite are huge, as I show from a photo I took a few years ago.The fence begins with hauling this wagon to every corner. The tires are filled with the sludge as no tire is safe out here.
This is the south side of the property. The cleared land is not ours. We are the land with all the mesquite and brush.
Intermingled with the brush are bushes with fine thin stickers. It takes days to get out the little shards that find you, even from ten feet away!
Third posing near the southeast corner...note the junk at this corner. Even though the property is not too large, we still have much to do in the primary use areas so these far edge areas have not been cleaned(yet).
This is the southwest corner. I always get excited as we work on another project as that takes us one step closer to the dream... Bill sat on the porch with the family and told them to look all around. He reminded them of how it looked a few years ago, and of the work each one has done. Then he shared that someday, when they come back with their children, they will be able to walk them around and share the work that they did. "See that fence? I dug that hole, cleared hundreds of Mesquite bush, and tugged the field fence up. We used only the strength of our bodies and what you see today is only possible because a family had a dream and was willing to work at it."
I was humbled listening to Bill share this with the kids. In times of a now society, my children have had an opportunity to be part of a life that reminds me of yesteryear. I reflect upon those that moved to raw land and it may have taken a lifetime to accomplish the settled farm look. I have a great appreciation for our nation and those that settled in uncharted regions and made America what it became. Ambition, desire, and hope for a better life for the next generation made a pathway for today. Can we look back to those that settled this incredible country to bring us back into focus? Can we get off of the handout train, and plant a few things to provide something for our own? Can we live without a cell phone, television or new clothes if we do not have the money for them? I pray we can...as times are changing and we either take our nation or we fall as civilizations have in the past. Sadly I worry that complacency most likely will be the determining factor on the outcome.