It Never Stops….


It seems I haven’t been able to update since Halloween. Egads. I’ll try to give quick updates on everything before detailing our homestead progress.

For the holidays, my daughter, Carol, held dinner for us. She is such an outrageously good cook. I like to consider myself her first teacher, but at this point, she is teaching me!! Have I mentioned she has a cookbook out that I use and love? (click here for link to cookbook) Now she’s working on a new one, and I just know it will probably be as good, if not better, than the first!

Popcorn (our latest family addition) has gone from a little bundle of fur to a powerhouse of energy. She is sooo funny and still cuddly, but will only tolerate a quick hug before running to get one of her toys. Afterall, time for a cuddle means there’s time for play!

Due to roof leaks, we had to redo the ceiling in two rooms. First step, Jim went up and replaced most of the roof and the rest he patched. Fortunately, this was done before the weather turned arctic — it was chilly, but not insanely cold and windy yet.

We thought the living room was completed, but leaks meant having to redo the ceiling. Just look at the mess that leak made! Now it looks pretty again!

The sun room’s leak was the worst. Thankfully, we had not really started re-doing that room, so it was still in need of overall overhaul. The leak meant Jim had to redo the adobe, then stucco on the ceiling, above the window, and below the window. With all the windows, the warming sun helped dry everything quickly, so then we focused on finishing up the room.

Jim sealed all the gaps in the ceiling boards, sealed the windows, sealed the ristras to the ceiling, patched all the nail holes and cracks, and then painting.

The hodge-podge of dark colors on the walls and windows took two and three coats, but now the room looks huge!

The only thing left is scrubbing the brick flooring and sealing that. Whew! That leaves curtains and moving furniture into the room. Guess I will have to make the ultimate sacrifice and go shopping at the fabric and/or hobby store. **sigh** How I suffer! (**giggle**)

I plan on making the little alcove into a mini-office. The rest of the room will either be a guest room or our grandkid’s room. Check out the view from that room on the last night of painting!

Have I mentioned that Jim’s oldest (daughter Stephanie) has fallen on hard times. She, Novelle, and the kids had been living on the reservation, but she was booted out because she wasn’t Native. She left the kids with Novelle while she tried to get situated. Then, Novelle developed cancer, did not tell anyone, and reservation folks found out just before he passed away. Long story-short: Jim and I are trying to get guardianship of the kids instead of having them separated in various homes, but it has proven to be a nightmare. I am Native, but not from that reservation; Jim is not Native at all. Plus, Novelle had a 401K and life insurance that has been cashed in. The folks at that rez are using the kids’ inheritance plus the monthly survivors stipend from the government to live on; we opened trust accounts to hold that money for the kids’ future, which we don’t get unless we get the kids (if any is left). Put it all together and you have a mess. The Indian Child Protection Act is overall a great thing, but unfortunately, it can be manipulated in the wrong way. Nonetheless, we are going to keep trying to get our grandbabies. Wish us luck!

Improvise, Improve, Invent


Have been so busy I haven’t had a moment’s quiet, so haven’t been able to post the latest and greatest. Sorry about this minor delay in updates! I will now give the highlights.

We finished repairing the walls and ceiling of the dining room. Jim took the extra coral paint we used in the kitchen, mixed it with white paint and managed to come out with a pastel coral. I am absolutely thrilled with the results!

I also finished and put up the crochet curtain for the French door. It puckers in the center, so to insure that the finished work actually fits the door, it was taped in place. Now the challenge of figuring out how to make it lay straight all the way down. If anyone has any suggestions, I sure would appreciate it!

To continue the work, especially in adding a walk-in closet for the bedroom and redoing the roof, we are going to need wood. Have you checked out the price of wood right now? Just for basic materials we would practically have to take out a mortgage. After the shell shock wore off we brain-stormed. The decision was to remove the porch on the trailer we are presently living in — the wood is in almost perfect shape, so the tear down has begun.

After tearing down the roof and sides, Jim pulled out our hot tub, which he is going to install later at the house. We were able to acquire a lot of reusable materials!

In this picture you can see the old, non-functioning hot tub that was there just beyond ours. The spot of the old hot tub will one day be my utility room and our tub will be installed after we put in new flooring, plumbing, etc. Yeppers, too much work to consider right now, but one day our dream will be a reality.

Our old and fully-functional hot tub — a future installation project

I also am sad to report that one of my favorite chickens, Drama Queen, passed away. I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but she was over nine years old and had not been laying eggs for quite some time. We have several “retired” hens that continue to teach the younger ladies and live a relatively pampered life. My Drama Queen was particularly affectionate and was always doing something to make me smile. So, I sure do miss her!

Drama Queen, gone but not forgotten!

Warm Weather Begins


It’s no longer a mild Arctic region — temps in the 70s & 80s most days. I’m loving it! On one of the warmer days we were using the hoses to start softening the soil in preparation of gardening efforts. Well, one of our porkers (Wilbur), who is solid white with a few black spots, pulled a Houdini and got out of the chicken/pig run. Not a problem, except he wanted to cuddle after finding those great wet spots …..

Anyone want to cuddle?

We finished sealing the dining room ceiling and have painted it white (versus dark colors). The room looks so much bigger, the drafty feeling is gone and it now echoes in there!

The debate has begun as to what color to paint the dining room walls. Really kind of funny. I jokingly suggested lime green with flourescent orange trim. My poor hubby. Thought his eyes were gonna leave the sockets. I’ll take pictures to show the end result later!

Our other big challenge has been installing a door on the bedroom. To my delight, Jim put in a French door — am so excited about it. I’m almost done crocheting a curtain for it, which I’ll proudly show off when done!

Almost done installing!

Next on the agenda is finishing up the kitchen, then the living room. By then it should be warm enough to do the roof. In between all that, prep and plant the garden.

I keep telling myself to not worry about the shopping list of to-do’s but focus on one thing at a time. Anyone have hints on how to productively exercise patience?

The World Got Crazy


So much has happened in the last few weeks, I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I will backtrack with events, then I’ll go over some of the progress we’ve made.

First off — Chicken Disaster

I had about 9 roosters and 85 hens. They were all so loving and tame, and so many different breeds since I have almost had a chicken rescue. I now have about 14 hens and 4 roosters. We were invaded by rogue dogs, coyotes and a few grey fox.

We, at first, couldn’t figure out what was going wrong. Sometimes I would just find a pile of feathers. I was frantic. My two pot-belly pigs had scratches and bite marks, and they were skittish and never left each other’s side, always ready to declare war on anything but me. Jim decided to stand stood watch one evening with his rifle and discovered what was causing the havoc.

These predators had found a hole in our fencing that is now fixed, but in early evening they were having themselves a feast. No more! After a week of peace the chickens and pigs have settled down and are mellow again, but it was crazy for a few nights.

Second Disaster — Theft at our House

We don’t maintain a schedule of when we went to our house to work — sometimes it was every day, sometimes we stayed overnight, sometimes we would not go for a week. Every time we go we load up either vehicles Jim is working on (his hobby is repairing/restoring vehicles), towing our other vehicles down, or loading up materials, tools and packed boxes.

About a month ago we drove down in two vehicles — our pick-up truck loaded with stuff and Jim’s white Jeep Wrangler with black soft top. He had just finished fixing it up with new tires, stereo system, rebuilt motor, etc. We had plans to use it in the near future to take a fishing/camping trip and were excited that it was finally ready to roll. This picture was taken just before the new tires and hubs were put on – Jim put on some heavy-duty black hubs when replacing the tires.

Well, one night when we were not there, someone cut the fence, drove over the fence posts (pretty much destroying them), and towed the Jeep away! They had to have destroyed the steering column in order to allow the wheels to turn because the wheels froze when not started, and the thief certainly did not have the key. We are crushed! After years of working on it and slowly saving up money for parts, etc., we were actually going to be able to use it.

So, obviously, if anyone sees it, I ask that the Socorro Sheriff’s office be called immediately (575-835-0941).

Household Progress

I’ve been painting, Jim’s been working on improving the lighting in the house.


This is the new fixture in the bedroom! The ceiling is a pastel mint green, the trim is mint green and the walls are white. It has turned into my favorite room at this point!

In the kitchen, there was one very dark corner — not any more! This hanging light is now going to grace what will one day be my “Coffee Corner.”


Then outside, we decided something had to be done before winter hits to try to save as much of the wood as possible. So, I tested the blue we acquired for the trim. What do you think?


Then with a simple white base coat I started to paint the wooden ristras (see the dark brown, weatherworn wood above the window?). The blue trim paint will be done later.


Last bit of progress — the alternate section of the kitchen was equally dark, so I painted the door of the pantry. Its amazing how a little bit of paint brightened everything up! Here’s the before and after:

Let There Be Light!


We have been focusing on finishing up the base coat of paint on anything that doesn’t need patching. Just the blah-white base coat is brightening things so much.

Corner of kitchen

This is one corner in the kitchen. You can see where we’ve put down the base coat — the vomit violet is still visible around the area that needs patching. Behind this wall was the busted water heater we took out. As soon as the wall is done drying out, we will be able to patch it.

While I was putting base coat down, Jim got busy with the wiring. A lot of the wiring was done wrong, so he redid the wiring in the kitchen ceiling, installed a huge light fixture, and set it up so it has an on-off switch instead of a pull cord hanging off a light bulb. Wow — talk about a major difference! The fixture has wood trim, but it’s hard to see against the ceiling (which will be completely replaced one day).


Soon the piping for the stove will be redone so it will be against the back wall instead, and then, we will repair the wall by the wood-burning oven.

We have also temporarily set up the bedroom with a cot and a few amenities. This way we can come in to work, spend one night, and the following day work until late afternoon. We have animals to feed, so we can’t be gone that long!


Jim has also been rewiring everything in the bedroom. There were light switches that didn’t work, exposed wires hanging from the ceiling, and a bare bulb with a pull chain in one corner.

He’s installed an old hanging lamp he had in storage that works with a dimmer switch! It’s perfect for us in the bedroom. And, yes, we still have newspaper taped to the windows. We haven’t finished painting yet, so there was no point in removing the paper.

My seedlings should be ready to plant next week, so we’ll probably focus a little on rototilling the garden plot next time we are there. I’m so excited to start on our crop of veggies!

Beginning New Year’s Efforts


About a week ago we had a major wind storm blow through. Anything loose was flying all over the llano (desert plains), including people that were silly enough to be out there. Well, your’s truly was out there to feed the hooligans. Couldn’t believe the chickens braved those winds — hunkered down, but out of the hen house and following behind me as best they could in anticipation of food and treats.

While out there, I kept hearing this loud chirping but couldn’t see them from inside the chicken run. After feeding and watering the pigs and chickens, I went to investigate. A few feet outside the chicken run were seven two-legged cotton balls being blown by the wind so hard they were being rolled across the yard! Felt so sorry for those little buggers. I chased around and stuck them in the feed bucket as I caught them. They were so traumatized, they just sat and huffed without making a sound!

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Those puff balls are now in a dog crate in my living room. They are some happy little buggers and each eat enough to feed two chickens. Can’t believe I have chicks already. Wasn’t planning on having any until the end of this month or middle of next month. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

With the weather warming we’ve started working on the house again While Jim was patching and plumbing, I started painting. I managed to do all the cutting in of the bedroom windows and the last two walls. The first two walls were done when my Mom was out visiting. It was time to finish up!

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You get an idea here of how dark the colors were. The windows had been painted a real dark brick red with the dark yellowish walls, dark brick red ceiling and black painted press wood flooring.

undefinedThe one corner of the bedroom has a small wood-burning stove. Near the ceiling, behind the stovepipe, the wall was almost gone. So Jim patched that huge hole. We won’t tackle the ceiling until the roof is repaired, so for now it stays the brooding brick color.

The work has begun — and one of my goals for this month is to rototill the section where my future garden will be going. Am starting seeds and have high hopes!

Encouraging Touches


Despite the cold weather (to us in New Mexico, anything lower than 50 degrees is cold), we have tried to continue our work at wall repair. Unfortunately, the cold means the fresh adobe we’re using to repair the walls does not dry very quickly, not to mention the fact that mixing up the raw adobe outside in the wind and rain is challenging. Firing up the woodburning stoves help, but we needed something that is a little more consistent and less labor intensive. So, Jim went on-line to hunt for a propane heater that we could use.

undefinedWe found one, but its going to require some work. Needless to say, Jim has a new project that he’s working on and it is taking priority over all else. He’s ordered some parts for it, and now we wait.

We’ve been firing up the wood-burning stoves as usual, continue to work on patching and repairing walls, and decided we needed a moral boost. So we started painting.

After several coats of white primer, we painted one wall in the kitchen. Mom had visited last month and this is the color she suggested for the kitchen. We taped paper on everything that was not to be painted and got to work. What do you think?

This is the window above the sink area — first taped up, then painted. undefined undefined

This is the area around the door. Again, first taped up, then painted. undefined undefined

What do you think?

We were “on a roll,” so we attacked the dungeon room (to one day be the dining room). The walls need repair and had been painted with a dark brown brick color and dark brown trim. The room has a tiny window that is obstructed by a swamp cooler making it oppressive.

This was the room we had most of the tools in with a work table. As you can see from the pictures, the walls will need a lot of work, but with the white primer, the room looks so different!

undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined Yes, some of the original color is still bleeding through. Yes, the dull white is boring. However, now we can even see what we’re doing in there now!

This has us really fired up. Instead of just making adobe, dragging the buckets in, then patching and patching and patching, then waiting for the patches to dry (which takes forever in the cold). Now we are starting to really see some progress. Yes, there’s still a lot of work to do. But there’s hope!!

Holiday Hiatus


We had thought to finish most of the kitchen before the holidays.  Included in the plans was moving the propane stove out of the dark corner.  After disconnecting OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe propane lines and moving the stove away from the wall, we found that wall and flooring was also in awful condition.  So, Jim patched and filled in the holes in the wall and put in cement on the floor.  Now we wait for everything to dry.

My Mom also came out to visit for Christmas, so we enlisted her help in priming a few walls in the bedroom.  The walls were a dark brick red with black ceiling and black floor — depressing!  So, focusing on two walls that don’t require much attention other than painting, Mom and I accomplished great feats!  Jim fired up the spray painter and we’ve discovered Mom loved that gizmo!

After these accomplishments, we decided to let the house rest so we could enjoy Mom’s company to go shopping, watching movies, story telling, cooking and laughing.  Mom made some of her infamous Apple Bread and Death by Chocolate Cake.  Jim ate so much cake he made himself sick, but that hasn’t stopped any of us from appreciating Mom’s culinary delights!

I absolutely hated to see Mom leave to go home, but we plan on making a trip this year to see her.  So, I guess a temporary separation isn’t too bad.