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!



We had a little bit of fun since our last blog.

Jim bought a pumpkin, scraped out most of the meat from the inside and made a great Jack-o-Lantern. I loved it! As it slowly caved in, it got even scarier. Finally, it collapsed and we gave it to the pigs. They thought they had died and gone to heaven!

We had a few weeks of almost continuous, daily rain. No great deluge, but a steady drizzle that took a toll on our future livingroom. Just look at the scarey results of that roof leak!

So, Jim went up top and discovered the previous owner had smeared some stuff called SnoRoof on top of old tar paper. Well, it leaked. So, Jim put up some repaired propanel and sealed the cracks with silicone. We will have to redo and replace the entire roof, but hopefully it can wait until next spring! On a day that is too nasty to work outside, we’ll fix the ceiling.

Meanwhile, it was decided to get the chicken/pig run ready for the critters, plus the critter house. We are going to use the old trailer that had been left.

Jim and I patched it up somewhat and spent two weeks doing nothing but cleaning it out. What we did not bag up for the trash was thrown out the door. Just look at the pile we will have to sort through later (in our ‘spare time’).

Inside the trailer we found some rotting carpet pieces that hid rotting floor boards. So, we will have to put down wood on the floors before we can put up some poles for roosting. The old tables we found in there we will be keeping and making them into tiered laying boxes. Before tackling this project, we turned our attention to the future “animal run.”

After some deliberation, it was decided to allow the old dying tree to remain. We opted to clean it all up to give the critters a personalized jungle gym. Just cleaning up that mess meant another week of daily work, plus using the bobcat to move the piles of rocks and boulders. When that project is done, I’ll post pictures of our masterpiece!

Using the old trailer as the critters’ house means making sure they don’t crawl under it to escape, right? So, we piled as many rocks as we could under it and then Jim started piling dirt around it.

We took one day off to attend the Albuquerque Youth Pow Wow. That was so much fun! It was Jim’s first, and I managed to get him to dance one All Nations Dance. Those kids were wonderful and the food was incredible. The Native chef that prepared the public feast is working on a cookbook, and judging by the eats we had, its gonna be one I’m gonna want!

Looks like the weather is starting to seriously change, so we hope to kick it into high gear in order to finish up all the outside work. We can then focus on moving in. That will mean we will be living in a construction zone, but we continue having high hopes. Can you believe Turkey Day is almost here?

Drama Queen & The Sky is Falling


Our humble on-going project of getting the house ready to live in never fails to surprise. For those that don’t already know — Jim is disabled and after working an hour or two, he has to stop to rest. After a few of the necessary rest periods, he has to quit for the day. If he pushes too hard, he gets laid up for days, so to answer the question posed by a few folks — its taking a while to get everything done because of physical limitations. I have zero mechanical ability and poor Jim is a loveable gimp.

We planned on filling in the gaps between the boards of the ceilings first, but with the cold weather Jim thought we should check out the insulation. It seemed that the house kept getting cold rather quickly despite fixing all the holes in the exterior walls and sealing the windows. **sigh**

We crawled up there and discovered the planks held some trash and about 1/8 inch of dusty dirt, most of which kept leaking through the cracks between the planks into the house. We also discovered that the propanel metal sheets were nailed onto the roof beams without backing or sealing, so there are huge holes letting in the rain, snow and cold air.

We have an old house trailer that we have been stripping for materials (i.e., the kitchen cabinets). So we spent one day taking down the ceiling tiles, ripping out the plastic sheeting, and removing the insulation..

Early the next morning we carted the insulation to the house and coated the entire attic with the insulation. Since we plan on doing the roof this summer, we are not going to worry about all the excess “ventilation” right away. We have noticed a significant difference already. Now we plan on returning to the job of caulking all the gaps between all the planks in the ceiling, then painting.

Meanwhile, my “ladies” never fail to entertain me. Whenever one of my chickens is ill or injured, I utilize a cat carrier that is lined with straw and paper strips. I put the sickie in the carrier, bring it into the house, and they have a quiet corner with a food dish loaded with goodies and a water dispenser — all to themself. Usually the sickie spends one full day (a few rare times more than one day) and when they improve, they rejoin the colony outside.

Well, I recently tended to an injured rooster and a few days later I discovered one of my hens was limping. I watched her for a while, then checked her feet and legs to be sure. She seemed to be okay and I let her stay.

The next day when I went into the chicken run, this one hen took a few steps, flopped over and refused to move any further. I really got worried and went to check her. She cooed when I picked her up to inspect her legs and feet. I didn’t see anything wrong, put her back down and went to prepare the cat carrier despite not knowing what could be wrong.

Before returning I looked out the window and guess who was running, jumping and scurrying around for the scratch and dried worms with the rest of the ladies…. yep, you guessed it. My “wounded” lady was doing fine — until I went back outside and approached the chicken run. All of a sudden, she stopped, dropped and drooped her head while watching me closely.

My Drama Queen

I decided to leave her out there that day. The next day, sure enough, when she saw me, she was just pitiful. When I was out of view, she was doing just fine. No one ever told me that chickens could be drama queens!

The Work Goes On


With things being as they are (virus protocols), we will not be having family coming out to visit this year, nor are we planning on anything extra for the holidays. Instead, we continue to work at getting the house livable and we intend to make next year’s holidays super duper!

So what are we doing now? Focusing on the ceilings. The crawl space under the roof has little to no insulation and the ceilings are lined-up planks with space between them. Guess where the heat goes! So we are giving the ceilings one quick base coat of paint, sealing the cracks, then finishing up with a second coat of paint. We have almost finished the dining room and have already noticed a BIG difference!

Base coat being applied
Base coat plus grout filling

We plan on replacing the entire roof in the Spring/Summer, so we’ll be putting in plenty of insulation then. Meanwhile, sealing the numerous cracks should help (we hope).

We also are having a large propane tank installed to fuel the dryer and stove. Before the tank could be delivered, we had to provide a flattened area for the tank to sit. Jim did a great job leveling a spot in the location the propane company specified. While the roof is removed, we hope to install piping for a couple of propane heaters in a few rooms as well. We are determined to be prepared for living in our home next winter!!

Last big development — we have a new family member! Meet Lady Bird (she tries to talk and it sounds like bird chirping). She’s a lab mix and about 4 months old. She will be our “outside” dog one day to guard our property. I know, I know, labs are not vicious. But, we don’t want vicious — we want protective and noisy.

Lady Bird helping Daddy dig

She is surrounded by Chihuahuas, and at this time, our smallest Chi (named Princess Peaches & Cream — Peach, for short) is her bestest friend. Cracks me up how they play together.

One thing I’ve seen however, Lady is almost as bad as my pigs. She’s always on the prowl for something edible. Anything laying around is going to get chewed on (including cords, shoes, pens, etc.). And, she loves to run. Even when she trips over her own feet, she covers the entire acre in seconds flat! Lady is so lovable and cuddly.

That’s it for December. Here’s hoping and praying everyone stays safe for the holidays, and please, please — wear your mask until the dangers of dying of this awful disease has ended! Hugs to all.

Never a Dull Moment


We have yet to recover our Jeep or have any word whether it has been found, but we continue to hope.

My surviving tomatoes are soaking up the sun

With the change in weather, some of the work has slowed down and the few tomato plants I was able to save were put into the sun room. I knew outside they would freeze at night and the sun room has great windows! After squirrels attacked everything, I was not sure I would be able to nurse these few survivors into fruition, but there is hope!! My efforts have been rewarded! I have some tomatoes.

Just look at how big they’ve gotten. They are heirloom purple tomatoes, so are super sweet and meaty (knowledge from past experience). The first three tomatoes that I’ve harvested I’m saving for seeds — I have high hopes for next year. The remainder I stroke, murmur to, and wait in anticipation of being ready to pick. Although I won’t have enough for canning this year, you can rest assured that they will be lovingly sliced and appreciated with plenty of lip smacking!

One unforeseen occurrence — it actually snowed here last month. Broke all kinds of records for our area. I know, I know. Snow in October is not headline news in most of the world, but in this little corner of New Mexico, it was extraordinary. Snow flurries here means everything shuts down, including roads and highways. We got a few inches of snow, so the shut downs were for a couple days before the sun was able to melt everything.

A leaky roof is NOT good for adobe!

Well, as the snow melted, the roof leaked, and soaked the walls in the sunroom. This happened when we weren’t there, so when we were finally able to get to the house, we found a huge section of the wall by the ceiling had collapsed onto packed boxes. Such a mess!

Look at all the broken up adobe!

We have been using the sun room for storage of boxes while the rest of the house is being worked on, and to put the tomato plants so they get plenty of sun. I am sooooo grateful the part of the wall that collapsed missed my beloved tomatoes.

With almost all the holes that exposed the inside to the outside being repaired, the difference inside is amazing. We heat up the house and within a few hours (after the adobe walls warm up), the house is so toasty and comfortable! I am soooo looking forward to being able to live there. We just have to fix the roof next spring!

One Wall Almost Done!


Jim has pretty much finished the one kitchen wall and is working on the flooring in front of the wall now.  Turns out the flooring was put directly on dirt, so some of the flooring is horribly warped or rotted.  Jim plans on putting down cement on the area below the area where the long kitchen cabinet will be placed, then cover with tongue-in-grove planks.  The final step will be installing the cabinet and hooking up the plumbing.

We also started working on the living room.  On one wall there was a huge area above a small window that was in horrible shape.  It was possible to see the great outdoors through the wall!  Jim has filled in the gaps with that new cement-adobe mixture and a huge draft is now gone!


Once the large cabinet in the kitchen is in place (with plumbing hooked up), we’ll finish off the livingroom wall.

When not working on the two walls, focus has been made to patch the roof.  Whenever it rained, water gushed into the house and the walls at the gush melted down and made huge mud puddles in the house.  Most of the puddles were in the sun room and bedroom.

I’d show pictures of the roof’s progress, but it would take some major event for me to mount those ladders just to take pictures!  Egads, how does Jim do it?  For that matter, how do roofers do it?  I’d need two-three well-secured safety harnesses and a case of Depends….