Last year we decided to make some long term commitments. At the end of June we will be saying our vows to each other. We also jumped headfirst into a long term plan for building an organic farm, a new home and a wildlife refuge. In lieu of gifts for our wedding we would appreciate support for our endeavors to keep local farming alive using sustainable practices.
Our land is located in Jaconita, NM, just west of Pojoaque and halfway between Santa Fe and Los Alamos on the banks of the Pojoaque river. The open 6 acres has dozens of mature grandmother cottonwoods over 100 years old and is quite flat and ready to farm. It was recently lightly used horse pasture and probably was farmed before the 1950s. The land has abundant acequia water rights (irrigation ditch from the 1800s) and a very strong shared well but no power.
Sunsets are just amazing looking toward the Jemez Mountains while basking in the Sangre de Cristo mountains to the east (they are still snow capped this year!)
We both love plants and providing food not only for ourselves but food and habit for wildlife and pollinators. Thus our first project was to get the soil improved via seeding grasses and wildflowers and getting more reliable water to the land.
The water from the well was never brought to the land, thus we worked over the last two months non-stop on installing 1100' of 3" and 2" PVC, buried vertical culverts, irrigation manifolds, spigots and a controller with borrowed power from the old well 550' away. We did most of this work ourselves to keep the costs as low as possible.
We also got a great deal on shrubs and trees from a state program and planted over 170 tiny trees and shrubs around the eastern perimeter of the land to provide habit for birds and replace mature cottonwoods decades in the future as well as allow removal of invasive olive trees. Some plants are edible for us too like 25 Nanking cherries, golden currants and a zillion choke cherries!
We also are starting a small orchard with apples, cherries, pears, grapes and blackberries from Tooley's Trees of Truchas. All of his plants are locally selected from species adapted to this land over many generations of New Mexico farmers.
We have spent much more than we were planning to get a good foundation established but feel it will be worth years from now. We have great water pressure from anywhere on the land and avoid dragging 100s of feet of hose around.
So, what else do we want to grow? We are still figuring things out, but things that excite us are: Quinoa, Hemp, hoop houses with veggies and native plant seeds for land restoration projects on the west/wild end.
We are also working with a local scientist/farmer that is preserving and improving landrace seeds for corn (chicos!!!), beans and chiles that have been grown for hundreds of years in the northern New Mexico Valleys in order to ensure families can keep farming alive, even when resources are scarce. We will grow these plants as well as set aside the best seed as a first priority, then share with local farmers so they can keep the old traditions alive.
We will also assist in the newly available hemp farming for CBD oil and fiber and direct sowing of seed, which is much more economical than buying seedlings from limited suppliers for poor farmers. Hemp is profitable enough (and builds soil quality on low water!) that this reduces the chance of families selling their water rights to developments, which slowly strangles community interaction and acequia traditions.
Chris also became a commissioner on our acequia, the Acequia de la Otra Banda, as a way to give back and help ensure that our incredibly unique acequia culture continues to thrive.
In conclusion, we are working out the details to find a creative way to transition to living on the land and building a small and sustainable house. We are excited for the future and appreciate any support.
Please come out and visit us on the land any time and even plan a little camping retreat to see a zillion stars.