The Gavilan Farmstead & Trading Post is comprised of family, and friends working to build a self sufficient farm and community in Lindrith, New Mexico.
The farmstead produces various vegetables in a ½ acre garden and two petite greenhouses. In addition to livestock such as a large herd of Goats (for Dairy, Meat, and Cashmere), a few Cows (Beef and Dairy), One adorable Yak, Laying hens, and Heritage Hogs.
Some of our residents produce various arts and crafts that are offered for sale and can be seen (and purchased!) on our Etsy page
Farm internships are available to those that are interested in working in exchange for education, food, and an awesome place to stay. (See our "Internships" section for details)
Pabu having a one yak pool party.
As some of you may know, we have had the cows and horses successfully running as one herd, corralled in small paddocks of about an acre or two, made of temporary electric fence that we move every few days to a new location. This enables us to grow more grass for livestock and wildlife alike (more on that in a previous post: Grazin' )
While checking on our herd last week, we discovered (thanks to all of the mud we have around here these days) reoccurring bear tracks weaving in and out of our herd's grazing cell, and some rather worried looking horses.
These tracks are belonging to a young black bear that's been in the neighborhood for several months. One of our lucky interns actually got to see this bear meandering along the highway last month (I am super jealous!).
We decided it best to move out of that location and to let the cows and horses free roam the entire property for the week rather than leave them in a small entrapment where they might easily become tasty bear snacks.
This gave the animals time to get into some mischief while they possessed such freedom, including: A cattle migration a few miles and properties over to rendezvous with the neighbor's Hereford bull; the horses getting into barns to tear things up and generally make a pain of themselves; and gave Pabu some much desired swim time in the pond (The guy seriously loves water). But by the end of the week, with no signs of the bear, the fun is over and it's back into the paddock to get back to some important grazing work.
Moving the herd back to the paddock. Horses off camera, goats and dogs just tagging along
I decided I need to be posting more Pabu pictures for his admiring fans. I'll try to make a habit of it.
We've had almost two solid weeks of rain (plus a few weeks of sporadic rain before hand), which has included not one, but TWO torrential down pours! The first big rain filled our dry and cracked pond, or at least we thought it was full, until the second big rain came, which flooded the upper field and is drowning the Chamisa brush on the pond sides. It's wonderful to see so much water in all of the water catchments and to see the fields green with grass and almost all of the bare ground carpeted with succulent Purslane while the shaded areas are exploding with various fungi. This is the most rain we've seen on the ranch in our nine years here, pretty cool and we hope it keeps coming!
(A gully washer 'filling' the pond during the first big rain)
They're singing a 'welcome to the porch' song, I think.
(The day after the snow)
Along with two of our wonderful interns, we have been busy in the garden with planning, plotting, prepping, and planting our early season crops. Yesterday we ended our gardening day early, postponing our carrot planting agenda because the wind was blowing fiercely. Besides the risk of our carrot seeds blowing right out of our hands continuing on over the continental divide, it was a less than pleasant work environment.
This morning we awoke to the ground covered in snow, and big fluffy wet flakes have been falling rapidly and consistently all day. Even if the cold is a little hazardous to our more tender plant species, the moisture is always a most welcomed sight here, being that the dry periods are often times far too long and are not very conducive to growing much of anything. It is genuinely exciting for us when we think of the opportunities and productivity that a little spring moisture can present to our arid landscape.
Before the snow hit, Diane and I were out checking some pastures and discussing how the grass is growing this spring (The conversations around here are absolutely riveting, let me tell you). On the way back we swung by the mailbox. There we found a single letter with no return address; the envelope included a few packets of vegetable seeds, a generous cash donation, and a really touching letter. As we sat in the idling car next to the quiet highway, reading the letter, we couldn't help shed a few tears at such a kind gesture from a stranger feeling some spring joy; and we're feeling it too! Thank you Rozanne, and please do stop by if you're in the area!
We had a surprise on March 18th but I am late to report: Introducing Dobby the house-goat!
Kidding season does not start until April but as things go, you can usually count on a surprise or two when waiting for kidding season to begin. I was out in the garden on March 18th when I heard the sound of a goat bleat in a sort of grunting tone that clearly meant a labor contraction (Apparently, I speak goat). Antoinette was going into early labor! She kidded without issues and showed a lot of interest in caring for her two new kids, unfortunately these two kids needed a lot more help than a towel off and a teat. They were severely premature and were unable to even try to stand. So, into the house they went.
We set them up on the heating pad near the wood stove to 'cook them' a bit longer and they were tube fed a mixture of Colostrum and Coffee to get them started. I've honestly never seen such pathetic looking kids, they were so under developed that we all had our doubts about their survival. We lost the weaker of the two on the second night, while the stronger one was slowly making progress towards becoming a goat. He could be picked up and set on his feet to stand for short amounts of time and was becoming brighter and was happily eating between long sound sleeps. Within a few more days he could stand and walk a few steps and by about a week and a half old he was caught up to what a new born goat should be; able to stand up, walk and lightly frolic. At week two he is finally able to run, jump and cause trouble, like any healthy goat should!
To my dismay, the once eager mother was not able to bond with her kid while he spent his time in the warm house incubating and she understandably has no interest what so ever in caring for this kid, there is also no other kids for him to hang out with in the barn (yet) and so he has been living in the house and under foot, thus he is our little house goat. It's only a matter of time before he is jumping on the table so we're all hopeful he'll have some friends soon to keep him company in the barn!
My First Holistic Planned Grazing Chart!
I hatched this baby out last month (well, it's still got a lot of blanks that need filling in). The picture is not very descriptive or interesting but this chart is going to be a real game changer around here, as it serves as an open ended plan for this season's grazing period on the ranch, as performed by our two herds of animals; the goat herd and the bovine/equine herd. This chart is a great stress reliever by allowing us to “see” our potential time, space and forage requirements vs. availability for the season, while also aiding us in our efforts of monitoring, and manipulating our animal friend's movements in a healthy effective manner, and in doing so, will move us towards our goals of improving the land's ability to support a diverse community of life.
This chart comes from “Holistic Management International” and It's difficult for me to really explain effectively what I am going on about, as it's pretty complex and I am still fairly new to these ideas myself, having been slowly emerging myself in Holistic Management for the last two years (If only I had emerged a little faster!). Luckily for you and me both, the founder of Holistic Management recently did a really good Ted talk about holistic planned grazing and so I can spend less time trying to explain all of the stuff swimming around in my head and just direct you to his talk.
I also want to ad that even if you have no interest in my grazing plan, watch the video anyway – it's impressive and important:
The Spring Equinox is just a few days away and we're starting to see radiant green spikes on the land as the grass begins to emerge from the soil. From a few observations, I've declared that March 14th was our official first day of spring this year. This was due to the pigs being warm enough to use their recently thawed wallow for the first time in 6 months; The garden was full of scavenging Robins; A fly was annoyingly buzzing around my window; The rainwater barrels, no longer solid blocks of ice; The specks of green here and there; Geese migrating overhead; That I was able to air out the house without freezing to death; and the fire in the main house went unstoked for the entire day!
We're looking forward to the growing season as well as the rapidly approaching ranch party extravaganza, celebrating the wedding of Jacob & Meghan (hurray!!). There is always never ending amounts of work to be done and we're now shifting into our overdrive work mode that comes with the longer days. Luckily we have a few Interns coming in at the end of the month and beginning of April to help accomplish the tasks at hand and we're very optimistic about the season's activities and accomplishing our 2013 goals .
And speaking of goals, I've been really neglecting sharing aspirations via the website due to being busy but also have been holding out, as we're in the process of giving the website a much needed 'sprucing up' and I suppose once that happens I'll get a little more excited about putting content up (Silly, I know). I have much enthusiasm to share about life, projects, farming, and ranching. Hopefully I'll put it into a readable context.
Anyway, here is a picture of a goat to help make up for my web absence (goats make it all better!):
(Felina with the infamous Rainbo Bread Truck)
Tierra and new pup 'Zoe' playing in the snow. These two have endless amounts of energy.
(photo by Danielle)