Gavilan Trading Post

Valley of the Moon Ranch, NM
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a quick one

Danielle's picture

My goodness, it has been a busy and productive summer! We have been gardening and chicken ranching quite successfully, which also means we hardly have time for anything else. We started vending at the Santa Fe farmer’s market on Tuesday mornings (Come by and say hi!) as an outlet for our Pasture raised eggs and organic veggies. It is a LONG haul, at two hours each way but It’s been a really wonderful market to attend, full of great vendors and supportive customers. It feels really great to be able to share the farm with so many new people and old friends. We love it, even if we are a little sleep deprived after each market!

Unfortunately most of the photos this year have been going on our Facebook page because it is so much easier than putting them on the website (Shameful but true!) and I am afraid I won’t have much writing/photo time until things slow down here for the season. But I hope to be back to it soon,until then, you can check out pictures on Facebook (you don’t have to be signed up to do so), at

Its now egg thirty, so time to get back to it!

Pig dog (video)

Danielle's picture

Introducing our new house pig! He was involved in a barn fire at his previous owner's place and his mom was so upset that she orphaned him and his siblings. So, he has been raised by people and dogs thus far and has now come to live with us. He will be joining our sow OUTSIDE in the near future.

As you can see, Zoe just loves him because she adores pigs and he loves her because he thinks he's a dog (he was even nursing off a dog with a litter of pups before coming here). Some of you may have heard about Zoe's love for pigs but it has been a tad inappropriate and always unrequited by the pigs - She is really embracing this new acceptance.

What's that sound?

Danielle's picture

What’s that sound? (You might want to turn down your volume level)

This video is of our new chicks when they first arrived - They are now six weeks old, fully feathered and look more like chickens than cute little fluffs (Also not nearly as noisy). They are the start of a pastured poultry experiment here on the farm. The plan is to make them a chicken coop on wheels that will be moved every few days through the pasture so that they always have fresh grass/bugs to eat and new soil to scratch, and in the process will fertilize and revitalize the pastures with their manure and surface tilling claws. All while providing us really good nutrient dense eggs to enjoy (thanks, girls!). This will be a big improvement over our current situation of the stationary chicken coop, which depletes feed sources from over-grazing/over-scratching the grounds surrounding the coop, creating a micro desert in dry times and a desolate mud pit in wet times, no bueno!

We are looking forward to this fun project and providing good eggs to the local community as well as our egg loving city friends while improving our pasture and poultry health.

I'm back! Well, almost.

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The hoop house!

Long time so blog. I still have not managed to convince anyone else on the ranch to write blog updates, but alas, I have returned and will now proceed in keeping the interested farm friends in the loop.

Where have I been, one may or may not be wondering. Well, last year I decided to do some traveling and seek ag related educational opportunities, mostly in the way of ranch and farm internships in Colorado and Montana. Most notably I spent this summer in Bozeman, MT on a 12 acre Organic farm as an intern along with my partner, Cory. There we learned some of the in’s and out’s of market vegetables and most importantly came to the realization that we can and should just do it ourselves, like right now.

So, Cory and I will be returning to the ranch to undertake some exciting farm projects for the 2015 season! These will include growing one whole acre of vegetables for market, starting a rotational pastured poultry enterprise, as well as getting fencing infrastructure in place for better management of grazing animals to improve pasture health.

In other news, there was a lot of activity this summer on the farmstead lead by Diane and Ron, supported by the wonderful 2014 intern crew. What stands out in my mind is that they planted a great garden, converted the old goat barn into a much needed hoophouse, conducted interesting weather experiments and kept everything afloat!

And it was another great rain year - the locals report that they've never seen so much water here. Let’s hope its a trend!

Interns at work

Spotted piglets

2014 Internships

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Diane is now accepting intern applications for the 2014 season and the intern page is up to date (whew). To apply fill out our application, and for those of you that submitted an application for 2014 before now, please go read the update on our "internship page" and shoot us an email if you're still interested.

See you in 2014?!

Just imagine, you could be milking this perfect little package of goatliness!

The Ranch Welcoming Committee

Danielle's picture

They're singing a 'welcome to the porch' song, I think.

April Snow Showers Bring May's Hardiest Perennials

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(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!


Danielle's picture

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!

He dances!



Danielle's picture

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:


Let the combing begin!

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The goats are looking mighty fluffy and in one week we will begin the 2013 Cashmere harvest! We have a couple of awesome interns on their way to help comb out the goats for the next three weeks, and we're looking forward to our 7th year of goat combing that will surely be another fun filled Cashmere harvest!