is an Adventure


When everyday is an adventure it is hard to say when the fun begins and the fun ends at Hacienda Dominguez & Chelenzo Farms.

I thought the day was over around 10:30 when I had just finished changing the last of 42 flood lights in the house, because the array of various bulbs that was left by the previous owner was driving me nuts. Plus, the painter had painted over many of them, so we were in desperate need of a lightbulb renovation.

After climbing the ladder for the upteenth time I stripped down to my bare essentials and was about to take a cold shower - if only because I haven’t read the manual on the new tankless water heater and have not fixed the scheduling issue whereby we have hot water all day long until we’re ready to take our evening showers - but then I recalled I hadn’t put up the hood of my car and this afternoon we received the millionth reminder to do so.

Anyway, truth is I also haven’t read the manual for both the new washer we received Saturday and the Telluride we got in November. I literally have these manuals at my bedside or atop the stack of books I’ve neglected since landing in our spaceship at the top of Cerrillos Mountain three weeks ago.

Despite not reading the instructions, we continue to figure things out. Such as putting together a 500 lb chicken coop. Chelsea and I assembled Friday. Admittedly, much as what happens with those IKEA pieces with a thousand parts, we mistakenly placed the door panel to the hen house upside down, and by the time we noticed at the second-to-the-last step #39 - it was too late. With a sigh of resignation, we agreed that instead of taking it all apart, we’d just build a longer ladder for the hens.

And then, we spent a substantial amount of time upgrading security at Coop Knox, as a means of keeping out the hawks, coyotes, snakes and raccoons that have ravished the broods of many a neighbor.

This included surrounding the 10 x 10 pen with 19-gauge galvanized hardwire cloth (strong-ass chicken wire), as well as placing it below the entire structure, because the coons notoriously dig under the fence bars to make their nightly pillage and frighten the other chickens that don’t get eaten.

In between building the coop, we met with land preservationist and conservation expert Jan-Willem for four hours traversing the land with the intention of creating a master plan for regeneration, renewal and reinvigoration.

Over out little trek we learned an invaluable amount, which we plan to apply immediately. For example, Milodeus and I created micro gardens out of the cacti we found near the coop by surrounding them with rocks and then adding organic matter that were left at the bottom of a dead juniper we had recently removed.

Similarly, we’re excited about strategically spreading much of the dead branches across and over our land to create shade to retain soil moisture, deter wildlife consumption of the scarce succulents and add organic matter to engender future green growth potential.

Today, we had the pleasure of meeting another amazing neighbor who introduced us to her beautiful horses - Honey & Blondie. She graciously offered us the two tons of horse shit she saved last year and has corralled that is ready to be moved by a Bobcat.

We explained it would be the perfect base by which to plant rows of corn along our mutually shared fence, which will help prevent further soil erosion, add organic matter and serve as a barrier to stem flooding into the valley where she resides.

When I told Rich about this he likewise offered to supplement the manure with spent grain generated from the hops farm and brewery.

He also dropped that there were great ribs to be had at Beer Creek Brewing Co., which we subsequently duly indulged and enjoyed. Their crisp blackened crust and juicy red meat reminded me of my infamous Bear Mountain ribs that I made a decade ago and everyone seems to fondly remember (Right, Dominic?)

Finally, the newest members of the family, Zeus and Barker, seem to be adapting well to their new home. They’re making fast friends with the chickens and neighbors alike, and have only pooped where they shouldn’t a few times.

Like Chelsea mentioned, it’s kind of like having babies all over again - just slightly easier, but only slightly. For much like newborn parents, their guilt-abetting whining at 3 and 4 in the morning are rousing us awake. Both of us have gotten up a few times to check on them, which only further contributes to our daily bout of end-of-day-exhaustion.

And in the same-old-news over here, it continues to rain on occasion. Our newest-met-neighbor, swears we brought it with us, because it has been dry as a desert bone for a few years now.

Now, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had that kind of sway with Mother Nature? Well, our rain dance may not actually cause any precipitation, but we certainly are doing our best to catch and cultivate with it.