Back on the Land

The T-shirts and shorts we ripped out of our bags on Wednesday were immediately put back on the shelves. Instead, we have pulled out our thermal underwear and boots. It’s really cold.

We have arrived at our new home in Arivaca, the homestead of Kyle Young. We’ll be putting up lots of pictures of this place and Arivaca in the coming weeks. The property is really amazing and inspirational. It has us thinking about our eventual homestead and all of the things we want to lift from this place. I am in love with the terraced gardens, for one.

We are living in a small strawbale house that Kyle originally built as a chicken coop. (Humorously, the bamboo house Kyle was living in last time I was here has become the chicken coop.) Our place is very cozy, and though it has taken some feats of engineering to fit all of our stuff inside of it. We often have to exit in the reverse order we entered because there isn’t room to get past one another. I was amazed at how quickly Claudia adapted to living in such a small space. I’ve long been suspicious of how Claudia will oogle over ramshackle cabins the size of one car garages, but clearly she is ready to live in close quarters.

The cold weather is exacerbated by the fact that we don’t have heating. Our little house does an excellent job of staying warm with just passive solar heating, but that doesn’t mean it gets hot. It’s like we’re back the “good ol’ days” where the only way to get warm was to work. It’s been awhile since I’ve been working and living on a farm, and I’ve definitely grown soft.

This afternoon, Kyle took us on a long walk around a neighboring property. He’s really excited about this piece of land that he has been given permission to work on by the absentee owners. He wants someone to start developing it for agriculture, and why not us? He has an interesting idea involving Arizona’s squatter laws. It’s an intriguing thought, but we’re not yet done traveling yet.

Kyle is growing some heritage corn for the Native Seed company and Claudia got to do some low tech winnowing to it this afternoon. Meanwhile I was tasked with separating individual corn kernels out from a 5 gallon bucket of the grain. After some hours of it, I had gotten maybe one-third of the way through. We have more of this to look forward to tomorrow. Still, it’s good to be back on the land.

–Pat

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