Years ago, we’d spent a weekend outside of Taos in an Earthship. A weekend away is a great way to see advantages and disadvantages to any house, environment, or location. Taos is rugged beauty–very flat, dry and having grown up next to mountains, not my idea of a place I could call home. The Earthship also had good points–but it had drawbacks as well (as in the best room in the house was the bathroom, and the idea of sleeping on a concrete box mattress is just not a good one since it sucks the heat right out of your body). But I think it planted seeds.
We started in New Mexico just looking a land–Sammy knew someone who knew someone, and the scenery was spectacular. Two trips later, and six properties later, we found one that clicked.
Like any other state, New Mexico has a variety of environments–high desert, high plains, mountains, rivers, and not that many cities. I can’t remember the last time I saw stars like that in the sky–I think I was ten. The area where we bought is as different from Taos as Santa Barbara is different from Palm Springs. We have mountains close enough by, it’s high altitude, but not too high. And it’s great pasture for horses. It’s also 140 acres — not quite the five acres we started off as the idea maximum.
Funny thing about New Mexico, you get out there and twenty acres starts seeming cramped–a hundred seems reasonable, three or four and you start thinking, well, yeah, we could use that (never mind if you can). The good news about the land we bought is that its usable, it has a working well, and it’s fenced — you start realizing this is a good thing when you’re out there and considering horses and considering prices to fence a lot of land. So we bought.
Stage one — find land and buy it — is complete. Now comes the really hard work of getting a house built and getting out to New Mexico on a full time basis.
It’s probably a good thing that we’ve bought just as winter is coming on. It’s forcing us to do more thinking and planning, instead of just heading for New Mexico. But we have the initial structure already in mind so we’ll have living space while we build the lodge and cabins. And we have much to learn about dealing with wildlife (I have no idea how the dogs are going to react to elk — so far, they’re reactions to cattle and horses need some work). But it’s an incredible start to have a space that you can’t wait to get back to. At the very least, this is going to be an adventure.