The First Year at Cielito Lindo Ranch

Summer FlowersIt’s been a year since we made the move onto the land and Clielito Lindo Ranch began to become a reality, not just a dream. We’ve had setbacks and snow, summer sun and successes, rain and random stuff happening, mud and more mud (twice a year it shows up and thankfully dries out again, and we couldn’t have built without the great mud on the land).

A few highlights include:

Going to get the donkeys from Kiva RV Park and Horse Motel (and Donkey rescue). The donkeys somehow swapped places on the way home but otherwise traveled well. They didn’t know what to do with 140 acres at first, but now they know all the great spots and come out to watch the work.

Snow DogThe first snow–that was last April. It surprised us, but this time of year, snow doesn’t stay long on the ground and we already have warmer days coming. The dogs loved the snow (still do).

The fire–the one we thought would never end. We had smoke in the sky from Arizona, and we’re really hoping this spring will be a much safer fire year (just in case, however, we also have the local volunteer fire department, and we’ve made good friends there).

Cob workNeighbors coming over to help. Seems like every time we have a new project, folks want to come over and see what’s up–and help out. We have a crew lined up already for the plaster work on the lodge (we just need the weather to stay up over freezing at nights, so the plaster will set properly).

Quemado Lake in the summer. Even if you don’t go out in a boat, going up to the lake on a hot day is pure pleasure. It’s always cool up there in the summer, and there are decks to sit out on at Snuffy’s, and a beautiful night sky view if you stay after sunset.

Compost Getting the compost working. This was one of our first projects–and some experiments didn’t work. We started with more conventional compost bins, but they were too hot and dry for New Mexico. Or they were too cold. We needed to keep the worms warm so they could do their job of digesting the kitchen scraps and manure that goes into the compost. The straw bale solution works great. Placed in an area that gets morning sun (to warm up) and afternoon shade (to stay cool), it takes in extra wash water to keep it moist. We’ll be doing more of these on the ranch.

Building supply trips to Habitat for Humanity Restore. We never go into restore without finding something very cool (most recent acquisition happens to be three doors that will have tiles inlaid to the cutout sections and will become the kitchen counters). Most everything in the lodge is going to end up salvaged from some other place–beautiful bits of wood and craftsmanship, and history in some cases, that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill. We’re cheating tomorrow’s archeologists out of these discoveries, but they’re going to end up being enjoyed by folks for a long time yet.

PartiesBirthday parties, Christmas visits, and other reasons for celebrations–including the annual Fourth of July Quemado parade and the annual Pie Town Pie Festival. Folks around here take their pleasure where they can find it and there’s always a reason to stop and visit or get together for a barbeque.


So what’s head for the next year?

Workshops will start this summer after we finish the lodge–and the bulk of construction is done there. Look for more photos soon on the adobe floors, the plastering, and the construction of light clay walls for the bathroom.

We’re setting up bio-diesel production that will use reclaimed vegetable oil. That’s going into the main barn, now that we have space in there (in other words, now that the windows and doors are out and installed in the lodge).

We’ll be taking some time off to go riding and hiking–the weather is going to be great this next week.

And we have guests coming to stay with us, and possible new residents. So it looks like another busy year. More surprises and sun, more rain and random stuff we don’t expect, and, of course, more mud.

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One Response to The First Year at Cielito Lindo Ranch

  1. susan says:

    How. Beautiful! What amazing progress you have made. It is such a delight to follow the growth of CLR with details and photos! I can’t wait to come visit. Congratulations.
    Susan KJ

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