The Gavilan Farmstead and Trading Post is the Shattuck family's ranch and homestead located north of Lindrith, NM (In an area that was once known as Gavilan, NM).
The Lindrith area features spectacular woodlands of tall Pinon and Juniper trees, abundant and diverse wildlife, pastures, and breathtaking canyon lands.
Here at the farm we raise a diverse offering of vegetables, along with meat from our goats, cattle, and heritage hogs as well as eggs from our pastured laying hens. Our farming methods are not certified anything, nor practiced rigidly, but are a collection of principles and designs such as; Beyond Organic, Permaculture, Holistic Management, Holistic planned grazing, Humane, Low-stress, minimal-tillage, etc. All of which are intended to produce chemical free wholesome food, promote a healthy ecology on the land in our care and provide a good low-stress life for our animals and ourselves.
Some of our residents also produce various arts and crafts that are offered for sale and can be seen (and purchased!) on our Etsy page
We also offer farm internships that are available to those that are interested in helping out in exchange for education, food, and an awesome place to stay. (See our "Internships" section for details)
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.
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 boyfriend, 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 together we 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. We want to make this lifestyle economically viable, and we are going to give it a go!
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
See you in 2014?!
Just imagine, you could be milking this perfect little package of goatliness!
Pabu having a one yak pool party.
As some of you may know, we have had the cows and horses successfully running as one herd, corralled in small paddocks of about an acre or two, made of temporary electric fence that we move every few days to a new location. This enables us to grow more grass for livestock and wildlife alike (more on that in a previous post: Grazin' )
While checking on our herd last week, we discovered (thanks to all of the mud we have around here these days) reoccurring bear tracks weaving in and out of our herd's grazing cell, and some rather worried looking horses.
These tracks are belonging to a young black bear that's been in the neighborhood for several months. One of our lucky interns actually got to see this bear meandering along the highway last month (I am super jealous!).
We decided it best to move out of that location and to let the cows and horses free roam the entire property for the week rather than leave them in a small entrapment where they might easily become tasty bear snacks.
This gave the animals time to get into some mischief while they possessed such freedom, including: A cattle migration a few miles and properties over to rendezvous with the neighbor's Hereford bull; the horses getting into barns to tear things up and generally make a pain of themselves; and gave Pabu some much desired swim time in the pond (The guy seriously loves water). But by the end of the week, with no signs of the bear, the fun is over and it's back into the paddock to get back to some important grazing work.
Moving the herd back to the paddock. Horses off camera, goats and dogs just tagging along
I decided I need to be posting more Pabu pictures for his admiring fans. I'll try to make a habit of it.
We've had almost two solid weeks of rain (plus a few weeks of sporadic rain before hand), which has included not one, but TWO torrential down pours! The first big rain filled our dry and cracked pond, or at least we thought it was full, until the second big rain came, which flooded the upper field and is drowning the Chamisa brush on the pond sides. It's wonderful to see so much water in all of the water catchments and to see the fields green with grass and almost all of the bare ground carpeted with succulent Purslane while the shaded areas are exploding with various fungi. This is the most rain we've seen on the ranch in our nine years here, pretty cool and we hope it keeps coming!
(A gully washer 'filling' the pond during the first big rain)
They're singing a 'welcome to the porch' song, I think.
(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!
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!