Gavilan Trading Post

Valley of the Moon Ranch, NM


2015 Internships at the Gavilan Farmstead & Trading Post


We offer internships to those who wish to learn more about homesteading, gardening, and animal husbandry We offer experience, education, housing, and food in exchange for help around the farmstead. For more information, please read the information below.

About us
Our diverse farmstead is set-up on a 900 acre ranch that includes spectacular woodlands, abundant and diverse wildlife, pastures, and canyon lands in isolated Lindrith, NM. We raise a diverse offering of vegetables, a small herd of Goats; a few Cows; One handsome Yak; Pastured laying hens; and Heritage Hogs. We also have an abundance of Dogs and Cats, as well as a pair of friendly horses. From our farming ventures we are able to produce dairy, eggs, veggies, and meat for our own consumption. We preserve our harvest, butcher our own animals and make our own breads, pastas, tortillas and just about everything else we eat. We also have ongoing projects utilizing low-cost/no-cost resources. 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.

We are not currently a for-profit farm/ranch operation, but rather a sustenance farm or homestead. We live fairly simply and without much money to get us by, which is both challenging and rewarding. However, we are not without such modern conveniences as electricity, internet and hot running water.

Ron and Diane own the ranch and live and work here full time, with any number of their adult children either visiting or living on the ranch.
Danielle (daughter) and her partner Cory will be returning this season to co-manage the farm operations, growing one 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. This will mean a lot of work in the garden (yay weeding!), daily fencing, keeping 150 pastured layer hens mobile and productive with a chicken coop on wheels and hopefully veggie/egg peddling at farmer’s markets.
So, that will make the four of us as main residents this season with the potential of other friends of the farmstead dropping in and staying. We generally will have 1-4 interns here depending on the time of year.

Extreme Cow Milking

Exchange arrangement, work detail and lifestyle:
We offer experience, education, housing, and an open pantry with basic ingredients and seasonal farm raised goods in exchange for your help. We do not offer any stipend for this arrangement, so be sure to bring some savings to buy any special and personal items you may need while you’re here.

No previous farm experience is necessary at all. You will be a part of our family during your stay and we want you to jump right in and be involved in our farm with honest effort, hard work, and enthusiasm.

We accept interns April through November and would like a minimum stay of three weeks with longer commitments preferred and plenty of lead time before your arrival.
Exceptions do exist for shorter stays, if you are traveling with your own vehicles and contact us on very short notice, as sometimes we do need an extra hand with projects but we can’t schedule short stays ahead of those that would commit to being here for longer term.

Additionally, we can not accept interns with pets or children. Regarding language, we only speak English, but are happy to host non-English speaking people as a cultural exchange and really enjoy doing so (Knowing some English would be helpful though).

We would like 30 hours a week of help. In addition to daily routine chores and pressing tasks, we have an ongoing to-do-list that will include both group and individual tasks as well as bigger projects. This situation works best if you are self motivated and will take the initiative to put in your hours and to accomplish daily work details in a punctual time frame. You are encouraged to take time off to pursue personal projects or hobbies and go explore the area, having your own car will greatly aid you in this pursuits but we can also go places together and the ranch itself has some pretty amazing frolicing opportunities.

Type of work/education opportunities will vary by season but can include:
Garden/field work; weeding, irrigation, soil prep, compost building, mulching, transplanting, tediously hand picking potato bugs, seeding, harvesting, wild foraging.
Animal care; Mucking out barns, watering, feeding, milking, doctoring, moving hay, moving fences, building fences, socializing baby goats, herding, grooming, hoof trimming.
Household duties; cooking, cleaning, baking, washing dishes, preserving foods, butchering animals, yard clean-up.
And additionally; Fixing things, harvesting firewood, general construction and infrastructure maintenance, brainstorming, problem solving, and harvesting Pinon nuts (fall).

Part of the 2011 Garden

Education wise, everything we do here, we will teach you about. Most of the education will be informal and hands on and in the form of learn as you live/work here. Questions are encouraged, and we take a lot of time in the day to shoot the breeze. We also have a library available to you with books ranging from passive solar design, Adobe brick making, Permaculture, raising livestock, cheese making, gardening, and more.

We are in a very remote location. It is roughly seven miles to the local post office, 35 miles to the nearest grocery store (which is not much of one), and 100 miles from the nearest cities (Albuquerque and Santa Fe). Your own car is nice to have if you like to be able to go off to town once in a while but otherwise we don’t usually leave the property more than twice a month (sometimes less). You need to feel comfortable being out this far for long stretches of time.

Our climate is high desert with an elevation of 7400’. Most days are clear and intensely sunny. In the heat of the summer, our highs will be around 90F with nighttime lows of 50F. Spring and fall can get pretty chilly with some snowfall. Because of these extreme fluctuations, be prepared for hot and cold mountainous weather and intense sun.

Intern housing consists of minimalistic shared trailer houses equipped with beds and linens. We all share a communal space known as “the main house” with a commercial kitchen for cooking which also includes a large room for eating, socializing, and gathering and provides access to indoor plumbing and hot water. We usually have anywhere from two to ten people living here at any given time. Cooking, cleaning and washing dishes are activities shared by everyone. Tobacco smokers live here as well but we’re trying to at least keep them from smoking in the kitchen and no smoking in guest/intern houses.

We do eat a meal (or more) together everyday, taking scheduled turns cooking for each other. Other meals are up to you to prepare from our pantry (be warned: we do not have convenience foods). Our diet depends greatly on the season, in mid summer lots of fresh produce from the garden and otherwise its a lot of starches and meats. We make all meals from scratch and we bake all of our own breads. Everything available from the pantry is very basic staple ingredients (Flour, rice, beans, cheese, milk, eggs, etc), with grocery runs happening once a month. If you have to have a special food we don't have then you'll need to provide it for yourself, as we are on a tight grocery budget. Fresh fruit is rare here because of storage issues. Opportunistic eaters would thrive here, vegetarians should do okay (and we can cater somewhat to your needs), vegans would perish here. Other dietary needs can be discussed.

Transportation is available from Albuquerque, but it is very helpful if you can make your way to Cuba, NM from Albuquerque via the 'Sandoval easy express” which is a great low cost rural bus and will put you 70 miles closer to the ranch.

We suggest that you bring work gloves, barn boots/shoes, work clothes for warm and cold weather, music, a sun hat/sun protection, and also if you are not used to a dry climate bring lots of lotion and lip balm. We do have a lot of loaner work clothes as well but an entire pair of work gloves can be hard to come by around here at times. Also, because of our remote location, it is important that you stock up on any items that you don’t want to run out of, this especially applies to those with tobacco addictions.

To request an internship with us, please fill out our internship questionaire/application