Vela Creations is an in-depth resource for off grid living. The site documents our research and experiences, hoping that they might help others interested in pursuing this lifestyle. This blog is designed to document our day to day experiences as we build our new, sustainable homestead. If you are interested in seeing more photos and videos, we have a flickr account at the following url: http://flickr.com/photos/35090117@N05/collections/

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Mexico

DSC_0019 We have just returned from a trip to see Abe's parents. Though the journey was long and hard on us all, it was worth it. We had a great time.

SANY0738 Leo loves spending time with his doting grandparents. He follows them around like a doting puppy and leads them like a little Hitler! Like at home, he loves to feed the animals, but up there he also got to ride them. At first, he was a little scared of being on a horse, but he asked to do it again and loved it. After riding in front of Abe for a little while, he then got on by himself and Abe led him. He continues to talk about it constantly.

We also had a belated Christmas, which of course Leo loved as well. Amazing how quickly a child learns the appeal of presents!

Nico had a great time too. A whole new house to crawl around and get into trouble in.

SANY0699 Unfortunately the weather was cold and windy for a lot of the time we were there, which limited the time spent outside. But it did eventually clear and we got to go to a park. Nico went on a swing for the first time, which he thought was fantastic. I guess we'll have to set up the toddler swing we made for Leo, so that Nico can have some more time gliding through the air, especially as it is now wind season and so cannot go outside as much as the boys would like.

So now we're home and settled back in. We have a huge long list of things to do, as always, but it'll all have to wait until the wind dies down.

Click here for a whole bunch of photos.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Freezer's full again.

0037 Last week, we butchered one of the two pigs we've raised for this purpose. Abe killed and processed the carcass by himself. I bagged and weighed the meat, and then the following day I rendered the lard and made the sausage. We have the hams and bacons curing.

It was a tiring two days, but it all went very smoothly. We ended up with 100 lbs of meat, and boy is it good! What with the pigs and rabbits, we never have to buy meat, although we do sometimes buy fish for variety. Next year we hope to introduce fish to our homestead.

0041 The number of pigs on the property is dwindling. We sold Gloria this week, and we may have a buyer for a gilt and our boar. That will just leave us with the one remaining butcher pig. We'll then be pigless for a while (until June, when we get two feeder piglets). It'll be sad to have no pigs around, but it just seems better for us to buy and raise two piglets than to have the whole breeding operation here on the property. Leo's teacher is the one who bought Gloria, so we will be able to have two of her piglets each year, which is great.

And something else
that's adding to our culinary pleasures is, of course, the mushrooms. There's little better than fresh pork, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, all of which we have in abundance.

9 months

0035 I haven't written anything on the kids in a while. It seems like time is just flying by and I only realize just how fast when I look at how long it's been since I last did a blog!

The past few weeks have been a blur of sleepless nights. First of all, Nicky had his top front teeth come through. Then we all got sick. Leo started it off with a stomach bug. He was throwing up so violently that he got an infection and had to take antibiotics for the first time in his life. He was in a lot of pain for almost two weeks, mostly because he then got a cold and the cough really hurt his stomach.

A few days after Leo, Nicky got sick, although he seemed very happy when he was puking all over us. It was the cold that he suffered from most. Abe and I got the stomach bug only, but those couple of days when we were all down was pretty bad. Now everyone is pretty much over it, though tired. Although it does seem like Nico's teething again, with little white lumps to the side of his front teeth. Is this the time we're supposed to send them to live with their grandparents for a few years?

So, what's been happening with my two growing boys?

Leo still loves school. He's moving along well with his new skills, some fostered in kindergarden, some here at home. He colors inside the line, can cut and glue by himself, can write many of his numbers, can count well, is starting to recognize several written words. He loves, and is good at, jigsaw puzzles and cards. He's still a little bit of a terror at times, although he does seem to be getting better. Our biggest problem with him is that he adores Nicky and wants to play with him all the time, but keeps forgetting that he's still a baby. As Nicky gets more mobile, Leo thinks he can play like a big kid, and he pushes and tugs him and invariably makes him fall over. He pushes too far at times and Nico will cry, which makes Leo TAKE OFF running, shouting "it was an accident".

0040 As for our nine month old baby, the last two months have seen vast improvements, most noticeable of which is the fact that he's mobile. He can sit up from lying down, crawl, pull himself up to standing, sit back down and take some steps around the furniture. He will also let go of the furniture and balance unaided for a little while before we have to catch him. He can - and does - go everywhere now, even trying to climb the stairs. Of course, this new mobility has resulted in his first accident and cut. Nothing serious, a small cut by his eye when he fell against a shelf, but we know it's a taste of many more to come.

He's also getting far more vocal. He says mama and papa to each of us, and has a whole array of sounds that he throws together in a constant babble. He's also starting to do a couple of signs, for "eat", "drink" and "boobie", which goes to show where his priorities lie. He is a great little eater, and has some of our food at every meal. He seems to like everything we've tried him with.

He now does most of his pooping on the potty. He doesn't tell us when he needs to pee, but he does push whenever we put him on the potty, and even if there's just a little pee inside, it comes out.

He loves Leo, and the two of them play more and more together. He follows wherever Leo goes, and so, of course, Leo likes to lead him to places he shouldn't go.

He's also getting funnier. He notices when something he does makes people laugh and he'll do it again but more emphatically. His funniest joke, in his mind, is when we tell him "no" - he'll look at you, grin real big and do the thing again. When we tell him no firmly, he'll often look at you, lip quivering for an instant before he starts to cry, just devastated that we might be cross with him.

0026 Leo was always really good as a baby about not putting things in his mouth. This is not the case with Nico. He puts anything and everything he finds in his mouth. This is only made worse by the fact that he is getting very dextrous. He can pick up the tiniest thing imaginable and maneuver it perfectly to where he wants it to go.

Sleeping is his biggest downfall. He's just not very good at it! Oh well. I'm sure that one day I'll get to sleep deeply again. Leo was the same when he was little (although even he was better than Nicky), and he now sleeps great, just waking up once in the night to pee.

But above all the changes in him and sick or teething troubles, he remains the sweetest, calmest, happiest little baby.

I'm afraid I didn't take many photos this past month, but what there is is here.