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:

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Arnold Bennett

"It is easier to go down a hill than up, but the view is from the top." - Arnold Bennett

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Francis Bacon

"We cannot command Nature except by obeying her." - Francis Bacon

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Gustav Mahler

"Spring won't let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again." - Gustav Mahler

Rabindranath Tagore

"Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf." - Rabindranath Tagore

James Lovelock

"Sadly, it's much easier to create a desert than a forest." - James Lovelock

Rainer Maria Rilke

"Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems." - Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, April 25, 2015



We've been meaning to add cats to our list of animals represented here on the farm for a while now, but we kept putting it off. However, when the cat of our closest local friends had kittens, the issue became a priority. Nicky began a tirade of daily questions: "Can we go get kittens today?", "When can we have kittens?", "Do you think Daffy would like some kittens?", and so on. We eventually gave in.

friendsSo we now have two tiny terrors living in our house. When they first moved in, they would hiss at everyone and hide whenever they could. It's been a few days though, and they've definitely settled in. They tear around the place, playing and climbing and getting underfoot. They get constantly manhandled by the kids, but now accept the attention with a steady purr. The only one they're not too sure of is Daffy! Our little duck rules the roost and she chases after the kittens mercilessly. I think the cats want to play with her, but they're still a little intimidated. I keep trying to get the chase on video, but they all move too fast.


Once the little fur balls get a little bigger, we'll put them outside, probably in the barn at first. It's like a miniature petting zoo in here, but at least the kids are happy to do most of the "mucking out", especially if it means they get to keep their pets inside.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Sunday, April 19, 2015


"Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another." - Juvenal

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Robert Green Ingersoll

"Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers." - Robert Green Ingersoll

Friday, April 17, 2015

E. M. Forster

"What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?" - E. M. Forster

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tennessee Williams

"The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks." - Tennessee Williams

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Anton Chekhov

"The sea has neither meaning nor pity." - Anton Chekhov

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

7 years old


It's so hard to believe that seven years have already passed since we first held that beautiful, red-faced little baby. Still, that's the way it goes, I guess, and Leo sure seems to be happy that he's getting bigger.

All in all, we had a perfect day.



We began by opening presents, of course. Nicky was allowed to open one of his early, just so he wouldn't feel too left out. And Leo also let him help open (and play with) his, which was super sweet.



Then we played the new games of Jenga and Sorry. The boys also spent a couple of hours making things out of their modeling clay. They've always loved clay, but now they have a book and some tools to increase their scope.



We made a cake, which is the true sign for our family that it's someone's birthday. We don't always do presents for the adults, but everyone gets a cake! And of course the boys always have to help. Although they do get out all the ingredients and tools, as well as do some pouring and mixing, their main concept of "help" is to stick their fingers in the bowl every chance they get.



Lastly, we went into town for the party. It was a shared party, as Leo and two of his friends all have birthdays a few days apart. There were 21 kids and they all had a blast. I did the piƱata and goodie bags, and the other two moms did the cake and food. It worked out great.

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7 years old

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Thomas Tusser

"Sweet April showers do spring May flowers." - Thomas Tusser

Friday, April 10, 2015

P. G. Wodehouse

"Flowers are happy things." - P. G. Wodehouse



Our poor Muscovy ducks have wanted babies since they reached maturity. First, there was no male, but still they tried to sit on a nest. We then got a male and they tried again, but he was too young to have been much use. Then winter came. Now it's Spring, there's an adult male, and all is looking up.

Two of the three females have been setting on a bunch of eggs. The first didn't feather her nest and would get off it a fair bit, but she nonetheless hatched out 6 ducklings while we were visiting Abe's mom. Unfortunately, she kind of freaked out and didn't look after them very well. One was dead when we got home and three died that night. We took the remaining two, who were cold and weak, inside, but it was too late for one of them. So now we are left with just one.

P4090015 Daffy is rapidly becoming the most spoiled duck in the history of Muscovies (and that's saying something). She is adored by the whole family and cuddled constantly. She is hand fed mashed, soft-boiled eggs and mealworms. She had a bath with the boys, and LOVED it. She was pretty vocal when we had to remove her so the boys could use soap. She has a hot water bottle during the day, and a thermostat-regulated box for night-time. All in all, she is living it up and is developing a very affectionate and fun personality.

We have another duck expecting ducklings in a few more days. She has hardly ever gotten off the nest and has it beautifully feathered. She is also much calmer than her friend. We are therefore hoping that she will be a good mother and will teach the others how to do it. If that's the case, we will add Daffy to her ducklings once they are big enough.

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Pablo Neruda

"You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming." - Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Peter Benchley

"Without the oceans there would be no life on Earth." - Peter Benchley



We just got home after spending a wonderful week with Abe's mom and brother. The weather was crazy, going from 90 degrees and calm to 50 degrees and super windy, but despite that we managed to fit in a whole bunch of activities. About the only thing we didn't have time for was a picnic at the park, but we did that on the drive home, so that kind of counts.

Carlsbad Caverns


Abe and Vickie took the boys down into Carlsbad Caverns. They used the elevator to go down and come back up again, but spent a couple of hours walking around the amazing caves. Both boys loved it and were completely in awe of the spectacular scenery.

Baby Owls and Eggs



Perhaps the highlight of the whole trip for Abe and Leo were the baby owls. We found two nests of Great Horned Owls. One was at the top of a windmill, and Abe, Leo and Augie all climbed up to look inside. There were two eggs in there.

The second nest was near the top of a pine tree, between 30 and 40 feet off the ground. After the excitement of finding eggs in the first nest, Abe decided to climb the tree. He found three baby owls, one of which was dead and had been pushed out of the nest onto a nearby branch. Abe was giddy with happiness at having the two little guys stare at him curiously. The climb was a little tricky, with two full horn owls circling him the whole time, so we had to say no to Leo's pleas to climb the tree.

Unfortunately, Abe didn't take his camera with him, and didn't want to enrage the two parents any further by going up again.

Living Desert

living desert

The trip to Living Desert, which is filled with native species of plants and animals, was Nicky's favorite outing. He especially loved the bear, and kept wanting to go back to see her again, even though she had gone into her cave for a nap. The last time we went there, I was about 8 months pregnant with Nicky, and I have to say that the walk was a lot easier this time.

Egg Hunt


The Easter Egg hunt on Sunday morning was great. Both kids raced around the house and garden, filling their bags. The eggs contained candy, toys, confetti and just plain old eggs. Near the end, Leo looked at me and said, "Wow! I never knew that Easter was so much fun!".



The two sets of boys (big ones and little ones) managed to squeeze in a little fishing trip when the wind had died down. They caught several big carps, which they put into various water tanks around Vickie's place. And, of course, there was the "one that got away", snapping Augie's line.



The rest of the time was spent chilling: riding bikes, feeding animals, dozing in the hammock, watching TV, playing games. You know, vacation-type stuff. Altogether we had a great time, and the kids were very sad to say good-bye.

More Photos

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April '15

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ivan Turgenev

"We sit in the mud... and reach for the stars." - Ivan Turgenev

Monday, April 6, 2015

Martin Heidegger

"To dwell is to garden." - Martin Heidegger

Sunday, April 5, 2015


"Life comes from the earth and life returns to the earth." - Zhuangzi

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Augustus Hare

"Nothing is farther than earth from heaven; nothing is nearer than heaven to earth." - Augustus Hare

Friday, April 3, 2015

Honore de Balzac

"Clouds symbolize the veils that shroud God." - Honore de Balzac

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Satchel Paige

"Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines." - Satchel Paige

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Adolf Loos

"Be truthful, nature only sides with truth." - Adolf Loos

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