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/
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Monday, November 28, 2016
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Friday, November 25, 2016
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Pasture Raised Pork For only $ 3.78 lb! Find out how we did it and more. What are your favorite cuts when getting your pigs butchered? Have you ever tried smoke jowls?
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Monday, November 21, 2016
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Friday, November 18, 2016
We have 200 cone-tainers (long, thin, cone-shaped containers in which to start trees and shrubs). Abe keeps them full at all times with a huge array of trees that will survive in our climate without any babying. He then transplants them directly out to pasture, or into bags to grow a little bigger under supervision.
The latest set of honey locusts, mimosas, palo verdes, pines, apricots, pomegranates, prickly pears, roses, and chiltepins, should all survive the winter, but Abe figured they would be able to actively grow a little if he built them their own winter house. And that’s what he did.
The small structure is currently full of about 80 bags, almost all of which house at least two companion plants (we have found that planting them out in small groups actually increases the growth rate of all involved). Now that it’s full up, he’s starting on the second such structure.
We eventually plan to build a greenhouse/porch as a more permanent solution to our sapling needs, but this should work great for now.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
I mentioned in a previous blog that I seem to be taking less and less photos of the boys as they get older, and the same is true for writing about them. It’s obviously not that I love them less now that they’re not babies - quite the opposite in many ways - but I guess the deep need to share their accomplishments fades as the novelty of parenthood wears off. The fact that they constantly amaze, awe, and annoy me now seems so second nature that I have stopped talking about it, but it doesn’t make it any less real.
Leo is now 8 and in third grade. He’s an infinitely curious, observant, and attentive child, who is truly awesome when he isn’t picking on his younger brother. He’s very social, and loves going to school and hanging out with friends. He’s doing great at school, getting an overall average of about 95%, though math is his strongest subject, in which he generally scores 100%. He is also a fluent reader in both English and Spanish (although he’s probably got a wider vocab range in English). He can be fairly combative at times and is naturally inclined to question authority (which is something I usually really admire and encourage, except when it’s my authority that’s being questioned!!!). He has an incredible amount of patience for a young kid, and can spend hours following detailed instructions in order to make something that he’s in to. He’s also getting better and better at looking things up online, and figuring out how to do things without our assistance.
Nicky is five and should still be in kindergarten. However, a series of accidents over the summer vacation led to there being no kindergarten teacher this year, so he is going to Leo’s school. He’s not officially enrolled, but the first grade teacher says she loves having him (her class is very small this year), and he’s actually doing great there. His math skills have always been pretty advanced (mainly due to keeping up with big brother when we play board and card games), and he reads and writes well in both languages. He seems to love being a “big boy”, and playing with all the other kids in break-time. My only concern is that he’s going to be bored stupid when he has to repeat first grade officially. At home, he’s very easy. He’s laid-back and easy to handle. He can entertain himself for hours making things out of clay, drawing, playing with toys, writing books, etc. He also loves looking things up online, but needs a little more help than Leo with spelling things. He continues to be shy with people he doesn’t know, while extremely affectionate and loyal to those that he does.
Both boys are super into earning money at the moment. They have chores that they have to do for free (like feeding animals, doing dishes, cleaning up, etc.), but we have started to pay them for extra work. Leo is especially useful when assisting us with projects, and he’s generally more into “work” than Nicky. They have now officially taken over the egg business - they feed the poultry, collect and wash the eggs, and sell them, too. They have to pay us half of what they make to pay for feed, but they then split the rest. At the moment, they are saving their cash to buy each other presents for Christmas.
Strangely enough, their latest “fad” is sewing. Vickie bought them a sewing kit to make themselves a teddy bear. This past weekend, we got it all out and I taught them the basics of sewing. Their did a lot of their cat and bear themselves, and when it came time to make them some clothes, they each chose to turn them into superheroes (Batman and Flash). They have both been inseparable from their homemade toys and are looking forward to making more clothes!
It really is amazing how fast they grow. It sometimes feels like the teenage years are only just around the corner, and I’m not sure that I’m looking forward to that. Of course, we still have enough impressionable years left to train them in the skills needed to build their own house - a reasonable solution in case they turn out to be a complete pain in the ass as teenagers!
Update on kids
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Monday, November 14, 2016
One of the reasons I have blogged so little in the past months is that we’ve been so busy. Come to think of it, I seem to use the “too busy to blog” excuse an awful lot. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and admit to you that I prefer doing things rather than writing about them! I drag my blogging feet for so long that I then have to double time just to catch up. Oh well.
So anyway, now that the rains have stopped and the days are getting shorter, we have been largely occupied with putting aside food for the winter. This is always a semi-sweet time of year. Although it’s wonderful to see the pantry and freezer full to bursting, it’s sad to watch the garden dry up (although we have started a winter garden).
We had apples to can as well as juice for cider. There were all kinds of herbs hanging up inside the house (which are now put up in various containers). Tomatoes continue to produce prolifically, and I seem to be constantly making tomato sauce. There were beans to pick and shuck. Etcetera.
We’ve also been replacing a lot of our seed stores.
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Friday, November 11, 2016
We sold our big Ford diesel, which we rarely used, and replaced it with a Ranger. It’s a great truck: very spacious inside, four doors, and four cylinder (so very economic). We used it for the long trip to Abe’s mom, and it was great, very comfortable for all.
The saddest part of getting this truck is that we no longer need our little Toyota pickup. We’ve had it almost as long as we’ve been together, and it has taken us all over the place, both in the States and Mexico. Although it’s probably one of the best vehicles either of us has ever had, it just doesn’t fit the family any more. I used it for the school run each day, and the boys and I would share the only seat, but that arrangement was starting to get pretty cramped.
So now that I use the Ranger for school, we have decided to sell the Toyota. Funnily enough, even though we’ve both agreed that that’s what we want to do, neither one of us has made any attempt to advertise its sale. It seems so disloyal! Who knows, it may still be sitting in its parking spot by the time the kids learn to drive!
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Monday, November 7, 2016
We hadn’t been to Vickie’s since Easter, so it was really good to visit. The kids are always delighted to see family, and of course the candy part of this particular holiday only made it better.
Leo went as a pirate and Nicky as a ninja. They really love the whole idea of costumes, and the fact that people just randomly hand over candy is still a complete novelty for them. They both came away with a big bag of sweets and chocolates, which will no doubt last a lot less than they should - though it’s not the kids that make the biggest dent ;)
Vickie also took them to Living Desert, a zoo that houses animals native to the region. Even though they’ve been several times now, it’s still always on their “to do” list. Nicky was thrilled to see Maggie out and about. She’s a bear and is one of his favorites, but she’s usually sleeping when they go, so her appearance was much appreciated.
Even though Halloween is technically for kids these days, the adults found time to have some fun too. In fact, we had such a good time that I took almost no photos!! I remember when the kids were young, I took endless amounts of pictures and videos, but with each passing year, I seem to take less. I guess I’ll have to work on that or I’ll wind up with no photos of the child to adult stages!
Sunday, November 6, 2016
Saturday, November 5, 2016
Friday, November 4, 2016
Thursday, November 3, 2016
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