What a big difference a lot of rain makes! This summer monsoon starting on June 18th was the best one we've seen in New Mexico in the last twenty five years. It doesn't solve the bigger ongoing drought situation in the southwest but it sure helped things this year.
As we move on into 2023 we will pray for continued moisture. This was the first summer in many years we didn't need to feed hay and the cows really benefited from the abundant green grass.
I am finalizing the dates for the first "Men's Retreat" at the ranch in the summer of 2023, and it will be co-sponsored by the Creative Healing Arts Center. More details to follow.
2021/2022 Moving the Vision Forward
The vision behind the Creative Healing Arts Center (CHAC) is being re-emphasized moving in 2022 and certainly Covid-19 and the prolonged drought have slowed the rhythms of many activities - and life goes on in the mountains. We had some decent rains during the monsoon season in 2021, however it is pretty obvious climate change is upon us and we will all need to form deeper relationships with Mother Earth and the elements (air, earth, water, fire) - just to adapt and survive. Certainly in the lands west of the Mississippi we will all have to become more conscious about how we use water in the times ahead. I believe places like the CHAC will become living examples of how "we" can be taken care of by Mother Earth when we consciously take care of her and her precious resources - especially water in the arid mountain areas of the Southwest.
It's time for all of us to step forward, be accountable and use our creative expression to increase awareness about this fragile moment in history. What we thought was going to happen in future generations' lifetimes is happening now. Who knows what we can do to slow down and influence climate change, but I am one to believe that this moment of such extreme volatility can be offset by collective efforts and consciousness from all of us...starting with one good deed followed by another. In many of the ways that social networking has created many complexities in daily life maybe, just maybe it can be used to help unify a movement where we the people take a stand for what's really important - LIFE provided by Mother Earth.
Meanwhile with the increased dryness we are spending time and resources buying and hauling hay for livestock, as well as putting the finishing touches on a few of the environmental projects. We've had to rebuild a small fence area around a portion of the pond to maintain a riparian environment for wildlife. This includes growth of plants, wildflowers and willow for more protection of birds and small wildlife.
The USFS has been thinning the forest in the Tres Piedras mountains because of the long term dry weather predictions. As much as I hated to see so many trees cut and the forests thinned around the ranch and even on some parts of it controlled by the forest service, I believe it is necessary. The idea is to make room for mountain grasses to make a comeback in the thinned areas as well as decreasing some of the potential for wildfire.
2019 Programs and Projects Underway
1. What a change one year makes!
Unlike recent years, 2019 has been one of the wetter years at the ranch in a long time. It started with some heavy, deep late snows from the winter and have carried forward with several spring rains.
2. More Changes
In late 2018 we lost a ranch partner and dear friend, Bill Casto. It took the wind out of my sails for a few months in early 2019, but gradually my inspiration returned with the ranch and all of the projects there.
3. Re-establishing mountain grasslands
In 2019 we completed some government contract work with the:
a. Natural Resource Conversation Service (NRCS) - clearing of fourteen acres of mountain sage and reseeding with mountain grasses
b. Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) - reseeded six acres of previously cleared and seeded land