Location, location, location

My Location

Real estate agents will tell you that location is everything. From a business standpoint that makes perfect sense.  A successful business location should have good visibility, favorable traffic patterns and a density of population. Urban home values are also subject to location. Neighborhoods, schools, proximity to commercial areas and businesses all factor in for a desirable location. For myself location is also important although my criteria is much different than those above. I prefer to live in a rural area where population density is low. Rural communities usually have low crime rates. Generally speaking it’s a safer place to live. Mora County where I live has a population density of nine persons per square mile. Suits me fine.

Climate and weather are other factors I consider for a preferred location. Soil, water and access to natural resources such as stones for foundations and walls or a woodlot for timbers, building material and firewood are other important things to examine.

I believe the Lower Farm is in a good location. There is magic and mystery here. I’ll never be sure if I chose to live on this land or the land chose me. None the less here I am. The Lower Farm, Ledoux, New Mexico.

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We all seek a place of refuge. A place to escape the noise and overwhelming distractions of the modern world. There are such places. When I open my front door and step onto the front porch all that my eye can survey is at peace.

In the spreading valley beyond scattered cattle wander the fields. A few horses gently graze. A red tail hawk glides the currents. A half mile away smoke lazily drifts from a neighbors chimney. As I raise my eyes to the mountain peaks in the west I am overcome in awe and am humbled.

All is at peace. I take a deep breath and focus on the moment.

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Between the Great Plains to the east and the Sangre de Christo mountains to the west are hundreds of canyons and mountain valleys. The Sangre de Christo range is at the tail end of the Rocky Mountains, which start in Canada and terminate near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Truchas Peak in the nearby Pecos Wilderness rises to an elevation of 14,001 at it’s prominence. It is the second highest peak in New Mexico.
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At the bottom of the map seen at right the Truchas Peaks are noted. The Lower Farm, Morphy Canyon, Ledoux, New Mexico lies due east on the flank of this mountain range.

 

 

 

 

 

 

” No matter how sophisticated you may be, A large granite mountain cannot be denied – it speaks in silence to the very core of your being.”  Ansel Adams

 

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Morphy Lake is a small state park only two miles from my house. Besides providing outdoor activities for the citizenry the lake has another important benefit for the area. Water from the lake is used for irrigation through several ancient acequias. Certain land owners along the ditch have water rights to irrigate their fields. I am fortunate to be one of them.

Another water amenity is a small creek (Rito Morphy) that runs across the bottom of my property. In the photo one can see a line of trees that trace the Rito Morphy as it flows to the horizon.

The Lower Farm is situated at 7,600 ft. above sea level near the bottom of Morphy Canyon. An ideal location. There are expansive views, clean unpolluted air, clear waters, ease of access to the national forest and an abundance of wildlife. We have 283 days of sunshine a year (the U.S avg. is 205). Our summer high temperature in July is 80 degrees and the January winter low is a chilly 16. Moderate overall. On average there is 96″ of snowfall and 21″ of rain per year. Again moderate.

New Mexico is at the forefront of places experiencing climate change. Higher than normal temperatures and severe drought have plagued the state for a decade of years. I’m hoping that my elevation and proximity to the mountain range will alleviate some of the more extreme effects of future climate change. The water flow from upstream rain and mountain snowpack might be meager but the watershed itself will still exist. The watershed with beaverdams and riparian habitat that passes through my property.

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 All is at peace. Take a deep breath and focus on the moment.

The first settlers to the area arrived in the early 1800s. The Mexican government established a land grant to permit a few families to begin a village. There were still Indian raids at the time. Primitive as life was the people persisted. Supply trains (wagons) were infrequent or non existent. It was a subsistence economy. People raised goats, sheep and chickens, others grew beans and corn. Trade was done on a system of barter. When the American government annexed all of New Mexico after the Mexican War a cash economy was established. Lives and homesteads were seriously affected by the negative consequences. Culture and tradition do not so easily fade away however, even when confronted with upheaval in politics or the economy.

In the surrounding area of communities many of the early traditions still exist, sustained by behaviors passed on over generations, of language, food and faith. Above all is a sense of place. A communion with the land.

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A Communion with the land

The Lower Farm gives me a sense of place. I know where I am on the planet. I can experience the grandeur of nature from my front porch. A place to be at one with the Earth.

The old adobe house serves me well. The structure is sound and after 150 years it has proven it is sustainable. Sustainability requires maintenance though and at this point more than maintenance, a full renovation is in order. New windows, doors and floors all need to be replaced. Indoor plumbing (with hot water) would improve life immensely as would an upgrade to the dubious electrical system.

The past couple years there have been a number of improvements made. Lots more to go. I have a vision and frame that vision with historic preservation. I have become the curator of legends and myths.

After reading this post you will have become more familiar with My Location, where I write. Thanks for stopping by.

Dohn

 

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A New Beginning

Update: 2 December 2018

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December 2nd and a light snow falls in the mountains of northern New Mexico. A good day for me to be indoors, cozy near the warmth of the wood stove. A good day to pick up pen and paper and write. Finally inspiration! I’ve thought of writing often…but…we start again.

Since leaving the island of Hawai’i several years ago I’ve been on my land in northern New Mexico. The Lower Farm as it is called is a 150 year old adobe home situated on 25 acres of pasture and woodland. There is no indoor plumbing and the only source of heat is wood. Much is how it has been for generations. Preserving the traditions of the culture of the surrounding community has been of interest for years. I have a strong link with the past by living in this old adobe home.

On first returning to the Lower Farm I removed all furniture, artwork, antiquities, artifacts and curiosities that had collected over several decades. Interior walls were patched and painted. The front door opening needed to be enlarged and a standard size insulated door was installed. Other projects followed. My original intent was to develop my land and direct my energies towards agriculture. Small scale farming of medicinal herbs. Realizing the condition of the house and considering my age, my focus has turned to the rejuvenation of this old house. It’s what I’ve been doing. Working on this old house.

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In the coming weeks I’ll share some stories of the farm and other travel adventures of the recent past.

To all my old friends that may be out there – Aloha.

Via con dios, Dohn

 

 

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New Mexico calling

Update: 10 July 2015

7.8.15 retirement party Royal KonaThere comes a time when we realize we have wandered down some side trail other than the path we had intended to travel.

And such it was.

For the past ten years I have been the Chief Engineer for a large resort on Hawaii Island. I resigned my position the 14th of June. Something I had been thinking about awhile and finally pulled the trigger. The position was no longer in my best interest.

And so

I’m leaving Hawaii and moving back to the land. The Lower Farm in Ledoux, New Mexico is calling.

Hawai’i has been a life changing experience for me. It’s been wonderful living in such a lush tropical environment and through the culture I have learned how aloha is manifested and so much more.

This is how my horizons will change.

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I can live with that change. I’m actually looking forward to it.

The Farm has been mostly empty these past years except for my annual retreat and the occasional visitor. There will be a lot of work required to put things in order during the rest of this summer. It has been a dream for many years to establish an organic garden, incorporate some alternative energy projects, maybe raise some bees. In other words pursue living in a sustainable manner. It’s going to be great and I look forward to telling you all about it as things progress.

Saturday morning 7/10/15 the moving company is coming to take all my furniture and household away to be loaded on a ship for the mainland. I’ll be arriving in New Mexico on the 15th and my goods will arrive about five weeks after. The computer is coming down in the morning. Not sure how I’ll communicate for now.

Talk to you on the other side as soon as I am able.

Happy Trails, Dohn

 

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Tomorrow is another day

Every end is merely a beginning.

It is up to us to give it meaning.

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This year,

it’s almost half way gone.

Tomorrow is another day.

 

Peace,

Dohn

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The eerie aura of Mo’okini

From generation to generation the story of Mo’okini has been told.

On the northernmost tip of Hawai’i Island sits a massive stone ruins. The winds across Upolu Point rustle the grass of the hillside. The stones of the solitary ruins are silent. Once it was a place of human sacrifice.

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On the Kilauea Iki Trail

In 1959 a dramatic and violent eruption turned Kilauea Iki at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park into a cauldron of lava with fantastic fountains of fire shooting skyward.

A hike across Kilauea Iki crater is a walk into the heart of one of the most active volcanoes on the planet. It is an otherworldly experience.

Even though the crater looks tame from above, in the recent past this mile-wide opening was once consumed with fiery magma as it gushed from the Earth. After the eruptions of 1959 it took until the mid 1990’s for the lava lake under the surface to turn solid. It is a popular destination these days.

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Pele, Ohia and Lehua

The Lehua is known as Pele’s Flower

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The Ohia Lehua Tree has been sacred to the Hawaiian people since ancient times. It is  usually associated with the volcano deity Pele and often mentioned in legends, hula, songs, and chants. Continue reading

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