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Digging In

We can finally announce that BrownKawa Farmstead broke ground!


We started our greenhouse excavation November 25. The main greenhouse will be 90' x 17', so we need a level site for that... on our arroyo-covered mesa, "level" is not a thing, and "near-level" is hard to come by! Bill, who helped us fix our washed-out road earlier this year, sent Andrew out with a Bobcat to prep the site.

Andrew got a start, cutting in the driveway and leveling much of the site, but unfortunately, weather then set in. We had several days of snow, mud, and blustery wind that coincided with both the Thanksgiving weekend, and a nasty stomach bug that plagued both Chip and I. So we "enjoyed" a week off...!

Yesterday Andrew was back on the job -- he finished leveling, and started in on the heavy lifting -- the greenhouse growing floor is submerged 4' below ground level, so he had a 4' x 11' x 82' trench to dig! The ground was frozen, so the little Bobcat had to scrape off that crust inch by inch. Luckily it warmed up as the day went on.

Chip and I left Andrew to his work while we went to Gallup to pick up materials for the next stage -- digging post holes for the frame, and building retaining walls in the lower trench. We ordered materials to pick up which was pretty efficient, but they don't help load at all (they won't even make eye contact), so Chip and I were as beat as the overweight trailer by the time we were through.

It was dusk by the time we returned and Andrew was done for the day, but we were excited to see the first half of the trench complete!

This morning, Andrew showed up bright and early. We stopped over to bring him some coffee and chat about details of the layout.

From camp, we could hear Andrew's steady work, and started calling him the Energizer rabbit. We stopped over at noon to bring him some pozole and check in.

At the end of the day, we went over to check out the finished job. We couldn't be more pleased! You can see Ike walking toward what will be the entrance to the greenhouse (at the top of the rise, before it dips down again into the tree trench). The raised beds are on both sides, and along the far wall. To the right is Andrew heading home after a long day's work. Before the sun set we brought the loaded trailer up the new driveway to the job site for our next step.

Maybe in our next post we'll actually have some pictures of US doing some work...?


Now we know what 150 cubic yards of dirt looks like!


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Kimi BrownKawa
Kimi BrownKawa
Dec 08, 2019

We are counting on it, Anna! I know you swing a mean pickaxe!!

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Anna Davis
Anna Davis
Dec 06, 2019

Amazing what a bobcat and a great driver can do - a driveway and the foundation. so exciting. Can't wait to see the progress in person. I hope to help with something. XXOO

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Kimi BrownKawa
Kimi BrownKawa
Dec 05, 2019

Thanks for the kind words, all! Bruce, some of the dirt was used to build up the low spots and slope smoothly to grade.Some was stockpiled near the site for berming along the edges at the end, and a bunch was stockpiled at our future house site for use as adobe plaster and earthen floors... our soil is so sandy, but a couple of feet down was a nice clay layer to help with the adobe!

Below is from our future living room looking out our future front window at our future adobe plaster...


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Wow! Super impressive. Every time I read your posts I just shake my head in wonderment. New age pioneers you two. xoxo

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Bruce Ishikawa
Bruce Ishikawa
Dec 04, 2019

Wow! Progress! Where did you put the 150 cu yds of dirt?


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