Oct 8, 2011 – Getting ready to travel to the Yucatan

Arrived back in Santa Fe from our Apache Creek, New Mexico ranch. Si Thacker is our webmaster/creator and designed this website in the last week down at the ranch. I turned on the internet and we were able to balance all the computer work with hikes over the mesa and enjoying the beauty and quiet of the land.

Looking up at our mesa from the house

Top of mesa looking North

We had lots of rain this summer making up for the recent severe drought. Many trees are still stressed but could feel myself relaxing as the rains came back near the end of our stay.

Lots of rain this summer

Sad to leave. More stories to follow about our dreams for the ranch to be a retreat center, giving up on those dreams, selling parts of the ranch, ranch still for sale, and now maybe, just maybe, when we sell more we may be able  to keep the mesa to recreate some of those dreams.

Okay, back in Santa Fe learning how to use this blog, carrying on the business of Movement Educators with our Feldenkrais trainings and workshops and starting to pack for the Yucatan.

Here again I will eventually get back to Santa Fe stories about creating our compound, massive remodeling projects and how we have created a home to cherish and enjoy. One project was to dig out next to the house and creat a basement patio with a partial glass roof and fireplace with curved flagstone steps leading into our basement home.

Basement Patio

I don’t know where you are this morning but here in Santa Fe a cold rain fell all night and this morning we woke up to our first frost of the fall. Our backyard is showing the Fall season.

Save the tomatoes and bring in the pots

Time to get warm by our kiva fireplaces. Each year I haul up cords of juniper and other woods from our ranch to keep our kiva fireplaces roaring in the winter.

Time for our Kiva Fireplace

Okay, back to preparing for the Yucatan. I am going down for 2 weeks and Diana will follow for 8 days. Our main focus will be assess the state of the sheep herd and make decisions first and foremost about whether we can handle having and growing a sheep herd and being in the sheep business. We have a new vet and with his skills in managing a 1300 sheep herd in the same Valladolid area, we think it is very possible. But we have been learning how many things can go wrong and how much work and money it is taking to set up the sheep business. Even I, at times, wonder what I have gotten myself into and whether I am too crazy even for myself. Danny has tremendous energy and skills but sheep herding was not one of his acquired skills and I had none. Funny that Danny’s heritage comes from Spanish Basque people and Diana comes from, in part, French Basque. My heritage is wrapped in mystery somewhere to the north and east of the Caucasus Mountains in the republic of Georgia where my mother was born in Tiflis…..

So part of the benefit of our sheep herd is to roast a lamb and make a party. We had our first lamb roast in June where we invited all our mayan workers and their families and our friends and partners to celebrate our working together. First one of our shepherds got the town butcher to come out to Susula, the home of the agave and sheep, and prepare the animal for roasting. Okay, it really wasn’t a lamb but an old ewe that was not fertile.  A good friend of Danny’s, Armando, came and was the master chef. With a ewe we were dealing with mutton and having Armando to help was essential to producing something that could be eaten and enjoyed. Danny picked up Armando from the bus station in the evening and we started the preparations at 10 pm with injecting the ewe with a wine mix so it could marinate overnight. Then Armando prepared 3 sauces to go with the meat. I can’t really remember all the names and ingredients but that will come later with the next party. There were peanuts and chilis roasting, vegetables and herbs being chopped and other things that were all new to me. Okay, I forget, but we finished at 3 am and it is all a past blurr.

Armando in full cooking mode

Meanwhile, over the past days, Danny and I went to the welders and designed and had them build a sheep roasting rack. The sheep would be spread on the rack and could be lowered and raised and also turned over as it roasted on the fire.

Mutton roasting on rack over coals

I found a beautiful spot near the palapa and sheep corral to clear and develop an outdoor cooking and eating area. It has a group of large trees that give us shade.We had our mayan crew not only clear but try to level the area to be ready for the party. This land is composed of limestone, very rough, with rocks everywhere. They made a rock fire pit and brought over logs to burn from our clearing of a new field. We brought the marinated ewe and the just finished lamb roasting rack and stand.

New picnic area being developed

I also put out rocks for the stone masons to build a low wall around the trees for seating at future parties. The Mayans brought their families, Pedro, our sheep manager, brought his family and Danny’s daughter Fernanda joined us. It was a good party but let’s face it, the mutton was okay but far from tender lamb. It was our first approximation but enjoyed by all.

On this trip we are planning our second party, and with a lamb this time, a fat one I hope, after eating all the vegetation from the summer rains. Armando has agreed to help us again with the cooking. With Diana joining us, another master chef, this 2nd approximation is something I am really looking forward to. We are going to build up a pit above ground with rocks, as there is so little dirt to dig down, cut up the lamb into quarters and roast it overnight in a bed of coals. All the details will be related in blogs before and after the party, which is scheduled for Saturday, October 22nd.

Okay, back to packing and finishing up our work on our Feldenkrais Trainings. Do go to our website www.movement-educators.com to see what is happening in that arena.

Don O so ready for the lamb roast

From the Yukon to the Yucatan – Let the Blogging Begin

In this blog I want to share my experiences as a nomad over the last 40+ years. This journey is far from over but started at the age of 17 hitchhiking across the United States in the summer of 1962. My travels have not been worldwide but stretch from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska to the Yucatan in Mexico and also many years in Western Europe.

I have mostly followed my nose and with a strong impulse disorder have leaped into many untenable situations. I am proud of having lived through all the thousands of mistakes I have amassed, as I believe we learn the most through fucking up, and that I surely did many times!

I am going to start at the end, that is now, as this website is about my adventures in the Yucatan and that is what I will be relating as it happens. But as the inspiration grabs me or as someone asks questions, I will delve back into past adventures. Like the time we ate wolf-regurgitated caribou meat that we found on the ice, under the snow, on the Yukon River. Or like the time my partner breastfed our newborn puppies, along with our daughter. Okay, you get the picture, all nonfiction and definitely on the strange side of life. But it has been my life and I want to share it at last through this medium in conjunction with working on writing some books that have been long overdue.

Don Oso