Last Wilds of Colorado

Last of the Wild West
South WCR 40 acres

When I moved to the San Luis Valley almost five years ago it was an open wild place with horses roaming as they had for the last 10,000 years.

Elk , deer and antelope once played plentiful on these lands. Now 5 years later I’m seeing unabated and devastating growth that is adversely altering the ancient path ways of Colorado wild life, forest and desert 🌵.

Open land is being fenced and scraped, creeks are being polluted and pumped to serve the illegal needs of many that have moved into the mountains with little resources and big dreams of becoming cannabis growers.

Trash upon trash fills the open lands, dumped over the years. Bed frames, car parts, poached elk, refrigerators, tires upon tires upon tires…

Found this in a dip on the South WCR. It will take at least two full trailer loads to haul it all off.

So what do we do as a community? As a people? As keepers of this planet ?

Do we quietly clean it up and say nothing, stewing with resentment or do we educate? Or eradicate the offenders?

Costilla county is home to the second largest herd of elk in the country at 150,000 head.
First largest is in the San Juan’s @ 250,000.

Since taking out the human trash isn’t always an option, becoming aware of ones county codes and reporting the violations is one option, slow but effective.

The best way to end the cycle of environmental abuse is by taking folks out into the wilds and showing them the beauty and installing a sense of pride with in them.

Having a sense of ownership of the environment helps create visceral connections, joy, happiness and uplifts the spirits of those all present. By changing the way we see and feel about open land will benefit us all.

Fox, deer and human.

Blanca is sacred to many American Indians, including the Navajo, Utes, and the Comanche.

Colorado is one of the last bastions of wild frontier, and its being sold away parcel by parcel.

Currently Costilla county is working on building a wildlife corridor from the Sangre Di Christo Mountain ranges to the flats or “ant hills”. West of the Rio Grande.

Preparing for a Colorado Spring.

It is spring in Southern Colorado, the mountain blue birds have returned with their wives, the Crow murders are flying East to their spring nests in the high Meadowlands , the elk have come down the mountain to nibble the grasses coming up against the lingering snow and frost.

Small herd of Elk in the San Luis Valley
Photo by C.S Grable

We’ve started adding the winters manure from the horse paddock to all the deep beds, cleared the coops of all the straw and replaced it with pine shavings.

Pine shavings keep down poultry mites and ambient moisture and dust.
Photo by C.S Grable

All of the winters livestock bedding is mixed into the deep beds. The chickens are then released into the beds to help churn up the medium, eat any critters that may have moved in (from tasty red worms to large creepy grubs) over winter. While they are working and turning the soil the birds are also leaving behind amazing little gold nuggets in the form of chicken turds.

Once the soil has been turned by the flock, the beds are soaked with water and covered with black tarps to Solarize them.

Solarization helps speed up the composting system, kills bacteria and unwanted sprouts.

Chickens turning the soil and looking for bugs.
Photo by C.S Grable

The Cost of Egg production.

The average cost for organic pasture- raised- free-range dozen chicken eggs are 4.99-12.99$ Nationally.

It is a real surprise when you start looking through your grocery stores egg selection. You have everything from a 36 pack of full factory chicken eggs at 2.99$ yes it’s cheap, it’s even subsidized by the US department of AG.

Eggs aren’t cheap, at least good eggs aren’t.

Most store eggs are over 30 days old and have trekked hundreds if not thousands of miles to reach your shelf. Those eggs, come from sad chickens. Very… sad. No day light, no room to stretch, peck or dirt bathe.

And you are consuming those very same stress hormones that little hen is dropping every day.

What the cluck can you do about it? Shop locally, get to know your neighbors and farms.

Fresh eggs being boiled up for fire fighters during spring fire 2018
I maintain a higher quality of care for my flock of 25 laying hens. Their feed is 100% Certified Organic and non-GMO. I converted to all clean feed after bugging the manager at our local feed store for weeks on end. Now they carry the largest selection of organic certified feed! A must for the CNG farmer.
There are no antibiotics or hormones! We use oils, and herbs to maintain health, and even treat injuries.
Factory farm has an average of 1500 birds in an area less than an acre.
So-called “Free range” factories don’t use cages but rather lock their birds in large huts with simulated light, where hundreds of birds lay dead and dying on the floor and go unnoticed until that particular building of birds are hauled out for slaughter because they are “too old”!
 So the next time you start to complain and whine about the cost of eggs at your local farmers market, think about the work it takes to maintain a small farm and flock.
Constant daily dedication. I don’t get to take “days off”, I work 365 days a year, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall to guarantee I have the best quality produce and eggs because of the dedication.
Our little flock gets greens and herbs out of our geodome. During the summer they get the greens from the garden.

Understanding PTSD & relapse through equids

Understanding PTSD in humans has been a field of study for over 50 years. It was once called “shell shock” or “trench syndrome”.

Now the same thing that plagued my grandfather and myself is being understood through healing horses.

Equids & conditioned fear

Horses have the ability to heal humans, dogs anything with emotional trauma. Bring in their larger than life aura field is an amazing feeling. You can feel the calm radiating over ones body.

The pride and calm that comes from these beast transfers to the human, creating an embolus loop of spiritual and physical healing.

But what happens when the healer needs to be healed? Understanding the condition of fear is step one. As we as humans, come to help the equid; we’ve come to learn how to help ourselves through them.

Equids are prey animals. They have large eyes set in the side of their heads, long legs to move them over land quickly and efficiently.

Humans are predators.

We are upright, we use tools and we can can run for extended periods of time, wearing down our prey by chase. Our eyes are set forward, we have canines and independent digits on our hands. We can use tools and FIRE!

But somewhere along the way, the heavy breathing up right “human” made a long lasting companionship with the wolf, and the HORSE.

How does a predator and prey come to rely on each other? What could we possibly benefit from associating with a four legged tump roast?

Speed. Distance. Logistics.

The horse gave us freedom. Some will argue that the horse has only been part of our modern world for 10,000 yrs. I disagree. (That’s an entire blog on its own)

The relationship we have grown with the equids goes back much further than we as modern man are ready to admit.

But what happens when the horse and human enter the modern world? Our minds and bodies must adapt to a world we were once the masters, and queens of. Now, we are the serfs to technology.

War, poverty and the human condition spreads past the ghetto or big box grocery. It’s extending back to the source of our sanity, and destroying it.

Understanding where conditioned fears originates is how we as a species can come around, save ourselves and our planet.

Healing does not end with one, it leaps like a frog from one pad to the next.