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SPRING/SUMMER 2024

Ag and Animals: It was a beautiful spring, with lots of rain creating green pastures. We planted 15 pomegranate trees in front of the Barn Venue and a few more food trees in our backyard. I had lots of fun planting a variety of berry vines. They all were doing great until we got hit with thousands of grasshoppers (this summer), and now we have lost half of our crop :(  I know if I sprayed chemicals on the plants, I may not had such a loss, but we are trying to stay organic with no chemicals. I am trying some organic remedies. I'd love it if some experienced person would join our team and help with the ag and animals.  

We also had a few changes with the feral (barn) cats. Barnie (the gray cat) disappeared and Calico came in. She was here a short time and I realized she was pregnant. She just had 7 kittens. I also built a chicken coop but am still waiting to get the chickens. The alpacas were heard in early spring, and I am sure they are happy about that with the heat wave we are having. 

We opened up another section for a new front gate and brought in more roadbase. I am waiting to get help building a foundation for my glamping tent. We've had a few Airbnb and Hipcamp guests and hope to see more. 

Family/Home: I just officially RETIRED from public school teaching and now have Medicare! I'm excited about new things I get to do. I just joined the Clovis Sr. Center to take line dancing. I have a new retirement bucket list :) and am looking forward to spending more time with friends and family, doing ministry stuff, writing, traveling, learning new things, and working on the land. 

Shalom shalom

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WINTER 2024

Ag and Animals - The more I learn about regenerative Ag, the more excited I become about stewarding the land. I've always loved being out in the fields. As a child, I used to love exploring the land around my grandparent's ranch.

I just ordered some poppy and lavender seeds so we hope to get those in the ground soon. I am also preparing our 'green' vegie garden. We will have plant diversity on our land. We also need to get more pomegranate trees planted (the holes are dug). So much to do, and so little time! If anyone wants to come out and help on the land, we could use it.

The alpacas are doing great, however, hay costs keep going up. Our alpaca tours help with the feeding costs. Although I haven't done any alpaca tours lately, I do hope we can book some events by summer. Alpaca shearing will be the end of March. 

 

Barn Venue: We completed the ceremony area with DG, poles, and string lights! We welcomed the rain as it softened the ground for tractor work. Arnold has been busy expanding and smoothing out the parking area. We plan to get lights up in the parking area and a new gate entrance. 

I am working glamping tent area that we will use for the bridal room and/or glamp space.

In December a local businesswoman offered wreath wreath-making class and Shalom Oasis hosted a Christmas worship/fellowship gathering.  Arnold hosted a Situational Awareness Class in February. 

Family and Home: We are always making improvements around the house for our traveling (stays) guests.  We brought in more gravel and hope to get a small patch of artificial grass in our backyard. We finally got our house water purifier connected! Next- hook up the solar to our well.  PGE rates keep going up and we need to get this thing connected! I put up more lights around the house and entrance, so people can find us easily. 

 I (Marta) had a wonderful 3 weeks off for winter break.  I/we spent a week with grandkids, going up to the mountains and the zoo. Most of the stays were family members :) I  spent a week visiting friends and another week out of town. I'm back to teaching and will be picking up a night class as well at Madera Adult School teaching ESL. 

*Even though Shalom Oasis is not a part of our LLC, I added the Shalom Oasis page. Shalom Oasis is a faith-based ministry and we do a variety of events. Most of all I love to worship the Creator with dance and native drums. I have a strong desire to raise up a dance team. I also enjoy partnering with other ministries either with worship, prayer, or equipping the saints. 

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Autumn 2023:

The Barn Area: A few photographers came out to do Fall photoshoots and we've had a few small gatherings of friends. Arnold put in electrical outlets and two large ceiling fans. Next projects: Develop more parking areas with lights, install water line, plant trees, and develop outdoor ceremony area with lights. Although we do much of the labor, we try to use local (Rancho) businesses to do the things we can't. We are hoping we can get some rain to soften the ground. 

Family: We continue to work our 'regular' M-F.jobs and spend time with family. We celebrated our four grandkids birthdays and sadly Arnolds mom passed. We are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgivng here with family. I even got a camping trip in with cousins and attended a wedding. 

We just learned about renerative agriculture and will be pursuing the practice. We already do crop covering, little tilling, and use organic fertilizer. Alpaca poop is great for fertilizer as it doesn't burn plants or smell. Regen. Ag is all part of stewarding and restoring the land. If you are interested in learning and helping in the projects we'd love to talk to you.

SPRING/SUMMER

OMG, I can't believe it is spring already. The green weeds have turned brown, and we are trying to get the tall oats harvested.  Not sure if that is going to happen. I have been on a weeding frenzy! The weeds were up to 2-3 feet high in the alpaca area. I think I'm about caught up. Arnold has been doing a lot of tractor work around the land as required by the county and in other areas. It is endless! We also planted a few more bushes and fruit trees. We are in the process of looking for workers to put in solar for the well and water lines to the barn. Living in Calif. is not cheap, and we'd love to get off the 'grid'.  


The alpacas were just sheared! and people are starting to all stay. I"d love to get my prayer labyrinth built and a few other projects. We do most of the projects after work or on the weekends. 


We went to see a few of the grandkids in Monterey, and it was nice to get out of town. It had been a while. We also hosted a Lango Easter gathering with BBQ and an easter egg hunt. It had been a while since we'd gathered together. 

 

ARC_ I hosted a small gathering for Shuvout and am hoping to rent the barna for a few weddings this summer. 

Life goes on, and we are grateful for the Creator's many blessings.

 

WINTER 2023

WOW, It's been raining! We welcome the water. Hopefully, it will break the drought we've been in for so long. What a crazy winter with atmospheric rivers, lots of water, and wind!. Our bit tent fell so now one more thing to fix :(. 

We hosted an office Christmas party for the local WFG group I used to be a part of. That was lots of fun, and even Santa came. In December, it was my (Marta)  turn to host the Rios Christmas. (My brothers and I rotate every year). We had lots of food and fun and even got a family photo in front of the barn! It was also a blessing to have all four kids at home. Michaela and her dog came in from NY and stayed with us for a month. 

 

In February, we hosted our son-in-love (Justin) 40th Birthday in the barn. It was lots of fun, and we even had a pinata! Later that month, we hosted a community meeting with our new county supervisor. I can't believe people showed up even in the crazy rain, Only one person got stuck in the mud. 

 

On March 4th we celebrated my 65th Birthday! I made tamales that morning, and we had a nice gathering in the evening. It was such a blessing to see friends and family. 

 

The weeds were was beautifully green this winter. The animals are doing ok, and we added two cats to the household. Hopefully, they will earn their keep and eat the mice! Oh country living Again, we thank our creator for his wonderful blessing. 

 

AUTUMN 2022

I say it often; Autumn is my favorite season. 

House: We did a little landscaping in front of the house (see photo). We planted 3 trees and 20 smaller plants in the front circle. Unfortunately, only one small plant is left as some critters got to the rest. The 3 trees made it. I also can't believe some critters ate all the cacti in my 'cactus garden'.  I think it was the wild bunnies we have running around. The outdoor kitchen is 90% completed in the backyard. We finished the sidewalk all around the house and in the backyard. It is coming together nicely.  Maybe by next summer, it will be completed. I'm still waiting to put in an old fashion clothes line. I also completed yard art areas in the backyard.

ARC: We had a Makers market gathering in the summer and will be hosting another Oct. 22nd. I enjoy supporting local artisans and allowing a place for them to sell their craft. I also hosted a  women's worship gathering in September. 

We've been working on the door openings for months. They were made smaller (from 20x20 to 10x10). We hope to get sliding barn doors made by the end of the year. We finally found someone to build them. Although my hope was that it be done by end of summer, we're now shooting by the end of the year. Next project: Outdoor Pole lights, lights, gazebo level new area for parking and bring in gravel. I really wish we could barter these projects! 

The Land: I have a lot more ideas for the land, and I am still looking for help.  I would like to put in a prayer labyrinth and area for outdoor games (volleyball, etc.). I'd also like to set up a creative walkabout area with signs. With inflation as crazy as it is and few laborers, we realize it may take longer than we hoped. 

Family/Friends: Like I said we did have an awesome time visiting friends in Montana and Idaho this summer. We also took a nice drive to see Yellowstone and an alpaca farm. We discovered Outdoorsy and rented a van. We took a few trips to southern cal to visit family and friends as well. Although I (marta) went back to teaching in early August, I still enjoy working on the land whenever I can. I'm really hoping we can have a few FUN FALL activities out here, i.e.fall photoshoot, open alpaca day, and Friendsgiving. I'm also trying to convince Arnold to let me drive the tractor ;) I have so many things I want to do :) 

 

 

 

Spring 2022

Spring is here! I'm super excited about the cool weather so we can work on projects outside. We've got a lot going on. I tend to be a multi-tasker working on several projects at once. 

Shalom Oasis area is completed! The Bell canvas tent is up and it is surviving the rain and wind! We got it through White Duck company. Although it can sleep 12 people, but we won't be having that. I did post it on Airbnb and Hipcamp. I really want to offer it to ministry friends as a place to rest and refresh. Even though I wanted it to be my woman cave, I am open to sharing it now :) The area also is set up to accommodate other tent campers nearby. However, if a ministry is using the area, it will not be open to other travelers. My latest guest just said it was so cool and relaxing to be in. 

Stays: We continue to get calls form Airbnb, Hipcamp and Harvest host.  It is such great fun visiting travelers from around the country. 

The Big Red Barn: It was fun to host a small Passover Sedar with friends. I'm looking forward to another gathering in a few days. We will have Native drum worship and Hebraic dance. These are two of my favorite things to do. (Currently, I'm taking western line dance in Clovis, and I'd like to get a teacher at our place). My goal for spring is to get the unnecessary items out,  mulch around the barn, and the door enclosures completed. It has been difficult finding skilled workers. 

The House:  I finally got all the decorating completed in the house!  I found five of my large furniture items secondhand.  I so like treasure hunting! I planted a small garden on the east side of the house. We are also working on a larger raised garden bed and planting fruit trees in the backyard.  Arnold is waiting for help to finish the concrete counter in the outdoor kitchen.  Our goal is to get all our landscaping around the house done by end of summer.

The Animals: The dogs are crazy as ever and love running around the property when we are outside working. The alpacas are doing fine. They will be sheared soon. I still need to get around to selling the yarn we had made from their fiber. (ugh, I don't like marketing). Our kids say we should not get any more animals, but we do still have a chicken coop to put up. 

Marta She Shop. Since marketing and selling are not my things, I end up giving away a lot of what I make. I like creating 'stuff and refurbishing items.  It might be time for another yard sale.  I do sell the Fair Trade Alpaca items and my handmade alpaca dryer balls. to a lot of my Harvest Host guests.

Family and Friends: Matt's family came for a short visit at the end of March and I got to visit Mary /family during Spring break. My best friend from elementary school (Kathy) and I have been going on some adventures. We are thinking of starting an Instagram account about our excellent adventures :) 

 

 

Winter 

February 2022 It was awesome coming home from the hospital (November) and seeing green land. It seemed when I left, it was brown and then when I got home it was green.  In November and December, I spent time recovering and rebuilding my strength. The nice thing was I had a lot of time to catch up on doing crafts and Arnold created some great new meals and sourdough treats. Thank God for the rain in December. Since it is difficult to get much done outside, I've been focusing on completing the house's indoor space (decorating, finding the right furniture, etc.). 

The large canvas tent finally arrived (I ordered it in July) and I hope to get it all set up by my birthday (March 4th). This area will be called Shalom Oasis, a space set up for prayer/meditation/spiritual retreat and equipping.

Fall 2021

Shana Tova! Happy New year, although Rosh Hashana has passed, I love this time of the year. Fall is my  (marta) favorite season. The weather is cooler and  Rosh Hashana and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) are in the Fall. These are holidays I like to celebrate. (I first learned of them while living in Israel in 1980-1982). I hosted a women's gathering (potluck and worship) in the Barn. It was so nice to get together with friends during Sukkot. 

Although it is a time to celebrate the harvest, with the trees blossoming with fall colors,  this will be the first time we don't have any. No pomegranates this year (although I may have to go to my old neighbors and get some). We do not have any trees or landscaping planted yet ;) However, we are grateful for the cooler weather. The 100+ weather is over. 

The animals are settled and hubby is building an outdoor kitchen. I am still trying to decorate and get the 'feel' of the house. It's like a blank canvas.  Should I put up old photos and decor?  I don't have a single bookcase up (the last house had a lot), and all my crafts are in my storage unit. It seems it will take me a while to figure this all out. We bought a large farmer dining table, seats 10, in hopes to have people out. For those who know us, you know we like to have friends out. We're starting to have 'taco Tuesday nights' with friends over. 

It rained a little (YEAH) and the dust settled near the barn, so we were able to bring in road base. I also set up a few seating areas around the barn. It's coming along. We still are looking for a framer to finish the enclosure. 

Our Latest Blog Entry

April 2021: What a year!  Has it really been a year since I last wrote? Wow.  During the year, it seemed we spent every weekend moving stuff to the property or working on projects. It was 28 years of accumulation of stuff.  We built fences and installed solar. The house was completed April 2021, and we moved in. We moved the alpacas the following month.

We put our Manon house for sale in early June, and it sold within a week (Thank God- Escrow was short. (Yeah!) 

 

We know this will be a  lifelong process of building. Our 2021 summer project is to repaint inside the house. In the Fall we hope to build an outdoor kitchen and finish cement work around the house. 

 Marta has been preparing the tent areas for the Hipcampers and Airbnb guests. We've been getting a lot of Harvest Host guests as well. Last year we got a lot of tent campers due to a lot of campsites being closed. We'll see what happens now that more things are open. 

This summer (2021) we are also offering the use of our tents for those who want to camp but don't have the gear. They are all listed on Airbnb and Hipcamp. 

While I'm on summer break (from teaching),  I will also be working on a special area for prayer and reflection. It will be called Shalom Oasis.

Our Second Blog Entry

Our Ranch Story

June 10, 2020 For those of you who have asked about A & M Ranch, here is the story.  I realize some of this might be too detailed, but there is so much to this journey. First, It's been a faith journey - we never thought we'd be here at this time of our lives.

Part 1:

2005: We bought two forty-acre parcels. That's when I was working FT, and we could afford it. Who would have known 6 months later I'd lose my job? Long story short, God is faithful and took care of us in the midst of it all. We bought 2 parcels with the intention of selling one and later exchanging the second parcel for a house in the hills. We looked for three years in the mountains. We wanted a place with a house, shop, and landscape.  

We sold the first parcel around 2010. We tried to sell the 2nd parcel three different times. Then, we realized we really didn't want to live in the mountains, so we stopped looking and took the land off the market.

I (Marta) was going through some physical challenges back in 2014-2016 and was exhausted and had no intention of building.  So we prayed-"God, if you want us to build and have a vision for this land, then show us and please restore energy and put us both on the same page." God answered, and I started to feel better. We decided to put in a well in 2017. We just decided to keep moving forward one step at a time. Because we built our last home 27 years ago, we knew what had to be done. After the well, we worked on getting power to the property. That took a year and a half. 

2018: We bought the c-trains for storage.  It was not as roomy as Arnold's last shop, but it was sufficient. Arnold painted his storage units and put a cover between them. It looks like another barn. 

2019 -We built the Big Red Barn. We finally decided on house plans and a builder.

2020/May- House Foundation was poured. We still have lots to do i.e. finish the dog fencing, alpaca fencing, landscaping, patios, etc, etc. 

(Oh yeah, in the midst of the past decade, we were still working, both my parents passed, Arnold's dad passed, we became empty-nesters, two kids got married, we started a few businesses and I got my doctorate), so if you never heard us talk about the land it was because we were focusing on other things :)

We thank the Lord for his GOODNESS. It's been a wild ride. Who would have thought we'd be doing this in our 60s? But then again, who would have thought people would be wearing masks and sheltering in place for almost a year?

It's a NEW ERA! 

Our First Blog Entry

Decluttering-Jan 2020

I read a recent article that titled "Ten things your kids don't want". Really?! How sad, they really don't want my vintage tablecloths, doilies and china dishes?

I started this decluttering process a few years before my parents passed. They started giving away some of their things. I digitized their photos, before tossing and giving away the prints.After throwing out photos of trees and mountain (places they visited), I realized, my kids would not to want my photos of trees and squirrels:). So now I have 40 years of photo albums to sort through. I'm giving myself a few years.

A few years ago, I started with my kids photo albums and video's. I took out the photos and tossed the albums.I sorted the photos into 5 piles (one for each of them and one for me) and then bundled them by year. I put them in a pretty box and gave each a box for Christmas. I also sent the videos to be made into DVD's. (although that now seems to be outdated). Step 1 -done! Now, I have to go through my personal 1960-80's albums and digitize.

Next: The stuff: The kids all have put the things they want to keep in boxes. The hardest thing is getting rid of things they don't want but bring me good memories...like my husbands first ski set, or my first set of dishes when I was single, or moms tea cups, the toy soldiers, barbies, and all the beanie babies.This has been on ongoing emotional process. I've sold stuff, sent much to the thrift stores, repurposed some, and kept a few for future generations.(I actually made a cool wall hanging, like many dream catchers out of my moms doilies).

I know this will take time, but I also know I don't want to move all this stuff when it is time to move. It's time to Let it Go. 

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