Greening an Old Ranch: High desert dwellers are well aware how fragile our environment is. That is why we have made tremendous investments to minimize Rancho Gallina’s energy use, water use, waste, and overall carbon footprint. Please help us make the ranch a model of sustainability and stewardship of our resources for the next generation.
Restoration and Conservation: The ranch has undergone major upgrades and renovations. Since 2012 we have completely replaced the plumbing in the casitas and the barn, installing new water saving showers, toilets and sinks. We replaced old propane-sucking furnaces with 3 state-of-the-art geothermal heating and cooling units. To service the geothermal, we upgraded the electrical system and installed a full solar array to provide all of our electricity. So the main house and casitas are powered by the sun and heated and cooled by the earth! We also replaced more than half of the roofing and windows for insulation and heat-deflection, replaced the vast majority of our lighting with LED bulbs, and painted the interiors with no-VOC paint.
The Barn, hot tub, and Palacio Gallina (our chicken coop) are on another new solar array, and the Barn has been upgraded with energy star kitchen and laundry appliances, as well as other groovy low-tech gray water solutions. We installed a 6,000 gallon water catchment tank to gather roof-runoff from the barn. This provides all of our pond and landscaping water. Let us know if you want a walk-through – we spent a lot of time researching and developing our renovation/climate impact plan and love to share with anyone who’s interested.
We are grading and landscaping the gardens between and around the main house and the barn. If you are curious about desert plants, check out Plants of the Southwest on Agua Fria Road in Santa Fe. They grow most of their native plants just a few miles away on the road between the Turquoise Trail and Galisteo. We have planted more than 300 native plants and shrubs in 2 years.
Water and Waste: We are on a well and test the water regularly. It is rich in minerals and makes great drinking water. To reduce the use of plastic bottles, we supply and encourage the use of refillable water bottles for day trips.
We provide recycling and compost containers in all of our guest kitchens and kitchenettes to reduce the ranch’s trash to a bare minimum and use no disposable products in our breakfast and catering kitchen. And we are on a septic system (replaced in 2012), that eventually filters all waste water back into the aquifer.
The chickens, a new adventure we began in May 2014, are part of the garden, composting system, and breakfast. They eat bugs and cultivate our very poor soil, turn our kitchen waste into compost almost instantly for the orchard and garden beds, and they make eggs.
Linens: To conserve water and extend the life of our sheets and towels we only service linens on request. Many of our linens are US made, organic, or of recycled cotton or wool. If you are curious about our sources, look at the labels or just ask.
Firewood: In addition to thinning invasive and drought stricken trees from the ranch, we purchase the remainder of our firewood from Santa Fe Ecowood. Santa Fe Ecowood uses sustainable harvesting practices, gathering wood from forest and watershed restoration projects in New Mexico to thin the forests of excessive wildfire fuel.