July 30, 2008 - Wednesday
We got all 9 piers set and got 3 of the holes filled before it got really windy yesterday. While Jerry was thinking & calculating things I played Martha Stewart - cleaning up around the building site... or as was the case yesterday, stacking wood (closer to the site) we had cut in clearing the site.
This morning we went out to the lot earlier than normal... & got the rest of the holes filled. This HAS to be the hardest part of this project... I can only hope! Shoveling the sand / rock / dirt into those holes is absolutely backbreaking! Every muscle we have is sore! This morning while Jerry was thinking & calculating, I took my bucket & Skeeter & I went rock hunting. Jerry had dug up a couple yucca plants for me that were down by the driveway - so I dug those in & moved a few little cacti around... and proceeded to dump buckets of rock around the area. Poor Skeeter... we've trimmed some pine branches that were scraping the side of the pickup or generally just in the way... and Skeeter lays under these trees for shade & gets pine sap & needles stuck to him. He doesn't seem to mind as much as I do. He's still a handsome boy with or without the mess!
I'll be adding photos to show our progress... but it won't be tonite... maybe tomorrow?
The 2 x 12 boards (16 ft lengths) were delivered yesterday afternoon. We're hoping to start attaching those tomorrow morning while it's still cool. If we can get those attached tomorrow then Friday we can start attaching the joist hangers. Tomorrow afternoon I think we're going to Forbes Park to the lot we have there to take out some trees (those that are dead & down) & haul them to our lot to cut up for firewood. We figure if we work on the house in the morning & late afternoon when it's cooler then we can do other things (nap, cut up wood, shop, etc.) during the hotter part of the day.
We plan to work all day Friday... but Saturday we're playing hookie! In the morning some friends are having an auction (building supplies!); at 2:00 is the Sangre de Cristo land owner's association annual meeting (election of officers & potluck) - we won't eat... because we're going for pizza in Alamosa with friends Ron & Kathy (they're transplants from New Hampshire).
In other news... there was a mud/rock slide close to LaVeta Pass (maybe 20 minutes from here) on Monday evening. Highway 160 is a direct route across southern Colorado & the slide really caused problems. The only other ways (east)out of the Valley are to go south to New Mexico & back around to I-25 or to go back west & up Highway 17 (I believe) which goes up toward Salida & Canon City. Traffic was backed up here for quite some time. We drove out tonite to look at the area of the slide but it's been mostly cleaned up.
Better check on the laundry... we were running out of work clothes so this was an emergency situation!
Belated Happy 52nd Anniversary to my parents! Love you!
July 27, 2008 - Sunday
Now we’re getting somewhere??
Slowly but surely... we're getting somewhere. The 4th of August is our last (paid) day here in the RV park. We're planning to move the camper out to the lot & become "permanent" residents there. There will be a few things to work out.... making sure out little solar panel & battery can handle the lights, DVD player & laptop are the biggest. Our biggest worry is not having cell phone service on the lot. It's not too far from a cell phone tower... and even tho we have "bars" there is no reception. Ugh! Tomorrow (barring any rain) we'll be going to get the first of our building supplies! It will be nice (?) to actually begin working on the construction part of this... not just watching someone else move dirt around.
We've been on the lot when it has sprinkled - but not actually rained - and we are getting into monsoon season so I'm sure we'll be getting a taste of BIG rain! (Speaking of rain... it's doing it now!) The sprinkles are not bad at all... I always think of Hayli wanting to strip down to her birthday suit & play in the rain! Quite frankly the idea does not sound all that bad when one is hot & dirty!
Last week during some "down time" on the lot (there was dirtwork being done & I was trying to stay out of the way!) I moved some cacti that would have been destined for the burn pit to a central location under a pinon tree with other cacti & placed a big ol' branch behind them - up against the tree and then arranged some rocks around the front edge. I'm not sure what this will keep in or out... but it seemed like a "homey" thing to do. I found a few yucca plants near the driveway that I'm hoping to dig up & transplant - somewhere I can enjoy them. There are quite a few wild flowers (Indian Paintbrush, sunflowers, primrose, cleome, milkweed, etc.) along the roads / ditches that I'd like to have... but am under strict orders not to dig up anything until the real work is done. Agreed!
Last nite we went to All-Gon for dinner... but it was all I could do to get thru dinner. I was just physically exhausted & only wanted to go to bed. We got back & I put in a DVD (hoping it would put me right to sleep) but of course I stayed awake to watch the whole thing! Today was supposed to be a day of rest... going to church & the like. I finally dragged myself out of bed about 10:00... and made breakfast. Just before noon our friend Brother Robert (who did our dirtwork) drove by & told us there would be gun fights & Native American dancing at the White Mountain Trading Post. Of course we couldn't pass up that opportunity. You can check out their website at: www.whitemountain-tradingpost.com for more information & photos. (I have added photos of the Native American Dancers to my WMTP photo album!) After the gun fights & dancing we went to the Silver Sage Steakhouse for lunch (wings & rings!)... followed by a trip to the lot... followed by a nap.
Laundry is going so I should be tending to that. We'll be getting back to you......
July 26, 2008 - Saturday
Too pooped to pop!
I'm not sure exactly why I'm so tired (not just tired, but sore)... but I've just been draggin' the past couple days. The holes dug for the pier footings are dug - luckily they didn't have to be dug by hand as the earth is so rocky... you could break a shovel trying to dig! Most of the sagebrush that was around the building site has been burned. That was a nasty, dirty job.... I'll be burning my white socks as they'll never be white again! We've gotten cost sheets on lumber & supplies from some local lumber yards so we'll know where to go for which things. Tomorrow afternoon we'll be doing just a few more things at the lot... and Monday we'll make a trip to get the first of the building supplies. I should be really excited.... but I'm just really tired!!
Today we drove to Walsenberg... just for the heck of it... change of scenery more than anything I suppose. We stopped at a garage sale on the way there... I got 3 FireKing coffee cups... in lime green!! We scoured the antique shops for bargains (yeah, right!)... ended up getting an old wood / coal burning stove. I suppose it was a good deal... but it will need to be cleaned up with a wire brush then primed & painted... and of course it will need new stove pipe & whatever goes along with it. We stopped at a "cowboy" store (that's not where one goes to buy cowboys, by the way) and Jerry bought a nice cowboy hat. He's been wanting one for quite some time... now he needs to get some boots!
We'll be going to All-Gon in a while for some dinner & to listen to Sonny sing. Tomorrow is church... and the week starts all over again!
July 23, 2008 - Wednesday
Tired, dirty....is anybody listening?
Hey! It's Wednesday already! We worked for about 5 hours burning sagebrush yesterday. Last nite we dragged our dirty selves to the Community Center for a shower then went swimming! It was very relaxing...just what we needed... except going to bed with a wet head! My hair was a huge disaster this morning!
This morning we got up early & went out to the lot since the old culvert was going to be dug up & moved and the new culvert was going to be put in. Brother Robert was right on time & got to work. Skeeter & I spent some quality time up near the building site hauling sagebrush to the burn pit...with at few side trips made to an area close where I was working that had some nice rocks I could use to do some landscaping. Skeeter spends his time investigating every smell... always has his nose to the ground! I do feel bad for him... he gets SO hot SO quickly that he spends most of his "not moving" time under the nearest shade tree! He's a good dog & a good early warning system! I got quite a bit done by myself... but had to check to see what was happening with the culverts. Those went in easily (or at least he makes it look easy!). He drove the backhoe up to the building site & got 3 of 9 holes dug for the pier footings. Bro. Robert had to be somewhere around noon so he left us about 11:30. He'll be back tomorrow to finish the other 6. In the meantime we'll be getting cement lined up. Jerry & I cooked some kielbasa on the redneck grill (galvanized trash can shot full of holes with a grill on it) & had bread with garlic & rosemary & sun tea followed by a slice of pecan pie. That's roughin' it!
Jerry decided after lunch that he was just pooped... too tired to do much good... so we came back to the camper so he could take a nap. I took a shower & decided that I really should do some laundry. I do miss having a washer & dryer at my disposal - one that is not coin operated anyway. Not sure what's for dinner tonite. We bought some squash (it's native to the area, I don't know the name of it) and some organically grown onions & garlic. I understand that the 3 sauteed together topped with Parmesan cheese are to die for! I'll let you know!
July 21, 2008 - Monday
New culvert... work...
This morning we went to the lot so the new/used (bigger) culvert could be delivered. It's bigger alright! Wednesday morning the old culvert will be removed from the ditch, the new/used culvert will be put in the the old culvert will be moved to the drainage area farther onto the lot. While we were there we discovered a bear had left a "package" in the driveway. We didn't find any paw prints so we must assume either he was there before it rained or the rain washed away his prints.
After the culvert was dropped off Jerry & I went up on the lot to work a while clearing some sagebrush. We hadn't brought the chainsaw with us and couldn't find the loppers to trim trees with... so we just lugged sagebrush to the burn pit. No fire today tho. After lunch we got the chainsaw & loppers & went back to work. We got one tree taken down & cut up and cut up another that had been dozed down. My job is to stack the wood... this lot, however, doesn't have trees close together like on another lot we own... so the wood is just piled up for now. I took the loppers to a couple trees down the driveway that had been scratching the sides of the pickup... and also to some little 2 foot pine trees that were in the middle of our building site.
Speaking of building sites.... we had thought we'd build over / on top of the burn pit... but we're rethinking that! Since the burn pit is on a lower part of the lot we're thinking it would be smart to use that pit to put the septic in since it would be "downhill" from the house. The next issue will be where to put a well or cistern. We haven't personally priced cisterns but we were told a few months ago that they run about $1.00 per gallon... so a 1000 gallon tank would be $1000.00. We've heard that Trinchera (since being bought out) will continue to service existing water customers but they're not taking on new customers. Someone told us that while the water is actually cheap... Trinchera is charging $4.00 a loaded mile to haul water. I don't think we're all that far from them... but the mileage charge is still steep. We'll have to verify whether or not they're taking new customers... and also check to see what the going rate per foot is to drill a new well. It's always something!
July 20, 2008 - Sunday
Church. picnic, rain & a smelly dog!
This morning Jerry got up early & went to get a newspaper... and while sitting in the parking lot of a local restaurant reading, our friend John (owner of the coffee shop) stopped to talk with him & invited us to go to the Ute Cafe' for coffee/breakfast. Today is to be the last day of the Ute Cafe' as the owner is retiring after nearly 40 years of cooking & serving meals! We had a nice breakfast then came back "home" to get ready for church & the potluck picnic afterwards. I had signed up to bring my "famous" cheesy corn so I had to get that ready as well. While I was cooking, Skeeter went for a dip in the creek & came in the camper with mud up to his elbows (do dogs have elbows?). Grrrr! He spent our church time on a 20 foot chain - attached to the camper.
Church was very informal - in the park next to the church - with a view of majestic Mt. Blanca! Worship was awesome (great teaching!), the weather was equally as awesome... and of course the food was awesome! There's nothing better than a church potluck! There's something about walking out of church & having the incredible view of the mountain! AMAZING!
When we got home we were both so stuffed that we just wanted to take a nap... so we did! We were awakened by the sound of a light rain hitting the metal roof of the camper... then it started thundering... followed by pouring rain! Thank goodness when nature called & Skeeter needed to go out it had quit raining.... he's just like a little kid... hits every mud puddle, runs thru wet grass & then wants to come in & be close to me! Argh! There's nothing worse than a smelly dog in a small camper! PU!
By now our day is really winding down. Neither of us are hungry yet... we may have some popcorn later. Hope you all had a blessed Sunday... and a blessed week to follow!
July 19, 2008 - Saturday
Another beautiful day in the Valley
Yesterday we burned sagebrush & did some clearing on the lot... not much... just enough to get dirty & tired! We went to the coffee shop for lunch.... and it was an all afternoon event. We drove back out to the lot to make sure we had gotten the fire completely out (we had waited til the flames were completely gone then shoveled dirt over the whole thing). While there we walked around the lot lines - found some cool rocks, bleached deer (?) bones, more cactus and several trails used by deer/elk. When we got back to the camper we just kinda collapsed... both of us too tired to even wash the stink off! Eewwww!!!
This morning we woke to the neighbor's alarm clock going off before 7:00 a.m. ... and continuing for nearly 2 hours! My sister Kathie called about that time so I got up anyway. After our weekly "catch up" I headed to the shower to get ready for the day. We were supposed to meet a friend at the coffee shop... as she was heading back home. We stopped at a garage sale - I bought a couple more books. Jerry discovered our Verizon bill in the back seat... almost past due... so we ran to Alamosa to take care of that...but we noticed that there was farmer's market downtown so we stopped there, bought some fresh garlic, onions, squash & a pecan pie! Since the Verizon office is right across the street from Walmart we made a stop there too. We picked up a rake, solar lights, some necessities & a few non-necessities then stopped for a quick (?) lunch at Long John Silver's. It's not Red Lobster, but it works in a pinch! We drove out to the lot to see if the other culvert had found its way there... not yet... maybe next week?
Tomorrow church will be held in the Blanca City Park followed by a potluck picnic. I bought fixins for cheesey corn so I'll make that in the morning! Tonight we're just hanging out here, relaxing... maybe we'll go for a walk later... or to the coffee shop for ice cream!
Happy Birthday to my Dad tomorrow!!