July 17, 2008 - Thursday
Another day in the Valley...
Last nite we went to the coffee shop to share some German chocolate cake (compliments of Pepperidge Farm) and Cherry wine (Pirtle Winery in Weston, MO). The owners shut off the OPEN sign & closed the door & we celebrated birthdays!
Trying to avoid a repeat of getting our driver's licenses... this morning I called the Costilla County Clerk/Recorder's office (home of vehicle registrations) to find out exactly what we'd need to bring in order to license the truck here. Just the basic stuff (current registration, proof of insurance & ID) but the Sheriff's office has to inspect the vehicle (proof that VIN matches registration, etc.). Our registration renewal in Lincoln would have cost just over $300.00.... but here it only cost $175.00 - not counting the $10.00 we "donated" to the Sheriff's office for the "inspection".
Tonite we're going to the home of our friends' (Jim & Jenny) for dinner. I need to get a salad made to take. Should be another fun nite! We enjoy their company & feel lucky to have been reacquainted with them after several years.
I'll be adding photos of some of the "work" we did at the lot last nite. We moved sagebrush into piles near the pit so it would be closer to burn. Additional photos of the burning will follow when it happens.
July 16, 2008 - Wednesday
Colorado driver’s license bureau...
This morning we went to Alamosa again to get our Colorado driver's licenses. I walked to the front door and there was a note on the door saying "the computers are down... sorry for the inconvenience". Of course after yesterday's nonsense of needing a birth certificate or passport I wasn't taking this lying down! I marched in there (very calm!) and asked when the computers might be up & going! The gentleman (in the one man office) tried his computers a couple times & lo & behold they worked... so I hollered at Jerry & we went in. We were surprised that there were no forms to fill out... just gave our information to this nice man, registered to vote & signed up to be organ donors... got our finger print recorded, picture taken... and we'll receive our new Colorado Driver's Licenses in the mail in 10-14 days! Even the DMV is on Valley Time!
Off to the Coffee Shop for birthday cake...
July 15, 2008 - Tuesday
This is Tuesday??
I'm not sure where yesterday went.... we didn't do much... ended up at the Coffee Shop having ice cream in the middle of the afternoon! We went to All-Gon for a late dinner & ran into new friends Ron & Kathy. They're neighbors of ours... about 3 miles away.
This morning we went to Alamosa with the intention of getting our Colorado driver's licenses. Since neither of our Nebraska DLs has our middle names... we have to go back to the DMV with either our birth certificates or Passports to show our FULL names. We also made a stop at the Alltel Wireless store to update our CIRCLE of FRIENDS list and make sure they have our new address since we didn't receive a bill this cycle. We tried the East/West Grill for lunch... kinda like The Noodle Company in Lincoln. It was good... and most likely, healthy!
When we got back we decided we should take Skeeter out to the lot for a run since he hasn't gotten to go for a while. He took off a couple times when he heard another dog barking... but I quickly reeled him back in as our friend John's (who lives down the road) dog was killed by a truck Sunday evening. Someone was target practicing out there & Skeeter was not fond of the shooting (he doesn't like fireworks either!). Jerry fired a few rounds as well... Skeeter slinked under the pickup & laid there until we were ready to leave! We set out flags where the house will go and then spent the rest of the time piling up sagebrush that will be burned in the pit. We have to get the burning done before we build because the pit is right in the center of the building site! It was really nice to be out there this evening as the sun was going down, it wasn't hot (yeah, yeah - it's not the temperature it's the altitude!). We got quite a bit done & hopefully tomorrow we can start burning - if it's not too windy!
Tomorrow's another day...
July 13, 2008 - Sunday
Bright & early Friday morning we met our dirtwork contractor, Brother Robert Espinoza, and went to pick up the culvert we'd use to get onto our property! It was on his farm so we drove there... and Skeeter learned that there are animals bigger than him who are NOT afraid of his BARK! Robert has horses & llamas... which are, as Skeeter found out, very protective & territorial! It was quite funny to watch Skeeter running pretty low to the ground to get under a fence away from a llama that was standing his ground! With the culvert loaded we headed to our lot. The culvert is only about 12 feet long - not the 20 feet required by the County. We've made contact with someone who has a 20 feet culvert, but it's over an hour away & requires a trailer... so we have to make arrangements for that. The 12 foot culvert is really short & it would be treacherous to try to get the camper over it safely.
It was really something to see the culvert go into the ditch, dirt being piled onto it and the sagebrush being pushed aside to clear a path to the knoll at the top of the lot! We had flagged the path... but made a few minor changes to save some trees. The path is probably 12 feet across and about 300 feet long. It doesn't go straight back, but has a couple curves to it & from the road it kind of disappears into the trees! The building site cannot be seen from the road. Robert cleared what seemed like TONS of sagebrush & cactus... pushing it to the side... Jerry & I picked up lots of "strays" and put them in piles to be burned later. Once most of the building site was cleared we discovered that there were a couple of orphan pine trees right side-by-side in the middle... so Robert graciously offered to dig holes to transplant the trees & dug up the trees. Since there was now a hole where the trees were we had him dig a larger hole that we could use to burn the sagebrush. There are often fire bans (there's one now) so open burning is out of the question, but with dirt piled around the top of a hole that is 8 - 10 feet deep & at least 6 feet across we should be able to put some sagebrush in & burn a little at a time!
Jerry's hoping to pick up a few building supplies & put together a little shed to store tools & such in so we can free up some space in the pick up bed for other stuff!
While we were working a friendly face came up our newly cleared lane! It was Jenny (we'd spent the 4th of July with her & her husband)! She was on her way home & decided to see what we were up to! I jokingly asked her if she needed any cactus & she said she didn't have any like ours - so I dug up some & on our way home we took a side trip to her cabin & she treated us to refreshments on the deck! She & her hubby are having a get together this evening - a "meet your neighbors" BBQ! We'll be leaving shortly.
Jerry went to church with me this morning... it was an awesome service with a husband & wife getting baptized and special music from a guy who will be leaving shortly for Japan to teach English. Next Sunday services will be held in the Blanca city park with a potluck dinner to follow! We at our leftover pizza from the other nite then went to the park for a dedication of the park & new sign... and ice cream social. We are quite the social butterflies!
July 9, 2008 - Wednesday
Just another day...
Today was just like most days here... sunny, breezy... a trip to Alamosa this morning to check out the situation with culverts & building supplies. We're hoping to get the culvert & dirtwork lined up & completed by this weekend. Culverts are difficult to find & expensive if they're new. We're trying to locate a used one as they're about 1/3 of the new price A trip to Alamosa is not complete unless a visit is made to the local Walmart. I got a new pair of workboots (great birthday gift, huh?). We also celebrated my birthday with lunch at Chili's! Yum!
I got a birthday call from Lani this morning and another from my sister late this afternoon, a few email birthday wishes from friends, a gift & card in the mail from friends from Lincoln & a card from our Realtor/friend, Coshi.
Jerry & I spent some time at the coffee shop visiting then took Skeeter for his nightly run since it wasn't raining for a change. It's just been a quiet, uneventful day... finished with a campfire & cherries. Even though we don't always have a lot going on.... sometimes it's nice to just do NOTHING! Jerry says tomorrow we'll probably go to the lot & try pulling some of the sagebrush. Can't wait for that!
This weekend there is an ice cream social at the park. Next weekend is the Logger's Day Festival in South Fork. I hope we can make it as it would be nice to see some friends we have in the area.
Have a great rest of the week!
July 8, 2008 - Tuesday
Moving right along...
Yesterday (Monday) we went to the Planning/Zoning office to apply for a permit for the culvert & one for the driveway (they call it "small development") & left a "donation" of $400.00. We called the guy who is "in charge" of culvert placement & he said he'd meet us at 9:00 a.m. today. We discovered in Valley time... that's about 2 hours later! Jerry & I loaded Skeeter into the truck & went to the lot to wait! While we waited we took more flags & marked the driveway & a couple of yucca plants that I want to transplant! Still more waiting.... finally at 10:20 we left & called this guy from the county road (no cell phone service on the lot!)... and he said he'd be there at 11:00. By the time we called I was REALLY needing some coffee... or at least some food. We took Skeeter back to the camper & our 2-day neighbors from South Dakota stopped us to visit. By the time we left it was 11:10. We hurried out to the lot & sat there until 12:15. By then I was steaming - thinking we'd been stood up twice! We gave up & came back to town & had lunch at the coffee shop. Jerry finally called the culvert guy about 2:00 to see if he'd been to the lot yet. He said he was there at 11:00 but we weren't there (rats!) and that we'd need at least a 20 foot long culvert, 21 inches (minimum) in diameter. He also said that the area we marked for the driveway was fine! Good job US!
Next project is finding someone to do the dirt work (@ $50 - $100/hour). Jerry had talked with someone in the coffee shop last week who could do it, but it seems he's doing concrete work right now so he's not available. We also contacted another local man who could do it this weekend but we'd have to locate a culvert and he'd pick it up (add $$ for mileage). Jerry made a few calls & discovered that a metal 20 ft. culvert (24" - as they only come in 18" or 24") would be about $615.00. A PVC culvert is about $450.00. We finally buckled & called the man who had done the culvert on DeMontalmbert for us a few months ago. He thought he could find a used culvert & get it done! Again... we wait!
There's really not much we can do until we can actually drive onto the lot. We've flagged the area where we want the house to go & some space around it that we want cleared of sagebrush & cactus (and giant ant hills). We are fortunate that there is somewhat of a natural path (probably caused by wildlife) that goes right up to the building site. We're hoping to leave as many trees as we can... and will probably leave most of the sagebrush & cactus on the front part of the lot - so it looks naturalized!
Our other news is... we've started toying with some solar power. Jerry bought a small solar panel & marine deep cell battery at Walmart, hooked them up & we can now run our camper lights from the power produced by the Sun! It probably isn't enough to run the computer or DVD player so those are both still hooked up to 110.
The tomato & pepper plants have signs of some small fruit on them. We've been getting rain at various times during the day & nite so that has helped! We continue to have small radishes... the carrots don't seem to be doing well. Better luck next year!
July 7, 2008 - Monday
Celebrating Independence Day!
Thursday we were at the Ute Creek Station (coffee shop) and met ANOTHER new couple! He grew up in Nebraska! We got to talking & found out that their place is maybe 4 miles from our new place. They asked if we were going to the SDCR homeowners' association meeting that evening. We didn't know about it but decided we'd go. We showed up for the meeting... and wouldn't you know it - it was called off because of the rain. (The rain causes the roads to be very nasty!) Anyway, our new friends, Jerry & Rita, were already on their way into town so they came to the meeing place. We visited their for a while then decided to go to the coffee shop! We had a fun time getting to know them & enjoying their company!
Friday morning (Independence Day) a couple pulled their RV into the RV park... and Jerry struck up a conversation with them. They were participants on the SLV owner/builder board and had bought a lot about a mile up the road from our lot! We were suprised to find out that while the other eating establishments in town were closed the Ute Creek Station coffee shop was open! We stopped in there for breakfast & visited with folks who stopped in. We made contact with a gentleman who does dirtwork & we're hoping that he will be able to do our driveway.
We had dinner with our friends Jim & Jen (and some of their friends)at their cabin on the 4th of July. There were no fireworks... but we enjoyed the hummingbirds eating, the dogs playing together, an awesome sunset over the mountains, great food, lots of laughs & conversation! Jerry got a mini-lesson in solar power, 12 volt electricity, generators & the like. Jim is a licensed electrician & we're hoping he will be a good source of information when we get to that point! We are blessed to have found new friends here... not that they would EVER take the place of the friends we left behind... but we are, nonetheless, blessed!
Saturday we went out to the lot & drove stakes in where we want the driveway to go and placed flourescent orange flags along a path up to where the building site will be. Saturday night we went to All-Gon Pizza - because that has become our usual Saturday night hangout. Our friends Doc & Carolyn were there & invited us to sit with them. Sonny (the usual entertainment) was not there... it was much too quiet in the restaurant & Doc told me I should go play the piano. So... play the piano I did! It was a fun time talking & trying to play all the songs they were throwing at me!
Sunday I got up & went to church in Blanca. The church was close to full & we had a great time worshiping! Lu's (in Blanca) was packed so we drove back to Ft. Garland to eat at All-Gon & to our surprise there was a table full of folks from church so we sat with them.
We ended up going to the lot in Forbes Park to see if there was going to be an logs we could use for building. As it turns out, a lot of the dead trees that have fallen are decaying & wouldn't be safe and the standing ones wouldn't be ready to use for quite some time.
I think tomorrow we're going to visit the County Planning / Zoning people about getting permits for a culvert & driveway... and see what the next appropriate steps would be. We also may take a drive down to Trinidad to a lumber mill to check out their prices. I'm anxious to get the preliminary stuff done so we can start building. The "season" for building is short here because snow comes early. I don't know if we'll have a house we can live in by the first snow.
Not too much going on - which I guess is a good thing for a change!
July 3, 2008 - Thursday
A good day... until now!
I just hit "post" and MSN ate my post! That's 3 times now! ARGH!
Anyway... up until just now... today had been a really good day! We went to an auction this morning. I went mostly to see if there was anyone there I knew - Jerry went because there were guns & sporting goods.
On 6/16 we had gone to an auction and I met a couple from Abilene, Texas who summer in South Fork - about an hour away. Christine & I hit it off & discovered we had a lot in common. Before the auction was over we had exchanged temporary phone numbers & addresses. Well... she was not at the auction today, but her husband Bill was there. He said Christine would be disappointed that she had not come but if we had plans to come to South Fork later in the month for the Logger's Day Festival we should plan on coming to their place in the country for some BBQ!
I bought a box of paperback books today at the auction & was standing in the shade reading one when a woman sat down behind me. I spoke to her & she spoke back... in a rather British accent. I thought I recognized her - so I asked if her name was Jen - she said it was & I proceded to remind her of an afternoon about 5 years ago when we were on our way to our lot in the Ranches & drove by their cabin. Her husband was outside working on a solar pump for their well - Jerry rolled down the window & yelled "it looks like you're working too hard" (or something like that). Jim waved us into their driveway... Jerry got to help Jim fix the solar pump & we ended up staying for pork chops on the grill. Jen said she remembered that nite & asked if we had plans for Friday nite (the 4th). We don't... so we're going to their cabin for dinner & catching up! We'll take Skeeter so he can play with their dogs Snickers (Irish wolfhound mix) & Hailey (chocolate Lab). Should be a fun time!
The other good thing about today was .... as we were leaving the auction I noticed I had a voice mail message - from our Realtor. She said we could close tomorrow afternoon if the funds were available. We checked the bank balance to make sure the monies had been deposited... then made the drive to Pueblo (a short 96 miles one way) to the nearest branch of the bank we use. With a Google map in hand we drove right to the bank, got the money & headed back! Closing will be tomorrow at 1:30!
Have a safe Independence Day!