February, 2009

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Fresh farm produce

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Willcox (a town about an hour away and where our furniture is in storage) has a huge farming community that includes orchards and vineyards. This is a schedule of when various things there are in season. We’re looking forward to going there for the various “u-pick” seasons.

Construction decisions

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

We’ve made some decisions on how we’re proceeding with construction.

A big one is that we are going to use SIPs (structural insulated panels) for the guest house (which we’re now calling Tumbleweed). You send the manufacturing facility your plans and they crank out these panels. They are very energy efficient, relatively inexpensive, and easy and fast from a construction standpoint. Amazingly, there is a manufacturing facility (KC Panels) for this just a few miles from us. Brad visited and was impressed.

For the main house (no name yet; any ideas?), we’re going with a combination of adobe and wood frame walls. The adobe will be in places that catch sunlight to add thermal mass. The wood frame walls will be double 2×4 with plaster on the outside, 10″ thickness. The style will be eclectic southwestern, with Moroccan styling. Small and simple.

Hopefully, we’ll be submitting our plans for permitting very soon. In the meantime, we’re doing some excavation on the existing slab since everyone involved in it seems to have either vanished or forgotten everything about it.

Green building certification

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Cochise County has a green building certifcation program. I’m not sure if we’re going to pursue it, but this document makes interesting reading and will definitely inform some choices we make. A lot of things we’re already planning on like SIPs, solar, etc. are covered in it.

Magical night

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

I had a lot of work to catch up on yesterday after traveling last week. Gradually, through the day, I watched the temperature outside rise into the high 80s and thought, “Man, I have to get outside.” I had planned to go for a walk around 4, but with just a few chapters to go in a vocabulary book I was working on, I kept working past that.

Finally, at almost 5, Brad and I decided to go out to our property and have a picnic dinner.

Before eating, we took a walk. It was wonderfully warm and breezy and really a stunning night. Over the course of an hour or so, we watched the sky change.

(As usual, click to enlarge the pics.)

It was really an amazing night. The air was warm, and it was so quiet. It seemed magical.

Movie time – Road maintenance, ranch style

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

You won’t find these at Walmart

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

A few months before we moved here, we toured around some places in NM. One of the places we really liked was Hatch, the chili capital of NM.

Our local Safeway in Douglas carries Hatch chiles. Last week, I bought a bag, and today I used them to make Fiery Tofu with Red Chiles, Orange and Ginger. Yum!

Something we’ve been planning on for a long time

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Brad and I spent all day today working on our land.

For a long time, I’ve been working on this project. (We bought the sheet metal a couple months before we left LA.) I’ll be doing more of these to put up on various corners, etc. of our property.


Saturday, February 14th, 2009

We are planning to do the floors in our new houses as acid washed concrete. I was worrying a little about the environmental aspects of the acid wash. (I’m much more sensitive to what we throw in the trash, down the drain, and on the ground here.) Then we found SoyCrete — an environmentally-sound alternative. We also talked to someone about doing it, and she said it’s really easy. We probably won’t even have to etch the concrete on the existing slab. Now we just have to pick a color.

The perfect snow

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Woke up to snow Tuesday morning. It was gone by afternoon.


Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Karen is not the only one making movies here in Portal. I’ve started up again on my time-lapse movies. This one uses the koi pond as a reflecting device for the clouds as well as for its koi.

[coolplayer width=”540″ height=”360″ autoplay=”0″ loop=”0″ charset=”utf-8″ download=”1″ mediatype=””]
Koi Pond with Clouds

It’s stormy here today and I have a camera setup facing toward Horseshoe Canyon. I’m keeping an eye out for rain, but so far so good. It’s windy as heck. I have the tripod kind of wrapped into some fencing to prevent it from flying off.

I’ve gotten better at looking at the clouds and evaluating their movie potential. It takes some patience to see the clouds move and to determine their direction. Today it’s too cold for much of that; I tried, but you can’t really shiver and watch clouds at the same time. I basically pointed the camera in a nice direction and got back into the house.

The world is so much different with digital cameras. I shoot all kinds of movies that never amount to anything and the only cost is batteries. Even those are rechargeable.

There are a couple variation of this time-lapse on youtube.