March, 2009 browsing by month


Happy spring, everyone!

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

(click to enlarge – also version with notes available here)

Gale force

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Friday was an uncharacteristically overcast day here. Brad and I worked late, planning for a busy weekend of leisure (no work) and for an upcoming extended period of travel for me. When we went to bed, the wind was blowing hard. Brad went right to sleep, but I, uncharacteristically, was wide awake. The wind began blowing harder and harder, shaking the whole house. I was amazed that Brad kept sleeping through it. (He does not like wind and is generally a pretty light sleeper, unlike me.)

I eventually got up to finish a book I’ve been reading. As I listened to the wind threaten to rip our house apart, I hoped that this was the big and terrible winds we’d been warned about. (I thought of my feelings during the first earthquake I was in in LA — I hoped it was a “big” one or I didn’t think I would survive long there. Fortunately or not, it was a big one, the 6.7 Northridge quake that broke a freeway in half and shattered glass and brought down bookcases in my apartment.) We have been told that the winds here sometimes drive people away and/or make them lose this minds.

By 3:30am, the winds subsided and I was finally tired. Good thing since my alarm was set for 6am for a big day Saturday.

Saturday, we went to Tucson to see our first spring training game — the Angels vs. the Diamondbacks. We also planned to do various errands and shopping. We left a bit later than expected (I really couldn’t get up at 6), but got into Tucson by about 10. After picking up some prescriptions and doing some other shopping, we headed to Tucson Electric Park for a 1:00 game start.

The game was great. The park was very small, and we had seats just 10 rows behind home plate. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and and in the high 70s.

The Angels won 9-5, with a great performance by Coeur d’Alene native Matt Brown, among others.

After the game, we went out for a big sushi dinner. Then we shopped at Trader Joe’s and headed home, arriving by 10. It was a great day.

And for those of you interested, in AZ, we neither spring forward nor fall back. So now we are on PST again. This also makes our time now an hour different from that of NM, just a mile or so away. This has been the source of much confusion for me in the past.

Excavation continued

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Well, well, well-

So we did the excavation (I think you saw the holes) and I called the building department to come do the inspection. The inspector seemed surprised that I wanted him to come inspect the slab despite the fact that he indicated the spots for us to excavate. He said that the inspection of the slab wouldn’t be done until after we got our permit; it would be our first inspection.

I told him that I didn’t really want to proceed with the plans and the permitting without knowing if the slab passes inspection. He seemed to understand my reasoning, but was unsure what to do. I suspect billing his time is the root of the problem. Ugh. I suggested that this should be covered under Dan’s (the previous owner of our land) permit for the slab. He needs to take it up with someone and get back to him. Double Ugh!

If we have to tear up the slab, it’s not ideal and it’s not the end of the world. Since we’ve designed using the existing slab, I doubt we would want to change much. I could see reorienting it north-south instead of the slightly off north-south angle it’s on now. This would affect the site map and potentially other things which I would prefer to do before we get our permit.

Excavation in process

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

I have always thought that if things got bad, I could get a job as a secretary. (I have really great secretarial skills…seriously….). Now, I think I could possibly get work as a ditch digger too. It’s always good to have a fallback.

This week at the ranch

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Quick news update from here:

  • On the property, we have done some brush clearing and surveying, planning where the pump house and battery house will go.  Some of the drip irrigation is working now, and we have a better idea of how it works (and how to repair it after I cut into a line by accident.) We also got two new signs done:

  • Brad saw a bobcat. It was apparently quite near me, but I didn’t see it.
  • The planning department said that a gas fireplace is fine after all. Yay! We also got approval on the places to dig out the slab, so we are digging away.
  • There are wildfires burning in Hog Canyon in the Peloncillos south of us. It looks quite dramatic at night.

We spotted a couple of things we haven’t seen before

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Yesterday afternoon, Karen and I went to the property to measure for the site map and to work on the sheet-metal numbers for the address. As we were driving up, at least a dozen quail ran across the road in front of us. It makes you laugh out loud watching them scamper across the road in such a disorganized fashion with a lone straggler running twice as fast as the rest just to keep up.

Karen jump out at our gate to unlock it. Just then I saw something to the left of the gate (Karen being to the right). At first I thought it was a feral house cat. Which seemed odd because there’s nowhere for a cat to hide from the coyotes out here. Another look and I realized it was the local bobcat we’ve heard about from P.D.-Our nearest neighbor. I started calling for Karen to look, but the truck windows were all up and she couldn’t hear me. The bobcat walked lazily into the brush and stopped. Karen came over to see what I was fussing about and I could only show her where it had been. Karen climbed up high in the truck rack and we drove around a little hoping to see it again, no luck.

Later, when I was measuring the perimeter, I noticed the bobcat’s tracks on Sunrise road coming from P.D.’s direction. There was also some scat that looks like others I’ve seen lately. Maybe our rabbits are tastier than P.D.’s this time of year?

The other new thing we spotted was a wild fire off in the distance; not nearly as nice as a bobcat–not nice at all. Just before we decided it was time to go home we climbed up on top of the storage container with a couple of chairs to enjoy the view; I was also hoping to spot the bobcat again. It was lovely except for the fire in the distance. The fire is in Hog Canyon near Douglas, AZ, about forty miles away according to GoogleEarth. I don’t think it’s going to be bad as there’s no wind to speak of at the moment. They are setting backfires to fight it, so it probably looked worse than it was. After it got dark, the fire was easier and eerier to see.

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The mailbox again

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

So, as promised, here is a picture of our mailbox in its native habitat, complete with the new locking box we installed:

So the funny thing about the whole locking box is that after we were told that we *must* have a locking mailbox, we were also told that no one here locks their house. My question: Where do they keep their mail?