March, 2010 browsing by month


Taking a deep breath

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

There have been almost no occasions on which I have felt emotionally overwhelmed during this building process. In fact, all the times I can think of were during the frustrating design phase, not construction. As you might guess, though, today was a tough one for me. It didn’t help that the wind has been blowing non-stop at unbelievable speeds, which tends to make everyone crazy.

This week has been one of milestones. Now that we are almost into April and we are so close to the finish, I have decided that it is time to get a bit assertive about pushing through the interim steps to getting the occupancy permit. And while in the business side of my life I am very assertive (some might phrase it differently), I am not really much that way in my personal life. It’s neither comfortable, nor natural for me.

This week, the priority interim steps have mostly been plumbing-related. We did have a guy out for a few hours (over a few days) to help us finish up, which has been inordinately helpful. And today we finished the rough plumbing (though not without a few bumps in the road).


Bob, our fabulous plumbing helper, soldering copper pipe

Plumbing going into the tankless water heater

Plumbing going into the tankless water heater

We also got the last of the holes cut through the roof, including the big one for the fireplace. Ugh. This was hard for me to watch, but it came out great.


We also got a new vanity (one thing we decided not to build ourselves) and unpacked it out today to check where the piping will go.


We’ll tile the counter on top to match the shower, and I’m thinking of a bright Talavera sink, maybe like this one. Tile…yes, that’s another thing still on the list. But at least it’s not something that has to be done for the next inspection. And we did get glass block for the wall last weekend. It’s really beautiful.

Also today we ordered drywall. That’s cause for celebration in and of itself.

This week’s projects

Friday, March 26th, 2010

We’ve had a week full of accomplishments. On Sunday, a guy came out and did all the trenching for the propane. In the process, we cut almost every water line on the property, but they were easily fixed.

We also poured the last of the columns for the last row of solar panels. Yay!

We worked on installing the water heater, the pressure pump (more to come from Brad on that), and the venting for the fireplace. Mostly this involved getting everything together and finding out we didn’t quite have all the parts. On Sat., we are going to town to get parts for all this and to finish up the plumbing next week.

On Thurs., the propane lines all got installed, both underground and in the house. This was followed on Fri. by the arrival of the tank. (No, we don’t have a new business going. This is a used tank, paint to come.)


I also planted some seeds for our garden this year.

Finally, to celebrate the end of winter, we adjusted the angle of our solar panels.


Tomorrow, it’s off to town for lots of plumbing parts and more supplies.

Spring shower

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Today, we poured the sub-floor for our shower.

First, we spent a couple hours chiseling out the floor around the drain (both done previous to us). This is the end result with the drain base in place.


Then we put down a large, thick vinyl shower pan liner. The top part of the drain fits in place over that, attaching to the drain underneath.



Then came mixing the cement. By this time, we’re getting to be old hands at this. Here I am shoveling the cement into the pan. Brad did the troweling.



Part of the troweling process was lots of checking of the levels to ensure that there was slope to the drain in all directions so water would drain.



Next will come the tile, still unpurchased as of yet, though I do know what I’m looking for now. (A few trips to tile stores have freaked me out, but I am going to try again this week.)

We are also wrapping up the plumbing. We have water to the house now and have found a local plumber to lend a hand for a day next week to finish things up. We will also be installing the pressure pump and the tankless water heater, both of which arrived last week. Also on the agenda for next week is getting the propane tank installed and the propane lines inside plumbed.

All of which is leading up to our inspections for electrical, plumbing, and mechanicals, which is the second to the last inspection.

What a difference a day makes!

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

We were only gone a day and a half (to Phoenix for a quick conference and spring training game), but what a change we came home to.

When we went out to drive to the property this morning, I first noticed that the mountainside had some gold shading on it.

We drove up to Horseshoe Canyon (at the end of our road) and couldn’t believe our eyes.

It’s spring! More pictures here.

Great end to the week

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Earlier in the week, I framed the shower and put in copper piping, while Brad worked on getting water run into the house.


Brad and I worked on plumbing Friday, putting in a new pipe to take water from the water tank over the top of the container and into the battery house, where the pressure pump will be. It was the first time we cut through a roof, which is something that has been making me nervous, but it went well.



Then, we had a picnic lunch under the cool of one our oak trees (yes, it’s finally getting warm!), before heading over to the farm for Friday harvest.


Friday is harvest day at the farm, something I hadn’t experienced yet. (Brad went without me last week while I was traveling.) The basic drill is that we get there after lunch and start harvesting, which entails cutting things like lettuce, greens, and herbs and digging up potatoes and other root vegetables. Then everything gets put in plastic bins and taken in to be washed, which is a big production in and of itself. Then everything goes into plastic bags and gets labeled for sale at the Saturday farm stand.

So far the marketing efforts we’ve been doing for the farm seem to be going well. This week we made a new sign for the farm stand, as well as continuing to work on the web site, email blasts, etc. The word is definitely getting out.


I helped paint the cold box for the farm stand, which is a large trailer-mounted box that all the veggies are kept in. I also had a new experience of gathering eggs. Fortunately, I had two little kids to help show me what to do! At one point, one of the chickens flew up and landed on my upper back, causing me to shriek in surprise. The six-year-old girl assured me that had never happened before. We later joked that the chickens could probably smell my fear. :) I also helped label and alphabetize many jars of herbs, teas, and supplements that we’re selling. Happy work for someone as compulsively organized as me.

The evening ended with a great meal of salad and pizza with lots of fresh veggies and yummy cheese that Jerry made. He is quite the cook and appreciates good food, much like we do.


Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

After two weeks of travel, I am very thankful to be home now.

The electrical is done. Yay! And we’ve moved on to plumbing. Brad dug this ditch yesterday and is off getting more supplies as I write this.


I got our new property assessment this week. The value of the land has gone up; the value of the improvements has gone down. Hmmm….doesn’t seem that way to me.  They had previously valued the improvements (the house) as 100% complete — how I wish that were true. :) Thankfully, our property taxes are so low that it doesn’t really matter.

In other news, the cottonwood we moved seems to be thriving. It is actually getting new leaves, despite the fact that it was been quite cold this week. We’ve had a lot of rain this month though, which bodes well. Spring can’t be far away, and I am ready for it!