January, 2013

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Take a walk

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Karen and I drove up into Horseshoe canyon and took a hike today — off roading I call it. We dress for climbing through weeds, the occasional cactus etc. on days like these. It’s funny how nice and smooth things look from a distance and how rocky and scratchy they can be up close.

There’s a nice panorama here.

I decided to try out a new google app called Tracks. It tracked our walk, including time, elevation change, distance and the path we took. In the end we got this cool map of our walk.


There is a way to see the walk in Google Earth — it was amazing, but I can’t see anyway to share it.



Sunday, January 27th, 2013

We had our first meeting our local seed library on Saturday, and it was a great success! There were 10 people there, and we met for about two hours, exchanging growing tips and, of course, seeds. From just the first meeting, we now have 15 types of seeds available. Everyone was very enthusiastic, and I am looking forward to future meetings and educational gatherings. (I’ve already learned a lot.)

In my own garden, we now have little broccolis…and unfortunately, some green worms as well, but I’m working on that. So far they’ve only eaten some holes in the leaves and have left the actual broccoli flowerettes alone.

I also have about 80 little starts planted. (They are taking over my office.) And on Friday, the first tomatoes sprouted. They are Georgia streaks from seeds I saved.

Spring can’t be far away!

Garden plans for 2013

Friday, January 11th, 2013

It’s weird to think about gardening when it’s supposed to get into the low teens tonight, but it’s already time to be planting starts inside.

Here is my garden plan for this year. Lots of new beds to fill!

I’m trying lots of intercropping this year (planting complimentary crops together in a bed). I’m also paying attention to crop rotation and trying to plant cover crops (including legumes) in the winter or in alternating years.

I’ve ordered my new seeds, but am ordering fewer this year due to seed saving last year. (By the way, our local seed library is starting! Here is the web site.)

And it is so nice to still be eating fresh arugula and lettuce in January!

My broccoli is seeming very healthy, but no actual broccoli heads yet. Soon, I think.

And then there were three

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Here’s a picture that shows the clerestory windows….

And this shows the whole height of the room (main entry in bottom right corner)…

Two more to go!


Sunday, January 6th, 2013

#2 accomplishment for this week: we got the first viga up!

It’s always hard to imagine exactly how this stuff will look when it’s finally done.

You might remember that these large timbers have been sitting about five feet or so below the ceiling for the past 5 months. Now with the ceiling getting finished, it’s time to put them up. (And all of this needed to happen before adobe brick could go much higher, since the brick will sit under one end of the viga.)

We’ve both been worrying about this step quite a lot, me especially. The vigas are quite heavy — too heavy even for both of us to lift one end. Brad devised a way to jack these up into place, but I was wary. As it turns out, the whole thing was really quite easy. There were no scarey, death-threatening parts. (I mostly try not to write here about the scarier stuff we try, but there is some. :)

What we did is jack each side up a bit (e.g. 10 inches or so) and then put a header and trimmers (side studs) under it to secure it. Then we repeated on the other side, etc. etc. until the vigas were all the way up.

Of course, the vigas are quite high so we had to put the jack on the scaffolding at one end and on one of those big timbers at the other. Then we used a series of gradually taller 4x4s to reach the beam.

Quite clever. Good thinking, Brad.


Saturday, January 5th, 2013

We have had an eventful couple of days, construction-wise.

First, after months of work, we have the first set of doors complete and up!

It was a lot of work to build these, but I couldn’t be happier with the results!

All the steps to put these together are already fading into memory, but here are some pictures and notes from the process.

The Ponderosa pine was sourced locally through a sawmill up in the Gila Forest near Silver City. They let let us handpick all these boards and centerlined the boards to make the widths precise and the edges square.

After we cut the boards, we routed a groove out of each edge. Into this groove would be glued a piece of plywood to add strength to the joints. (This sounds easier than it was. It took a lot of testing and fiddling.) These are the smaller sections that go above and below the glass.

Then we glued in the plywood and put the parts together with pipe clamps. More weeks worth of work.

This is a door after it was glued (but not yet trimmed to size).

After this, Brad did a rough trim on the doors and then began hanging them. This involved many rounds of putting them up, trimming them, putting them back up, etc.

When they were finally perfect, I finished them. This involved the same 10 rounds of stain, sealer, and finish that we did on other timbers. There are many other details I’m leaving out like cutting the stop, but you get the idea.

There is one more set of doors to do, but they are already built and assembled so they just need to be hung and finished.

I think I’ll leave the other major feat of the week for another post. Until then.

Weird…and cold

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Every once in a while, the whole thing we’re doing here seems surreal. Like today, when I was standing out at mid-day in a driving snow shower cutting boards.

It’s been very cold here. Low 20s at night, and not much out of the 40s during the day. New Years Day saw a lot of snow around us, but none to speak of here. We had pretty good snow showers today but no accumulation.

We have begun putting up ceiling boards in the house. They’re pretty much like in Tumbleweed, except we’re doing a slanting pattern between where the big vigas will eventually go.