September, 2013 browsing by month


Why this is taking so long

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

So this week were were planning to finish the bathroom. One day for the glass block wall. One day for the cabinets under the sink.


The glass block went great. Then we started to assemble the cabinets, and I had an idea. They don’t show much so we were going to make them quickly and easily out of mostly plywood with some nice finished facing. Then I thought about how nice they’d look if they were made out of a higher quality finished wood (our ceiling boards/baseboard wood) that was tongue and grooved together. Also, I thought this would be a nice way to learn some cabinetmaking skills that we might use later in the kitchen. (We still haven’t decided if we are buying cabinets, which would be faster, but more expensive and less nice, or making them, which would be time consuming.)

Four days later, we have a little less than half of the cabinet done.


BUT it’s beautiful. And we’ve learned some things. And they’re really more just what I wanted.

Many decisions like this have led to a house that has a lot more custom work and is much much nicer and has more long-lasting craftsmanship than we’d originally planned. And has taken a year or so longer. I think it’s worth it in the long run. But that’s why it’s taking so long.

Kind of like camping

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

We pretty much finished the bathroom this week (except for the glass block shower wall and a few cabinets, which will be going in next week), and so with a visitor here, we spent the first night in our new house! (To be clear, we are still a long way from moving in….the kitchen remains to be done.)

Here are some pictures of the bathroom. I think the design turned out nice. (I really had a lot of uncertainty about this stone tile, but in the end, I love it.)



sink (I mail ordered this and was really happy with it.)

sink (I mail ordered this and was really happy with it.)

Yes, more purple walls! (Oddly, this is a google search term that often comes to our site.)

Brad hard at work (I cut most of the tile.)

Brad hard at work (I cut most of the tile.)


My idea for a diamond pattern floor - more work, but doesn't it look nice?

My idea for a diamond pattern floor – more work, but doesn’t it look nice?

Sleeping in the new house was nice. It’s quieter than the other house, which I didn’t expect. The views from the bedroom are different of course, but nice. It will be even nicer with a kitchen and a few other things. :)

The grace of nature

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Today, we took in a deep drink of the beauty here — the golds, fuschias, and scarlets of the wild flowers; the huge, towering rocks hoodoos; the music of mountain streams swelled from the monsoons; the company of good friends; the exhilaration of knowing that life is sometimes very good.


(more pics here)

With a friend visiting, we drove through the mountains to the Chiricahua National Monument. It’s a short trip we’ve made several times without ever ceasing to be amazed at the surrounding beauty. The land changes radically with the season, the amount of rainfall, the light, and even our moods and the company we have along. Always, it makes me pause and wonder why I spend so much time worrying about things that don’t really matter.

Truly, this kind of beauty, the people we share our lives with, and the stewardship we exercise over both are the things that are essential.

Oh, and today I saw my first bear in Coronado. I’ve heard many stories about how plentiful bears are here. I’ve wanted to see a bear for a long time. This morning, I decided today would be the day. And thanks to Brad’s eagle eyes, we saw a bear.

It was a magnificent bear. Seen through the trees and across a small stream, it was just the distance from which I’d like a see a bear — close enough to get a good look, far enough to make both me and him reasonably comfortable. It was a large bear, larger than I’d expected, with a full, healthy coat and a solid rump. He looked at us, loped a little further up the hill, and then turned to take another look.

image credit: cogdog (Alan Levine) – CC BY SA



Monday, September 16th, 2013

You may remember when we got a surprise gift of strawberries last fall. I didn’t really have anyplace to put them, so I put them in a couple new beds that had rye grass and hairy vetch in it. It was an experiment in intercropping.

The experiment failed so I spent most of the morning Sunday replanting the strawberries. The problem was that the rye and vetch were too vigorous. They grew very tall and refused to die back despite crimping, weed whacking, etc. Because they were so tall, the strawberries didn’t get enough sun to make berries. I actually suspected they had been totally strangled, but this weekend when I dug down and looked, I found all the plants still alive. (In fact, they were all throwing off rooting runners. This was fascinating.)

So I dug each one out and replanted it. Some I put in the bed in front of the greenhouse. Others, I put into large buckets. Last year, the strawberries in the greenhouse that were in buckets did the best of all (and produced the only berries we ate). Is this usual for strawberries? I don’t know.

At any rate, the experiment continues. We’ll see if we get more berries in the spring.

In the meantime, the rest of the garden is producing heartily. We have lots of melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, greens, and beans. Lots of good food.

Places we call home

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

“I’m ready to move on to the next phase of my life,” said the woman I was overhearing. “I mean, I don’t want to die here.”

I know what she means. As much as I loved LA, the eventual feeling that I didn’t want to die in traffic on the freeway or rushing from place to place or crowded among the masses of people there is what made me look for somewhere else to live.

And that’s how we ended up here.

I love it here. I feel comfortable, at peace, and yes, like this is a place I want to die. On most days, we take at least a few minutes, or sometimes, several hours, just to be in this place and enjoy it. That’s what makes this home.

This year’s Heritage Days activities

Monday, September 9th, 2013

This weekend was the annual local Heritage Days event here. As we’ve done in previous years, Brad and I put together the kids’ activities, which were a big hit. (More on that here if you’re interested.)

This year, Heritage Days included a field day hike to some local Indian rock paintings. The beginning of this hike was just about 30 minutes from our house. The hike up to the rocks was about 2 hours. We were happy to be able to go on this hike (we’ve mostly been trying to focus on the house instead of things like this, but it was nice to go, and we were able to take a couple neighbor kids along), and we never would have found this if we hadn’t had a great leader!

Here are some pictures.



Monday, September 9th, 2013

The monsoons here are continuing. This morning I harvested produce in a cool, gentle rain. Tomatoes, greens, melons, and beans are all plentiful right now, as are grasshoppers and horn worms.

The combination of lots of moisture in the air with cooling temperatures is leading to some spectacular views. We are fortunate to have this view from our bed.



We had over an inch of rain this weekend, and actually turned on the generator today. Amazing.

Work on the house is continuing with a focus on getting the bathroom done. We painted that room last week, and tile is happening.