Monday, February 23, 2015

Surprises of the good kind

On Friday night, Ben saw a mountain lion on our road!

With the rainwater, the concrete looks beautifully glassy and reflects the sky

 The framing continues at a rapid pace and it has been thrilling to walk through the house as more and more of it pops up. The builders could not work on the house today, because we got some rain. What I'm really excited about today is the chicken coop, especially in light of the mountain lion neighbor.

I let the flock free-range, but soon I'll at least have the option of leaving them in their new big run, if the mountain lion discovers them. Those chickens are going to be so safe, so warm, and so happy. And they'll look good doing it. :)

Putting the roof pieces up on the chicken coop!

Dramatic weather today, changing from sun to rain then sun again. And then a surprise hail. Sya sits comfortably on our coop lumber, with the house in the background. They are framing the sides first, then they'll connect them.

I also found Ben nesting in the wild.
Beautiful Little Hawk on her chosen nest.
 For a few days I've been sad because I thought my chicken Little Hawk was missing. This morning, though, she suddenly appeared, glossy with rainwater, fluffing her feathers dry in the sun, and looking for food. She had been brooding! I sneakily followed her, and she disappeared into her nest at the base of an oak tree. She had sat on those eggs, with no roof above her head, all through the night while it rained on her. I put a makeshift little roof over her so now she'll be dry. I'm so amazed and so glad she is ok. I'll move her to a proper brooder box when the big coop is done. Haven't counted her eggs yet.

Sunset from the "party deck," our name for a special spot with a gorgeous view towards town, but no actual deck (yet). How lucky are we?
If you know what this is, I would love to know. I don't remember this wildflower appearing last year! It was one of many surprises today.
This is why I love chickens. Look at that. This is one of the eight newest babies. She's a bantam cochin.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

La Primera Pared

The first walls went up today! The frames, anyway.  We can't believe how calmly such big change can happen. Giovanni and Carlos speak Spanish together while they work, so when Ben came in to tell me the wall was about to go up, he asked, "How do you say 'wall' in Spanish?" as if the progress isn't real unless we can say it in two languages. We ran out with the camera to admire the wall, practicing the phrase "primera pared" and trying to articulate both its soft and hard consonants.

I'm a little sick and groggy from cold meds. This weekend Ben had the flu and I had a bad cold. The last time we were sick was after the wedding, so it's somehow not surprising that we also got sick after the pouring of the foundation. Even good changes demand energy and then demand that we rest. After sleeping for nearly two days, it was amazing to see the building go on so quickly and smoothly today.
Hoisting the first wall! This is where the window seat will be!

Starting to see Jane's brilliant placement of everything, and how it allows in the best possible views

Celebratory dog dance

Even the chickens can't resist playing on the new structure.
In other news, we are finally getting a steady supply of eggs again, now that some of the chick-raising is done and the new generation is old enough to lay.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Foundation

What a day we had on Friday (the 13th!). Five trucks' worth of concrete was poured into our foundation. It's not just our foundation, but it's our actual floor. So, for the first time, we are now able to stand on our real floor.

It's comforting yet mind-boggling to think of how many steps we will take in that rectangle of concrete. So far I have taken about ten steps, but how many steps will I take in the course of the rest of our lives? Millions? Billions? I wish the floor had a built-in fitbit to tally our footprints.

We created a time capsule of sorts to bury in the concrete beneath the front door (pictured below). On it we wrote a set of 'vows' saying how we promise to care for the land and our home. We printed a set, included a picture from our wedding, slid everything into a sealed-off piece of PVC pipe for protection, and stuck it in the wet cement. Maybe in thousands of years, if someone ever tears down the house, they'll notice that odd little orange pipe that says, "2015, Open." Or maybe not.

Lots of pictures today.

With our vows, now preserved in the concrete under the threshhold

I don't know what we're talking about, but we're standing in front of the future front door, and we just put our vows in the cement.
This is the scene at the top of the hill where Marsha and Ira helped direct the trucks down the hill.
Such a choreographed group endeavor

The wet concrete starting to cover up the deep infrastructures. That tubing is our in-floor heating!

Pouring the final quadrant. Don't they look kind of heroic?

That 10x10 pad is for the chicken coop. They made sure they had enough for this, even before finishing the house. Then the chickens walked all over it and left their footprints. Very cute.

Love this one!

Friday, February 13, 2015


Giovanni and Anselmo working hard.

Ira driving the backhoe for the first time!

Remy said, "I've never seen anyone so excited to get electricity before."

This is a pretty big moment after living off of solar for so long. 

It was a full moon. We celebrated our first moments of electricity watching TV projected onto a sheet.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Backhoes and work boots

In the trailer, wearing my new work boots and trying to look like a builder, but my only tools are coffee and a flashlight.

Archaeologist husband

It was such a big deal to finally get the backhoe working! Pure joy.