Monday, April 14, 2008

Beer Drinking Lon and Digger Dan

Back to the Compound Saturday Night. Dinner on the Coleman Stove: New York Steak, Grilled Zuchinni and a salad of Avocado and Tomato. More wine. Sleeping Bags. Stars. Snores.

Awake on Sunday, more coffee and a walk down the road to see Lon. Lon and his wife have lived on the Ridge for thirty years. Off the grid. Lon runs a construction company and his wife is a secretary at the local elementary school. I walked down the road and ran into Lon's wife Marge first.

"Lon is down at his brother's, the next property down", she said. Is everybody related on this ridge?

I walked down to Lon's brother's, and found Lon and his brother standing by a pick up truck drinking beer at 11 am. Coors. I walked up and introduced myself. They seemed hesitant about their new neighbor. I didn't tell them that I tore down their "No Tresspassing Signs" last summer. Eight months ago. I wrote about that, which is to be posted on the "Mother Earth News" website soon. It's advertised there now.

But anyway. They seemed hesitant. It was refreshing to have a neighbor on the Ridge not ask me if "I loved the Lord" within two minutes of meeting them.

After some introductory pleasentries we got to the point. Both these brothers are contractors.

"Would you be interested in doing some excavating and some Post and Beam work"? I asked.

After finding out that I planned on using logs cut from our property they both politely declined. Lon would do the excavating (dig out the site and the foundation). Dean, Lon's brother is going to be gone in July, when the Post and Beam work needs to be done. Lon is smarter than doing a project like that. They both grimaced at hearing my plans.

"You need Digger Dan".

"Who?", I said.

"Digger Dan" they said in unison.

Evidently Digger Dan is famous for doing Log construction (not permitted) in the area. He has a reputation for being inexpensive, felling the trees himself and a tad eccentric. "He won't give you an estimate" Lon said. "And he'll only work for you if he likes you". I imagined Digger Dan to be like the Green Beret character in the Monkey Wrench Gang: Hayduke Washington.

Lon agreed to visit my property later that day. And he did.

We had previously set out the dimensions of the addition with brick markers. Lon looked over the place and said he would do it in the middle of June. He'd level the land. Dig out the foundation. He also offered us some solar panels at cost.

Lon, being an "off the grid" veteran for thirty years...talked magically of the ridge. About the former owners who homesteaded the place in the 1920's. How he and his wife moved there in the later 70's. Raised a family. Chased the Meth heads off the Ridge over the last few years: "They were scary people". He talked about how he is cutting back on his construction business and what it has been like to be such a Solar Veteran. His daughter had to return home with them and is battling a lethal cancer. Very human. And noble.

A good man. I like him on my side.


We packed up and headed back to Napa Valley. We'd found a Strawbale consultant. An excavator for the addition. And possibly a log "post and beam" specialist.

Plus we had a new family member. A yellow lab. A good, productive weekend.

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