Saturday, July 26, 2008

July Update

I'm sitting in the library after work, here in the Napa Valley. The "Camp" fire destroyed all the phone lines at the homestead, so we don't even have dial up there. I do have an order in to the wireless folks to set up an account, but things move quite slowly in the country. The attitude is: "We'll get around to it within a few weeks". Live Slow People would be proud.

We did manage to get the new bamboo floor in (with help from my friend Scot, who made the trip from Iowa just in time to visit the smoldering, smokey Concow Cabin the night we were officially let back in). The floor looks great!

We got a propane tank put in (tis hard to have propane delivered to a residence that still has stumps burning in the vicinity). I was happy to get the refrigerator working (Ed Abbey called the fridge one of the few decent modern inventions--after finally having a few fresh meals, I concur!).

We've spent much time just making the place livable. We put in a solar shower. I discovered that the best source of hot water is about 100 feet of garden hose, lying in the sun for a few hours.

Many neighbors have dropped by for hours of idle conversation. A few want to save our souls. Others are just lonely living in the sticks, and welcome the opportunity to meet the new couple with the large stack of strawbales on their property. By the way, the bales didn't burn...

It's still smokey at the cabin. It has reduced our solar array's input to the batteries in half. In addition, one of the batteries fried (they are ten years old), so I ordered a bunch of new ones. They will be put in next week. Gel---maintenance free, so that I can't screw them up.

I will be posting scads of photos of the fire and recent additions and events when I once again have Internet privileges.

I had dinner last night with my friend GG at Bouchon in Yountville. This place is owned by the guy who runs "The French Laundry" (and is just down the block from there). Anthony Bourdain calls the French Laundry the "best restaurant in the world". The Bouchon didn't live up to such lofty expectations (well, maybe the tab did). Gus and I had lamb and treated ourselves to a nice bottle of red, French wine. We discussed Joni and my post and beam plans, and GG has kindly accepted an offer to help me build the additions... along with a work crew of his.

GG is a man of many talents: RN of twenty years; a large scale grower of an agricultural crop that some say has "medicinal uses" for some Berkeley clubs (we disagree on this subject); he also builds "off grid" green houses for the production of the same crop---along with designing other alternative buildings. A renaissance man of sorts. Jack of all trades.

The plan is to cut the wood in the next couple of weeks and get the post and beam up, along with the roof. That way Joni and I can take our time constructing the strawbale walls and applying the mud.

But then again, as this move has taught me over and over again: "If you want to make God laugh, tell Her your plans".

Be advised that AT and T stopped my other e-mail account. It's back to the AOL one, should you need to contact me:

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