We’ve been taking a break from the building and other projects since our last writing – you might say we’re on an extended winter break. Being on the mountain makes it easy to be in sync with the natural rhythm of the seasons, and winter has been quiet except for a few species of birds and the occasional coyote howl. Everyone here is doing fine staying nice and toasty in our “cozy” ol’ Argosy.
We’ve gotten a couple more snow storms, including one that brought some of the coldest temperatures in New Mexico history. This storm really drove home the advantages to off-grid living. Due to rolling blackouts in Texas, the natural gas pipeline from there to New Mexico lost pressure and the gas company turned off service to many areas of the state, including Taos. People who rely on this for-profit, privately owned “public utility” to heat their homes and cook their food and heat their water were left literally out in the cold for an entire week, while temperatures dropped to -25 degrees. We were not directly affected, other than our favorite restaurants being closed, but were saddened as we listened to the radio for several days and heard person after person calling in feeling desperate as the (Minnesota owned) New Mexico Gas Company displayed a high level of incompetence and arrogance in dealing with the situation – a bad combination. Homes were frozen to the point of broken pipes, businesses and schools were closed, and stores ran out of electric heaters.
On a happier note, the storms have also brought lots of fun with them. I went snowshoeing with the dogs on New Years Day, which was a great way to kick off 2011. This past weekend, we had a sledding party on our road. Its about 1/2 mile from top to bottom, and we got a disc saucer and a tobaggon. Funny enough, the best ride was Jeff’s river kayak – worked great on the frozen river that is our road. He spent the day taking kids from the mountain up and down the road and they had a great time.
Now the temperatures are starting to get warmer and the snow has largely melted from our sled run, slowly morphing to the seasonal mud. But of course, winter isn’t over yet…
Stay tuned for upcoming stories:
- a new cat
- Kate joins the Taos Community Choir
- Jeff takes on the Forest Service