Its been too long ,
Sorry its been so long since we’ve written. As you might guess, summer turns out to be our big project time, and we’ve been quite busy here on the mountain.
The summer was one of the driest in New Mexico history, and it was pretty scary. We spent many days enveloped in smoke from fires in Los Alamos and Arizona, and the national forest that borders our property was closed for a good part of the season. The monsoon rains finally came and gave some relief.
We spent lots of time working on the house. I concentrated on mudding the straw walls, and we figure I put about 3 1/2 tons of material on the walls – a mixture of sand, dirt, straw, and water. We celebrated when Jeff put the last bit of straw in the walls, as it felt like a big milestone to have that done. Jeff constructed a temporary kitchen area that is much more user-friendly than the old arrangement – I’ve even started using the indoor oven! He also built our garden space by digging out a 20×30 area and burying straw bales in layers of manure, rich composted soil, and straw mulch. He then planted a cover crop that flourished during the rains, and we just put up a frame that we got from a neighbor that will serve as a greenhouse.
We have been doing other stuff besides working on the house. Jeff became the president of the domestic water association, which oversees the community well where many folks on the mountain get their water. Shortly thereafter, the pump operator retired so Jeff has been acting as operator as well. I started a new band with some friends on the mountain called The Muddy Mountain Orchestra. We’ve had a couple of gigs and its been lots of fun. We fired up the horno a few times for pizza parties, and the highlight was the Pizza Potluck Pickin Party in September, when we invited the whole mountain and some friends from town and had a great night of music and food.