A Year On: Spring 2018

Here we are a full year after breaking ground getting ready for another summer of progress on the house and property.

Our first priority is to get some running water into the house.  That work will begin in early June as we start digging to install our cistern and septic tanks.  I can’t quite picture how much dirt is going to be displaced for over 2000 gallons.  We’ll be working on framing out the loft and rooms as well so that we can run plumbing through them.

We were hoping to be able to get some electricity to the house other than what is provided by a generator, but that’s likely out of budget for this year.  I’ve been working on charting all of our electrical needs and getting an off-grid solar PV system specified and bid.  It’s expensive, and the work required to maintain flooded lead-acid batteries for a house we won’t be living in full time for a while yet.  I also got a bid from the rural electric utility to bring it in on wires over three poles and the cost is 1/3 that of the PV system. So, it looks like the utility will win for the primary system.  We will use solar electricity for various other projects on the property including backup, well pump (once we drill one) and to run a greenhouse.

Over the last few months we’ve made some exciting connections with permaculture, a really ingenious approach to sustainable and self-sufficient gardening.  With the help of the incredibly knowledgeable and supportive Blue Planet Becky of Pikes Peak Permaculture, we are now envisioning forest gardens, greenhouses and fruitful lush places all over the property.  It’s all going to come down to making the best use of every single drop of water that lands on this 80 acres of alpine desert with a view.

Part of this plan is to use the water coming off the house wisely.  The law allows storage of 2 55 gallon tanks of water.  There are many ways to make the land retain what water there is and use it to grow things independent of those tanks.  For this we have learned a few things about check dams and swales and will get a few hours of consulting from Avery Ecological Design on this before we buy a backhoe!

Did you notice I said 80 acres?  The 40 acre parcel to the south of us went up for sale this spring and we really really wanted it.  Had to have it.  We think it’s going to be worth it in the long run and now nobody can put a crummy building in our line of sight.  Much love and thanks to the family who helped make this part happen.

We should all be back down at the place in early June.  We will find the survey markers for the new parcel and post pictures.  And there will be a lot of digging going on, so expect some pictures of dirt.


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