Monday, June 27, 2011

Cow repellant, redneck teenagers and the wife's quest for fire

Wow.  Our Wa was jacked up this weekend.  We had too many unwelcome and destructive visitors to our little oasis-in-progress and they set our progress back a good couple of days.  Grrrr...

First of were the critters: 
Rabbits.  Not at all afraid and running around all over the place.  Kinda cute, and not really a problem. 

Cute ground squirrels.  Also no problem. 

Cows.  Stupid cows.  Wyoming is a "Fence Out" state.  This means that until we can build a fence, the cows can come and go as they wish.  Most of our stuff is pretty damage proof, but the cows bend pickets and knock stuff over and trample the hell out of whatever is left out.  Stupid Cows. 

Mosquitos.  Nuff said.

Also, on Saturday night, just as we were settling in to sleep in the Subaru, we saw and heard a truck barreling down the road.  No big deal until they saw our driveway and decided to stop and drive across / over / through the culvert and completely gouge the hell out of the land-bridge.  Plus, it made us jump out all freaked out that they were coming out to where we were.  We don't have any firearms yet and our no tresspassing sign wasn't out on the entrance yet.  It is now.  They turned back when they realized they were going onto the property with pickets and a bit of fencing blocking the way, but not before tearing shit up with their big old truck.

One good thing about the desert, is that you can see and hear over great distances, and Husband watched and listened as they went up the road about 2 miles before stopping and pulling off into the brush and heading up into the hills.  They stopped up there and were shooting guns until about 11PM until they moved on deeper into the wasteland.

It was un-nerving and was a reality check as to how isolated we are out there with no electricity, no cellphone service and no way of defending ourselves from idiot rednecks looking for trouble.  That will change soon. 

We also tried out our solar cooker, but it didn't work very well due to the high winds of Wyoming.  It lowers the temp too much to be effective.  Plan B was to start a fire in the rocket stove to heat up dinner.  FALE.  Usually those work pretty well but not this time.  Plan C was to try a bigger version of a Hobo stove.  Fail again.  Plan D was to break out the smoker and the lamp oil and light the world on fire.  GREAT SUCCESS!  Big old conflagration.  Before long dinner was boiling away nicely.  Dinner: Rice cooked with V8, artichokes and shrimp.  Not sure if it was of how hungry we were, but it sure was yummy!

The perfect way to scare away cows who want to wreck your stuff.

From here you can see the berm progress, all the vegitation that we dug up, the dome roof for the bathroom and both botanical cells installed and ready for plants!

The pipe from the septic for the Blackwater botanical cell and bottom fill before the next layer of soil for planting.

Redneck tire tracks wrecking the sides of the culvert.  We could barely get the car across they tore up the sides so bad.  Jerks.

We moved one of the cages out and put up the No Tresspassing sign.  The next one will say "If You Can Read This, You Are In Range."
(Go The Heck Away, but with a different word.)

Next week we're out there for 6 days.  First item on the agenda: fix the culvert and install posts for a fence.

Monday, June 13, 2011

When you find yourself in a hole - give the wife a pickaxe!

12'x4'x4' of hole.  That's a whole lotta hole! 
About 1' down you hit a chalky-clay layer that's pretty tough diggin' for about 6" to 1' and then it gets easier again.  Unfortunately the area right by the pipe -the most important part- was actually 2'-3' deep of the really tough stuff, making it take a lot longer on that one section.
Level:  Ghetto Style
First Botanical Cell installed.  Second one will go in on the next visit.  It will be filled with "rubble" covered by sand and dirt, and lastly with soil for the plants.  Our apple tree sprouts seem to be growing nicely at work and hopefully by the time we're done with the cells they'll be strong enough to transplant.  If not, we'll wait until next spring.  In the mean time we can get more cells going for other plants.
The north side of the east berm / privacy wall.  Pallettes on end, with dirt on both sides to brace them up.  We'll eventually have them completely buried and up to full height.  Right now it's just to break up the landscape and as a visual reference  for the berm and a partial screen from the road.

Wife got pulled over for speeding.....

... but Husband got a ticket!

Gotta hand it to the Wyoming State Patrol, they are not kidding when they say that speed limits are strictly enforced.  The wife was passing a truck around a curve, going about 85mph, which is about 5 more than her usual cruising speed.  On the other side of the curve sat Mr. State Patrol.  We noticed him, of course, but he didn't move, so we didn't worry.  The wife finished her pass, moved back over and back down to cruising speed.  The SP SUV then scooted up next to us, moved back to our blind spot, then ducked behind us and pulled us over.

The wife had never been pulled over before - for ANYTHING.  (Guess she can't say that anymore!)

The officer was very polite, though he did use the authoritarian "cop voice", which would have been scary, if we didn't have quite a few friends in law enforcement, so we'd heard about it before.  We were very well behaved as well.  (Tip: BE POLITE)

After collecting our info and making us wait for about 15 minutes, the wife got a warning for going 10 miles over the speed limit.  (Whew!)  The husband got a citation and fine for wearing his seat belt incorrectly.  (The shoulder strap in the Civic cuts across his neck, so he wears it under his arm.)

We got a brief lecture about speeding, safe driving, single car rollovers and partial ejection and we were back on the road to home.

Gotta go pay that citation now, don't want to have a warrant out for the husband's arrest!  (If I "disappear" for a while it's due the the wife "forgetting" to send the check and me getting arrested for FTA warrant.)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gettin' stuff done.

Future bathroom:


Wife Chillin'

Botanical cell to be buried: 

This will eventually be home to apple trees, bamboo or whatever else we can cultivate.

Septic pit covered.

In the course of digging, we had to do something with all that dirt, so we built up the berm:

This is partially to shield us from the wind...

but more importantly....

for privacy:

As you can see, we've got A LOT of work still to do, but at least you can see progress even from a mile away.  The goal is to not be able to see us out there at all.  Unless you know we're there : )

Eventually the berm will completely encircle the entire "Domestead", about 200' of earthbags, 5' tall surrounding all the buildings / gardens in the center of the property.

Next week: Walls.

Baby Scorpions Are Cute.... and other wildlife adventures

The wildlife was abundant and active this time out to the land.  It's the tail end of spring, so there were baby everythings gamboling about: 


wild mustang foals

baby antelope that look like a bundle of sticks and a lone juvi scorpion that the wife unearthed while digging the hole for the blackwater botanical cell.  At first we thought it was one of those funky termite-looking bug friends - then it flipped it's little tail and brought out the stinger and pinchers.  Unfortunately, since he was only about 3/4 of an inch long, the effect was not what he intended.

Also.... did you know that antelope vocalize?  There was a buck on our property for most of the weekend making the most godawful racket.  He sounded like a mashup between a raven cawing and a cat being put in a woodchipper.  Freaky at 11pm, especially when it's a counterpoint to coyotes yipping and hollering.  We think he was looking for his harem of girls, but we really weren't sure since he just kept staring at us.  (And we sure don't look like antelope girls!)