Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Breaking Ground

Eliana in the Sky Bus bedroom
So much has happened since I last posted, I hardly know where to start.  So instead of trying to go back and retrace all my steps, I'll start with the (relative) present:

Last Friday June 17 we broke ground.

Graeme and I went out to the building site that morning to hack at sagebrush in the wind and sun.  Graeme's actually been doing a lot of this already; he's cleared a path to the bus from the parking area, and another path that now leads from the bus to a wonderful little sitting area, complete with a firepit and solar footlights.

But Friday was my first time attempting to clear sagebrush.  From how quickly Graeme's been able to it, I was under the  impression that it would be easier than it actually turned out to be.  I started out with a garden rake, then moved to a pitchfork, then a shovel, before I realized I was going to have to narrow my scope.  I'm just not in good enough shape (yet) to wield those tools against sagebrush with any success.  I ended up sitting on the ground with a trowel and garden fork, working one square foot at a time - not of sage but of this strange, dry, curly grass-like stuff which proved to be extremely strongly rooted.  Tenacious is the word I kept thinking.  I left the sagebrush to Graeme, who has developed a whole system for it, including the use of a baseball bat.

I had to laugh because when I got up that morning, I had this grand idea that we would clear the whole site in a couple of hours, then move on to staking out the domes.  And maybe even start digging the plumbing!  As I sat there in the dirt, I realized yet again how manageable portions tend to be much smaller than I initially envision, and how everything takes longer than I think it will.  I could say a lot about that actually, giving many many examples of late, but it's not worth the time it would take.

Suffice it to say that I am beginning to relax into this totally new life, its rhythms and challenges, and things are getting done.  The serendipity has not left me, but sometimes I have to slow down enough to recognize it, to open the door when it comes quietly knocking.  The other day, for instance, I had this whole big list of things I was going to do, and due to an unforeseen minor crisis, I found myself stuck at the coffee shop where I've been doing my writing work lately.  But rather than get frustrated and anxious, I just rolled with it, and it turned out to be an extremely profitable day.  My plumber friend, who is a VERY busy guy, just happened to have some time to come and meet me to go over my plumbing plans, and then a guy I know but hadn't seen in a long time just happened to show up, and just happened to know where I can get 1200 free bags (!), plenty of free barbed wire, and cheap or possibly free scoria.

So yeah.  Plans are good, but life knows better.  And I'm in training to become as tenacious as that crazy grass.


  1. one step, one day, one inch of grass at a time :)
    enjoy the journey through the 'pioneering years'
    the destination is so worth it

  2. You are going to be the strongest, fittest, toughest and most you-like you imaginable at the end of this. If I were that grass I'd be scared!

  3. I think the plant your dealing with is bunch grass. The best method (short of a tractor) I have found dealing with it is using a mattock. You can leverage it out of the ground.

  4. That sagebrush is some tough stuff! We found that once you break the spade heads off a few shovels...haha...just get a piece of pipe to fit and weld the spade head to the pipe, its heavy but it works! A pick axe helps too!

  5. Kel - I have held your "pioneer stage" terminology in the front of my mind ever since you first said it. It's a great way to keep things in perspective.

    Eryl - Yes! That's a great way of putting it.

    Brad - You're absolutely right about the mattock. I did have one when I posted this, but just wasn't in good enough shape yet to use it effectively.

    Greg - Nice meeting you in the Albertson's parking lot the other day :) Yeah, I gave up on using a shovel immediately after trying it.