Friday, October 7, 2011

Like a Squirrel

Originally, the plan was to move into town on October 1st, but the place I thought we'd be moving to fell through, so we're still out at the Sky Bus until this Tuesday.  When I first realized we'd be out there an extra ten days, I have to admit I was really dreading it, as cold as it's been getting.  I've been sleeping with a hat and two pairs of socks, inside a sleeping bag with a comforter and another blanket over it.

But today I am feeling honestly grateful that we were "forced" to be out there a bit longer.  It's given me more time to get the bus and land ready for winter, and work on the trench.  Yesterday, Graeme and I set up the woodstove that came with the bus.  The day before, I had bought wood from a friend of mine, just enough to fill up the back of the Blazer.  I figured that would be enough to get us through the next few days and have a little left over for when I want to escape to Serendipity over the winter.

The timing couldn't have been better, because it's predicted to go down to about 30 degrees tonight.  And yesterday while we were setting up the stove, it actually started SNOWING.

The whole task was tedious, backbreaking, and took longer than I'd anticipated (of course! I should know better by now), but I had such a sense of accomplishment when it was done, and I built our first fire.  I used to have a woodstove at the house where I lived for several years in another part of New Mexico, and since we moved from there, I've really missed having one.  I love splitting wood and building a fire, then sitting in front of it, toasty and mesmerized.  I love the sound and the smell of a good fire.  I'd almost forgotten the satisfaction of all that.

This morning, it was cold and overcast, still wet from yesterday's rain and snow.  I got up and unloaded all the wood out of the Blazer, and stacked it next to the bus.  Then I disassembled the shower "stall," and used the tarp to cover the wood; I felt like a squirrel stashing acorns.  It felt bittersweet to take apart the shower - a true acknowledgement of the change of seasons.

And that's the biggest reason I'm grateful to still be out there.  I once had a boyfriend who believed you couldn't truly know someone until you'd gone through every season with them, and that applies completely to the relationship I'm developing with my land and bus.  And even though I won't be living out there over the winter, I look forward to visiting from time to time so I can at least have a taste of winter deliciousness on the mesa.

A last little view of summer.  These guys are gone now; I'll miss them.


  1. The stove sounds nice. I suppose it would be too cold to stay out there during the Winter, now that you have the stove? I know you must need a break.

    I've been out to my property in Terlingua, twice. The first time was with the realtor right before I bought it. The second time was to find the survey stakes. I haven't been able to go down there and stay even one night on it. It's so frustrating. I'm looking at cob or papercrete construction, and I don't even know if I have clay in my soil to build cob...
    So I am starting to understand what you mean by really "knowing the property"...We will be staying a week down there next month....finally.

    I have read your entire blog, and have learned so's nice you have your young son to help. Thanks for taking the time to blog.


  2. What a beautiful odyssey, you're on, Susan :-) With your bus being your ship to cross the desert...
    Your wood fire sounds wonderful. We have one in France as well. In fact, Paul is fixing it right now and we may have one tonight... It is snowing in the Alps and the higher Jura today. One can feel the snow in the rain falling at our altitude (500 mts).


  3. I'm so glad you posted about staying in the bus through this cold spell. As you know, while you are moving to town for winter we are actually moving onto our property (as of next week). My mother in Florida thinks we are going to literally freeze to death, even with propane heat so I'll have to share with her you that you survived the other night, haha.

    Hey, I have been a bit nervous about it myself but it is what it is. My husband works as a server and relies on the tourist economy so there is no way we could make it through another winter renting in town.

  4. I so enjoy reading your blog. You are pretty much living my fantasy and I daydream about moving to our land in southern Colorado literally every day. (We're in Texas now). Planning to make the move in summer and I hope we can come help with your build provided you aren't through by July! I would love the opportunity to learn as much as I can so ill be better equipped to build ours! Do you mind if I get your email address in case I have any questions about stuff? Maybe I'm a dummy burning I can't find it anywhere...

  5. But, not burning. Stupid autocorrect!!!

  6. Claire - that's so funny that you called it a ship, because I was thinking about it in just those terms the other day. Woodstoves are wonderful aren't they? Hope yours is working by now.

    Little House - I know; I keep thinking about you guys. You'll be better off in an RV with propane heat than I would be over the winter in the bus and just the woodstove. You guys will be fine, I'm sure. I'll be interested to read about your experiences - and maybe even talk in person one of these days :)

    Sarah (or is it Sarah Marie?) - Thank you! Glad you found me. I would love for you guys to come out next summer!

    You made me realize that I didn't in fact have my email posted anywhere on this blog, so I've added it in the About Me section. You are not a dummy, burning or otherwise :)

  7. Terry - whoops, almost missed your comment there. Yes, even with the woodstove, it's too cold. The bus has absolutely no insulation, and some of the windows won't even close all the way. Plus, I HATE being cold, especially my hands. And yes - I'm ready for a break. I just want to hole up somewhere cozy for the winter and gather my strength.

  8. I am the same way about cold...I don't like it one bit... No one is calling you a wuss!

    Years ago I remember sleeping one weekend in the bed of my pickup truck in a sleeping bag. It was 16 degrees F. I've never been so cold in all my life....never again.

  9. Terry, thanks for validating my non-wussness :) 16 degrees! DAMN!!