Monday, January 30, 2006

update Jan. 30 2006

Well we are busily getting set up in our new home - building fence, putting in a septic, water system, off-grid power system etc. It is a lot of fun and a lot of work too. The wildlife here has been surprising, in fact one of the first animals we nearly stepped on was a very surprised black bear! A few moments later we kicked out a huge boar javelina. Since then we have seen eagles, owls, hawks, flocks and flocks of Gamble's quail, jackrabbits, coyotes, bobcat and Mule deer. I really have to get my Canon 35mm loaded with film and get some of these wild critters.

The dogs and horse seem pretty happy - though Lobo now has begun having seizures like his father Deamon. We always assumed Deamon got it from being hit by a truck (which cracked his skull and left him blind and lame) even the Vet thought so too, but now it looks like it is hereditary. German shepherds and Huskies are two of the breeds most prone to epilepsy, so it figures.

Went today over to check out the Chiricahuas - it is just too beautiful for words. Who could imagine clear cold streams, lakes and sprawling forest covered mountains just a couple of miles from a desert? We will definitely be going there to do some prospecting and even some trout fishing next spring - and it looks promising for hunting too!

Been getting back to work on the book and some articles too - found out that one of those famous lost Spanish mines associated with the Tumacacori mission was found and mined since the late 1800s. It is the mine with the same name - Tumacacori - though it is known today as the Ostrich. The men who found it in the 1880s discovered skeletons and sacks of silver ore in it, which had some $7000 in silver per ton - when silver was $1 per ounce! I plan to do some more research on this, perhaps the current owners will allow me to go in and get some photos of the mine and workings. This puts the skeptics in their place - there are "experts" who claim that all those tales of lost Spanish (and Jesuit) mines are myths, well they are all too real. Now if I can just find the lost Purisma Concepcion!!! *My personal favorite lost mine - the ore is four fifths silver and one fifth gold!

We have been doing some experimenting with new building methods - since we have a huge surplus of stone, we decided to build with it; the septic tank is a rock-cement structure, with a ferrocement baffle built in. The ferrocement idea is really neat too and fast - but hard to get started as the cement doesn't want to stick to the wire form. Once it has set up it is strong as concrete (stronger actually) so will likely use this method for building rainwater collection cisterns.

We are "off the grid" with no telephone or power lines, but with the cell and satellite phone, satellite internet and wind power (along with generator backup) we have the best internet service we have ever had as well as power. We plan on setting up solar hot water as well as solar heat (hot water from collectors and a solar furnace, run through a radiant floor system) for the house, so heating and hot water will be free. The climate here at 4400 feet is very nice - warm dry days and cold nights, but not that cold. So we don't get the deep snow of the high mountains, nor the extreme heat of the valleys where Tucson and Phoenix are.

Well I could go on with lots of little tidbits here, but have to get some shuteye - more work to do tomorrow getting a wind tower up etc.


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