Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Juniper Visa used to buy a Mac from the Apple Store totally sucks. They never sent a card, never sent a statement, never sent a billing email -- just ads, then their collection dept. calls that my payment is overdue! Turns out they only send the card to the street address - where the post office does not deliver (see mail woes) so it never arrived. I'm on vacation now so they were able to reach me by telephone since cell is the only kind of phone we have. No land lines reach "the edge" but they would have reached me on the very same phone at the very same phone number. Why can they reach me now but not when they couldn't deliver the card or a statement? Total craziness. The moral is never ever use Juniper credit card accounts or ones from Barclay's bank which is their secret identity.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Full Blown Summer

When I wasn't looking it turned from winter into summer. Missed spring entirely. The grapes, tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, and daisies are all up and doing well, enjoying life on the canyon edge. Some critter has discovered the kale and pansies, finding them delicious enough to nibble them down to the ground. The chickens are hale and hearty enjoying their own semi-earthship hen house and fenced yard. It is fenced over the top too to keep the hawks and other raptors from swooping them up and to keep the bobcats and hopefully the mountain lions out. I'm hoping that bears don't like chickens. We haven't seen any bears this year anyway.

So. Life on the edge is great. Temps are high. We've been getting into the 90s which is kinda extreme for here but the earthship has been maintaining comfortable temps. We did get up to 78 inside one day but since then I've started leaving the skylight open and it has stayed between 69 and 75. Woohoo! I love my house.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Again, I Ask, Is It Spring?

My cilantro is coming up, I've moved the tomatoes and peppers outside but, still, it has been unseasonably cold. Thursday morning it was 34 degrees out. We got an entire inch of rain on Thursday. I'm going to have to start keeping precipitation records. I worry that we will hit a big drought since we don't have a well but so far this year precipitation has been high for a place that can only expect 8 -10 inches a year.

The wildlife is different this year, too. No bunnies, no picas, lots of lizards and a couple squirrels (never had squirrels before). The bobcat is getting pretty bold. He was actually stretching on the chicken coop. I tried to run him off but he just ran around to the other side and then came back.

The chickens are getting huge. We are probably about 6 weeks away from getting fresh eggs.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Earth Day Tour

We decided to share what we know about sustainable living at the Grand Junction/ Mesa County Earth Day event at the county fair grounds last Saturday. We had photos, the house plans, Mike Reynolds three Earthship books, slide shows, and movies. Our d-i-l was loaning us her easy-up shelter and black draperies so we could show the slides and movies using a digital projector and big screen. Alas, the best laid plans... It turned out to be extremely windy. We saw a 200 lb. man lifted by the wind as he tried to hold down the tent on the booth next to ours that had been secured with stakes and sandbags. The tent on the other side of us that was clamped to a heavy table blew into our car dragging the table behind it. So, we sat in the brilliant sunshine and intense wind for the day. We had some heavy sheets of glass that secured everything to the table and we taped the top of the trifold display of photos to the table and secured the bottom of it with rocks on both sides so nothing blew away. I did manage to acquire the worst sunburn of my life even with spf 50 sunblock. Within 24 hours I had blistered and the blisters had popped -- a little beyond the blistering and peeling I had experienced when badly sunburned as a child.

Anyway, we did have a great time talking to people about our house and 9 people came up on Sunday to tour the house. One family seems pretty invested as the man came to my Wednesay book group to get more information. I imagine his family will be going sustainable as soon as they can buy the land to build an earthship.

Working on further sustainability and protein requirements, our six chicks are doing well. Just a few more months and they will be providing us with high quality egg protein. Woo hoo, can hardly wait.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mail woes

One of the drawbacks of life on the edge is that there is no mail delivery. We have to drive 15 miles into town to retrieve mail from a PO box. This is problematic because in my day job I receive thousands of books to review and evaluate each year and many publishers and publicists have accounts with UPS, FedEx, or DHL to deliver those books. That means that they have to have my "street" address and because the rest of the world can receive mail at their "street" addresses those publishers and publicists sometimes send me mail, or even books, through the US Postal Service addressed to the "street" address. When and if that mail does arrive in my PO box it has black marker crossing out the address with 4 or more stickers stating the post office was glad to find me and asking me to contact the sender with my correct address. Those packages were addressed to my "correct address" it is just that the Post Office doesn't deliver here! I've made up and widely distributed postcards with photos of where I live and directions that US Mail must go to the PO Box and UPS or FedEx must go to the "street" address and that DHL will not deliver here. DHL remails packages sent to my "street" address zip code. One of my copy edited manuscripts was once overnighted to me via DHL and arrived 91 (yes ninety-one) days later. By that time it was moot as the ms. has be resent via FedEx, edited, sent back, the book was published, and distributed. Many things sent via DHL have never arrived.

One of my pet peeves are rebates and free offers from companies that specify nothing will be sent to P.O. Boxes. I've gotten so annoyed I've composed a form letter to send to them. Here it is.

To Whom It May Concern:

Please send my rebate check via UPS or FedEx. Or, you may deliver it in person as the rebate form states you will not honor requests for people who receive their mail through Post Office Boxes. We live in an area not served by the United States Postal Service nor DHL. UPS and FedEx do service this area and are here almost every day.

If you choose to hand deliver the rebate please be advised that you should rent a 4 wheel drive vehicle. You should also be sure to wear sturdy boots. Our home is located on the edge of a remote canyon at 7,000 ft. altitude and the pavement ends nearly 3 miles before you get to our house. Because of the altitude we usually have a substantial amount of snow on the ground several months out of the year. If you do decide to utilize this option please call me at ###-###-#### for detailed directions and the gate combination. I will also advise you if mountain lions or bears have been prowling so you can take adequate precautions. We did lose an 80 lb. dog to a mountain lion some time back.

Feel free to call the post master at (970) 244-3400 to verify that the post office does not deliver in our area. We would love it if we only had to go three miles out to pavement rather than fifteen miles into town to retrieve our mail and in fact have been trying for many years to convince the post office that we should have rural delivery here.

Eagerly anticipating my rebate,

Friday, March 07, 2008

Is it Spring Yet?

Nice sunshiney day today but unfortunately the arc of the sun is moving higher in the sky. This is the time of the year that I have to start a fire in the mornings as the house doesn't really warm up until later in the day. The floor has started to cool off, too.

Rick was talking to one of the neighbors who has been keeping track of the weather patterns and he said that in previous years all the snow has been melted by March 1. Here it is, the 7th and while we have lots of patches of mud we still have a considerable amount of snow. The snow that had been up to the swing seat out front has dropped and now is only about a foot deep.

Even with the lack of sun penetration into the house it has been performing pretty well. I know if I were in a conventional house and the exterior temp dropped to 4 degrees it wouldn't stay close to 60 in the house without supplemental heat.

The plants are all doing well. One of the spider plants has gotten carried away and started a dozen new plants where its shoots trailed down onto the planter. One of the banana trees died this winter. I don't know why but the other two are thriving. The citrus trees are doing well with one of the orange trees covered in fragrant blossoms. I never thought I would be growing bananas, lemons, and oranges in Colorado at 7,000ft. Ah, life is an adventure.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Gloomy in the Ship

It has been the cloudiest winter I ever remember experiencing in Colorado. We have a ton of snow. This morning it was snowing so hard we couldn't see the canyon. Our swing has snow clear up to the seat. This is the kind of weather that makes solar life a little uncomfortable. We aren't getting any solar gain for our passive solar heat so I'm burning beetle killed pinon in the wood burning stove for heat. I do have to say this, though, a conventional house would not have stayed above 58 degrees Fahrenheit without supplemental heat when the exterior temp was in the high teens, so the house is working well. When we went to Mexico for a week we didn't have to worry about our pipes freezing which is always a concern in the mountains in winter. Even with all the snow and cloud cover, our photovoltaic panels are keeping us supplied with electricity.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Time Flies

I had all but forgotten that I had started this blog when we were first moving into the house. Decided to come back to it because amazingly enough almost 600 people have viewed one of the videos I posted to YouTube about our house.

Today we had two "wildlife" sightings. Early this morning when Rick was opening the drapes he saw a bob cat in front of the house. It disappeared over the lip of the canyon edge before I could spot it. A few hours later the dogs became very agitated and I figured the cat had returned. When I got to the far end of the house and looked out there was a little white fluff ball of a dog. I don't know where it came from or where it went. Like us, our neighbors tend to have large dogs, the better to not become prey.