It's been almost two years since groundbreaking for the i-house project at the newly named Weed Ranch. The household downsizing was successful. Minimalization was maximized.
I'm heating the main unit with a little Hearthstone woodstove. It caused problems as the unit "settled" and the roof began leaking at the stovepipe. Now the pipe is vented out the sidewall (just to the right of the pictured unit) and there is a very ugly but effective roof patch that only the balloonists can see.
The heat is otherwise a particularly noisy forced air electric system. The "flex" unit or casita has a separate little HVAC system that is much quieter.
Other problem: the sliding glass door is my "front" door and it's heavy and hard to open - nearly impossible with an armload of wood since it takes both hands.
But that's a small price to pay for the view.
Fencing and a new gate are the latest additions and in another week the giant weed patch, for which the ranch is named, will be plowed for new pasture.
"For a fancypants spaceport this isn't much of a road."
Greetings from beautiful Truth or Consequences New Mexico, formerly Hot Springs. I like the old name better but I wasn't around in 1950. Just thank goodness it wasn't "To Tell The Truth" or they'd be calling it The City of TTTT. "Let's Make Deal," or "The Price is Right" would imply the government is corrupt. And who would want to live in "Jeopardy?"
There is hope and optimism about the Spaceport around here. It's probably not unlike the dreams associated with gold in the hills, health in the hot springs, and happy Hollywood gameshows that spurred speculation here in the past.
At least the road to the Spaceport is paved from TorC. Take that, Las Cruces. From that direction it's Journada del Muerto all over again for passenger cars. We're going from wagons and trains straight to rockets and skipping highways altogether.
It doesn't look like much from a distance. Big dog and I walked a little stretch of the actual Journada del Muerto from BLM's Yost Escarpment Trail. The escarpment - once an obstacle for freight wagons - now offers a view of the Spaceport. You can't see the runways so it looks like just another casino. I suppose it is in a way. Wait. A casino would have a road.
Spotting the Turtle in the mountain and the Elephant in the butte took me awhile. Mountains never look like animals or people. They look like mountains. Naming them after whatever object they might look like only attests to the power of alcohol and 17th century trail fatigue. The guy that thought a mountain looked like "Fray Cristobal" was drunk on mescal or delirious from the Jornada del Muerto. Or overindulged as a child with sightings of tetillas in the hills.
The TorC turtle made his stony self known to me as the snow melted off his back on a sunny day just after Christmas. I was soaking my arthritic ass (though that not be the afflicted portion of my body) in one of the lovely outdoor pools at Riverbend and staring across the Rio at a particular part of the mountain (not pictured) - a portion of Los Caballos, so named because horses roamed there and not because mountains looked like horses.
Suddenly there was the turtle - if there can be a sudden about either granite or turtle. He's been there draped across that ridge forever. His rocky shell black against the white snow made him obvious and showy. His prominant front left leg hangs down lazily like he's been soaking too.
"There's the fucking turtle!" I exclaimed a little too loudly. I wasn't even drunk.
There is no direct evidence that either Thomas B. Catron or Bronson M. Cutting ever visited any of New Mexico's hot mineral springs.* On the other hand, nobody says they didn't. Bronson was sick so he might have tried a soaking cure, though it would have more likely been administered in the Swiss Alps. His father had that kind of money. Anyhow, Truth or Consequences or Palomas Hot Springs, as it would have been known in Cutting's day, catered primarily to the working class who built Elephant Butte Dam.
The pursuit of optimal soaking conditions and locations is legitimate book research nonetheless and my excuse for wasting time down here. So I'm doing lots of it. Other research activities involve long drives in the desert and visits to the Geronimo Springs Museum - the museum that should be in a museum museum.
*These are the bookend characters of my to-be-some-day historical fiction, and they're both vampires! OK. Not really. But Catron was a little scary.