Category Archives: building phase

Hats and Boots (boots edition 1 of 2)

Months ago I chatted with a middle-aged woman here in New Mexico who had built her own little straw bale cabin by herself. I told her about the workshops I’d been to and the grand plans for Cielito Lindo Ranch. … Continue reading

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Worn Glove

This is what my glove looks like today. This pair is made of thick cow hide – the toughest gloves I could find — and they’re only about two months old. The holes you see are the result of the … Continue reading

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Raising the Mast

We’ve added wind power to our solar panels — or we’re about to. The hardest part of this was actually creating the mast and getting it into place. That’s now done with metal brackets to strap the wind turbine pole … Continue reading

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Breaking Ground, Breaking with Tradition

After decades of dreaming, years of research, several hands-on workshops, meetings with architects,  contractors, structural engineers, and weeks of drafting, it finally happened – we broke ground today. Lee from Catron Concrete arrived this morning with his tractor and laser-level … Continue reading

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Sustainable Building Foundations

Building with the environment in mind goes beyond just materials. You actually need to start with the local environment–meaning weather and land. For a building site for the main lodge we wanted flat land, a great south facing view (for … Continue reading

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Permission to Build

We just got our building permits (happy dance goes here), and so we can move from the planning phase to the building phase (yeah!). Planning took longer than we’d thought, but the time actually worked to our benefit. The original … Continue reading

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A Passing Grade

So far, it’s been as if New Mexico is testing us. We’ve had frosts in April, smoke from the Arizona fires in June, and a very windy May. All of this has put us behind schedule in building because we’ve … Continue reading

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When the Only One Left to Blame is You

When your cable-TV goes out, sure, it’s an inconvenience because you’re going to miss your favorite TV show, but the blame is easy to assign, “Those fraking cable guys screwed up again”. You’re blameless, and all you really need to … Continue reading

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The One Best Solution

I’ve learned something interesting after talking to several contractors about “green” building. Many contractors have a particular way of thinking. My theory is that they work for years trying out various techniques, materials and technologies and picking which ones they … Continue reading

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Progress for Early April

The first week or so has been both interesting and unexpected – it’s also proven that there’s always going to be something to do at the Ranch. And that you always have to make a mess first to make something. … Continue reading

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