Thursday, July 29, 2010

Another House I Won't Be Living In

Well, I am sad to announce that it looks like the deal for the cute little house with the great yard is falling through, and I will not be purchasing that place. There were issues with the septic system, caused by stringent regulations for homes on lots less than 3/4 acre in size. 

Yesterday I went and looked at a very reasonably priced house closer to town. This place also unfortunately has the same septic limitations, and other issues which make it not right for me. BUT, that property had the most wonderful views, that I felt elevated just getting to see them. The seller was also a pleasant fellow who I enjoyed talking with. Below are some photos I took of the view, looking out over the Taos valley, and showing the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) mountains in the distance.  It was a rainy day, as we are in our summer 'monsoon season'.

 Looking East, down the driveway:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chester In The Flower Pot

It's a good thing I didn't plant tomatoes in this pot in the front yard, as I'd thought about doing, because Chester has decided it makes a very comfortable bed!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Home Sweet Home

As I mentioned a few posts ago, when I told you about the fire, I've found a house I want to buy. Happily, the owners agreed to a very fair selling price, and I am scheduled to purchase the house at the end of August, and then move in during early September.   Yay!!

It is a humble little house, but in pretty good shape, and the layout will work for me. Ater 8 years of renting I'm REALLY wanting to own my own house again. It is in a rural area about 35 - 40 minutes from where I work, and an hour from Santa Fe.

Below are some photos I took of the house and the yard, which I immediately fell in love with when I first saw it.  I think my pets will really enjoy exploring this yard.  There are several fruit trees on the property, but I don't know what kind they are yet.  It will be fun to find out! 

The cool old truck the current owners park there. Don't know if it goes with the house, but I'd love it if it did:

This corner was originally a carport, but is now closed in and used as storage area, which is great, because I need a storage area:

The front porch:

The side of the house further back:

The back of the house, with a little sitting porch:

The front yard, sunny, with room for gardening:

Old log shed in the back yard, once used for goats, I think:

The old well house (well no longer in use):

And here are some other views of the back yard. I love that there are aspen trees:

In this one below, if you look closely, near the middle of the photo, you can see a mountain peak in the distance.  That will be my view of La Jicarita Peak, which has an elevation of 12,808 feet.

And, while the house now has a 20 year old shingle roof on it, as part of the agreement I reached with the sellers, there will be a lovely new metal Pro Panel roof put on the house.  The color will be a turquoise blue, or teal, which will go nicely with the grey house.  It will look like this roof:

I actually owned a home about 15 minutes away from this house, back in 1990, and I had this same color Pro Panel roof put onto that house as well.  And I recently discovered that this roofing will also help to keep the house cooler in the hot weather, as it is much better at reflecting heat than a shingle roof, which absorbs more heat.

So, that is my happy news about my soon-to-be new Home Sweet Home!

Monday, July 12, 2010

LaLa Music

I was standing in the living room, letting my gaze wander, not thinking much. I was looking at the sound system, when I had a bit of a surprise as I realized something was looking back at me! It was LaLa, who had found a new place to nap:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Henry Gets A Scolding

When I got up this morning, I heard a bunch of magpies complaining about something out in the yard. I went and looked, and saw they were all yelling at my cat Henry. I watched them for a while and then got my camera and recorded the end of it in this short video. After the last magpie leaves, and Henry is just sitting there, Chester walks up and bops him.  

Note the "What the heck was that for?" look that Henry gives to Chester, and then the shadow of Henry's twitching tail visible at the very end after Henry has walked off camera. I say Henry's got some real acting talent. What do you think?  

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Orange Flames & Black Soot

Saturday night, June 19th, around 8 PM, I was just drifting off to sleep, to nap for a few hours before I had to go into work later that night.  I began hearing a strange crackling noise which I couldn't identify.  At first I figured that it was probably a cat playing with a plastic bag or something like that.  But the noise kept on, and still didn't sound right.  Then I wondered if it had begun raining, which would have been good, because everything was very dry.  Maybe it was even hailing, I thought.  I got up, to check on my little tomato and cucumber plants which were outside, thinking I would move them under cover if it was hailing.

But as I walked over to the window, to see what was going on, I was horrified to see a wall of flames racing toward the house!!  It was too big and too fast to even think about trying to put it out.  I ran and pulled some pants on, as all I was wearing was a nightie.  I ran to the phone by the front door, and saw, as I dialed 911, that the flames were already on all sides of the house.  It was terrifying to see.  I told the emergency dispatcher that my house was surrounded by fire, grabbed my car keys and ran out the front door.

At that point, I thought the entire house was probably going to burn down, and I would lose everything.  I looked at my car, sitting in the driveway, and saw flames in front of it, on both sides, and even a few dancing behind it.  I hesitated for a split second, wondering if I should just forget the car and run.  But I decided I wanted to at least have the car if at all possible, so I rushed in and drove it as fast as I could away from the flames, backing out the driveway and down the street.  

Then I saw my elderly dog, Lucy, walking toward the house, I was able to catch her- she was confused about what was happening- and I ran her back to the car and put her in there for safe keeping.  By then the fire engines, and police, had arrived.  I think a couple of my neighbors, including the fellow next door who had accidentally started the fire while welding outside, had called the fire in before I did.  I also heard that the fire engines had just pulled into the fire house, returning from another call, when they were called out, so their response was even faster.  I do believe the house would have at least partially burned if the fire crew had not gotten there so quickly.  As it was, fire burned right up to the house, and right up to the garage.  It burned the part of the wooden latilla fencing between my yard and the next door neighbors' yard.  The keep an RV parked right next to that fence, and the cover that was on the RV melted away on that side.  The RV's propane tank is also on that side, so it was a real blessing that it didn't blow, or the whole situation could have been dramatically worse.   The giant willow tree in that area got charred, but I think it will be OK.  The tree house that was in it, which my cats enjoyed, was a total loss.  One pine tree looks like a total loss.   And a lot of the trees which looked alright the day after the fire, showed the heat damage they had suffered a day or two later, and their leaves turned brown.  They'll be fine next year, but for this summer they have lost some of their greenery. 

My cats took off, and I was worried about them... later they started returning, one by one.  About two hours after the firemen had left, the last missing cat, Tobias, made an appearance and they were all accounted for.  Now there is just a black, charred yard all around, and black soot being tracked in by me, the cats, and the dog.  It's a mess, but when I think of how much worse it could have been I feel very lucky.   The house was filled with smoke, and stank for a while, but it's back to normal now unless the wind blows in smell from the yard. 

 I think this was the most frightening experience I've ever been through.  Even though the fire was put out pretty quickly, those moments of raw terror seeing the flames all around the house made a powerful impression upon my psyche.  Several times in the past couple of weeks since the fire, I have suddenly jerked awake from sleep in fear over some noise, thinking of fire.   Maybe I will move, as the black yard is a sad reminder of what happened, and I don't like seeing it.  I'm hoping the landlord will have the yard cleaned up, but I'm not quite sure what is going on with that right now...  (Who knows, maybe this will be what motivates me to buy a place of my own, which would really make me happy.  I have found a sweet place, which I may make an offer on... I can't quite afford what they are asking, so it will be a low offer, but, maybe maybe maybe my dream will come true!  Keep your fingers crossed for me.) 

Now look below to see some photos I took the night of the fire.  And tell me, have you ever experienced a fire?  It sure makes me appreciate firefighters.  I don't think I'd be brave enought to do that job, but I am so glad that there are people who are that brave!

This is the spot where the fire jumped from the neighbor's up into my yard:

This is the big willow tree that got scorched, and the latilla fence:

This is the side and rear of the house:

And the side of the garage:

And here is 'Lenny', my guardian lion, who seems to have stopped the fire in one area:

There were only a few burned spots out by my cat crossing sign:

And this last photo, though blurry, made me very happy, because the flash just happened to catch Henry returning home for the first time after the fire.  I'd been worried about him!