July 9 : End of week 1
It is a little over a week since we arrived here. It seems like a lot has happened in just one week. Our neighbors Kathy & Jim have been so kind and welcomed us into their wonderful home while we set about looking for our temporary digs, our home while we build. It was a wonderful way to recover from our cross country trip with the moving van while at the same time getting set up here. We are so grateful to Kathy and Jim.
We spent 4th July weekend looking for a trailer to call home while we build. Originally we thought we’d buy a yurt. It turns out that used yurts are hard to come by and new yurts are much pricier than we anticipated. So we started looking at camping trailers. Neither Paul or Judy knew anything about trailers, over the July 4th weekend we got a crash course as we drove all over 3 states (Connecticut Massachusetts and New Hampshire) looking at trailers listed on Craigslist. We put a lot of miles on the Ford Ranger, but it was a great way to get the lay of the land and the geography in these New England states. It turns out that there is a lot of junk out there in trailer world, and off course we were looking for a great deal. The finish materials used in a lot of trailers are not very robust and it seems that they tend to see some hard living from their owners. That equated to touring a lot of smelly, not-so-good-shape and beat up not-too-clean trailers. But the story has a good ending. Just when things were looking grim and a bit depressing, one of our neighbors Kaylee told us about a trailer that her friends in New Hampshire were selling, it was reportedly in good shape. Kaylee was right. We did the 2 hour drive up to Weare NH, and it was worth it. We came home with a 26 ft trailer that was older (1999) but cared for and in mint condition, well laid out with adequate storage. It was also a great price. Thank you Kaylee for the tip! We have now moved our “stuff” into our trailer , have connected the electricity, filled the fridge and pantry and will have water today.
Paul has been busy making music connections. He attended a jazz concert in a coffee house in Greenfield and made the acquaintance of a well known jazz horn player that Paul has admired for some time from afar in Santa Rosa, as well as a few other local jazz musician. Also, many thanks to Bill (Katywil founder) who connected Paul with other local musician which has resulted in his first gig here that will be on labor day. Paul has also been helping out in the construction of the greenhouse at Katwil, but that’ll be the subject of another post! This is one amazing greenhouse.
On Wednesday we joined the local grocery coop. Next stop: local library. We all now have library cards and checked out books. And the library doesn’t know it yet, but if our Sonoma County habits are anything to go by, it has also gained a small revenue stream in overdue book feesL We are working on changing that habit. The library has an extensive interlibrary loan system like Sonoma County’s library system. It also has an assortment of museum passes to area museums that you can check out. Somehow joining the food coop and the library was a big step in making us feel at home here and the beginning of setting down roots again. Yesterday we closed on our lot. So we are now officially owner of lot 14, a 0.8acre parcel in Katywil and part of the Katywil Property Owners Association.
Judy has been going back and forth with Bensonwood on the design and interior layout for our home. The process is a bit rougher and slower than we expected, and time is ticking. Our chances of getting into our house before the snow arrives is starting to diminish. So, we have enlisted the help Peter. Peter is also currently building in Katywil, and he is an architect. He is familiar with the challenges of interior layout is a small house and efficient building strategies. In Katywil he has designed both his home and the Willard family home.
The goats are very happy grazing on all the brush and weeds here. They have 1600 ft2 area within their electric fence boundary, so they have a fair bit of freedom.
Sophie is a happy pup and loving running around the Katywil acreage. Moniquse is enjoying exploring the Katywil acreage and getting to know our new neighbors.
She has a new pet: Minty the caterpillar. Minty’s home is a Mason jar in our trailer and Monique is making very sure that Minty has a constant supply of fresh leaves for snacking. Minty managed to escape through the perforated lid of her home a few times causing much distress to Monique. Thankfully though one of the advantages of a small trailer is that Minty can’t get too far. So far Minty has eventually been recovered after each escape attempt.
Despite the busyness, we have taken some fun downtime to relax and enjoy our new surroundings. Shared meals with our new neighbors have been a highlight. The weather has been a mix of incredibly hot days alternating with spectacular thunder and lightening storms. They have weather here in these parts! The variety in weather patterns is a huge contrast to the Northern California predictable weather patterns. So far we are really enjoying the variety and especially the rain after the CA drought. On July 4th we enjoyed another spectacular storm while eating dinner with Lynn. During dessert the rain stopped and we were treated to a brilliant full rainbow over the valley. All colors of the spectrum could be seen as well as the entire arc.
The days tend to be a little humid on occasion, but it is not the oppressive humidity of Philadelphia or Cleveland. There is also a nice gentle breeze that flows through the valley, so that helps provide relief from the humidity. And, a quick dip in Vincent Brook or the North River is a great way to cool off. These are a highlight for Sophie and Monique.
We are really enjoying the variety of birds here and the layers of birdcalls in the valley in the mornings. It is a wonderful way to sip our morning coffee, taking in the view of the valley and listening to the incredible bird life. The spectacular red cardinal birds are captivating. I haven’t managed to successfully snap a photo yet but hope to do so soon. In the warm evenings as we lie in bed with the windows open, there is not a car to be heard here. Instead we are treated to sound of the water rushing down Vincent Book. The night sky here is spectacular, there is no garbage light here. As full darkness sets in, the fireflies emerge, always a huge treat for Monique. It is very peaceful here.