Santa Fe

We’re almost there!


We spent the night in Santa Fe ~ in a room with a deep bathtub! I took a bath last night and a shower this morning. I’ve been so worried about the toilet I didn’t even consider that we won’t be able to take showers for two weeks. That’s how long we’re thinking it will take to get hot water to the Tin Can. We’ll save the shower water and throw it on the trees so the septic system isn’t important for bathing. It’s important for other things though! I’m hoping we’ll also have that done in two weeks, but it will probably be three. We have the port-a-potty for one month.

On a more more pleasant note…

Santa Fe has got to be one of the most romantic cities in the world!

Santa Fe must be one of the most romantic cities in the world!

















It’s early spring here. In the shade there are still bits of ice and snow, but daffodils are blooming and trees are flowering. It’s cold at night, but the days are warming up. I had forgotten the beauty of the late afternoon light here and also how blue a sky can be.image

Two new New Mexicans!

Two new New Mexicans!





Today we’re scheduling the delivery of the propane tank, stocking up on food and getting some work boots for me. Jason says hiking boots and work boots are not the same thing. They look about the same to me!

Before getting down to business we took Lucky on a lovely walk and stopped for lattes at Holy Spirit Espresso. We’ll imagebe on the land by 2:00 and we won’t be back here for at least two weeks. I’m looking forward to seeing the Tin Can again!







We have a lot to do, but we still have time for hugs!

We have a lot to do, but we still have time for hugs!


By the time we left the Bay Area I didn’t want to go. A couple of bad things had happened one right after another. Then Jason hurt my feelings. Except for some occasional bitter mutterings (“Humph, Happily Ever After, what a joke”) I barely spoke to him on the way to LA.

The brake lights on the trailer didn't work when we picked it up. That caused a one day delay.

The brake lights on the trailer didn’t work when we picked it up. That caused a one day delay.

The worry, stress and wrenching good-byes had taken their toll. I felt too old for this adventure. There was no exhilaration, just regrets about the past and doubts about the future. As the wheels turned forward I felt myself pulled back.

LA and San Diego had their bright spots. We visited with one of my brothers and his family, and ate Easter dinner with my son. In San Diego we walked along the water at dusk.imageStill, I was gloomy off and on until we crossed the Mojave. The desert from I-15 isn’t the prettiest sight, but the open land, the yucca and Joshua trees against the expansive sky, soothed me. The winds picked up and tumble weeds rolled across the highway.


Besides this dog is funny! He’s also an excellent traveler.

Jason drove through the wind cheerful and calm. (The gusts were up to 70 miles per hour!) In addition to doing all the driving and taking Lucky out early in the morning, he had been catering to my whims and moods. He should have been exhausted but he had only grown more energetic. With him being so sweet and happy it was getting kind of hard to stay crabby.

When we were almost to Las Vegas the guy who’s delivering the port-a-potty called. He’ll be dropping it off on the land at 3:00 on Thursday. I had been dreading this thing, now this seemed like the best news ever. I slept well at the hotel outside of Vegas.

The beds at the Element Hotel are very comfortable!

Lucky and I stayed in bed until I wasn’t tired at all anymore!

Today’s been a fun day. We’re in Flagstaff now about to take a very good dog for a walk. It’s about 40 outside and I seem to have lost both of my jackets. Fortunately, Jason has two!



“So we’re really going to do this?”

tree house

Lucky was just getting used to this place. Now it’s almost time to move on! Wednesday will be our last night in the tree house.

We have two more nights in this happy little house. Lucky seemed to like it here. He’s adjusted very well to the changes. We’ll spend Thursday night in South San Francisco so we can load up the U-Haul trailer we’ll be towing to New Mexico. On Friday morning we’ll be on the road. It’s still sort of hard to believe!

Jason and I bought the land in 2005 so we’ve had plenty of time to think about moving there. We’ve talked about living in Mora part time and about not living there at all. In the end though, we always came back to wanting to make this special place our last home

One reason

Jason calls this “Katie’s mountain” because whenever we discuss the layout of the house I ask, “Will I be able to see the mountain?” The real name of this mountain range is the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It’s a subrange of the Rocky Mountains. I want this view from my kitchen window.

When I tell people where we’re moving they often go, “What!? Where? Why??” I still don’t have a good answer for why. I generally mutter something about peace, quiet and the cost of living. That stuff is important, but there’s more to it of course. It’s embarrassing to talk about though. I’m afraid I sound a bit starry-eyed, like a teenager who just read Walden for the first time, but I don’t think Thoreau was wrong when he wrote that life was sweetest closest to the bone. In the Tin Can, in the middle of our 16 acres, a cup of soup tastes like heaven. In Mora nature is not an afterthought. Its majesty and mystery surround you. The sun rises in a pinkish haze and the nights are spectacular. Emerson said, “If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare.” In Mora you marvel and stare every night.

He’s not looking at stars. He was looking for the lunar eclipse. An hour later we saw it just fine from solid ground. Climbing on the roof was completely unnecessary.

Still, it hasn’t been an easy decision to move to Mora. We had a great life in the Bay Area and there are some people I’m definitely going to miss.

One niece, one nephew and Jason’s one and only daughter visited Sunday, along with one brother. My brother, Jason and I were all too sensible (aka old) to jump the creek and climb on this rotting boat. The weather was horrible, but how lucky to have six people in the same family agree that this is a great way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon!

I’m not too worried about the family though. Those people can’t escape us so easily! I’m looking forward to the adventures we’ll have when they visit. Some of them have already been out to the land.

My mother, the year before she died, tapped her cane on the land. That seems like a blessing to me now, even though she thought we were nuts for wanting to leave the Bay Area. One of my brothers was along on that trip too. My sister’s been to Mora. She pronounced it not nearly as bad as she thought it would be. Jason’s daughter has been to Mora twice. She helped him when he brought his truck out to leave on the land. My son has come out a couple of times to help mow the overgrown weeds. Our nephew, Nick, has helped Jason in Mora several times.

First fence post

I wanted two things before I moved to Mora: a real toilet and a fenced in area for Lucky. Here’s Nick digging a hole for the very first fence post. He and Jason fenced in a quarter acre. As we all know, they never got around to the toilet.

In this picture Louie looks right at home in Mora. He's actually a pretty urban person - even a bit urbane!

In this picture Louie looks right at home in Mora. He’s actually a pretty urban person – even a bit urbane!

They use this little tractor to mow the "grass". Apparently I'll be doing this at some point too!

They use this little tractor to mow the “grass”. Apparently I’ll be doing this at some point too!









I knew I’d learn a lot moving out to Mora. It’s already been a lesson in staying balanced while holding conflicting emotions. I’m sad to leave and excited to go. The decision has been made many times over the years so, despite not totally believing that we’re actually doing this, I guess we’re set. My mountain is waiting for me!



We’re in limbo.

Inverness drivewayBut if purgatory is anything like this it’s not too bad!

InvernessA couple Jason’s worked for lent us their charming vacation home. We’re staying here while 5105 is sold and until we celebrate a very special family birthday on March 23rd.

At first I wasn’t happy. It rained all of the time. Jason is still working down in the East Bay so he takes the car and leaves me and Lucky alone for hours and hours and hours.

Inverness deckI missed my job and my co-workers terribly – even more than I missed my old house. I felt mentally and physically exhausted, but I was restless and unable to enjoy the peace and quiet. I had ample time to reflect upon my sins.

There were many good and useful things I intended to learn before we made the move. I haven’t learned any of them. I can not do first aid on Jason or the dog or can vegetables or perform CPR.  I’m not too worried about the canning. You can buy all kinds of stuff that’s already been canned by professionals. Jason knows how to do first aid on the dog, himself and me – although he can be a bit creative at times. He once took a splinter out of my finger with a sheet rock knife. It didn’t hurt and it didn’t get infected either. I still do think the CPR is a good idea. Fortunately there are classes online for about $20!

I was also planning on being in optimal physical condition before I went to live in the Tin Can. It seemed that the small space would be more pleasant if I were about 15 pounds thinner and much more agile. I had intended to do yoga. Instead I took pictures of the dog and invented cakes.

Green tea cake with candied almonds

I made this green tea cake with candied almonds for mine and Jason’s birthday.

This is a chai cake with caramel icing. For my son’s birthday I made it with a roasted pineapple filling. One of my favorites!

How could I resist? Lucky is a very photogenic dog!

Despite my failings in preparing for the move I’ve been mostly cheerful and happy for a long time now and this might be the most important preparation. Because…

Mora Ethan Frome

…Mora is not a good place to go to the dark side.

So now I’m over being homesick. I’ll probably always miss my former job and co-workers but I’m ready (as I’ll ever be) to move on.

Oh – and the sun came out here. Lucky and I are having a lot of fun exploring!

2 bridge walk

IMG_2097 (1)


The Tin Can

Tin Can

Some people get dreamy looks on their faces when I tell them that Jason, Lucky and I are going to live in our Airsteam for a while. I understand why they look that way. I’ve seen those beautiful Airstreams too. The Tin Can is not like that.

There are a lot of blogs about gorgeous renovations and remodels of Airstreams. We won’t be doing anything like that.

We’re only planning on living in the Tin Can until we build the garage and attached guest suite. The guest area will have a living room with a kitchenette, a bedroom and a bathroom. We should be comfortable there during the year or so that it will take to build the main house. So there’s not much point in putting a lot of money and effort into fixing up the Tin Can. On the other other hand…

Tin Can interior up to date

It’s going to get old living like this after a few days!

And I don’t care what anyone says (including Jason) this is not an appropriate toilet for a middle aged lady (or anyone else!). In fact the whole “bathroom” is ugly and scary.

Let's do this toliet

No! Let’s not.

No one’s getting taken away by Calgon in here.

Jason got the Tin Can cheap because it had been abandoned in a field in Arizona for years. It hadn’t been completely abandoned though. Apparently it had been a home to many generations of mice. I cleaned their poo for a whole day before it occurred to me that this is the type of chore that could actually make one ill. Fortunately, the mice who made the Tin Can their home were not the type to carry hantavirus.

The plastic in the Airstream was so brittle it shattered when I wiped it with a damp rag. Between that and the inaccessible mouse droppings the interior had to be gutted. That’s how it came to be called the Tin Can. It’s freezing in the winter (and fall and early spring) and very hot in the summer. We do have electricity so we can run our space heater, which can’t really keep up with the cold, and the window air conditioner, which works pretty well. Of course we have no running water and the septic system has yet to be installed.

I stay out of the way!

While Jason was doing all this crawling and climbing I read about half of Live by Night. It was good – but not as good as The Given Day!

Jason sealed the Tin Can to prevent rain and animals from coming in. He spent a long time doing this, crawling under the trailer and climbing up on top of it.

So the Tin Can is gutted, fairly clean, mouse-proofed and water tight. We also took out the old folding bed and Jason built a frame for our air mattress. This was a little trickier than it should have been because the floor of the trailer is not even.

Floor's not level

Jason: Wow this floor is just like the Continental Divide!


I slept in the old bed on the first night we ever spent in the trailer. I look pretty rested so it must not have been too bad. Jason slept in the camp chair. I don't think he liked it.

I slept in the old bed on the first night we ever spent in the trailer. I look pretty rested so it must not have been too bad. Jason slept in the camp chair. I don’t think he liked it.

I helped make the new bed!

I helped make the new bed!

Jason did most of it though.

Jason did most of it though.

The new bed is very comfortable. Lucky and I spend a lot of time there!

The new bed is very comfortable. Lucky and I spend a lot of time there!

We’re bringing our real mattress and box springs from the house so the bed should be even more comfortable. We’re also bringing real linens because Jason thinks the sleeping bags are too slippery. Lucky and I are fine with sleeping bags and our furry – but we’re looking forward to the new bathroom. I’m pretty sure that’s going to be the first project!