We’ve only been here a week so maybe we’re still in the honeymoon phase, but so far life in the Tin Can is a lot of fun!
We have a kitchen! Jason built a kitchen counter and put in a little sink someone was going to throw away. No water comes out of the faucet though. The sink drains to a bucket under the counter. We just throw the water at trees.
To get water to the trailer we have to dig a trench from the well, sink the submersible pump, get electricity up to the pump and lay pipe for the power and the water. The water will come to a 44 gallon well tank. That’s what builds the water pressure. Then the water goes through a filter and splits off to the cold water and the water that goes to the propane powered water heater. Jason bought the pipe we need yesterday.
For now we’re getting by on water from Walmart. Until I came here I had never been to a Walmart. Then, on our last visit here, we needed some storage tubs. We checked the big drugstore and the dollar store first, but they didn’t have any. So off we went to the Walmart in Las Vegas. (This experience led to the creation of a great slogan for Walmart. “Walmart. When you just can’t find it at the dollar store.” ) Since we’ve been here this time we’ve been to Walmart twice. They do have the best selection of contact paper. And the cheapest water. It’ll be even cheaper now since we realized we could just refill the plastic jugs at a machine. Although we’re recycling the jugs I feel bad about how much plastic we’re going through! I think we should get a big refillable water container, but Jason thinks this situation isn’t going to last much longer. We’ll see…
Buying water has made me very aware of how much we use. I’m always tsking and saying, “How wasteful,” mostly to myself. We’re actually using a lot less than we did when we lived in a real house. We’re averaging five and a half gallons a day for all three of us, which is pretty good when you consider that a standard toilet uses 1.6 gallons every time it’s flushed. That we’ve managed to keep our water use so low is actually amazing when you consider that …
One week ago today I stocked up at the Whole Foods in Santa Fe. I spent about $200.00 there. We already had some food that came with us from California.
Getting enough fresh organic vegetables is definitely a challenge. I’m going to have to start growing something soon! We’ve been eating cabbage and carrots mostly, since I figured they would last with or without refrigeration. The refrigerator is very small. I bought a few cans of green beans at Whole Foods. Yuck!
One night I made them as a salad with fake bacon bits, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Disgusting! They totally tasted of tin can. Last night I made them Thai style with a peanut sauce. I think the can taste was disguised, but the mushy texture was not. I also made rice and a soup with coconut milk, ginger, carrot, cabbage and silken tofu. I used to make this soup all the time, but with a lot more veggies – and certainly not with purple cabbage. Jason thought the food was delicious and ate all of the green beans and rice and most of the soup. He’s very easy to please. I didn’t eat that stuff. I drank Chardonnay and had some walnuts and a piece of chocolate.
A couple of days ago I made a salad out of cabbage, apples and walnuts with a creamy silken tofu based dressing. It was ok. The next night I cooked the leftover salad with Field Roast Italian sausage and mustard. It wasn’t very good, but the potatoes I made to go with this dish were yummy. One of my more successful dishes was just potatoes and Field Roast sausage.
Another dish that worked out well was kind of an accident. The little refrigerator froze our romaine lettuce so I pretended it was spinach and added it to a stir fry of seitan strips, shiitake mushrooms and snow peas. It tasted great!
I also liked this ginger apple “cheesecake.” I cooked sliced apples and candied ginger in Miyoko’s creamery butter. (No palm oil, and delicious! Expensive though, $6.99 at the Santa Fe Whole Foods.) Then I mixed silken tofu, agave syrup and a little corn starch with my immersion blender. I added the apples and ginger, blended them a bit and cooked the thing in the microwave for ten minutes. That was a fun way to get some extra protein!
Today we’ll go to Las Vegas to do laundry and buy some more vegetables. They have a natural grocery store over there, so I’m hoping they’ll have some nice organic produce. Except for vegetables, the food needs to last at least another week or two. The next time we stock up the food should last for a month.
Cleaning this 202 square foot place is pretty easy! Spring is the windy season here, but so far it hasn’t been too dusty in the Tin Can. We sweep every day and wash our dishes in a lime green plastic tub with water heated in the electric tea kettle. After I rinse the dish cloths I put them in the microwave to kill germs. It feels pretty tidy and sanitary in here.
Jason put a shower pan in the soon-to-be bathroom. We use a second tub to wash ourselves and a bucket to wash Lucky. The water just drains beneath the trailer, but it’s so dry here that the small amount of water we’re using is absorbed by the ground. I was worried it would create a mosquito breeding area, but the water’s not pooling at all and I haven’t seen one mosquito here yet.
The outhouse isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It’s actually kind of fun to run outside at night when the stars are out or early in the morning when the light is soft. Still, we’re getting it cleaned once a week, instead of the usual every two weeks. I mean just think about it! Two weeks of … On second thought don’t think about it!
On the other hand, like everyone else here, the guys who brought the outhouse were very nice. No one seems to think it’s odd that we’re living this way either. I was a little afraid of rural life. I had visions of gangs of Reavers, like in Firefly. Of course, it’s nothing like that! There is no weird evil vibe to this place. Over 80% of the people here identify as Hispanic or Latino. Many of them, including our nearest neighbor, come from families that have lived in this area before it was a part of the United States. Yet they’ve been very welcoming to us newcomers. They seem proud of their beautiful valley. New Mexico is a purple state. It can go either way in elections, but Mora County is overwhelmingly Democrat.
Except for a shade in the bathroom area, we have no window treatments in the Tin Can. We fall asleep seeing stars and wake up to pale pink sunlight coming through a tree.
So everyone’s been kind to us here. We have food, water, a place to wash and a place to go to the bathroom. No one is sick, injured or depressed. Most importantly, Lucky has adjusted beautifully to life in the Tin Can. He’s even more spoiled than he used to be – for one thing in our old house we never let him sleep with us!