Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It had to come some time.....

The last trip.

I contemplated the idea of doing several more trips in my own truck to get all the robots and the art car and the metal and and and.....

And that idea sucked. When I realized that the cost of having a trucking company get it all in one load was comparable to the cost of just three trips in my own truck, the decision was easy. And as a bonus, this way there's much less of my time taken and much less wear and tear on my Dodge.

So a few days ago, Christina and I drove to LA to supervise this last load. (Finally the robots are coming!)

A traffic jam outside Ludlow, California diverted us through some really desolate areas, including the deserted towns of Essex and Amboy and the vast salt fields pictured above. It really was a lot more interesting than the interstate.

Stay tuned for pix of the most interesting truck load yet!

So the roof is really finished now. As soon as it was done and I'd moved the forklifts in, I had the weirdest sensation of being in some kooky old desert dweller's machinery shed. I guess that's me! It was kind of cool.

Of course as soon as it was done I had to try to figure out how to photograph it. I sat down on the dirt. I ended up having to sit very close to the whole structure so that the late afternoon sun was blocked. I had to take all these close-range pictures, not really sure if I'd get around to stitching them all together. So I guess I'm sort of going crazy lately with the stitched-together panoramas... It's the roof's fault.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Framing of the roof is done.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My three containers are arranged in a "U" shape, with the opening facing south - for maximum passive solar gain, or sun exposure. It's already a great candidate for an enclosed workspace. So, I've decided to put a roof over it to protect the space and everything in it from the weather.

In the picture above, I'm welding support legs directly onto the containers to support the beams that will span the space and support the roof.

Later on, I will probably pour a concrete floor slab in the space, and maybe even build a wall with a large lockable door to safely enclose the work area.

The mountains in the background are the Sangre de Cristos, and the largest peak to the right is Taos mountain, which is sacred to the Taos Pueblo Indians and totally off-limits to everyone but them.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Obviously there are places all over the world with interesting histories, but what I am learning is that Taos really stands out, at least for a small town in America, for having an unusually dense and varied and violent history.

One of the more interesting episodes is the combined Spanish and Native American revolt of 1847. In a nutshell, what happened was that these two groups of people, who had managed to live in some semblance of peace for almost 200 years, found common cause in their distrust of the newly arrived anglos. In January of that year, a mob rose up and killed many whites in and around Taos, including the newly appointed first governor of the state, who had been in office only five months. After rampaging through town, they went 12 miles north to Simeon Turley's whiskey mill.

Turley had been making whiskey in Taos for a long time. In fact, his whiskey, referred to as Taos Lightning, was the town's main export for years. When the mob arrived at his mill, Turley made the mistake of trying to talk things over with them. A two-day siege ensued, in which all but two of Turley's men were killed and his mill destroyed. Turley himself was decapitated.

Needless to say, the American Army soon arrived from Santa Fe and proceeded to kill 300 to 400 Spanish and Natives in retaliation for the 25 or so whites killed by the mob.

Not long after reading this story for the first time, I accidentally stumbled upon the unmarked, overgrown ruins of Turley's mill. The ruins sit by a river, the same river that ran the water-wheel which powered the mill. I was walking a friend's dogs, including the three-legged Jack (look closely... he's missing his front left leg), when all of a sudden I was standing in what was left of the mill.

This is only one episode in a pretty rich history. If you want to read more, there's a good synopsis here.

Look!! Christina bought me the Play-Skool "My First Fence" kit!!

No, but really.... this is the first fence I've ever built!

Well, anyway, I think it's cool. The posts are un-peeled cedar. Cedar is, I think, the only wood that you can put straight into the ground untreated. All others will rot eventually. I believe this is because of the oils in cedar.

I think a high percentage of the low number of people reading this here blog don't really have a sense of where my new home is... or even where Taos is! (For a better idea of where Taos is, you're on your own.... it's not that hard to figure out) The land that Christina and I are slowly turning into our home and headquarters is approximately ten miles west of the town of Taos, just over the Rio Grande Gorge bridge. (The bridge, by the way, is the second tallest in the U.S., at 650 feet from roadway to water... That's more than twice the height of the Golden Gate.)

Check out the custom maps above for a better idea. Didn't I promise to post maps like these a long time ago???

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A few things are actually starting to happen now on our land.

My old "Angel of Death" sculpture stands guard day and night, discouraging unwanted visitors. A few of the times I've been out there working, I've actually done a double-take - wondering who that creepy guy was over there.....

The second picture actually shows some pretty monumental developments. Those boxes sticking up out of the mesa are power! Electrical power on the land!!! We're planning on moving out there pretty soon, to stay in the borrowed Airstream trailer, and that power is going to make it oh so much nicer! And the arranged white rocks, which came up out of the ditch that was dug to run the power line, represent our first real landscaping. If you go left at the fork in the road you go to my 3 acres and our future shop, and if you go right you head to Christina's 3 acres and our future home.


Is it possible that you faithful readers are tired of pictures of forklifts? Well, if you're anything like me, you can't get enough of pictures of forklifts! So, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I'll just assume you love them as much as I do!

I can say that the learning curve out here, where pavement is scarce, can be high. Sometimes it takes two or three times longer to do simple things. And sometimes the things that worked great back in LA don't work here at all. That was the case with the forklift I brought out here. I thought it would work great.... after all it worked great in LA, even in a mud puddle. But it was no match for the dirt and dust, so I had to go to Phoenix and get the beauty pictured here.

It's a 1969 Otis-Baker-York, gasoline engine, 5000 lb capacity. Manufactured by the Otis Elevator Company! It fits in perfectly with my stable of funky, old, high-maintenance equipment.

The skid-loader in the background is not mine, but I wish it were. Those things are really fun. I'm thinking about some kind of wacky quick-attachmnet scenario for this lift whereby I can put on a loader bucket or a post-hole digger and sort of convert it into a skid-loader. We'll see about that.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Well, after many trips to LA and back, a trip to London (for my mom's birthday), and a trip to Phoenix, I'm finally here!!

This is the stop sign closest to our land. Actually, it's the only one within a ten-mile radius.