March 7


Most of the house is at the eleventh course now. Some rooms are still at ten; others have jumped ahead to twelve. Generally speaking, one course of adobe blocks is achieved each day–each day that the crew can work, that is! The weather does seem to be clearing up and Spring does seem to be on the way, but cold mornings and high winds still wreak a bit of havoc with the schedule.

Today the electrical boxes made their first major appearance and in a big way, too. I realized that, while the inset for the TV in the West End Den was in the plans and therefore I could see it in the adobe wall, the TV for the Living Room seemed to be missing. Of course it was missing. I never requested it! ARRRGGHHH. A brief tête-à-tête with Steve confirmed that no, a TV in the Living Room was not part of the original plan BUT it could be achieved, of course. So now Steve is setting up appropriate cable and electrical not only for the Living Room, but for the adjacent Sitting Room as well, because you just never know where you might really want to put your 60″ flat-screen gorgeous television that you forgot to mention you had…. !

And Steve gets another jewel in his crown. No matter what comes up, he deals with it. I am sure this is due in part to his many years of experience working with clients like me, but it is also an aspect of his personality: he wants the people he is making stuff for to be happy and he understands that they do not always know what they want or need. So issues come up. Like large TVs with nowhere to go…and he finds a place to put them. Yay!

In other news, I managed to capture an adobe block being cut by one of the two big saws at the building site. As promised, an adobe block lesson is in the next posting. It is interesting to note, though, that no matter how many different molds Steve has created for these blocks, some eccentricity of measurement or shape or size still requires that blocks be cut occasionally. He tells me that, in the old days, blocks were cut all of the time–to fit around conduit, doors, windows, etc. Then, because he had the equipment, the space, and the imagination, he decided to start molding blocks to fit specific purposes. More on this in the lesson. You’ve seen some of these blocks in action and now you will know what they are called and what their official purpose is.



This was a Thursday. We would be back on Saturday and my new camera would be useless (charging the battery for it is not on my list of things to do every day yet and it needs charging every day). Those first tastes of Spring seem long ago; the road on this day feels like the African veldt, with its grasses and stunted trees. There is no wildlife stirring and not too much wind.

It intrigues me, how much the land and the air and the light can engender such specific moods. Today we are hunting for something that does not exist in an arid and vaguely inhospitable habitat under an oddly cloudy sky. We trudge to the end and make our way back, quietly.

And on that temporarily dispirited note, here is the map for Paul! 🙂

You will notice near Alpine the thriving metropoleis of Marfa and Fort Davis. Both are very close to Alpine: Marfa feels like the cultural center and Fort Davis the historical center of this West Texas Triangle of Towns. Alpine has the university (Sul Ross State University), the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute (CDRI), and other stuff. I guess it is the commercial/intellectual center or something…all just my opinions, of course, and only based on what I’ve discovered so far, which ain’t much really because I’ve been so busy walking longest walks and typing up these blog postings! LOL

Alpine Plus Map

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