Last week we had a very fun and productive visit to the Arizona property. The weather was great and we got a lot done. Best of all, we both got to go! Eric took Thursday and Friday off work, which allowed us two full days on site: Friday and Saturday. Our efforts were cut a little short by bad weather on Saturday, but we were still able to get everything done that we needed to do. The biggest things we crossed off our list were finalizing the site plan (which ended up involving moving the buildings around a little more than I expected, but to great effect), and doing some preliminary surveying to get a better handle on how much the ground slopes at each building location.

We also got to see the test pits for our septic system!

We got there on Thursday about an hour and a half before sunset. We were able to walk the property and spend a little time relaxing and enjoying the outdoors after our long drive. Then the sun set in the west, while the nearly full moon rose in the east. We built a fire as evening set in.

Our campfire with the very bright moon behind us.

Since it was a very bright moon and there was some cloud cover, it didn’t make for great stargazing, although it was still much more interesting than a typical night sky over Los Angeles. For example, I was still able to get a photo that clearly distinguishes the cloud of the Orion Nebula. Even on a clear night in L.A., the cloud aspect of the nebula is obscured by the light pollution from the city.

You can make out Orion here behind the clouds.
Pretty cool that, just using my camera’s zoom, you can make out the Orion Nebula.

Late Friday afternoon, our friends Nellie and Johnny stopped by the property for a visit. They just live across the highway from us, and Johnny’s family has been ranching in the area for generations. Together they’re a wealth of knowledge about the land and the local area. They were very excited to discover and point out to us that we have several alligator juniper trees on our property. Most junipers have a very shaggy looking bark, but alligator junipers have bark with rectangular patches that resemble alligator skin. Apparently they are somewhat unusual and prized.

Saturday we made final adjustments and finishing staking the garage/shop, storage shed, and guest house footprints. Per county zoning code, the guest house and main house are required to be within one hundred feet of each other. We drove a single stake for the corner of the main house, representing the hundred foot distance from the nearest corner of the guest house. Then it started to rain, and we were done. Eric finished packing up our tools while I got a few last photos of our stakes and ribbons marking out the buildings. All in all, it was a fun and productive trip.

Eric at the transit.

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