Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A tour of the boonies

I guess if I'm going to talk about where I make my hats, a tour of the old homestead might be good idea. This is a bird's eye view of my place from my nearest neighbor's hill, which is about a half mile away. I'm about 20 miles from the town of Mendocino on the coast and 10 miles from Ukiah to the east inland. The nearest paved road is about 3/4 of a mile away, and there is a dirt access road about an eighth of a mile up a hill to the right in the photo. This is reasonably passable and connects with the paved county road. However, my driveway is steep and winding and gets pretty iffy in the winter when it rains a lot. Definitely a four wheel drive situation, and even some perfectly functional 4 wheelers have managed to get stuck there. This is one reason I don't live there year round.

Here's a photo of the driveway. It can't even really be seen from the public dirt road - just looks like some tracks through the grass. This has it's advantages and disadvantages. The photo doesn't really show how steep it is, and when it's nice and dry like this it's perfectly passable. My spring box, which is my main water supply, is to the right of the road near the top. I do also keep a big water tank for emergency use in case of fire though. Fire is perhaps the biggest danger in the area where summer wild grass fires can start up and spread quickly.

OK, getting closer to home so to speak, here is a photo I took one morning before the sun was high enough to reach the house. The fog was still in to the west and just starting to move back out to the ocean. This is a common sight in the summer. Very beautiful!

The bigger building is the main house, which is about 40 feet in diameter with a sort of free form roof. The smaller building is my meditation room when I'm there by myself and guest room otherwise.

This is a closeup of the little meditation room. It was built relatively recently by someone with a more conventional approach. It's better insulated and has sheet rock interior walls, so is warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. A wonderful place for a retreat!

I put up all the redwood shakes on the outside myself. What a job - but fun! The original house was shaked, so I figured the new addition should be, too. I guess that's considered more of a fire problem, but we cut the dry grass down to the dirt for 100 feet around, so feel reasonably fire safe. We've just finished the weed whacking for this year. It takes several people about three days to get it all done. Just in time for the triple digit temps that have hit the area over the past week! One good reason I'm sitting in front of a computer in Berkeley, where it's only in the 70's :)

Next is a photo of the front side of the main house. It shows the weird roof, which was under repair at the time. There are two more big windows continuing on around the rest of the front of the house. Looks like we hadn't finished the weed whacking when this was taken! You can see just a glimpse of the bent wood chair inside that my partner made. He also made some free form chairs out of madrone and manzanita. Maybe I'll get some good photos of them next time I'm up there - hopefully next week if it gets a bit cooler. All for now. Cheerio!

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