Visit from Joan and Rich

In August my mom Joan and her partner Rich came to visit us in Arizona. While Joan and Rich were planning their trip they let us know that they wanted to have plenty of projects to work on while they were here.

Anticipating the arrival of Joan and Rich, Patrick and I spent a bit of time planning projects and gathering materials. Though a monsoon thundered at their arrival, their trip turned out to be perfectly timed for good weather. For most of the week it was warm, dry 80˚F, with only a few moments of wind.

The first project that we planned to tackle was a picnic table! Our cozy little abode barely seats three people for dinner, and four is a squish. We found a table design on the Internet that used 2x4s and we made sure to have plenty of lumber on hand before our company arrived. It was a good thing, because Rich jumped out of the car and wanted to get right to work. Working inside the geodesic dome we were able to work from sunup to sundown shaded from the sun's heat. Within a day the table was constructed, sanded and ready for painting. We only had to eat a few meals in our mini kitchen, and the rest of our dining was done in the great outdoors.

Our trailer also came equipped with a teeny, tiny shower, which Patrick and I felt was less than suitable for our honored guests. So, we put Joan and Rich to work on an outdoor shower stall. Though we expected something practical, we were completely awed by the creativity and beautiful woodwork of our new outdoor shower. Patrick hooked the shower lines directly to our solar hot water heater and voila! what an amazing solar experience. What a thing of beauty!

We also spent time repairing our office/studio trailer. The first and most critical repair was to fix the leaky roof. A little bit of caulk seemed to do the trick – but Joan climbed a ladder and coated the entire trailer roof with elastomeric paint to make certain that all of the cracks were sealed. Then, my mom and I put in several book shelves, painted the new desk space and put in mini blinds, while Patrick and Rich installed office drawers and even more shelves! Finally, Patrick and I can finish unpacking and get to work in our new office space.

After a long week of construction, we convinced Joan and Rich to do some sightseeing. First, we went to the Petrified Forest which is less than an hour from where we live. We walked through the Crystal Forrest, looked at petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock, and checked out the ruins at Puerco Pueblo. Then we traveled on to see the Painted Desert. The views were amazing, comprised of astoundingly brilliant colors swashed across a surreal desert landscape. We ended our tour at the Painted Desert Inn, a Pueblo Revival style structure that was built in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps. We really enjoyed the trip and took about a million photos, but not a single piece of petrified wood!

When we returned home, we piled out of the rental car and into my Subaru Outback for our second excursion. This time we set out for a rock hounding adventure close to home. We traveled slowly down a rocky, “non-maintained” road to our favorite, nearby hunting grounds. Not only were the natural rocks amazing, but the views of the high desert were spectacular. We could see into the distance without a power line or a skyscraper in sight. Joan and Rich seemed to really enjoy the environment and we are expecting many more visits.

The night before their departure, we all went up the hill to our future home site to build a camp fire. There was plenty of Juniper wood to burn and we had a great time looking at the stars and savoring the firelight. Joan and Rich were sad to go, and we were sad to see them leave. They continued their Wild-West adventure with a trip to the nearby Zuni Reservation and then onto El Morro peaks. Needless to say, Patrick and I are super grateful for all of the construction expertise that Joan and Rich shared while they were here and we especially love all of the handcrafted additions to our home.

To see more photos of the projects that we worked on with Joan and Rich click here.

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