Monday, July 6, 2009

What A Difference a Day Makes

A little more than a week later we returned to Torrey to orchestrate the installation of utilities. Once we arrived, it was clear to us that these men needed no conductor. They had obviously worked together before. Phil Winter and his crew had already run the water line to the garage. As we drove up, Trent Hunt was in the process of digging the trench for the electricity and phone line. There was also another open trench bringing water to our yurt.

It was the next day, however, that brought out the full cast. By noon, there were more pickups and large pieces of equipment on the site than I could have imagined. All at once we were surrounded by Double T’s crew; electricians Trent Hunt and Nate Hallows; Terry Hunt and Dave Torgerson from South Central Communications; Courtney Cropper and Scott Grundy of Garkane Power; Scott Chestnut from Torrey Town and Wes Jensen who will design and install our septic system. They way they worked together was quite a thing to see.

At one point, with trenches going every which way, irrigation water began flowing from the canal down the phone line trench. Everyone grabbed a shovel to block the water, but Trent deftly saved the day with one well-placed scoop from the backhoe. By three that afternoon we had water, electricity (along with a new transformer), phone and internet.

Many of the books we read suggested it could be challenging to coordinate the installation of all of these services in a rural area. But I must speak to the friendly, helpful and professional service all of these men provided. In fact, late in the day, with an umbrella held over his head to keep the rain off of his laptop, Terry Hunt performed the last few keystrokes to confirm the successful operation of our DSL. Amazing!

I think there may never again be that many people working at one time on our house...that is until we have a straw bale wall raising or a plastering party.

Young Muscles

Prior to construction, our Torrey property was taxed as green belt. That meant the land was used to produce agricultural products. Our agricultural product is hay for horses. Pat, our neighbor, owns and operates Hondoo River and Trails, a guiding outfit that provides multi-day horseback riding trips. In the past, Pat has seen to it that our pasture is watered. She cuts and bales the hay and then puts her horses on the pasture. In exchange, we retain green belt status.

Now that we are building a house, we are required to remove one acre from the green belt property, and that will be taxed as residential property. The rest will remain in green belt. We needed to fence out the building site so Pat could put her horses out to graze.

When we first purchased our ten acres, Scott's parents bought the adjacent ten. We immediately spent many arduous days digging fence post holes, pounding t-posts, and stringing field and barbed wire around over 1/2 mile of perimeter. All of these years later, we find ourselves fencing again. But we've learned to give the toughest part of the job (digging holes for railroad ties) to someone much younger. Enter Tim....

Tim works for Pat, and she suggested Tim might be willing to dig. Sure
enough. When we asked, he was happy to dig eight 3-foot holes for railroad ties. We were equally happy to pay him to toil away while we worked on other, less labor-intensive tasks.