Thursday, May 1, 2008

Kingston continued

It's been so long between posts I am going to have to just share some of the interesting things that happened in Kingston and not worry about chronology...

All of the days started at around 7:30am. Taran and I would go down and help prepare breakfast for the guests that were staying at the lodge. We would typically eat the leftovers once the guests were finished. Pete is the cook and he made these awesome eggs with green chiles and other cool ingredients. He would also make fried potatoes and once he made this german "dessert" type concoction that was very tasty. It was basically a baked "pancake" but with lots and lots of eggs. The day would usually start around 11am once all of the guests had left.

We met a heck of a lot of interesting people during this period. To name a few:

John Fortunado - He works for the government and manages a group of councilors that deal with soldiers returning from Iraq.

The cyclists group - A group out of El Paso came to ride the area. Patty, an engineer who lives in El Paso but works in Mexico, became our warmshower host...

The Baltimore couple - A retired couple from Baltimore had cycled on their Tandem pulling a "BOB" trailer. It was from them that I learned that "BOB" stands for Beast of Burden. They were intent on circumnavigating the United States.

Kathleen and Eric: An incredibly generous and kind couple from Los Cruces. They asked Taran what he missed most and he said Rootbeer. Later that day they brought back two bottles of rootbeer!! Kathleen has an interesting business that I don't fully understand, but she makes her living at it. She's in the fashion industry at the wholesale level, dealing with designers and fabric manufacturers.

The motorcycle group: This group came by that are a part of They fed us spaghetti with meatballs. This particular group travels across the country on dirt roads only.

Ray: Ray is a neighbour of Pete and Catherines. He makes his living by selling 'discs' on Ebay. Frisbee is actually a brand name like Kleenex. The appropriate term is discs. We played disc golf with Ray as well.

Satomi: She's another neighbour. She works part time helping at the Lodge. She's from Japan and has been in the US for about 10 years. I was able to speak Japanese with her, but I was very rusty! I could understand everything she said, but it was hard to 'converse' back to her.

On Thursday around noon we decided to head out and play Disc Golf. Pete and some of his friends have their own personal Disc Golf course set up in the forest that is quite amazing. Most of the time you cannot even see the "hole" from the tee box. Taran nor I have ever played before, but it was quite an interesting experience. We spent a lot of time 'looking' for our disc because we found it difficult to throw the discs straight. (We each used two, one for long distance and one for 'putting'). I should have mentioned that Pete is actually an accomplished disc golfer. He's in the Guiness Record book and has won the world disc championship "ultimate" category. He provided some very good instructions!!

On Saturday, we went to the 'big' garage sale in Hillsboro (9 miles down the road). Pete said he wasn't going to buy anything, but he ended up with a trunk and backseat full of treasures. I did meet an author that was selling cookbooks. We also went to the local museum. It is a privately run set-up that was very quaint. There was lots and lots of stuff in the building (an old house) but nothing was labelled. The attendant, an elderly ladt of 75 knew stories about all the artifacts, but we didn't have much time. I would have liked to have stayed longer. Most of the items were from the old mining days.

On Sunday, Pete took us back to Hillsboro to attend a concert being put on by some folk singers from Colorado Springs called The Mitguards. From their Website: The Mitguards bring a unique and non-traditional perspective to folk music, combining sharp, insightful lyrics with haunting melodies and flawless harmonies. Roots-based Americana takes on a new, Southwestern air in the talented hands and voices of Deb and Chris Mitguard.
Deb and Chris were extraordinarily cool people. Before each song, they would explain where the inspiration for the song came from which made the music that much more enjoyable. They were also staying at the Lodge - at the invitation of Pete and Catherine.

Deb and Chris were supposed to leave early Monday morning but Pete convinced them to stay another day and do some Cob. They decided to stay, but it turned out to be a long day for everyone... Before doing the Cob, Pete wanted to pour the concrete roof on the water tower which he believe would take a couple of hours. I got the pleasure of standing inside the tank for 5 hours as wet cement dripped down on me. It was cool (no pun intended) to be learning about the cement, but it took a bit longer then anyone imagined.

After a quick break and snack at around 5pm, Pete rallied the troops and we went out to experience Cob. Pete mixed the dirt/clay with straw with his back hoe. He convinced Taran to stand beside the pit of dirt while he lifted the bucket full of wet dirt 15 feet in the air. He instructed Taran to get close and spray the hole with water. Taran complied with pete's instructions but was surprised when Pete tilted the bucket and deposited the load back in the hole. Needless to say, when the load hit the hole, it sprayed copious amounts of dirt on Taran! We all laughed and laughed...including Taran.

We took this mixture to an old cob fence that Pete was repairing/adding to. He spent 30 minutes explaining and showing us how to apply the mixture. We then proceeded to work for another couple of hours doing cob building! Near the end of this, Taran decided he should apply the mud mixture to his face. He made a horn and stuck it to his forehead. He also made a mustache and goatee! Deb has some pictures that I hope she'll send. Taran felt very comfortable around Pete, Deb and Chris and it was a pleasure seeing him interact with them and 'ham it up' on many occasions.

After the cob experience, we went for a short hike to an old abandoned mine shaft. The mine goes in about 700 feet, but it is filled with water now. The miners hit a spring and had to abandon it.

Both Taran and I believe that our week in Kingston was the "greatest adventure" of the trip. We learned a ton of cool stuff and made some very good friends. We fell in love with the Black Range Lodge and with New Mexico. The people are so kind and generous and the weather couldn't have been better. We certainly hope to go back some day.

PS: On Thursday May 1st, Catherine will be heading to Washington DC to erect a straw bale home on the "Mall" (area between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol, with the Washington Monument providing a division slightly west of the center.) It is a 'show home' of sorts that will be viewed during a special exhibition in early June. Catherine helped coordinate the whole thing and will be in Washington for a month.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Hi Uncle Ian,

I just saw your mention on the 'Mall' in DC, and thought I should mention that I am part of team that is going to build a solar house and then transport it to the Mall in Oct 2009