So many memorable moments!
At the end of March I returned home to some phenomenally fine weather. It seemed as though spring were arriving early to Utah in 2014; how delightful! That was not the case, although a solid month of this finery did endure.
One day the wind began to blow the dogs off their chains (freezing for a month and a half, then parching hot) and it did not cease until the end of June, ramming pollen and other irritating particulates into my poor, sensitive nasal tissue and throwing a wicked spanner into the simple act of breathing.
That was not the only damage incurred either; the poor emerging plants in the garden were whipped to within inches of their lives, if not to death. The aridity of the whole environment was so increased by the relentless hair dryer that my water supply ran out! I had some delivered and decided to buy a supplemental water catchment tank. Five hundred gallons.
Kind family/friends/neighbors helped me purchase it, build a concrete footing for it and transport it from the Thunderbird, where it arrived on a large truck, to its new home on the Northeast corner of my house to remain starkly empty for another 2 months!
On July 4th, I was serving happy families fine American fare at the Thunderbird diner when the sky opened for the first (and only) downpour of the Monsoon season! Hurray!!! The garden is home free now, I thought. What a relief; it’ll rain every day now for a while and I’ll catch loads of water in the new tank which should arrive any day now… By the time it was ready to catch rain the rain had decided to hold off for yet another month! Rains didn’t come until August was well underway.
Hawaii had not been at all lucrative for me and my savings were now pretty much depleted so I joined the gang at the Thunderbird and re-acquainted myself with the joys of being a waitress. I have to say that I did thoroughly enjoy working with the spunky servers there and the kind hearted owners. I liked turning up for work at dawn (or before!) and, at the end of the day, tearing off the apron and all the drama of the day with it. I worked 2, 3, 4 shifts per week from April to September in order to maintain my beer habit and finance the building of the “Casita Tara”.
Casita Tara, now a cozy, wee “glamping” vacation stop over, as seen on airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3720802.
More kind friends (I’m so lucky!) helped me build it, well, it would be more accurate to say that I helped them a bit! Kind friends also donated most of the materials; windows, a door, plywood and siding. Casita Tara is 8×8 enclosure of mostly windows with a 4 ft deck and a 40 mile view.
Other than the odd random friend spending the night in the unfinished Casita, the first inhabitants were a couple of friends from France who I met in Tahiti ten years prior and had not met up with since that time! One morning while pottering about (as I do) in the kitchen, Yvan and I heard Corinne screaming out from the Casita. Rushing over there my suspicions were confirmed: rattlesnake! Before the buildings inception this had been a concern of mine and was the reason for elevating it to a certain height thus avoiding the creation a haven for snakes. This snake was just passing through, investigating. He was a big fella though and I was intimidated to catch him with my stubby rake as I usually do. I rang the appropriate fellows and we watched, awed, as they coaxed him into the bag while giving us a good education on the species’ idiosyncrasies. He was re-located to a place which the aforementioned snake connoisseur recognized as user friendly to snakes!
My older girls Pinky and Whitey passed away during the winter of 2013-14 and so in Spring I adopted two new girls from someone in town who had moved and couldn’t take the chickens; Moonshine and Freddy. Back at the ranch were Reddy and her new buddy Sunshine, who Gracie had picked out in Colorado City to keep Reddy company after Whitey and Pinky’s demise. Unfortunately, Sunshine is a banty, half the size of the other girls and therefore an easy target for tormenting. She became neurotic and broody and I decided to send her back to Aunty Gracie’s back yard, which was now home to six more laying hens!! Yep, Aunty Gracie became a crazy chicken AND cat lady! Right now ALL the girls are there together but the spoiled rotten Sunshine and Reddy spend the chillier days indoors by the heater!!
And there was the brewing of fine ales….
An inspiring friend and neighbor of mine and I agreed to start brewing beer together. Ten gallons at a time. Once a month. After hours of the initial brewing process, while sipping last months’ brew, we separate the ten gallons into two 5 gallon carboys and let our creativity take over from there. Five gallons go home with me and the other five stay in Nate’s garage. Different types of yeast; some orange zest perhaps; a pinch of cardamom might be nice; what about a drop of pinion resin; dry hop with pellets or buds; Citra or Cascade? How long? These fun experiments with flavor, as well as whether the beer is bottled or kegged all resulted in delightfully different brews, one for each month from April to September!