May 2008

We’re back! We had a good time while we were away. It wasn’t the best vacation ever considering the mixed circumstances (and the fact that City of Rocks was so windy it forced us to break camp and head for the lodge a day early), but it was very worthwhile.

Staying at the Black Range Lodge was nice. We would recommend it. Very kid-friendly, quiet, and reasonably-priced. The fact that it was operated by a couple well-connected bale enthusiasts and next door to LanderLand was a definite plus for us. It was good that we didn’t get to submit our home plans to the county before we left. After talking to our hosts, meeting Tom and Satomi Lander, and benefiting from the extensive green-building library at the Lodge we found a few things we’d like to change.

We hope to go back to attend a straw bale workshop with the Landers in August and stay at the Lodge.

We really enjoyed touring LanderLand. If you can’t make it in person, you can tour it online. Tom and Satomi have created a beautiful, expressive, and inspiring place.


I went downtown today to submit our house plans for review so we can get a building permit. Yep, the plans are finally ready! Woohoo! Only I thought Development Services closed at 4:30. They actually close at 4:00. I arrived at 3:48, and had to get an address. Got the address at 4:02. So they wouldn’t let me apply for the building permit today. We are going to New Mexico all next week on vacation, so we will have to submit the plans after we get back. That might be better, since I can make an appointment and possibly walk them through all in one day.

We are pretty excited about our trip. It’s a much-needed getaway. There’s been a lot of stuff going on in our personal lives plus all the work on house plans (lots of late nights in front of the computer). We need something to recover our sanity and provide some strengthening to our family identity.

We are splitting the trip between camping at City of Rocks State Park and staying at a bed and breakfast. We had hoped to stay at the Wilderness Lodge (we had stayed there last year and had a wonderful time) but they were full up on our travel dates. So we are staying at the Black Range Lodge. That’s a happy thing since it’s Catherine Wanek’s place, and if you are a bale head you probably recognize that name-she’s the author of a number of popular straw bale and natural building books. The area where we are staying is practically straw bale central; Landerland is close by, among other homesteads with straw bale structures and enthusiasts. Should be very interesting!