Progress report... Yesterday was one very busy day! First of all, we unpacked most of the truck – bazillions of boxes are now strewn throughout our house, which we've now renamed “Chaos Manor”. Debbie has unpacked some clothes and some of the kitchen stuff, but the rest is all still packed – just off the truck. This morning I'll haul in about 25 remaining boxes, heavy ones that I didn't feel up to late yesterday. Then I'll back the truck up to the barn and offload some tools and other things that we'll store in the barn – probably an hour's work. By noon we'll have the truck completely empty. Tomorrow morning before dawn we'll be on the road for the final trip down to Jamul.
The rest of the day today we'll be “cat-proofing” the two rooms that will have cats in them (the cattery for seven of the cats, and our bedroom for Jahaur, our Savannah cat). That will feel like a vacation after yesterday's push :)
Yesterday morning we got a phone call from Bruce N., one of the realtors who helped us find our Paradise home. He and his wife (June) have become friends. They live in Avon, the next town south. Bruce called to see if we were moving in, and to extend an offer we instantly accepted: to bring us our supper late yesterday afternoon. We'd been thinking we'd run and get some fast food or something like that – we knew we'd be tired and dirty and in no mood to spend more than 10 seconds preparing a meal. The thought of someone delivering a meal to us was ... enticing. We expected them to deliver some sort of takeout meal, but instead they came in bearing two large trays with a homemade spinach/pear/avocado salad (wonderful!), a loaf of fresh homemade bread (we ate the whole thing within two hours), a cheesy chicken and vegetable casserole over rice (oh, those carbs tasted so good!), and brownies for dessert. I don't have the words for how wonderful that dinner was. It was absolutely the perfect thing for us at that moment.
Another new friend (and my neighbor to the north), Tim D., spent 9 hours between Wednesday and Thursday moving about 100 cubic yards of rich, black topsoil from next to our barn to the west end of our “garden”. This is the soil that was excavated to make the foundation for our barn. The builders just piled it all up next to the barn, but that left it right on a field that Tim wants to run alfalfa on (we've let him use it so that we don't have two acres of weeds there – and he can use the hay for his horses). My barn builder let us rent his giant loader (the front scoop holds 1.5 cubic yards) and Tim spent many years operating one, so he did the actual work. He moved all that topsoil, plus smaller piles of rock and road base, then roughly leveled the field to get ready for the spring plowing. Yesterday afternoon Tim finished the job. He'll be planting alfalfa in the spring.
There was lots of progress on the barn yesterday as well. The masons finished putting in the rock along the bottom four feet or so of the barn. They won't be able to clean and seal it until spring, so it's not looking as good now as it will then – but it looks pretty darned good even now! The plumber came and installed the boiler. One minor setback: the gas line we buried isn't holding pressure. One of the three joints must be leaking. He and the builder will be working on that this morning. Unless there's some disaster, they should have that fixed, and next week we'll get it inspected – and then the barn will have heat. Woo hoo! And (finally!) the garage door installers showed up and started that process. They'll be finished with the door today. It won't be long now until we have a finished and usable barn...