Saturday, October 5, 2013

Our First Winter in Northern Arizona

Finished Halloween decorations today.
I have been REALLY looking forward to a cold winter. For a few months, I thought it was going to be a cold Oklahoma winter. Instead, we're going to enjoy a snowy white winter in northern Arizona. I...can't...wait!

It is already getting pretty chilly in the evenings. I still sneak a few windows open before bedtime to cool the bedroom off. Of course, as soon as Wifey figures it out, she lets out a harumpf and promptly closes them.

Jade, our German Shepherd, is enjoying the new home the most. Back in the Valley, she was cooped up in a standard issue, cookie cutter neighborhood backyard.  Now, she has 2.5 acres to run crazy on.  As I right this, she is on the back acreage pouncing through the tall native grass playing with our neighbor's dog. I think he's a Basinji judging by the curly-Q tail and coat he is wearing. Did I mention he has a shock collar around his neck? Yup, it shocks him whenever he gets too close to his fence. His owner buried a hot wire just under the dirt to deter him from...doing exactly what he is doing now. I'm guessing there is a hole in the fence AND an area of no hot wire. But they are having a blast and I enjoy watching them play.

R to L: firewood & kids' clubhouse, fire pit, garage.
This property is a dream come true. It has just enough of the major projects done to give us a running start. The three car garage is fully insulated but not dry walled. Wifey has already started converting the extra room on the end of the garage into her craft room. I mean, why not, the walls were already painted pink.

There's a fire pit in place and we've used it several times already. There are log rounds ready to be split and I stacked a full rack of wood that was already split by the previous tenants. I spent a few hours last Sunday splitting some wood. I REALLY enjoyed it. I picked up an old double-edged axe from an antique store in Oklahoma during my stay out there. It needs to be sharpened for sure but it works. I actually look forward to cutting more. Something tells me I better hurry up before there's snow on the ground.

I chose to stack the wood by the kids' clubhouse (another bonus left here by the owners)  because I'm pretty sure that I read somewhere that if you stack it next to the house, I would be inviting termites to the house. I need to dig through some boxes and find a sturdy tarp to cover the wood. We've received an unusually large (so I'm told) amount of rain in the past month. I'll need to get in the habit of keep the wood dry.

Coop from the outside.
To my disappointment, a previous tenant took the wood stove with them. There's an area in the livingroom that has tile on the floor and wall where the stove once stood. The stove pipe hole in the roof is covered by a flat flange cover. Maybe someday I'll be able to afford a wood stove of my own. For now, we'll be using natural gas to heat the house. We're holding out to see how long we can go without turning on the heater.

Inside the coop. Recently had six hens.
My bedroom is pretty darn chilly when I wake up in the morning. But a nice, hot shower warms up the room quickly and serves as a nice way to wake up on a chilly day. The views out my bedroom window are heavenly. Thick pine scattered about the state forest land behind me and an eagle's view of the valley south of us. It's a catch 22 really. We're used to the blackout curtains I used while working graveyard shifts for all those years. It would look like midnight in my room at noon time. This early after moving in, we haven't put curtains up yet. Wifey and I have talked about the calming effect of the blackout curtains but we're not so sure we want to give up the views for it.

I've got to find out if we can get some starter chicks this late in the year. The owners came and picked up their six hens about four days ago. I watched Jade circle that coop for two weeks and she never got in once. We weren't so lucky at our previous residence (Jade killed the last three hens). I'd like to put ten chicks in there. When Jade is chained up, we could let them free range like the owners did. But they also did just fine for 2.5 weeks holed up in the coop. Having fresh eggs is nice...or so I hear. I didn't get any of them but Wifey and the girls did.

There's so much to talk about that I could keep writing's almost dinner time! Wifey is making homemade nachos with hamburger, cheese, sour cream and jalapenoes. MMMMmmmm!

Life is good.



  1. Fine post glad things worked out better. Enjoy fall and winter in the north.

  2. I am sure you are going to love it there. It seems like a great place and you, the wife, the girls, and the dog will be very happy.

  3. So excited for you. Started with my own six chicks on a smaller lot in town in the spring. They are doing great. I thought the labs would kill them but now they are all enjoying the yard together. We have more eggs than we know what to do with! It will be a lot cheaper for you since you can free range them.

  4. Sounds like a dream come true! Enjoy it!

  5. Glad to hear you are settling in. Sounds like a wonderful place.

    How much snow are you expecting to get and do you have a shovel or snow blower? :-)

    I have to admit that I really miss the large amounts of snow my hometown gets. Where I live now only sticks around for a few days.

  6. In regards to the chicks check out Craigslist etc as a lot of time people raise the chicks till they are feathered out and need no additional heat. The benefit to ordering them now or getting them is you will have eggs for the Spring.

    Reminds me I need to incubate a few eggs to get started on the Spring Rotation

  7. It sounds like you are getting settled in. Looks like a slice of heaven on earth. There is one thing that I must warn you about. PLEASE don't make the all too common mistake of letting your dog run free. Notice your neighbor has a invisible fence to keep his dog in. You want to be a good neighbor and part of that is keeping your livestock on your property. Nothing ticks me off more than stepping in a dog bisket left by the neighbors dog. Enjoy your new digs. Idaho Bill

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