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I drove home this evening into an amazing sky: a firey sunset with peach-colored clouds and a long, vertical plume. It was a gratifying afternoon. Dobie (my pooch) and I spent some hours on my “job site”—where I am converting a used portable classroom into a home. This afternoon I was focused on…mud, actually. Mud of two kinds: mud, meaning wet dirt, and mud meaning sheetrock “mud”, the stuff that is applied to “raw” sheetrock (or drywall) before it is painted. More on the latter in a minute.

As to the wet dirt: the operative word here, in reference to my painstaking progress on my project is…wet! As of last Friday, I now have water on my new place. An outside spigot never looked more beautiful than this one.

I turned on the faucet and, voila! This changes my world at the Pixie Plantation. I can finally wash this building and paint it and I can mix the powdered stuff I got at Lowe’s to install tile flooring. Perhaps most exciting of all, I can water my plants!

In order to have water, I needed electricity, since I’m relying on a well to keep me “watered” here. It was Friday two weeks ago, that my electrical guys were able to return to work for me. (See my prior posts for background.) Will, the electrician’s assistant, and his helper, Omar, installed outlets and ran electrical lines in my new place, primarily in the bathroom and kitchen.

It wasn’t until the following Friday that I arrived to find monster trucks and machines and five guys from the power company—all there to bring power to my building!

From a huge spool, they strung cable to the top of the power pole on my property.

Then they dug deep trenches and ran the cable to the power box near my house-to-be. Finally, they got their heads together—literally—and hooked everything up.

Last Saturday, a new contractor, Ray, and his son-in-law, Russ, showed up and began working on my bathroom, taking up where Kermit the contractor left off. (Kermit has been gently, but firmly, dismissed from the job site—at least for the time being.) They constructed walls around the tub area in the bathroom and hung sheetrock.

In the lower right hand side of the picture is a roll of insulation, which I installed in the bathroom walls.

Thursday this week Ray and Russ returned and Russ put “mud” on the seams of the sheetrock. Today, after I sanded most of the areas he had “mudded”, the exterior walls of the bathroom look like this.

You can see that the illumination in the building is the original: intense, white, buzzing fluorescent lights, under which many children toiled to take their tests. Eventually, I will do away with them. For now, they provide the building with a workshop ambiance—quite appropriate to the activity going on! Twenty-two fluorescent lights is a bit much, however, for one little home. But, that’s a problem I’ll solve later.

For now, I’m happy to have light.

And I am thrilled to have water. While Dobie romped this afternoon, I dug holes in the ground, planting some of the bedraggled daylilies, purple coneflower, and other items that have lived in pots at my house for the past three years. The ground is terribly dry and packed hard, so I am using post-hole diggers to make a hole, plopping the plants in the ground, and then making mud (halleluia!) by watering liberally with my hose.

In the next few days these plants and the others will be all cozy with mulch that should help them survive the winter and give them some nutrients, in addition to holding at bay all of the vines and growth I didn’t manage to pull up.

Tired from his romp this afternoon, Dobie is not quite sure what to make of the fact that he’s been allowed to run—sans leash—on the property the last few times he’s made the trip with me. As I write this, he is zonked out on his bed. Time for me to do the same. Tomorrow is likely to be another day in which I’ll sand some more on the sheetrock, apply more mud, dig more holes outside, put in more plants, and water them in.

For some of us, life doesn’t get any better than playing in the mud!


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