Wednesday, October 25, 2017

timberon II


Another hummingbird flew into the Nash through the cage window. The birds tend to just fly side to side across the back window, making things easy. I open the screens of the two bottom corner windows, put my hands close together and slowly herd the bird down towards the open screen. No throwing a towel over it as I had to do in the past when a regular bird flew in.

In one of Janet’s emails, she wrote:
“My Dad always signed off, "wake up happy" which is what his mom said to him before bed. I have been working on doing just that, waking up with happy thoughts. I know how easy it is to get discouraged when our bodies aren't at their best. Good luck and health I wish for you.”
I’m also working on it. Thanks, Janet.


As you can see, they sold the lot to me for $5,000. I wouldn’t doubt if I could have gotten it for $4-4,500; most lots are tough to sell but I thought $5,000 was a fair price considering what lots actually sell for here. This lot would not hold much interest to a perspective homeowner. But my interests aren’t exactly the norm.
This is the view looking east.


I purchased a mattock-pick, spade, heavy rake, pruning saw, 28” lopper, some 3/8” rope, two pairs of safety glasses (clear & sun), two pairs of leather gloves and a heavy tarp, that I knew would get trashed. I had already purchased a 16” Stihl chainsaw for thinning the trees on Janet’s lot and I had a bow saw.
I’ve had a pair of Fiskars scissors in a galley drawer for years. I don’t know how they are rated, but they sure have been cutting well all along. So when I went to purchase a pair of loppers and saw a pair by Fiskar, that’s what I went with and have been quite pleased.
Both the spade and heavy rake are made by Kobalt. My first tools from that company, but if needed, I’m sure I will be buying more tools from them.
The rope is used for dragging lengths of tree trunk and rocks to where they needed to go. On one end, instead of tying a Bowline (one of my most used knots), I made an Artilleryman’s loop (also known as a Manharness Knot or Harness Loop). Way back when, if mules needed assistance moving artillery, one or two soldiers would tie a rope to the gun’s carriage, and throw an artillery loop over his shoulder to provide extra pull. Since all that sounded pretty good to me, I went with the military history knot.
For tying the other end to the log or rock, I either used a Snuggle Hitch or a Timber Hitch.


This shot looks to the south.
I generally worked for two to three hours on two consecutive days. It felt so good to be outdoors doing physical labor. On the third day I would hike for a couple hours. Left me plenty of time for whatever else I chose to do and I did not have to take any naps. I don’t tend to need them if I stay active enough and drink enough water.
I could only work with the mattock for half an hour when I first started out; it was pretty taxing. Then it was cutting with the loppers, handsaws, or Stihl, raking, moving cut branches, dragging lengths of tree trunk, and loading the pickup with brush and branches to take to the slash dump. The work on an access road held a variety of tasks. So I had a range of work that needed to be done with some I could do when I was feeling strong to those I could still manage to do as my energy was just about used up. Pretty cool. My stamina sure did improve over the weeks.


Looking towards the northwest. The mattock was priceless for leveling out a flat spot for the Nash and working on the access road. The tool has been around since the Bronze Age. In front of the Nash I’m clearing an area so I can make a 3-point turn to get the Nash facing down the access road for when I pull out. Next summer when the rains start, I’ll plant grass seed on the dirt areas and wildflower seeds in other areas.

During the first two days of working on a spot for the Nash, I was thinking of hiring an acquaintance who has a small bulldozer. The third day with the mattock (only an hour total) I started thinking that I could probably do this. Thankfully I stuck with it and after a couple weeks, I had a flat spot for the Nash. What kept me stoked was how the exercise was improving my health.
I stopped at Batte Enterprises in Cloudcroft on the way back from a town run and had them dump a load of gravel in the back of the pickup. This was spread over the flat spot.
But when I pulled the Nash onto the pad, I realized there were a couple of problems. So after a week or so, I hooked up the Nash, backed it out, and spent a long day reworking the site. I know better now.

This lot had some things going for it. There are a few challenging hikes from here and I can walk to the Lincoln National Forest in less than 10 minutes. The acre is only 3.5 miles into Timberon and only 1.3 mile off Sacramento (not a whole lot of pavement in Timberon). With the end of the road closed off, no one is going to be driving past unless he is on an ATV. The terrain is varied, starting off with a hill, somewhat isolating and screening the flattish spot from the road, and of course, the flattish spot. With all the scrub oak, I can leave some for screening.


This is the first resident I met who shares the acre.
And there are turkeys around this lot too! I get such a simple pleasure with watching a family of turkeys. Life is good.


The Sacramento River is about a five-minute walk from my acre. This is the most water I’ve seen in it this summer but there is plenty of evidence that it overflows its banks from time to time.


We’ll see how it goes. Meadow and Mesa like the acre. There are patches of scrub oak for them to wander through and there are more climbable trees here for them, if threatened. All in all, not bad; I hope I made a good decision.

One morning after I let M&M out, the local wild turkey family came by again. They came in real close to the Nash to check out Meadow & Mesa who were under the trailer. I wonder why wildlife find domestic cats fascinating. I know why the White Mtn. bobcat was interested in them, but wild turkeys, fawns, young elk?

A few weeks after I purchased the lot, I went down to the water department to see about getting some road work done (yes, that’s how things work in Timberon) along the road leading to my lot. I did not have a road number so the lady looked it up. I got a chuckle. My birthday in 1/27 and the road number for my lot is 127. Destiny?

I went back and made some changes on the September entry. I was wrong about the amount of snow they get here, so I updated the info. I also put some text in about the south gate road. And I added a sentence about Timberon being a forested landscape with only one good road out during a wildfire and question if such a place is a good location for a house.

Okay, what if one is interested in purchasing a house or lot in Timberon. First off, roll into the Circle Cross RV Park, on the right just before Timberon. Pay the weekly rate for a site and set up your rig ($132/week and $350/month). Generally there were not all that many RVs there the times I drove by. For an RV park, I like it. It’s open but has numerous tall trees; simple, without the frills of most RV parks.

Second, drive into Timberon and stop at Roberts Realty, on the left, just past the general store, next to the post office.
Two things here, sit down with a realtor, even if you are not set on purchasing property. Ruby and Don Roberts own the business. I delt with Michelle and had all my questions answered and she pointed out some things I wasn’t aware of.
Have your realtor print out their listings and purchase a $7 Master Plan map. My first night, I took out a highliter and marked all of Roberts’ listed lots on my map. I found it most helpful while out hiking.
Many of the listed lots will not have a realtor sign in front. I don’t know, it might be because Roberts doesn’t think much for the lot selling and doesn’t want to waste the expense of a sign. Could be wrong, however. My lot did not have a sign.
Not only do some of the lots for sale not have a realtor sign in front, but they are not marked in any way. One has to pace off from a corner or road curve to get a rough idea of where a particular lot actually is. It worked for me.
If you decide on a lot, Dennis Flood is the local surveyor to work with, reasonable and personable. Just don’t be in a hurry.

You will come across lots listed on the web, occasionally on the bulletin board by the PO or the Lodge, for sale by owner signs as you drive around, and you will see signs from other realtors while driving through the community. I suggest dealing with a realtor who has lived in Timberon for a number of years. If you want a lot listed with another realtor, work through Roberts Realty. If you want one you found on your own, again, work through Roberts. From time to time, property owners donate their lot to the water commission, who then put it up for sale. Also, there is an annual auction for Timberon lots, through the Otero county treasurer, down in Alamogordo.

Third, go off driving through the community. Plan on taking a few days for this. If you like an area, park the car and go walking around the roads for an hour or so. I came across all the lots I was interested in by hiking from Janet’s lot. For me, when a car came by, and it didn’t happen often, I stopped, smiled, and waved. Often the driver stopped and we started talking. I found it a great way to meet people and learn about Timberon. Have some questions ready.


Consider buying a lot in the areas that have been burned. I drove on the roads through these areas, and was thinking about it. The lots have been cleared of underbrush and the trees are bare and open to be cut down. Any diseased trees are dead. It’s quite an opportunity for designing a stellar landscape from scratch. Maybe doing some borders or artwork with the trunks (away from the proposed house site) and tilling the ash into the soil. Most potential buyers would shun such areas, so prices should be low, and one could buy up a few adjoining lots. You’d probably end up with a quiet, isolated spot. The burned lots might also be somewhat safer from a future fire, well, at least from my way of thinking. It’s a little thinking-outside-the-box.


This family lost their house in the 2016 fire and rebuilt with an Arched Cabin. Looks pretty good to me.


This owner hired a crew from Arched Cabins for the construction of this 20 x 30 footer ($7,800 for the basic kit). I was impressed with the steel supports and support beams. And with the three decks and loft, it will easily meet the square foot requirement. With having the septic tank dug in, water, electricity, propane and phone lines put in, and the extra cost of shipping all the building supplies to Timberon, expenses are currently at $80K.
If I was to have a permanent dwelling, I would want windows in all four walls. As with an RV, I require windows in three walls, not just two. If I’m in—I want to see out.

If one plans to build, different sections of Timberon have minimum square footage requirements listed in the covenants, from 800 to 1400 square feet. You can also pick up a copy of the covenants at Roberts.


This is a novel way to meet minimum square footage.


I stopped and talked with Jack, in the forefront, the owner of this house. He told me why he preferred to have most of the square footage open to the outdoors.


That house is for sale. It has an easier access road coming down from the top. I think it sits on 6 acres.


View from same house. House definitely needs work on the supports.


This vacation cabin on Roundup Rd. has quite a view and no near neighbors.



Electricity. Most lots have access to electricity, but not all; something to check into. There are timber poles for the overhead power lines throughout much of Timberon. The right of way is not wide enough along some stretches, so from time to time, a tree falls across a line, taking out power. I might have heard that once, the power was out for ten days, could be wrong. The forest service won’t give permission to cut any trees along the right-of-way (or whatever it is called) to widen it, so I guess this will always be a problem. I’m surprised there are so few houses with solar panels.

Water. Most of the roads have water lines, but not all the roads. Another thing to check on if looking to buy property. There is an aquifer under Timberon with good water down 1,000 feet. I think so-so well water is down 500. The water system is getting old and occasionally leaks develop. Sometimes one sees water seeping up onto a road from the underground pipes. They have been installing solar-powered sensors this summer, to more quickly track down leaks. There is sediment in the water, which causes problems with the pressure valves. There are filters but they can get clogged from time to time.
There are 170 miles of pipe, which will need to be replaced at some point. Don’t know where Timberon will get the money for it. I wonder what the situation will be in ten or twenty years. I would guess that a good percentage of the residents couldn’t afford to pay a substantial water tax increase to replace the water system; again, could be wrong.
A number of residents have a large water container in their yard (1-2,000 gallons?), with a pressure tank, for use whenever the water in their section is turned off for repairs.

Gas. There are no gas lines in Timberon. All households use propane.

Sewage. There are no sewer lines in Timberon. All houses need to have a septic tank and leach field. Could be quite an expense on a rocky lot.
So, how’s all this sounding?

There is an RV park in Timberon, which has not been used for years. The day I checked it out, there were no squatters. Since there is no one working there and off from the road, with no local law enforcement…
As one enters Timberon and sees the welcome sign, turn left onto Pounds Rd. The park is the second right. There is a sign there; no sign, don’t turn. If you reached Mars Rd., go back one block.


What do you think—800 square feet? But with its location, I really cannot see anyone causing the owner a problem.


I like the way these people have expanded useful space from their seasonal trailer. Nicely done.


This is an acre for sale up on Loghouse Rd. Nice view.


This is an acre on Ranger Rd. for sale. Standing near the back of the lot and looking towards the front. One can just see a section of the road.


This is a lot on Shallow Creek on which no work was done this summer. Might be for sale. There is a spot to the left big enough for an RV. At the top of the driveway, there has been a flat spot cleared for a house.

I was thinking, not for long, of buying another lot, cut an access road, dig out a flat spot, do some clearing, and post it up for sale on an RV forum. But then it sunk in that it would not be profitable.

Even if I won the lottery, I would not have a house built in Timberon, nor would I buy one. How can it not continue to go downhill? There are too many cons for me. I was talking with someone who has been here part-time for 30 years. She said Timberon had much more going for it back then and was way better than now. She and her husband are both recently retired and had planned to move into their house here. Now they are rethinking the move. I don’t blame them.

Some people moved into a house, and I did not hear if it they were renters or they bought it. But the people do drugs and shout and make noise late into the night. I guess a neighbor could call the sheriff in Cloudcroft and lodge a complaint about disturbing the peace. But then one is pissing off drug addicts, with no local law enforcement. Yep, there are lowlifes here just like in most communities.
Since houses are hard to sell, many are rented out, and some get trashed. An acquaintance has been putting quite a bit of time and money into repairing damage done by renters. When he completes the work, he will put the house on the market. It sits on two acres along the Sacramento River with a good location. Hope he doesn’t have much trouble selling it.
I’d hate to have a house and have some gits move in next door. And granted, it could happen in most places, but it would be nice to have local law enforcement close by.

I feel good, however, about purchasing an acre here, but I did look for a lot where chances are no one will be building on any nearby lots. We’ll see. I can always roll away. Very little money is tied up. And after I’m finished doing the work on the property, it might sell through one of the RV forums if I choose to get rid of it.

If I were to build or buy a small house, it would to be in the mountains; somewhere with more than one road to evacuate if necessary. And mountains which continue to go up in elevation another couple thousand feet or more. I seem to feel most alive when I can go out and up—up quite a bit, with my boots as my mode of transportation. Most assuredly, different strokes.

One morning after some rain, while still on Janet’s acre, I loaded my tools in the back of the Dodge and drove over to work on my lot. The road out front was slick (clay) and the slope of the access road was almost too much for the 4-wheel drive pickup. If I ever arrived at the acre with the Nash when the ground was wet, chances are good I would get stuck at the bottom.


So I had a little over 15 tons of driveway gravel delivered by Batte Enterprises in Cloudcroft. Mileage to Timberon cost more than the truckload of gravel (another con for Timberon). The driver backed up the access road as far as he could, which wasn’t far, and dropped 3 piles for me to spread out with my spade, rake, and mattock. Another stellar opportunity for exercise.


Took me three days to spread the lower pile and two for the middle pile. These were the easier ones since the gravel was shoveled and raked down the slope. I say days but it was only three hours a day. That’s all this body could take.
The top pile was half the load and took me a couple weeks to spread. Most of it went uphill. I threw shovelfuls up as far as I could. Other than some of the lengths of tree trunk I dragged with a rope, this was the most tiring task I’ve done so far. I also piled gravel onto a folded tarp, grabbed the corners, carried it up the slope and dumped it. Times like this, I guess many have their heart attack them. Kind of scary. But most of those people do not exercise their heart regularly. I’ve been back to exercising mine for months now. Once I could drive the Dodge over the top pile, I shoveled gravel into the bed, drove up the slope, and raked it out where needed; worked well. I’m quite a bit better off than I was at this time last year.
Thanks the gods I did not have someone tell me to not overdo it. Those of you who read my pages know how I feel about this type of overused phrase, but is the lack of original thinking, not even stopping to think, that really bugs me.
After the first day, I brought my iPod and started catching up on some of the Wait, Wait podcasts I had saved. The show can make many chores seem easier and shorter.


The access road as it looks now.


Having lived in Utah for 20 years, I thought my acre needed an arch. Couldn’t quite get the ‘delicate’ look.

The air in Timberon smells SO fresh and being outdoors doing physical labor on one’s own property sure is sweet. Sitting outside after dark with a Kindle and glass of wine under the totally awesome night sky can bring a smile to my face, and I’m thinkin’, Good move.

Well that’s my take on Timberon. Many like it here. Others can’t get a decent price for their house and are stuck here. A few have recently bought houses, and there are a number of nice houses at a good price. One or two are having houses built (I’m not going to express my thoughts on this). And some like the seclusion and lack of local law enforcement, and not just the few ex cons and some perfectly capable younger people leaching off of welfare.

A place for a few—and not a place for most. A place for a few, can, most assuredly, be the kind of place for me. It just might not be Timberon.

Like I said, I would not have a house here, but I think the Nash, on an acre, might make a good base for spending some time. IF I don’t get any close neighbors. A toe, in Timberon’s door, is enough for me.
A bit of quiet seclusion, fresh air, a fabulous night sky, and a place for Meadow and Mesa to roam—I’m smilin’.


There are not all that many birds here, pretty much just owls, ravens and hummingbirds. I never have woken up to birds singing. Kind of strange. Four jays showed up earlier this month for a couple of weeks. Don’t know what kind they are.

I’ll be pulling out of Timberon in a week or so and spend a couple weeks at Oliver Lee. If any of you are in the area, I’ll be at Bottomless NMSP on Dec. 5 for two weeks, then two weeks at Brantley and back to Bottomless for two last weeks. Would be glad to touch base with you.

Mind how you go.

September sixty minutes for sixty years—4045 minutes
September Triple 18—pecs/delts/arms: 3670; core: 2490; legs: 1905

There is stellar satisfaction from physical exercise
and contact with the outdoors


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

1 comment:

Robert L Knowlton said...

Sebastian,
Congratulations on the new parcel. Looks like you're putting it back in shape.
Moving gravel by hand is tough work. I tried but packed it in and got an old neighbor to drag it with his tractor.
Those Jays are Stellar!
Would you have to pay for the upgrade on the waterlines?
Cheers to the new digs!
Rob K.