Being self-employed provides for many trials, tribulations and benefits. One benefit: I can change the rules or the plans as the case may be. That means I can change the schedule for my monthly E-News. I took a break in June & July. Why? Because they went by too fast!!! There was no time to sit at the keyboard and write. So let’s catch up.
The Hays Residence is coming right along. The Soledad Crew has been working through the heat of summer and creating another energy efficient Rammed Earth home. The drywallers are in there right now putting mud on the wall. One of the highlights of this home is the authentic Adobe fireplace. The guys out did themselves. They did an awesome job. As you can see from the photo it is constructed of adobes—locally made adobes. It will get plastered. The heat generated by the fire will permeate into the adobe blocks and radiate into the room. Much like our rammed earth walls, the earth acts as a mass, then slowly releases the heat into the room. Another fun part of this home has been creating the Studio space. The large room on the south side of the house will be used to create art by the owner. We have a couple more months of work on the home. The doors of the home have just been stained and sealed. Ahh, nothing like a beautiful handcrafted wood front door!
In the last month we have been able to get back to a couple of homes that we built 12-14 years ago. We are doing maintenance work and sprucing up the homes. This includes resealing the exterior wood. Our New Mexico sun is really hard on wood!! We have incorporated a few things in the way we construct today as a result of what we are able to observe of what happens over the years. Always on a quest to do better…….If we know better, we do better.
I receive newsletters from Green Builder Media. The following is a quote from an article written by Sara Gutterman. I want to share her thoughts with you:
“One of the best things about the building business is the opportunity to imbue ideas with intention until they take on a life of their own. Actions result in solid forms that last for long periods of time and significantly affect the lives of inhabitants, neighbors, and communities.
I think it’s fair to say that we all try to lead meaningful lives. The decisions that we make today, for better or worse, can be undone, but only after years of hard work. And in those years, we change. We become somehow different than we are today. Potential and promise transform, and our projects, as well as our lives, often turn out differently than we had originally expected.
The choices that we make are ours, and ours alone. In the building industry, a choice to improve a building envelope with better insulation or high efficiency windows might seem small, but our collective incremental decisions have the power to make exponential change.
Every day, I see innovative ideas put into action, resulting in extraordinary building projects. There are a plethora of examples of people expressing their core values through green design and construction.”
My “core values” in regard to building, began 27 years ago when Mario & I were building our own home. A home I still live in today. The rammed earth walls are 24″ thick, the windows are wood windows with aluminum clad exteriors, and it is a passive solar design for winter heating. I celebrate that builders are building green today, and I realize that being “green” has always been what Soledad Canyon Earth Builders believes in. Our core values are there. We continue to strive to do better. The new generation of Soledad embraces that core value. Max, Melissa and the crew all know that building a home is more than a job. It is creating a home that, as Sara said, affects the lives of inhabitants, neighbors and communities and I’ll add, the people who build the home. Some people may not realize that is happening, but I believe in the long run it does.
Over the last couple of weeks we have been going through the process of creating a new home. That is, we have been making the selections for our new project in Picacho Mountain. There is nothing like the feeling of creating, on paper, something that will be created by the ‘hands of man’ (and woman)! Max has also created a new video on our website. It is a tour of Casa de Tierra 2010. If you did not get a chance to visit our Spring Showcase Home here is your chance to tour it. Enjoy.
As usual, on a personal level, I must report in, after all, my personal & professional life is very much all the same! (Generally speaking!) If you follow my E-News you know my Mom passed away in May. Since then I’ve spent a bit of time in her home. It is an adobe structure that my Dad built in the 40’s. The integrity of the walls is great, the roof has been replaced a couple of times, the kitchen was remodeled a few years ago, but the heart of the home is in those walls. An improvement in insulation (in the ceiling/roof) technologies has benefited earth structures over the years—Mom’s house could use that. The core values of what my Dad built runs in my veins. And that feel good. The last outing my Mom had before she became ill was a visit to our Showcase 2010 home, two weeks before she passed. It sure warms my heart to know that she saw what we created.
The months of June & July brought my Colorado “family” to visit, a class reunion of sorts, and a trip to California, a Meet & Greet with Clay Walker on the 4th of July, a couple of trips to Santa Fe and a Sister’s Weekend to see Sugarland and shop. (We stayed at the Hotel Andaluz, a beautiful, renovated property in the heart of downtown Albuquerque–a very European feel which incorporated Moroccan and Spanish colonial influences with a contemporary flair!) All very memorable and very special times with special friends & family. In between there has been the Monthly Art Ramble in Downtown Las Cruces, Music in the Park, a visit to the new winery, Amaro, on Melendres, a soak in the Hot Springs of Truth or Consequences, summer food treats (shisitos, peaches, fresh basil, grapes, and figs; green chile coming soon!) As I travel through life I realize how good life is. People make reference to the “good ole’ days”. Just remember today will someday be “the good ole’ days” so make each day the best possible. There are so many things that are much better today than 25-50 years ago. I challenge each of you to send me one thing that is better today in our world than it was 25-50 years ago. I’ll compile the list and share it with all of you. I’ll start with a couple of things—automobiles are better today than they were 50 years ago! Being 50 years old is better than it was 50 years ago! What do you think is better?
Here’s to your summer. Live well, drink a lot of water, and enjoy the clouds in the sky!
Salud, Pat Bellestri-Martinez
P.S. We have a 2006 Honda Ridgeline in excellent condition for sale. Call the office if you are interested.