I haven't been writing much because, one, October has been crazy with work and shows, and two, the Dairy is at the point of getting worse rather than better. The two converged recently: I taught in San Diego, then drove to 29, met with handyguys for an hour, and then drove to LA for an artfair the next day. 375 miles in about 12 hours. Driving is part of my job right now.
Sixty years of deferred maintenance is a bitch. Here's the construction update, filled with comedy and sorrow:
Bathroom: Money continues to flow into that hole. The "free" tile mosaic shower stall took forever to install, but it's a work of art. Handyguy even cut some rocks from the yard and fit them into the walls. We didn't have enough free tiles to finish the floor. Each is 12" x 36", too fragile to ship, so I had to drive to Anaheim and pick up a few more boxes, which of course I didn't open. A few days later I drove them to the Dairy, and when Handyguy tried to finish the floor, the tiles turned out to be patterned and textured. Ugh. The wholesaler couldn't get replacements for six weeks, so we have decided to use the pattern and be damned.
That blocked pipe in photo? The water heater before being replaced. Nice, huh?
Roof and leaks: Original farm roof is sloped, but the addition was flat, and now sagging, hence the pool up there when it rains. We decided to patch it rather than replace the entire roof. Then replace insulation in the sun room, currently wet and not the correct grade (why, if you were insulating, wouldn't you use the right stuff?)
Fireplace: There is no heat in the house except the fireplace, so we got a chimneysweep out there to inspect. And of course, it's a disaster. The fireplace is not really a fireplace in the modern/safe/permitted definition. It's just a rock wall with no innards. The current insert is very dangerous. Since it's probably been in continual use for 90 years, I don't know how the house escaped being burned to the ground. We either have to tear it down and rebuild it, or leave it as decoration, which is probably our option now (campy electric logs, anyone?).
Barn: Still nothing happening, our San Diego contractor is too busy. So we'll bring a guy from LA to finish the roof there.
Trash situation: All the construction is creating more trash, so we'll soon have to do another huge bin. Will cut up the jacuzzi (yes, of course there's an in-ground one sitting above ground), and one more big pile by the barn.
All this push is for November when family will descend upon the desert. Party deadlines have always been the way I've cleaned my houses, this is just a really big clean up.
A hurricane came up from Mexico, and while it rained in both San Diego and Los Angeles, it absolutely poured in the Morongo Basin. Even the old timers were impressed. All that water flows off the mountains and flash floods the valleys. Highway 62 was closed, cars, sidewalks and yards were washed away. Worst hit was Joshua Tree Village, which is low.
We didn’t have much damage except for a roof leak, which turns into another thing that has to be fixed.
Our handy guy's truck.
Insulation, which basically sucked, is now wet and has to be taken out. Sigh.
I'm starting to make work about the desert. Have dragged pieces of found metal--corrugated, flat, torn, crumpled--back to my studio in San Diego to make attempts at some landscapes. The sky is my theme, with stuff that is in it, like the vultures I see often over the Dairy. And of course, scorpions. I've also got a recurring interest in drones, which fits with the base nearby. Don't know if they're working yet.
Anna does most of the writing. Ted does most of the photos. But sometimes we switch. We are repairing a distressed property in 29 Palms, California, and eventually hope to run an artist residency there.