Saturday, May 16, 2009


The pizza, of course, was ruined. The bottom black, the rest thoroughly smoked. Smokehouse flavor might be a desirable effect when it comes to sausage. Pizza dough, however, is not the least bit improved.

Reminds me of the folly lots of people discover is unsuitable for living out here in the desert. Paul tried to cook the pizza outside to avoid having the oven heat up the house. Not a bad thought, it's theoretically possible we could create an outdoors pizza oven on the property. Perhaps we'll have to just for the fun of it. But, like most people quickly find out, the first steps of doing anything in a new environment are discovering all the wonderful ways to do it wrong.

The most common mistake people make when they move out here is thinking the cheap land means you can live for practically nothing. They bring an old RV or mobile onto the property and expect to make it work out for the long haul.

It doesn't. The weather seems deceptively mild compared to other locations in Arizona. The higher altitude means it's not nearly as hot as in Phoenix and Tucson, what locals call "the valley." In winter the snow that falls melts before it hits the ground, rarely lingers more than a day or two if it stays at all. But that doesn't mean it doesn't get cold! It may be in the 70s during the day but night time temperatures frequently fall into the teens and 20s. If there's a strong wind blowing it's even colder. And, trust me, it DOES feel hot in the summer if you're not used to it. Unless you have a lot of good insulation -- unusual in a RV, rare in a cheap mobile -- you're not going to make it.

The landscape is dotted with the remains of enthusiastic desert homesteading ideas gone wrong. Even wealthy people with mansion-like log cabins and developed acreage with trees and watered lawns frequently have the shell of their initial vacation mobile in the back. The siding will be gone, the wind whistles through the open window holes. We have one on our property, too. Why people here don't take them down or at least have a big bonfire to remove them from view is hard to fathom. Maybe it doesn't bother them. Maybe it represents something they don't want to let go.

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