I'm sure we all have images in our heads of what "country living" must be like. Let's face it, most of us live in cities or suburbs these days, far removed from places that are far removed. What's it like meeting the basic needs? Getting things done?
Case in point: heating your new home. Certainly we could have sprung for a heat pump, radiant floor heating, or other such option, if we were willing to fork out the dough. Already overbudget as this place is, we opted for the standard, the cheap, way to go: Gas furnace, forced air heat. But this ain't no city street with a natural gas line conveniently at hand. Nope, us country folk use PROPANE.
I have to say, the heat works wonderfully. Quiet furnace, heats the interior quickly and evenly, all very nice.
On our most recent visit, we took a look at the propane tank - first, we had to re-shovel the short path to it from the driveway through the 2 feet of snow on the ground at the moment. When we check the gauge, we see that it's only at 30% full.
Not good. Running out of propane in the middle of winter, in a house that's 300 miles away, well, it's not the best situation, is it?
The next morning I call Pioneer Propane in Montrose, give them my name, ask them about the propane fill. They start with: "Yeah, we've been trying to get a hold of you."
"What's the story?"
"We can't deliver to your house. The driveway needs to be plowed."
"I see. But it IS plowed. I shoveled it myself. I had no problem getting back here. When was the last time you tried to deliver?"
"He came by last week. He could't go in. It has to be wide enough for a truck."
"Yeah, but I drive a truck. I drive a Tacoma. It's plenty wide for that."
"No, that's not good enough. It has to be wide enough for a four wheeler. We've had a couple incidents of getting stuck in people's driveways, and we can't risk going back there."
"But I need propane. I'm at 30%! What do I do?"
"You need to plow it sir. When can you have it plowed?"
Sigh. "It'll be done today. When can you come by?"
"In the next couple days."
Sometimes when I'm walking on the county road I look at the house and think "It's too close to the road, it should be further back." It's hard to describe. There's so MUCH space and nature up on this mesa, and neighbors are generally set back such that you basically can't see each other from your homes. So seeing my house, with its big picture windows and expansive deck, seems a little...immodest, almost. I dunno.
But that was my thought BEFORE i started shoveling.
I hung up the phone, and thought: well, guess I know what I'm doing today. I went outside and grabbed a shovel.
Four and a half hours later, my back and shoulders throbbing, I stopped and snapped a couple photos of my handiwork (and Margaret's: she helped too) A 12 foot wide path, scooped, hacked and scraped. From the county road, all the way to the house. I paced it off: 135 paces. That's 270 feet; basically the length of a football field, give or take. For the geeks in the audience, that over 3,200 square feet that was rendered flat, pristine and basically snow free. Good enough for a precious propane truck? Time will tell.
But I can tell you, I no longer think the house is too close to the road.
I can also tell you, I am officially in the market for an ATV with a plow. Lord Almighty.
And, the back half of the driveway, back to the house. I had to prune a couple of the pinons to get a good clear path. The truck you see is the fella installing the carpet on our stairs, crossing off one of the few items remaining on the punch list. Woo hoo!