With a Little Help from My Friends

I have many skills. Carpentry is not one of them. This is why I am thankful for friends with skills. Namely, I’m thankful for Aaron May who spent a lot of time at our place in 2010 making it more beautiful and useful, including building my top bar beehives. The biggest project was the new carport that also serves as a teaching space (look ma, I’m stacking functions!).

My fancy top bar hive has an observation window. You can just make out the new comb through the right side of the window. Go bees!

The former owner and builder of our house, bless his heart, didn’t like concrete much. Well, he liked a lot of it in some places, but not others, like around the posts of the carport. So the 15 year-old carport, which was attached to the house, was rotting away, eliciting scary creaky groaning sounds from the house. With the occasional 60 or 70 mile per hour wind gust, we knew we had to take it down…and quickly.

The beautiful and sturdy new carport also serves as a teaching space, vertical support for edible plantings, and the adobe wall does double duty as the side wall for our new patio.

We designed the carport with an adobe wall serving to both block the view of the cars from the house and create a beautiful wall as a backdrop to our new patio space. We originally wanted to build a strawbale wall, but we didn’t have enough room to fit both the strawbales and our cars (and have enough turning radius). The side walls were left open with a lattice structure to support vines. We have planted hardy kiwi and passionflower on one side and once the soil is amended on the other side we’ll plant more kiwi or grapes.

A view of the carport from the gardens. Eventually, kiwi vines will cover the sides of the carport. Tree is trimming a mulberry that is soon to be replaced by an apple tree.

On the rare occasion that it rains, the metal roof funnels water to our new 200 gallon rain barrel which was made beautiful by our very talented painter friend, Lex. (Painting is another skill, like cutting hair, that I like to experiment with but am not very good at). The barrel fills up after a 1″ rain event.

Our rain barrel: functional and it looks good too!

Here are some more photos of the adobe wall being built. I had been looking forward to building the adobe wall, but, alas, I hurt my neck and had to settle for making lemonade.

Here's Aaron laying bricks. What precision!

Here's Tree mixing the mud to set the adobes. I think she had the hardest job of all. And it was hot!

If you’re looking for a top bar hive or a trustworthy carpenter with skills in the Albuquerque area, drop Aaron a line. Here’s to friends with skills! – Jen

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6 Responses to With a Little Help from My Friends

  1. Zoe says:

    How cool! Both bee and car shelters look great. It is fun to see your homestead develop over time – the garden is gorgeous.

  2. micha rinaldi says:

    hola chicas! i love love love the carport! wood & adobe- 2 of my favorite things! question: the kiwi- do they bear fruit?

  3. Claro que si! But these are hardy kiwi -more like a large grape with smooth skin. I’ll post when they fruit (maybe we can trade some figs for kiwis!).

    The “fuzzy” kiwi that you buy in the store are hardy to zone 8 (so I’m told) -too tender for us here in the South Valley. If I lived in a warm pocket of town, I’d be tempted to push the zone and plant some fuzzy kiwi.

  4. Anthony says:

    Wow – nice. Everything looks great!

  5. Thanks, Anthony! Slowly but surely, it’s coming along.

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