Our first glimpse of this property, early summer of 2016, was via Skype with our Realtor, Joan Wilson (Long Realty, Sierra Vista). She had been searching and searching for a place that fit all of Sue’s qualifications, in the correct price range, with the right amount of acreage, etc. THEN, she found this place that she thought was perfect and really, really wanted us to come out to look at it and make an offer.  There was just no way for Sue to get out there any time soon.  So, we arranged this property tour via my laptop in Ramona, with Joan’s I-pad in Hereford. She walked us through the house and all along the property, to all the out buildings, we talked about the usability of the land, and the pros and cons of the property and area. We loved it! But there was this one building that we just could not figure out.

img_0269It was a perfect little square building made from cinder-block, semi-sunken into the ground, concrete floor, nice corrugated metal roof, but absolutely no access what so ever.  There were two little windows on each end under the eaves, but they aren’t large enough to use as an entrance and they are six feet off of the floor!  What the heck is it?


Interior shot showing water levels and sediment

We thought of these possibilities: smoke house, ice house, oubliette (though this was far fetched), part of an underground railroad (again… far fetched, but we were really reaching by now ~ and that was Dad’s contribution), and finally my mom said, “Perhaps it was a cistern.” When we came to see the property in person, sometime after the 4th of July holiday, we were able to see that “cistern” is the most likely use.  It had an overflow valve  and a spigot to drain it. When you look inside you can see sediment on the floors from the water and staining on the walls showing different levels.  However, we still haven’t figured out how they were filling it.



Fire damage

It did sustain some damage in the fire and, consequently, the roof had started to peel back in one of the last wind storms and some of the charred beams had begun to disintegrate. Luckily, we have Dustin here and he is able to work on some basic repairs. Today he began dismantling the roof and Sue was able to discern the scope of work needed to bring it back into working condition. They also brainstormed on how to harvest water from its roof, and have that feed right back into the cistern. We are guessing that, originally, they moved it from a secondary well, that we believe to be close by,  just haven’t seen any evidence of a direct feed into the  building. It does have an overflow valve at the top, and a spigot for an irrigation hose… we’re still uncovering all the infrastructure out on that side of the property, so the evidence may come up at some point.


Partial roof demolition

Anyway~ after Dustin has removed the corrugated roofing, he’ll be able to replace just a few of the beams and then add the roof back on and whatever system they can work out for the water catchment. It’ll take a few days to get everything done, but, before the monsoon season, we’ll have a fill-able water tank on that side that we’ll be able to use for watering livestock and for irrigating the olive trees that we’ll soon be planting along the berms and swales. Slowly and steadily things are coming together and helping to complete the greater plan. We’ll keep you posted. Until then~
As always,
Thanks for reading.


Today’s Weather: Very clear and quite chilly. It was a deceptively sunny day; thought it would be a short sleeve day but had to turn around and don the flannel. High was 58°, but with the wind coming down from the still slightly snowy mountains, it felt much cooler. Low for the night is supposed to be 34° degrees, according to the weather on my phone. Tomorrow’s high is forecast at 66°.

Egg Report: FOUR! We know where all their hiding places are now~ they seem to rotate on a daily basis, so there is still a slight hunt involved. If every Biggie hen is laying on a given day, we should have 5~ but not everyone lays every day. Keep waiting for the Littles to lay, they are 5 months and 2 weeks old, so they should be laying any day now. We’ve noticed that they are stocking up on the calcium, so they are getting ready.