Buffalo Bur sunriseIn late March 2008, Ted and I walked in a chilly dawn on our building site overlooking Arenas Valley northeast of Silver City, New Mexico.

Later that day, we would meet our builder and pick up the final set of plans for the house before we headed back to Virginia.

We were up so early because New Mexico has strict building code enforcement. We were sleeping in the almost-finished house of a neighbor, who cautioned that we needed to be out before the contractors arrived for their day's work.

An occupancy permit had not been issued for the neighbor's house, which means nobody, but nobody is supposed to spend the night there. So we had to be out of the house, leaving nothing behind. It wasn't hard to do. We had spent two miserable nights trying to stay warm on our Aerobed, which turned out to be unsatisfactory for a good night's sleep on a cold tile floor. Getting out of bed was a relief.

Front door viewThe stones the architect placed to outline the footprint for our house showed where the house would sit. We found the siting delightful.

The site is on high ground and there is something spectacular to see in every direction. To the east (above) are the Piños Altos and Mimbres mountains and the sunrise. To the west (at left) is Flury Mountain, which I plan to climb every evening so I can watch the sunset.

Buffalo Bur, south viewTo the south are the Arenas Valley and the Chihuahuan desert beyond.

Buffalo Bur, north viewTo the north is the Gila National Forest.