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Temporary Digs

Updated: Nov 13, 2019

I thought I’d give you a tour of our first retirement home!

knocked-down tent with popup visible in the distance
The tent we used in 2017 (here set up as a guest tent in 2018... sorry, Elaine!)

Our first camp out here 2 years ago taught us that you need more than a flimsy tent. The July and August monsoon brings daily weather… often with no precipitation, but still the winds are intense! And at the foot of our mesa, they come raging every which way, and obey no forecasts. We never know what to expect until it comes.

The core of our house is our little old popup camper, which we bought before our 2nd camping trip out here in 2018. It is the reasonably steady place to go in a raging storm (although there have been times when we’ve held the uprights against the wind, afraid that they’d buckle). The camper is our bedroom and den. We sleep here, sometimes work on the computers in here (we do that pretty much anywhere, but if we need to plug in, or if we have weather, the popup’s the place). The popup also has a propane heater, so if we are still camping when the cold comes, we’ll probably spend more time in here! It has a kitchen area, but these days we keep the stove outside and use the sink as our charging station — our water is all outside.

The primo usually-shaded popup overhangs outside are dedicated to the solar batteries on one end, and the dog on the other.

popup camper with easy-up screen house behind and to the right
Last year's camp with separate camp kitchen ~30' away

Our second camp out here last year taught us to keep our compound tight. We were a bit spread out last year. The flimsy screen tent was ravaged by the winds, and our bit-more-sturdy outdoor kitchen was also threatened by the winds, and plagued by a squirrel.

…when I say “plagued by a squirrel” I should explain that where we live is the hotbed of bubonic plague and hantavirus, both devastating diseases, and both carried by rodents…

This year we hauled out our big, very sturdy hoop tent which we’ve used for festival events (where we are camping for a week or ten days at a time). Then we married our three “buildings” so that they support each other in the wind, and provide some protection from the sun as well.

Popup on right, open ground on left, hoop tent in background
Looking toward our hoop tent before the camp kitchen is set up

Our camp kitchen connects to both the hoop tent and the popup.

cabinet to right, looking out through tent door to stove, water, and open area
Looking out from the hoop tent into outdoor kitchen

man at table with computer inside tent
Chip working in the steamy hoop tent (he's heat-tolerant!)

Our hoop tent is our storage area. It’s too hot for me to hang out in, but that might be handy when fall arrives. We have a wooden cabinet to keep any non-canned dry goods away from the squirrels and mice (and we haven’t seen any this year, knock wood). We have the rest of our kitchen storage there too.

Our camp kitchen is where we cook, eat, and wash dishes, and sometimes work (I’m typing this from the kitchen). It’s an easy-up shade structure with walls that we drop at night and when it’s stormy.

Sometimes we eat on the “front patio” — inside the fence between the popup and mesa.

We do still have some “outbuildings” — we built our little 4’x 8’ shed two years ago to store our camp gear. Now we use it as a little shop/storage area. We have a little shower tent, and a little toilet tent, each tucked between the branches of a protective tree and firmly tied in so they don’t fly all over in the wind. Our bath is out in the open. Our solar panels are in the front yard, along with a couple of reclining chairs for star gazing.

That’s our home! Neighbors have dropped by, we held our first meeting here with a contractor, had our first “dinner party," and look forward to our first overnight visitor in a few weeks.

We’re loving it, but still hope we don’t have to live in it for very long…!

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Kimi BrownKawa
Kimi BrownKawa
Aug 07, 2019

Thanks, Mariarr11! Yes, we have a very game friend who is planning to come and stay a couple days in our very rustic accommodations... if the weather is bad, we'll probably all be piling into the popup!


Super cute and very practically laid out. You're expecting a guest already?? Impressive!!

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