Off the Grid with Friends in Taos, New Mexico

Just before spring break, our Michigan friends Kate & Bill called to see if they could spend a night at our house en route to Taos, New Mexico to do a little skiing and hiking. One thing led to another and, well, we hit the road WITH them.

We met Kate & Bill in graduate school at the University of Michigan before any of us had children (and before David and I were fact, I credit Kate & Bill ~ along with a kite flying competition, a dairy farm and a nuclear power plant ~ for bringing David and me together...but that's another story...). And look at us now! Each family has grown to include two kids, and what a pleasure seeing our kids play, hike, ski & explore together!

Ok, I've got to let you in on the inside scoop for a delightful AND educational New Mexico vacation: find a way to stay at the "Sol Ship." The Sol Ship is located in a subdivision that is populated entirely by "earthship" homes ~ beautiful structures built with "rammed earth" tires (thus saving on landfill space) and other recyclables, like cans and bottles. The Sol Ship is entirely "off the grid," which means that the homeowners pay NO utility fees because photovoltaic cells, passive solar and thermal mass technologies regulate the indooor temperature without the use of standard heating and cooling systems.

Not only is it FASCINATING to see how the Sol Ship is built, but it is beathtakingly beautiful...filled with artistic details and with light that fuels a photographer's soul. Just take a look. From the front you can see the passive solar windows:

Inside, a garden is planted at the base of these windows:

and is bounded by a tiled wall:

The entire home is built into the earth on the north side:

Lovely from every angle by day:

and by night:

Thanks, Kate & Bill, for letting us crash your vacation! :')