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Observatory History:

This had been a dream to live under fairly dark skies and to have enough land to construct a observatory in our own backyard.  In May of 2003 we purchased a home in Valley Center with 2.8 acres of mostly open land.  The elevation is 1850 feet and the top of the ridge is about 2000 foot.  There's a large valley on the other side of this ridge which descends to about the 800 foot level.  This creates a light air flow over this ridge which is great to push back the marine layer from the Pacific ocean which is about 30 miles away.  I had plans to build a dream observatory on this property. But as time went by, while I was still working the growth in the area increased to the point where the skies had gotten worse.  It was apparent that it was not worth the investment to build.  So I continued to roll the astro-gear out of the garage until we sold the home in 2019.  This how the area looked in 2003.



After selling this home in 2019 and exploring New Mexico, we found our final home site in Southwest New Mexico.  In August 2023 we purchased a 11-acre gated property with a water well, rough graded driveway and building site to develop. Our plans are to be owner-builders and  build a completely off-grid 40' X 40' shop and a passive solar adobe house.  And of course the dream observatory.   So we are finally going to be under dark skies.  Here is a picure of the new property at 6,600 feet and a champagne toast on closing day.  Yeah we have a tractor too......



So next on the adventure was to purchase the equipment.  We bought a used Case 580K 4X4 tractor.  The Power Take Off (PTO) attachments included a Gannon scraper box, backhoe and chipper.  We regraded the driveway and started thinning out the shrub oaks and skirted the pines and junipers. Then we started chipping the branches and saving the large wood pieces for firewood and building materials. Additionally, we started removing tree stumps in the areas we're building.  We have down days due to rain and snow. But it is fun to play in the snow on those days.  Hopefully we will have the 5th wheel RV moved on to the property in the end of the 2024 summer. 









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