HOA Meeting at Methow Valley View

 Alex, who grew up in New Mexico, feels right at home in the sun and sagebrush.

Alex, who grew up in New Mexico, feels right at home in the sun and sagebrush.

Our little group ventured over to the Methow Valley last weekend for the first homeowner's association meeting of Methow Valley View. Dave and Lisa had visited our land several times during the last few months, but Alex and I hadn't had the chance to return since we first saw the lot in the winter.

 The Methow Mud Pie at East 20 Pizza tasted amazing after a 50-mile bike ride in the hot sun.

The Methow Mud Pie at East 20 Pizza tasted amazing after a 50-mile bike ride in the hot sun.

We were thrilled to see the land in bloom with wildflowers, and the desert smell of sagebrush (Artemisia's namesake plant) in the air. We pitched our tents and settled in for a couple of days of biking and running, and of course refueling at the Rocking Horse Bakery and East 20 Pizza.

The highlight of the weekend was attending our little development's first HOA meeting. We got to meet the developers with whom we had been negotiating, as well as our new neighbors . We were very impressed by all the thought that developers John Hayes and Mike Golden put into ensuring that future residents could live in peace with each other and with the local flora and fauna. One example of their foresight: They installed transformers at each of the lots to reduce the need for each owner to unduly disturb the soil when connecting to the electrical grid. 

 Now that the snow is gone, we were happy to discover that our lot, which is located just up the road from the Winthrop baseball diamond, is just a short walk from the farmers market and downtown Winthrop.

Now that the snow is gone, we were happy to discover that our lot, which is located just up the road from the Winthrop baseball diamond, is just a short walk from the farmers market and downtown Winthrop.

The owners all seemed amiable and easy to get along with. The one owner who had already built a house had some good advice about designing for nightly rentals. Everyone seemed supportive of our net-zero-energy goal. We appointed a treasurer, a president, and a VP to manage tasks such as contracting for snow removal and maintenance of the community water system. Overall, we left with a very positive feeling about our chosen spot.

Housewarming at the Bellingham Power House

On our way over to Winthrop, the four of us stopped at the housewarming party of Ted and Rachel, owners of TC Legend Homes, the company that built Eric and Alex's Ballard Zero Energy House. We've been talking with Ted about possibly building our Winthrop house, or at least constructing the SIPs shell. It was a great chance to see his latest work, which not only powers itself but Ted and Rachel's two electric cars, a Tesla and a Nissan Leaf. We had a great time touring this amazingly efficient house, sitting by the campfire in the yard, and seeing the super-deluxe energy-monitoring system installed as part of a Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEAA) Next Step Homes pilot study by CLEAResult. Another cool feature of the house is that it is actually a duplex and has a separate living space for Ted and Rachel's good friend. We found this other net-postive-energy co-ownership arrangement very inspiring!