by John Rowe

I asked Pamela Ramadei and Rich Jewett a couple of months ago for a chance to interview them about building their own home and being off-grid here in the Baca, and they not only consented but graciously invited my wife, Cher- yl, and me over for dinner. Pamela and Rich’s home is in a beautiful location next to Cottonwood Creek in the southwest curve of the Baca in one of those magical spots where the water table is very high and has enabled many large cotton- woods to grow all over the place as well as extra large versions of our ubiquitous chamisa brush. Many of the cottonwoods are dead; some by a fire that swept through the area untold years ago and many by the way of the terrible drought to provide heat to it on cold winter nights while having a soothing hot space to regenerate in. The climate battery designation means that there is a fan that draws heat down from the top of the greenhouse and sends it down a long tube that ex- tends several feet into the ground and reheats the space through a network of underground pipes. This ingenious system of recirculating the warm air over and over is crucial to being able to use the greenhouse year-round in our often harsh climate.

Both Pamela and Rich love living off-grid and would not have it any other way. Rich says “I have always been attracted to rustic liv- ing. I lived in Evergreen outside of Denver in a small cabin with no water, an outhouse, and wood heat as a young man and I like a simple, close-to-the-earth life.”

Pamela has been enamored of the idea of sustainable living from an early age and is very happy to do something real for the environ- ment. And as she says, “both Rich and I drive for work occasionally and it is gratifying to still be able to live an earth-friendly lifestyle. And the wildlife we have here! Only liv- ing off-grid could I imagine having a lynx and a beautiful little ermine visit us regularly in addition to all the other more common wildlife in the area. We are truly blessed!”

Pamela has integrated “Cres- tone Haven”, as she calls this home she and Rich have so lovingly put together, with her work as a mas- ter coach specializing in executive leader training and Rich’s work with national insurance compa- nies. She is interested in host- ing retreats and workshops of all kinds, with a focus on “living your vision.” And living their vision is something that Pamela and Rich really know something about. It was gratifying for Cheryl and me to be part of it for even just a short while.