Or: How we came to be a family of five living in a 400-square-foot train car.
Patricia (aka Jingle) Bell Katz was born in the wilds of Nevada and spent much of her childhood on Buckskin Mountain,
several hours from the nearest town of Winnemucca. Her father was a hard-rock miner and her mother, a public health nurse
When Ella was born in 2003, Pat had been living on a piece of property in the hills outside Albuquerque, near Mountainair,
where she had converted an old refridgerated (insulated) boxcar into her home. The boxcar was on the property when they bought
it after Pat moved to New Mexico from upstate New York.
The old ice chutes became skylights. The old sliding doors were replaced with nice doors and windows.
In 2003, we moved the boxcar from its former location near Mountainair to our land in Chamisal, NM. (Pictures of this
expensive fiasco can be seen below).
Grandma lived in the boxcar for about 10 years, before deciding to move to a real house nearby in town (Penasco, NM)
which has running water (!!) She is enjoying modern conveniences such as electricity, too. But Pat remains also our family's
expert on topics such as: How to kill a chicken first try so it doesn't run around with a half-gone head, or: What
to do with rabbit innards.
By coincidence, Grandma moved to town the same year we moved to our new farm. Since the house at our new place wasn't
liveable, we ended up having the boxcar moved -- for a second time -- to the new land. We're living in it until we can get
the house fixed up. The guy who moved the boxcar the second time insists this should be its final resting place. We hope so,
(And yes, we have read "The Boxcar Children.")