Buying a 25′ Tall Teepee

 If you haven’t already read “Welcome to Cottonwood Creek“, read that first, or you’re about to get very confused…(like me).

Ok….now what were we supposed to do?  We bought 11 acres.  We had no building supplies, no water, no electricity, no money…and apparently no clue (smile).

Step 1:  We knew we needed water and electricity, so we got on waiting lists to have those dug and installed; no one was available right away. Until there was water and electricity, no building could take place. (hmph!)

Sooo, we waited.

The timing of our next course of action was totally in God’s hands, not ours. In the meantime, we cleared dead trees, planned, and enjoyed campfires and picnic dinners on the land…our “Cottonwood Creek”…and wondered about it all….for about 3-4 months (if memory serves).

Like I said in the previous post, we had owned a sailboat for years.  We barely used it.  Trying to be wiser financially, we had put it on the market a year before this, but it never sold.  We were paying dock fees month after month, which would be the SAME amount as our land payment for this land.  We were trying to be better with our money, and had asked God to please sell it.  But noooo.
However, now…during this “waiting” time period, our sailboat finally sold, after a whole year of being on the market.  (Ever heard of “God’s perfect timing”?)  Not only could we simply use that previous “dock” payment as land payment, instead, we also made a profit on the boat….and now had cash in hand to do things like dig a tank (the large pond we had visualized), dig a water well, install the water pump, and install electric poles…and never owed a single dime out of pocket for any of it!
In fact…it took the same amount of money (rounded) that we profited on the sailboat to pay for all of it.  God’s timing is off the charts.  He had a REASON to hold off selling the sailboat.  He knew we’d spend it or use the money elsewhere before knowing we’d be buying land and building.  (He’s pretty smart…)


The trip to Fredericksburg and the purchase of Cottonwood Creek occurred in May/June of 2011.  From June through October we were “waiting” for the electric company to be available, and the water well diggers to be available.   October rolled around (this is when our sailboat sold), and we headed back to our cabin in Ruidoso, New Mexico for their annual Chuckwagon Festival.

We had a few days to kill before the festival, so we drove around, as usual, taking in nature….and became very aware…for the first time ever… of teepee poles leaning on trees in people’s yards, everywhere!
Hmmmm….my dream and curiosity JUST resurfaced! No shipping! Could we get one for Cottonwood Creek???

I asked an Apache Indian if she knew where we could buy a teepee, or if she knew anyone willing to sell theirs. Man, did I ever feel stupid when I saw her face after I asked that question. Initially shocked (and me cringing inside with embarrassment for asking) her face lightened and turned into a polite smile (while probably thinking, “Who is this idiot?”).

She very nicely explained to me that traditional Apache Indian teepees are painstakingly handmade by their owner as a form of celebratory graduation into adulthood, for a special ceremony. They take the trees from the mountain, hand-scrape into poles, and then show respect for the earth by giving the poles back to the mountain later…or should. (Oops.)

(a picture of an Apache with his handmade tee pee)

Soooo…I guess my question of where I could hook myself up with one was a tad tacky and unexpected, to say that least? I, of course, deeply apologized to her for not realizing the symbolism and depth of cultural tradition behind them, and for daring to think I could buy one off of them. She totally understood, and all was well… I think.

I was so deflated. It was seeming more official now that I would never have a teepee. (Bummer.)

Days later, the Chuckwagon Festival started.

When we got there, small teepees were set up everywhere. We could actually go into these! Here is Steve crawling into one made of elk skins:

While examining these teepees, we met with some real “mountain men” who were wearing their all-leather, handmade traditional mountain man outfits, beads, and skins… looking like they just stepped off the mountain from the 1800’s.
Then it happened…one of them told us that we could buy his old teepee poles!

He said that the canvas can be purchased online through teepee makers, but the poles are where the real cost is, and are harder to come by, previously owned. He had another teepee, and didn’t need his first one anymore. He carved the poles himself.


Who’s the lucky girl???

(In this picture is the man we bought our teepee poles from)

Now…the only question that remained was, how do you get 15 25′-foot teepee poles home on a 9 hour drive, along with 2 large dogs, 2 kids, 4 suitcases, and more?  We

This was my view for the 9-hour drive

Good thing you weren’t driving behind us! (And, yes, those are pieces of wood on the bumper, too. Can never have too much wood…especially when you live on 11-acres of woods! haha) I”ll let you use your imagination for how the INSIDE of the car was packed.

Can you imagine the thoughts of people driving in front of us with these 15 spears heading towards their rear end? Or the thoughts of people driving alongside us…or behind us….or past us…? We’re used to making a spectacle of ourselves because of my husband’s height (6’8″)…but, this is ridiculous!! One car honked at us. As he passed our car, he was hanging out his window waving, giving us a thumbs-up, and smiling from ear to ear. HE knew value and coolness when he saw it!


We made it home with our teepee poles, and now it was time to get back to the land.

We walked all over the 11 acres, and saw that rainwater seemed to collect in one general area in the center of the property, that was filled with dead trees. We thought this would be a naturally good place for a tank (large pond).

We tried making some calls to find someone to dig it, but no one was available. Then our friends gave us a number for a man who did that kind of thing on the side. We called, and he came within days.  His wife told me that this was an answer to prayer for them! They were going on vacation the following week, and were supposed to have another job that week, and planned to take that money with them…but the customer fell through and could not be reached. They prayed and asked God to please provide the money in a different way. We called, instead…same amount of money!  Wow!

The electric company had contacted us when we were in New Mexico.  They told us it was our turn on their schedule to get the poles installed.  With sailboat money in hand, we told them to go right ahead!  So, when we returned, the poles were already there.  Electricity!  No money out of pocket!

Just after the tank was dug, we got a call that the water well company was ready.   We used sailboat profit for that too!  No money out of pocket.

(You can’t tell by looking, but that pipe is drilling about 200 feet into the ground, looking for water.)

Finally….at long last….it was time to start building the actual Bed & Breakfast.  But with what money???  It would cost many thousands of dollars to build such a structure, and we didn’t have that kind of cash.  Go to the next post to see the miraculous FREE way God solved this problem for us.

The next post is “Age and Youth Collide“.  See you there!

Or click on Welcome to Cottonwood Creek to start from the beginning.

Or click on What is Cottonwood Creek to learn what this blog is about.

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