March, 2004

Gary travelled to Bozeman March 3-10 to ferry wine, put up more drapes and review the Main House budget.

Reading for the trip was An Air That Kills. If you think that asbestos was taken care of years ago, read this book!

(click on pictures to view larger version)

The curtains Pauline made reflect the "Southwestern" colors and patterns that dominate the rest of the decor.

Here are the curtains for the Dining Room.

The drive out was uneventful. The weather was clear and generally in the low 20's to high 40's. The temperature inside the car reached a balmy 53°F as I entered Bozeman; I did not use the heater at all, since I wanted to make sure the wine stayed cool!

Upon arriving at the Carriage House Thursday, I saw two elk on the West Ridge. I did not see any more wildlife after that, but on two long snow shoe hikes around the property, I saw plenty of fresh moose, elk and deer scat, plus tracks of wolves or coyotes. Every morning, there were fresh deer tracks in the mud outside the CH.

I skied some fresh powder on Friday. That night the wind blew so hard that I was concerned about how strong the windows were. At times it sounded as though the roof was being torn off, but it was just ice being blown off. An inspection the next morning revealed no damage at all to the building. With high winds, no snow and weekend "crowds", working on things like drapes and wine storage seemed like the best option for Saturday and Sunday. The drapes are pictured above. I put up shelves in a downstairs closet to store the 250+ bottles of wine I had brought. Only 350+ more to be ferried up! We'll put a small air conditioner in the closet to keep it cool.

I skied again on Monday, but the weather was getting so warm that it was like Spring skiing. Some people like it, but I'd rather have good snow than good weather!

The warm weather was melting the snow fast, but there was still ice one or two inches below the surface of the soil that the water did not penetrate. Thus, I got to see how things will drain around the CH, and we decided to put in another culvert under the drive to drain the area north of the CH once construction is underway again. I dug some small trenches to alleviate the immediate problems of getting in and out of the south garage entrances through the mud pit that was forming. It required a pickaxe to make a trench barely two inches deep, but channeling the water to flow through quickly was enough to reduce the mud at that end. Once the north end is well drained, there won't be so much water trying to get through the south approach.

The snow was melting fast, but I noted that the snow that collected on the eastern side of the Carriage House was still above the metal skirting. We'll probably put some devices on the roof to hold the snow so it won't slide off and collect there. This will also be safer for anyone who ventures along the sides of the building during the winter!

The contractor's review of the Main House plans revealed that we are way over budget!

This was no surprise to me, since the architect had continued to enlarge things over my protests. So, we reviewed what actions need to be taken to reduce the costs; it was pretty easy to chop off a large section of the house without affecting the overall design, and the architect and contractor are back to the drawing board to see how that affects costs. I'll have to fly out in April to review the next iteration of plans. This will delay the start of construction at least one month.