November, 2004

Pauline Moves In

Pauline arrived Halloween night, driving all the way from Lake Tahoe (900 miles) in one go. She was a bit tired, but the prospect of sleeping in her her own bed kept her going. Now she only has to fly back to the Bay Area for one week in early December to complete her employment at San Jose City College.

Reading for this month was America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction (we like to be informed voters).

The concrete garage roof was finally poured October 23. There will be about 3 feet of sand, gravel and dirt over the top of the roof, so it will appear to be part of the natural landscaping. The concrete is a special high-strength blend, laced with lots of #6 rebar (#4 is usual for home construction, #6 is more than twice as strong). The concrete slab rests on a steel roof supported by several steel beams.

The weather has been generally good since the last report. It has snowed a little and got down to 15° one night, but there have been many sunny days and temperatures into the upper 50's. Snow and frozen ground is better than mud, so we are all looking forward to colder weather.

November 02: Roof trusses are going up and some of the plywood sheets are being applied.

While checking out the Main House one Saturday, Gary and Kevin spotted a moose across the creek near the Carriage House (unusual, since moose are crepuscular). We had seen scat and tracks suggesting a moose was around, but now we have seen the culprit. After a short time, a second moose wandered out of the trees. Perhaps we will have a baby moose next spring! We'll be extra careful not to surprise the mother, as moose mothers are very protective of their calves.

This is a view of the Main House from near Attila's Throne. Soon it will be time to put up the timbers. That will be time-consuming because it requires a lot of very careful joinery. Since the timbers are quite large (up to 12" by 18" in cross section and up to 20' long), they are expensive (about $30 per linear foot). Thus, the carpenter works like an expert gem cutter to make sure all the necessary cuts are correct. Only the very core of the house is timber framed, as a completely timber framed house would be prohibitively expensive.

It's November 12 and the weather is still fine. Actually, we're starting to wonder if we will be able to ski anytime soon. But we're making up for the lost time due to rain! This shot shows how we are laying out coconut fiber mats over the steeper slopes we have seeded. The fiber deteriorates in about 2 years, giving the plants plenty of time to get established and stabilize the slopes. Now we are hoping that the weather is not so good that the seeds germinate just before winter hits.

Be sure to check the Main House Progress.

Parting Shot

When the weather is colder, Neko prefers to stay inside by the fire.
More pictures of Neko