June, 2005

½ A Roof Over Our Heads

This month saw the first of many roof panels being installed, so we can now get a good idea of what the roof is going to look like. The roof is dull, dark gray metal. On approaching the house, the dark gray roof with lighter colors below blends well with the background: nearer fields and trees appear as lighter colors, and above that the distant trees and mountains appear as very dark green, purple and gray. The dull finish and low angle of the roof means that none of our neighbors should be offended by a bright spot of reflected sunlight. In the winter, special baffles will keep snow on the roof (rather than let it slide off) so it should blend into the scenery. Of course, we don't want the snow sliding off onto our heads, either!

Last month, constructing a house was likened to assembling a three dimensional jig-saw puzzle. This becomes most apparent when the pieces do not fit, as has happened in two major cases. First, some of the steel framework was positioned 1¾" off, which left too small an opening for the windows that were already ordered and paid for. The subcontractor came back and fixed this at his expense; fortunately, the move did not impact any of the joists or trusses, so it was relatively easy. Second, the arched timbers apparently did not have the proper radius, so they did not intersect with other timbers as intended. The architect came up with a solution to this problem that notches into the arched beam and adds a short section of timber, mimicking the corbels on the ends of the arched beams. The solution can be implemented later (after the roof is on); for now, check out Gary's artist's concept.

Early in the stages of acquiring our property, we considered a conservation easement. The Gallatin Valley Land Trust didn't seem interested at the time, but this year we were identified as an "outreach" property. This interest stemmed largely from a study that identified wildlife corridors; the yellow lines on one of their maps shows corridors near us. One corridor runs up Place Creek, ending at the Carriage House. We could have told them this is a busy trail, as at least 4 deer and 1 bear have been hit where it crosses the highway in the past 10 months. The tax benefits of an easement for us are such that we probably won't consider one until we sell the property; meanwhile we will do what we can to encourage the wildlife. (Note: we are near the top, left of center.)

One day we were standing talking to the workmen when a mother elk and her baby wandered by. This is highly unusual, since mothers keep their young well hidden for the first few days of life. This baby is probably less than 2 days old. Gary had the camera, so we got a telephoto shot looking south south east from the Master Bedroom Patio. We expect to see many more elk babies in the near future — not to mention the possibility of deer, bear, and moose babies. The dust behind the pickup on Kelly Canyon Road indicates that this happened near the end of our only (very short) dry spell this Spring.

The ceiling of the Master Bedroom will be the hemisphere of an oblate spheroid. Carpenter Paul (facing the camera) is well-educated in math (he has a degree in economics from Stanford). He had no problem understanding how to use drawing techniques and a formula for locating the foci Gary gave him to create sections for the elliptical trusses. Paul then made improvements of his own to the original concept to make the implementation practical. An ellipse (hence oblate spheroid) has interesting properties with respect to light and sound. The hope is this unusual ceiling will create an indirect lighting effect that makes the room appear to be an atrium.

More Pictures!

Arthur has been taking photos around the property now that Spring is upon us. A small portfolio of pictures is here. Wild flowers peak about the end of June, but many are starting to show themselves now, so he got a lot of early flower shots.

Be sure to check out the Main House Progress

Parting Shot
Pumpkin Graduates from Puppy Class

* ! * ! Correction ! * ! *

In last month's report, we posted a picture of our herd of presumed cows. A friend of ours (a retired large animal vet) says they are definitely not bovine. He identified them as large female ruminants, possibly extremely large elk cows but most likely moose cows. Our new theory is that the Christies hunted moose on the property and left the waste at the site below the present day Carriage House. We'll check this out with one of the Christies next time we meet them.