August, 2005

Ramping Up

Gary and Pauline returned from a week at Lake Tahoe to find little apparent progress on the house. This was in part due to the shortage of carpenters mentioned in last month's report, and in part due to the continued realization that putting together a custom home is like assembling a jig-saw puzzle. Sometimes the carpenters spend days figuring out how things are to fit together and creating the pieces, which is rather frustrating for us. But it is gratifying to see the pieces fit perfectly once they are ready. One bit of good news is that the best and most experienced carpenter (Paul, who did the Master Bedroom ceiling) was able to put off starting his next project and spend two more weeks on some of our more complex problems.

Another bit of good news is that our contractor found a crew that was between jobs to come up and help out on some of the more mundane aspects of the job. With this help, it was possible to get the key elements of the roof into place. It was nice to see so many people at work on the house after the slowdown last month; however, there were a few problems with people getting in each other's way.

In the panorama below, things to note are: the roofs for the Entry and the Master Bedroom patio are up, the first layer of roofing is on everywhere, the roofers are busily adding the metal panels, and painters are treating the timbers. We have opted to give the timbers a "natural" finish, which is to say they will weather to a silvery gray over time. The carpenters are ready to follow the painters around the house installing windows.

The Sweet Pea Festival is perhaps the biggest event of the year for Bozeman. Last year, Gary and Pauline managed to attend one concert during the festival, and hoped to see more of it this year. As it turned out, Pauline was in charge of the float for the Pioneer Museum, and she managed to rope Arthur (literally) and Gary (figuratively) into helping. The festival is a rather homey event, so there is little fancy about the parade; it's primarily a chance to walk down Main Street in costume while family, friends and a growing number of tourists cheer. Arthur pulled the float, dressed as a soldier in the Corps of Discovery. Gary helped make the banner and created the undercarriage to support the float. He held his breath during the mile-long parade for fear of seeing the wheels fall off.

We identified rock we liked on our property and collected several tons during the winter, driving our little truck up steep gullies and ridges early on cold mornings when the ground was frozen (this does minimal damage to the ground and plants). Shopping for rock at local dealers, we found "Montana Moss Rock" is what we collected! Thus, we can augment the collected rock and do all of the stone in that type. There is little savings using the collected rock; the primary appeal (beyond the fact the rock is unarguably compatible with the setting) is being able to say something of the house was made from materials found on site.

(Note: the wood block and wire is for a light fixture)

The future Media Room (a small theater with fireplace located below the Great Room) is where wiring for the multimedia system converges. The blue cables carry wire for two phone/network connections and two TV connections to almost every corner of every room (even the Wine Cellar and Laundry Room). We will eventually install a PBX and router here to serve the house. Networking and TV will come via satellite.

There is also wiring for a central stereo high fidelity system and conduits for possible future expansion. The network will integrate with the alarm system, which will raise an alarm at the Carriage House and a security company should something go wrong.

Got a Bit Chilly Last Night ...

August 13 was the day of the annual "Ridge Run" — the local version of a marathon. Participants run 20 miles along a rough trail on the crest of the Bridger Mountains, gaining a total of 6,800' and losing a total of 9,500' along the way. The run starts about 10 miles north of where we live and ends about 3 miles west. This year, we awoke on the 13th to below freezing temperatures at the Carriage House, while the runners 3,000' higher up were contending with snow, ice and freezing rain. The 43 year old winner clocked in at 3:14:31.48 (5 minutes over the record).

Be sure to check out the Main House Progress

Parting Shot
One _____ of a Spark Arrestor

This is one of two spark arrestors that will be mounted on the chimneys. We won't have a wood fireplace or anything else that generates sparks, but the fire department requires them anyhow. The chimney this goes on can be seen just peeking over the roof at top center.