November, 2005

Winter Arrives!
(sincerest apologies to Wagner)

We have had several snow falls and some rain. Now it is getting cold, which has the advantage that the mud is now frozen — at least until Spring (aka Mud Season). The bad news is that we probably will not get a chance to do the landscaping at the front (north) of the house until it thaws and dries out (July or August). Meanwhile, work inside the house continues apace, and inspired this month's theme music. A complete version can be downloaded for free here.

02 Nov 2005 (compare with the Parting Shot below): Our first real snow came late this year. Two of the four furnaces (four of seven zones) are turned on to prevent freezing. We have had some snow and rain delays on the outside work, but most of the critical path work is inside and has been delayed only by the onset of hunting season. The high priority things outside are to finish the stucco, basic drainage, snow guards, gutters and a small amount of roofing over two patios.

November is the month to burn slash. Nov 13, we burned the largest of three slash piles created by the removal of trees to put in the driveway. Cars are parked below in case the heat was too intense to drive past. The pile was close to the Carriage House, so we ran hoses down, sat up chairs to watch it and roasted brats on it for lunch. Pumpkin and Neko had great fun chasing the rabbits and mice that ran out as the slash burned. After about 9 hours the flames were low enough that we could leave it. Snow predicted that evening did not arrive, so we were up at 3am and 5am when the wind kicked up sparks. The snow finally arrived on the 14th, about 5 minutes after Gary got the snow plow and chains on the truck. Here is the scene 30 hours later.

On bad days, people like to work inside. Today is windy, cold and snowy, so the mason works on the fireplace. The stone is the same as the exterior and will extend to the wooden beam at the top of the picture. The hearth (not visible under tarp) is Ubatuba Granite from Brazil. The mantel is a bit weathered now, but should match the other timbers once the painters clean it up and put a finish on it. Meanwhile, more timbers are being put up throughout the house. It is difficult to get good pictures because we don't have a wide-angle lens and because there so much equipment and so many people are in the way. By the time the area is clear, the sun is down and there is no light.

The View From Space: Here is a shot of the Carriage House and Main House site that must have been taken around mid-day in Fall of 2003, judging from the Aspens, the shadows and the state of construction. The Carriage House can be seen where the drive circles around it up to the Main House site. Anyone who wants to see more of the property can navigate to Google Maps, search for the address 7001 Bridger Canyon Road, Bozeman, MT, then click the "satellite" tab and follow our driveway north to the sites by clicking on the picture, holding the mouse button down and dragging it around. (Note: the driveway is actually a bit west of where Google thinks it should be.)

November 8 brought a substantial snowfall to the Bridgers; some people were so anxious to start the season that they hiked up Bridger Bowl to get in a few runs. There is now a 23" base at mid-mountain, but the lifts are not scheduled to run until December 10.

We have been hearing a different sort of howling lately. Earlier howls have been more higher pitched yipping howls (coyotes), and these were lower, more dog-like howls. So it was not a complete surprise to find a front page news story that our neighbor reported seeing wolves. Of course, Neko and Pumpkin are not amused when the howling starts.

Be sure to check out the Main House Progress

Parting Shot
Main House from Kelly Canyon Road
01 Nov 2005

Telephoto shot taken from about 1 mile away; click on the picture to see a larger version. The house is already starting to blend in with the terrain.