January, 2006

Lawyers, Guns and Money
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Getting things started again has involved a lot of time with lawyers and monetary aspects of insurance settlements; at times we wished we had guns, but restrained ourselves. Our insurance company has been quite good about paying their part, but it seems likely that we will be working on collecting the balance from other companies for the next 2+ years. This will certainly influence how we proceed. We hope to start clean up right away, but construction can't start until Spring, so we will be spending our time skiing and considering all the options. We are also re-organizing the Carriage House to store the accumulation of things destined for the Main House and make room for what is probably at least another year and a half living in cramped quarters. We swapped in some of the furniture intended for the Main House, so we are a little better equipped to accommodate guests.

Many of the workmen employed at the time of the fire had expensive woodworking and painting tools in the house. Very little was covered by their insurance, so they found themselves unemployed and without tools to take on new work. Pauline helped organize a fund-raising party at the county fairgrounds. Local bands donated time, merchants donated items for auction and many private individuals gave money. Almost $5,000 was raised, which helps defer some of the cost of new tools, but is still well short of their actual loss.

We had a large extended family get-together over the Holidays, topping out at 11 guests for Christmas and winding up with friends Paul, Robin and Aaron for the New Year. At left, they pose with Skippy on Attila's Throne, with skeletal remains of the Main House in the background. The weather had turned warm and much snow had melted, then a storm yielded a couple of days of good skiing. We visited Yellowstone, did a snow shoe hike around the property, and sighted the local elk herd on the lower part of the property. Paul fixed Gary and Pauline a nice dinner for their wedding anniversary.

We have met with architects, engineers, contractors and demolition people. We hope to save most of the garage structure, though the interior will need to be redone. Metals can be sold, debris other than concrete must be hauled to a dump, and concrete buried on site (it is very expensive to haul off, and we don't want to disturb other areas). With some redesign, the house footprint will accommodate the buried concrete at the expense of some square footage and crawl space. Here is a shot similar to that at right, taken a week later.

On a recent plowing of the drive, Gary was puzzled by what appeared to be a rabbit in convulsions. It turned out to be a rabbit with an ermine in white winter attire firmly attached to its back. The ermine, though only ¼ the size of the rabbit, had just about killed it by gnawing its spine. When the ermine finally noticed Gary observing only inches away, it ran about 30' and stood up (like this photo from YTREBYGDA SKOLE) to see. Since the rabbit was nearly dead and in the path of the plow, Gary threw it to the ermine. After all, ermines are cuter and less common than rabbits. But apparently quite vicious!

Parting Shot
Deconstruction of the Main House Starts

One excavator is at the north end of the North Wing. Another is sitting where the Master Suite was.

Starting this month, we will publish reports at the end of each month rather than around the 15th. Other than that, the format and type of content will remain essentially unchanged. Readers can link forward to future months and may find drafts there before the "official" publication date (but are more likely to find the skeleton of the generic form). For further convenience, the URL has been shortened to http://bclodge.com/. Depending on what browser is used, simply typing bclodge.com in the address field may be sufficient.

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Reports for 2002 — 2005