T. T. T.
Put up in a place
where it's easy to see
the cryptic admonishment
T. T. T.
When you feel how depressingly
slowly you climb,
it's well to remember that
Things Take Time.
31 Jan 2007
Looking South from the Entry through the Great Room
Morning dawns on a fresh snowfall
This month we are introducing a slightly different format for our
The primary benefit of this new format is that it gave Gary an excuse to
hack on the tools he uses to generate the standard form.
We think it looks and reads better on a wider variety of screen sizes as
El Niño is responsible for those huge snow storms in Colorado and
Whatever the reason,
it means we are not getting as much snow as normal.
The snow situation is better than
two years ago
We are somewhat schizophrenic about this;
on the one hand,
we would like to get in some good skiing this year,
but we don't want snow to delay construction.
things are moving more quickly now,
although it did not seem that way at the beginning of the month.
Our progress now is at or beyond where we were in May 2005,
as illustrated in
New Year's Day:
Gary celebrated by putting on his climbing boots and
12 point crampons
to shovel the
late December snow
off the Main House roof so the carpenters could get right to work
finishing plywood on the North side the next day.
The otherwise impossibly slippery snow and ice on the
of the roof was no challenge with crampons but Pauline insisted on
standing by just in case.
After clearing the roof,
we ran the snow plow along the side of the house to leave a clear work
With the roof cleared of snow,
the carpenters did not need special footwear.
Before mid-day of January 3rd they had finished the North side of the
Carpenters Adam and Lars worked on joining the Entry roof to the main
roof while Phil and Brian worked on the eave and soffit details of the
04 Jan 2007:
We woke early to find that it had snowed again.
We were out by sunrise to plow the road and shovel snow from
the parts of the house the carpenters were using.
Gary donned his crampons again to shovel snow off the
remainder of the roof as Adam and Lars started putting
plywood on the Entry roof.
05 Jan 2007:
It snowed again!
We rose early to eat breakfast and by the start of
we were shovelling snow out of the house,
finishing all but the roof as the workmen arrived.
That allowed us to make it to Bridger Bowl before the lifts
opened and get in about 10 runs before lunch.
The day turned windy and cleared the snow off the roof for
One fine Saturday after a 4" snowfall,
we shovelled to an audience of almost 200 elk,
seen in the accompanying telephoto shot taken from the South Patio.
Pumpkin tried to herd them,
but a couple of bulls stationed themselves between the herd and her.
We finally leashed her to one of the pillars in the house for fear that
the bulls would get aggressive.
The elk hung around for several days,
much to Pumpkin's dismay.
[Note: bare spots at lower left are where elk pawed down to get grass.]
21 January 2007:
The shovelling pattern repeated periodically through the month.
We lost about 3 days of work to snow,
wind or extreme cold.
Clearing the inside of the house got to be less work as more plywood was
put on the roof;
we put plastic sheeting over the windows to help keep snow out of those
the roof itself became a real workout due to all the walking up and down
the sloped roof needed to clear the increased area.
One last clearing effort on the 21st followed by good weather meant the
metal panels could be applied to the North side of the roof and timbers
placed for the Great Room.
Main House Progress
31 Jan 2007:
The good weather finally broke with a 4" snowfall of light
The workmen called to say they wanted to get going in spite
of the snow and 12°F cold,
but they would be a little late.
That gave us time to have breakfast and still get most of
the shovelling done by the time they arrived.
We're hoping sun and wind will take care of the snow on the
finished portions of the South roof.
The recent lack of snow combined with wind and warm
temperatures has resulted in very poor ski conditions at
We haven't done much skiing in the past couple of weeks.
4" of light powder over ice and rocks is not enough to
improve the skiing situation.
We stayed home a lot;
Pauline worked on quilts and Gary made ¼
ellipses from scrap plywood.
Which segues to:
Oblate Spheroid Redux:
( skip the boring technical stuff )
The original Master Bedroom recessed ceiling was the hemisphere of an
(think plain M&M cut through its greatest circumference).
This gave an
impression of infinite height.
Reduced roof height
in the redesign makes an oblate spheroid impractical.
And it was quite expensive,
using large amounts of
to make trusses and requiring expensive plaster work to accommodate
Gary developed a scheme to get benefits of an elliptical
using 2' less roof height and avoiding much expense.
The key ideas are to make a rectangular
(rather than oval)
opening and limit the elliptical curves to the outer border of the
think of it as filet of
This would be similar to the halved solid of a
a favorite architectural element of
one can imagine that a strip of lights is mounted along the 6" shelf.
Light will reflect off the elliptical surface above and hopefully give
an effect similar to the original ceiling.
Simpler curves mean standard wall board can be used.
Doing only the border means we can use material that would be wasted
anyhow and requires less height to make steep reflective surfaces near
the light source.
This steepness is augmented by a short vertical section between the
shelf and the start of the elliptical truss.
We are saving a bit more by making the ¼
ellipse trusses ourselves.
The disadvantage of the scheme is that the elliptical borders will come
together in seams at the corners of the opening,
which will be noticeable and interfere with the visual effect.
There are also problems figuring out how the elliptical trusses
intersect at these corners.
The solution turns out to be simple,
but is a bit complicated to describe;
we may wind up creating a model for the carpenters to work from.
Radon Saga –
we have managed to keep the radon levels upstairs below 4.0pCi/L.
Gary installed a timer
on the downstairs Bath exhaust fan so it would run periodically
throughout the day.
The rationale for this is that air along the floor downstairs will be
pulled under the Bath door and exhausted to the outdoors before it can
find its way upstairs.
As a test of this hypothesis,
we moved the monitor periodically between the upper and lower levels and
noted substantially higher radon levels in the downstairs Bath.
The downside of this tactic is ongoing cost for electricity and heat
We have noted that the radon level varies with outside conditions.
It goes up with heavy snow and low temperatures;
it goes down with warmer temperatures or high winds.
After the significant snowfall followed by days of highs in the low 20's
at the end of December,
the radon level upstairs climbed to 3.8pCi/L.
By January 04 outside temperatures had risen and the ground immediately
around the Carriage House thawed.
The radon level dropped to 2.9pCi/L.
The Carriage House sits on a mound of several feet of gravel because it
is in a gully and we were concerned about drainage.
The gravel provides a good escape route for the radon when there is not
a lot of snow next to the foundation.
The addition of
on the roof last year means that less snow slides off the roof to
collect around the foundation,
so they serve as a partial solution even though the reason for them is
safety rather than radon.
As an additional measure,
we plan to seal the concrete floor in the Entry and Bath downstairs when
(cost: less than $100).
That should encourage more radon to escape through the gravel and the
Garage floor rather than into our living areas.
This picture was taken from Kelly Canyon Road,
looking North across the Christie's farm buildings.
Bridger Canyon Road is not evident;
it runs between the buildings and our property.
The driveway winds its way up the lower left of the picture and
disappears into the trees.
The Main House is in the exact center of this picture,
obscured by trees.
Those with sharp eyes might see a hint of orange plywood at the exact
center and the pile of dirt at the East end just to the right of center.
Above and left of center is the house where
weather station is located;
to get to that house,
one must go a mile further up Bridger Canyon Road,
then about 3 miles on back roads.