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April, 2007

Home Again

We returned from England, Wales and the Czech Republic very late on April 12 after a 2½ week absence. Though we experienced unseasonably warm, sunny weather on our trip, there was a significant cold spell in Bozeman and a snow storm that required hiring a snow plow to clear the driveway before work could continue.

The work during our absence did not result in a great deal of visible progress; at this stage of the construction one has to look at the details to see what progress has been made. Some of those details included: completion of rough in for electrical and plumbing, exterior trim for the windows, framing the entry door, rough in for the fire suppression system, starting the framing for the fireplace, flues for the fireplace, and many other less obvious details. A welcome task completed during our absence was cleaning the timbers; the results can be seen at right and are most obvious when compared to the previous state of the timbers. They should look even better once the clear finish is applied.

Our weekend jet lag recovery program included doing a comprehensive cleaning in preparation for the insulation and drywall, a careful walk-through to inspect the areas to be sprayed, and a very detailed photography session to document the infrastructure that would soon be hidden.

During the week of the 16th, numerous details were wrapped up and the insulation crew sprayed the inside of the exterior walls. The spray foams up and dries quickly to form an airtight layer of highly efficient insulation. Since there is no attic above the Great Room, its ceiling was sprayed. In the picture at left, the yellow foam insulation can be seen between the ceiling trusses. Fiberglass bats will be added to increase the R value, then the drywall crew will start. Once the drywall is in, insulation will be added above the other ceilings.

Now that Spring is here, our woodpecker friend has returned and has discovered the roof of the Main House. He has not forgotten the Carriage House, however, and seems to divide his time between the two roofs. This is his 3rd year with us. Fortunately, he limits his activities to the roof and does no apparent damage.

April has been unusually dry this year. The only wet spells have been the snow that fell while we were away (10" of wet snow) and another snow fall the week of the 16th (5" of wet snow). Both melted quickly. The ground is so dry that the mud only lasted a couple of days after the snow was gone. The dry weather meant that we could dig back the dirt and connect new layers of styrofoam and rubber into the old system that protects the Garage roof (see photo at right). Also pictured is the load of 12' by 4' wall board that will be installed starting the week of the 30th.

The state of employment in Bozeman is such that the last two times we tried to get day laborers to do some heavy unskilled work, the workers the agency promised never showed up. Thus, Gary and Pauline wound up installing shear walls, moving heavy pieces out of the way to prepare for dry wall, and shovelling dirt off the Garage roof to clear the area as mentioned above. We wondered where the illegal aliens are when you need them. Apparently, they all have jobs down at Big Sky, while "legals" have better paying jobs at the Yellowstone Club.

Parting Shot
Going to the Dump

(click on picture for a larger view)
It's a 60 mile round trip to the dump, driving with a gross weight of 7 tons. This relatively heavy load cost $90 including gas, which is what the monthly rental cost of a dumpster would be if we hired a company to do this. Add to that several hundred dollars every time they haul it and our little dump trailer looks like a bargain.

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