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May, 2007

Almost Winter
Still Winter

29 May 2007

When the snow guards were installed on the Main House, we had them installed over the ones at the Carriage House as well because the old ones were not effective enough. Here, it is apparent that the new ones do a good job of holding back Spring snows.

Unlike last month, the progress this month included obvious changes in the appearance of the house inside and out. First, the drywall hangers started on May 2nd. Drywall suddenly makes all the rooms seem smaller, and it means we have to actually use the doors to get from one room to the next instead of slipping between the studs! In addition, the stucco contractor was upset that his scheduled customer was not paying up, so he moved his equipment and started work on our house on May 8th. This meant the stucco work started a month earlier than scheduled. It's not a critical path item, but we're happy to get this final layer of protection in place sooner.

We had two incidents of people trying to get close to the house by driving heavy equipment onto the Garage roof. Fortunately, the roof is very strong. But, we don't want to take any chances; Gary constructed a sign to warn people not to drive into that area. (It says: "NO! Cave-in Danger”.) On May 2nd, we were able to complete the roof membrane system by "shooting" several inches of sand onto the bare rubber and covering that with filter fabric to keep the final layer of top soil from infiltrating. Ultimately, we will cover the roof with native plants and separate it from the parking area with a faux stream bed that will carry away run-off water from the gutter system.

It is good that we finished this task on the 2nd because it rained and snowed that night and all the next day.

When we introduced the redesign of the Master Bedroom ceiling in January, we conjectured that computing the curve for a template for the intersection of the ellipses at the corners was too complex for us – requiring 3 dimensional analytic geometry and a non-linear projection from 3-space to 2-space. The practical solution was to apply a sheet of cardboard to the trusses and scribe it to create a template. When the template was flattened (i.e., non-linearly projected) to 2-space, we were surprised to see that it was mostly straight with just a bit of curvature near the bottom end (see picture at left). The template was used to cut ¼" sheets of drywall, which were moistened to make them more flexible, then they were applied in two layers. Refer to the pictures in the Main House Progress page to see how the drywall pieces fit together.

Pauline left on May 5 for southern California, anticipating the birth of a grandchild (Lauren Mei Zhu Chua, born May 22). So, most of the drywall cleanup was left to Gary. The drywall phase generates a lot of waste because of the desire to minimize the number of seams between drywall sheets. Fewer seams makes for better looking walls and ceilings, reduces the labor for taping and has less potential for problems later on. For this cleanup, a huge advantage our trailer has over a dumpster is that we can back up to a convenient door or window and throw waste directly into the trailer, as opposed to carrying the waste to a dumpster sitting about 80' from the house and throwing it over the high sides. Total drywall waste: 9,400 pounds. The primary ingredient of drywall is gypsum; it is unfortunate that we could not recycle it to a better use as a soil amendment here in the Gallatin Valley.

Now we can compare the Great Room with 20 September 2005. The effect of lowering the Great Room ceiling 2½' is immediately apparent: it makes the bays seem wider. In fact, the fireplace bay and the bay to its right are a little wider; this was done by reducing the hallway width from 4' to 3'. The window to the left of the fireplace was widened to fill its bay (which is the same width as before). The 12" by 15" timber was continued through the fireplace bay, reducing the apparent height of that bay by a bit more than a foot. The plywood around the fireplace will be covered with moss rock. We think the new look has much more pleasing proportions.

As soon as the drywall cleanup was complete, taping began. At left, the Master Bedroom ceiling starts to take shape. Refer to the Main House Progress to see what it looked like before taping. (The blue cylinder is a temporary cover for a fire sprinkler head.) Taping takes about a week, then the painters can start on the inside walls and ceilings, followed by the finish carpenters. Meanwhile, the painters are outside, working around the stucco contractors to treat the exterior beams. These activities should generate far less waste than the drywall, so we won't be making many dump runs over the next months.

After several dry weeks with highs around 70°F and only sporadic rain showers, the week of May 20 started with sustained rain. By the morning of the 22nd, rain turned to snow and it snowed all day. Rain and snow stopped or slowed everything; the stucco and paint contractors could not work outside and the taping crew could only work short days because it was too cool for their work to dry between coats. Taping is a critical path task, and this cost us several days of time towards getting the interior painting started.

Comparing the picture at right with 02 Nov 2005, a major difference is that the Entry slab has not yet been poured. Interior work is closer to where we were in mid-September, 2005.

After a rainy week, it snowed again on the 29th (see picture at top). Many in this region are hoping for continued precipitation, since the snow pack is at record lows – only 30% of normal for the Bridgers. And many are hoping for a hard freeze soon to kill the Spruce Budworm. Weather did not stop the painters, who started on the interior May 30th. We're still waiting for the stucco workers to return; they have had a 10 day vacation.

Be sure to check out the Main House Progress

Parting Shot
Obligatory Flower Picture

May and June is time for pictures of flowers. Here are some lupines on May 29th.

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