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August, 2007

10 — 9 — 8 —
7 days left until we move in.

This month we upgraded our report generation tools with a new feature: if you click on the small pictures you can see the larger version of the picture with the associated text underneath. We hope this makes it easier to match the words to the details of the pictures.

Fire season is upon us. Although there are no fires threatening us directly, smoke from fires is an issue. The web site allows people to track fire status across the entire United States. They seem to have periodic trouble with so the following links may not always work:
  • Montana Fires
  • During July's hot weather, Gary busied himself by designing and building a rustic coffee table from the same wood used to make picture frames last year. This will reside in the less formal downstairs area of the Main House. Construction of matching end tables went on hold while Gary worked on trim for the downstairs and regrading of the area surrounding the house. Meanwhile, Pauline has continued making curtains and quilts for the Main House. She also bakes a treat for the workmen at least once a week (she got ice cream on a couple of very hot days). When we finish moving in, we will try to get photos of our handiwork in situ.

    The hot weather of July abated the first week of August, just in time for the annual Sweet Pea Festival. This year we managed to avoid being involved in the parade (unlike 2006 and 2005) and limited our activity to attending an open air evening concert.

    On 14 August the first coat of finish was put on the oak flooring. The accompanying picture is looking NW across the Dining Room from the passage to the Kitchen. Blue tape is stretched across entry points to warn people not to walk on the fresh finish. In the distance just right of center is the Stairway and Gun Wall. To the right are the Entry Foyer and Entry. Wires in the floor are for electrical outlets. Wires hanging around the beams in the Great Room are for lights.

    On 15 August the second of three coats of finish was applied to the oak floor. There will be another sanding before the final finish. This picture is taken from the Stairway, in almost exactly the opposite direction as the previous picture. The electricians got in to do a little work between finish coats; one of the lights for the Great Room can be seen to the right of the bragger of the arched beam. The lights are quite small, by design. Baseboard trim is yet to be applied, and the half wall separating the Promenade from the Dining Room needs to be painted and trimmed. The windows are dirty, making haze from forest fires look worse than it actually is; still, we are suffering from the poor air quality and try not to exert ourselves too much.

    By 21 August, smoke from forest fires cleared due to a shift in wind patterns. However, fire season will continue well into September, so a return of the smoke is expected. In the picture at left, finish carpenter Dan takes a break to help maneuver a spark arrestor into place on one of the chimneys. We don't have anything that will generate sparks, but regulations require it anyhow. The top will be covered with metal to match the main roof.

    At the Carriage House, we enjoyed "normal" August weather: highs around 75° and lows around 40° (36° one night). This is great weather for working outdoors. Cooler weather is a signal to bears that they need to start eating for winter. We monitor that by checking the berry bushes as we come up the driveway: they will soon be devoid of fruit. One of the workmen has already spotted a bear on the lower part of the driveway.

    Pauline volunteered to organize the Canyon Picnic this year. Unlike the past several picnics, she opted to keep it simple and tried to get more of the old-timers to come. Some canyonites are members of an accordion orchestra and volunteered the orchestra to play; this was very well received. Plenty of children came as well and there were games for them.

    One of the big events toward the end of the month was the delivery and installation of the Kitchen and Pantry appliances. The work area of the Kitchen is very compact and handy to the Dining Room, but separated from it with a pocket door. The center island can seat four people for informal dining.

    Temperatures warmed into the 80's late in the month and we started to get some smoke from a fire in Ketchum, Idaho. It was not as bad as earlier in the month, though, so we got to appreciate the views through newly washed windows.

    We hired a friend to do backfill and grading around the house so we could start doing the landscaping. He spread the topsoil and placed the large boulders for us, then graciously left the Bobcat for us to use while he worked on another job. This greatly accelerated our landscaping progress and we managed to accomplish much more than we had hoped to. This raised our expectations: now we hope to get the front of the house done before Winter so it should look good next Spring. What appear to be walkways are "stream beds" that drain run-off around the house. They are intended to have a Japanese rock garden appearance, with randomly placed large stones in a bed of small stone.

    There are many other things that are finished, and a thousand small details to go. The remaining big detail is cleaning....

    Be sure to check out the Main House Progress

    Parting Shot
    Daniel Boone works on trim in the SW corner of the Great Room

    (click on picture for a larger view)

    Our plan for the Carriage House has been to use it as housing for a resident caretaker. Many of the workmen have expressed an interest. Now that our move to the Main House is imminent, we asked one if he and his significant other would take the job. We are happy to report that finish carpenter Dan Boone (not related to that Boone) and retired forest service field worker Jennie accepted the offer and plan to move in right away. Their combined skills are a great match for the job description.

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