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September, 2007

Movin' on Up
(apologies to The Jeffersons)

This month's theme song is performed by Talisman A Capella. It was originally our theme for December of 2005, but had to be delayed 21 months. The Main House is up and east from the Carriage House, and we can definitely say it "took a whole lotta tryin' just to get up that hill."

September 29 – Our First Snow
(click on picture for a larger view)

On Labor Day, we were enjoying a late lunch in the shade north of the Carriage House when we spotted smoke rising from behind our ridge to the west. A quick phone call to the Papke's (our neighbor about 1 mile west of us) determined that they could not see any fires. We jumped into the car and drove out of the canyon to find that there was a grass fire about 5 miles from us on the other side of the Bridgers. Fortunately, several volunteer fire departments and aerial units responded quickly and got it under control before it could reach the forest.

In the discussions below, the numbers in parentheses are links to the floor plan. Clicking on a numbered link takes one to the plan, and the corresponding number on the plan indicates where and in what direction the photo under discussion was taken.

September 7 was a very busy day. We scheduled several furniture deliveries and had friends volunteer to come up and help move things from the Carriage House and our storage unit. By evening, the Main House had been transformed from bare rooms to a semblance of livability. One neighbor brought some take and bake pizza to try out our new ovens, and we supplied beer, wine and champagne to host a small party (1).

High priority was to eliminate the mice that had taken up residence during construction. One night we caught nine mice in one multiple-catch trap. Eight more obliged us by climbing into a bucket of water and drowning; we don't know how they got into the bucket. Soon we were not seeing signs of mice, but we left the traps around just in case.

We left windows open to clear out the formaldehyde from the new carpet and furniture, but it got chilly enough one morning that we decided to close the windows and check out the fireplace (2).

The weekend after we moved was the canyon garage sale. Cruising the canyon to people's homes is impractical, so everyone brings their sale items to a central location (about a mile from us). While we were happy to see most of the things we had packed away three or more years ago, the sale was an opportunity to get rid of many things we no longer needed. Proceeds of the sale went to the volunteer fire department. We helped out by topping off our trailer with things that were not sold and hauling them to the dump.

By September 12, landscaping was well under way on the north side of the house. We have selected native species with low water requirements. Timber planks and beams at bottom are leftovers from construction that will be used in the landscaping.

The wind shifted direction and smog from a distant forest fire returned. Air was so bad that some people's smoke detectors went off when they left windows open. We're glad to have air-to-air exchange units with filters to keep the air fresh in the Main House at these times.

Mid-September is the time for the Parade of Homes, where owners and contractors show off the year's production of multi-million dollar homes in Bozeman (we were not in it). The counter to this is the Parade of Sheds, which shows off the Bohemian side of Bozeman (we were not in it).

The completed balustrade at the South Patio (3) should keep the insurance company happy – and make Pauline comfortable about standing near the edge. The balusters are twisted square posts to match the balusters in the Stair. One workman noted that the stone pillars, iron railing and scenery reminded him of Yellowstone Park.

In late September, Gary's mother Wanda drove from Seattle to visit and brought rainy weather with her. At right (4), she visits with grandson Arthur over breakfast at the Kitchen island. The white on the trees in the far distance is snow. The leaves are changing color and elk are bugling across the canyon.

The landscaping we hoped to have done this Fall is mostly in place, including seeding areas that are to be native grass. The seed must have some time to germinate and establish itself before the weather gets too cold, so we hope there is a bit more warm weather to come.

Our last guest of the month was Jon Nakamatsu who took a break from practicing for an appearance with the Bozeman Symphony to have lunch with us. Jon was a German teacher who taught one of Pauline's sons. They have kept in touch since he won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and began touring the concert circuit.

Future Reports

Now that we have moved into the Main House, we enter a new phase of our life in Montana. After so much work to build a home, we might suffer from a form of post-partum depression. For treatment, we plan to make fewer excuses not to go skiing in the Winter and take more time to sight-see the rest of the year. Furthermore, there are still many projects to keep us busy taking care of the property and now we have a caretaker couple to help us with those projects. The reports that began intermittently exactly 5 years ago have evolved into regular monthly publications and should now evolve yet again to reflect the new circumstances. Our current thinking is that we will begin to issue reports on a quarterly basis, with occasional reports when there are especially noteworthy events.

Now – we're off to Mexico for the wedding of Pauline's middle son Dan.

Be sure to check out the Main House Progress

Parting Shot
(Mostly) Finished!

Click on picture for a larger view

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