Just a little fire…

Today was a good day for burning stuff. It’s been raining, and in fact it’s raining as I type this. Montana is a good place to light fires if you are a pyro like Steve and I are. We spent yesterday sorting a big pile of construction scrap: insulation, wood scraps, roof metal, etc. After sorting the stained wood (burn outside) from the unstained wood (burn inside), we ended up with enough scraps to split into kindling which will last for the season, probably. It’s still a construction zone here, but we feel a little better. Steve started burning tree limbs today, from some cottonwoods he cut down to make room for the new front porch. Sammy and Molly tried to help as we moved the big, leaf-colored limbs by chewing on them and making sure they were dead.

Steve and I have had some interesting adventures lighting fires around here, some of which I’ll share as I cover what’s been going on here the last seven years. With 10 acres of land, 7 of which are treed, we have a lot of maintenance to do. (See the “My Life Is Trees” posts) We have numerous old slash piles (piles of tree limbs) yet to burn, so maybe this winter we’ll finally get them all cleaned up.

 

Construction Tales

The big thing in our lives right now is a partial remodel of our house. Mainly, it’s the roof that needs replacing. We’ve had several small leaks that we don’t want to let develop into large leaks. In the process of having the roof replaced, we’ve come across other problems and challenges that has extended a two-month project into a six-month project. Luckily, we have two wonderful builders who are guiding us every step along the way and doing a fantastic job of fixing our house.

“Bitterroot Building”

One of the things we found out after moving to the country is that things work a little differently in the Bitterroot. Things are sometimes built in a more casual manner than one would have hoped. For instance, our roof consisted of tongue-and-groove boards laid over big log purlions (spelling?) with some foam board and tar paper over the T&G, and then a metal roof screwed into some flimsy 1×4’s and into the T&G. That’s it! It’s no wonder we go through 4 cords of firewood a year. When they removed all the insulation, we could see daylight through much of the T&G, which had not been nailed together properly. The board were also pulling up off the big logs, sometimes an inch or more. Yikes!

“Holy Fertilizer, Batgirl!”

This was my dad’s hilarious comment on Facebook after I posted about a big problem that resulted from the roof problems noted above. For eighteen years, bats have been crawling inside the substandard roof construction, having babies and pooping in our roof. The builders found a bat poop superhighway on the ridge line of our roof, 4 inches wide and 5 inches deep. Yuck! I actually had them vacuum it up into a clean bag with the shop-vac, thinking I’d use it as fertilizer for my flower garden, but after some consideration I decided I just didn’t want that poop anywhere near me ever again. As they work on the roof and walk around, little bat turds are raining down in the house. Needless to say, my vacuum is my new best friend….

Murphy’s Law of Construction

Is it really a law or more of a statute? We had the experience of having the builders tear into one part of the project and then finding problems that had to be fixed, and in the process of fixing those problems, they found more problems. For instance, they were going to tear up a small piece of concrete near our front porch to build the new front porch and roof. They asked us if we wanted them to go ahead and do the rest of the front concrete sidewalk, which was buckled (Bitterroot Builder didn’t use rebar in the concrete). We said “Sure!” and then decided to have them tear up the back sidewalk, which was wood, and have them re-do it in concrete. Well….while tearing up the back they found that our propane line into the house was not buried properly, and the tank was leaning, and the line was slowly stretching. Turns out our Bitterroot Builder who built this house set the tank on pieces of T&G! Of course, the wood was rotting after all these years and the tank was slowly falling over. So that necessitated a visit by the propane company, who reset the tank, installed a new line and new regulators and tested the whole thing. In the process of digging the trench for the new line, the builders happened upon our main power line, which was buried without conduit! Worse than that, it was not a grade of wire that was meant to be buried. So, they eventually re-ran our main power line into the crawl space under our house. All this had to happen before they could pour the concrete for the new back sidwalk. And of course, since the front and back were being done, we might as well do the driveway pad, too….

See what I mean?  :-)