August 2005

It's finally started to rain, after a very dry summer. The fire danger is still listed as "extreme" at the Forest Service sign right before the turnoff into the forest - a few days of rain may wet the ground, but the trees are still bone dry on the inside. The site was pretty soupy when we there Friday, August 12, owing to very heavy rains, even flash flooding, the night before. The road, which had suffered several washouts two summers ago, was as bad as we've ever seen it. The road was buried in debris where Corral Canyon emptied across the road. Logs up to 12" diameter were scattered around, along with lots of brush and a foot or two of sand.

The washout at the southern end of the ranch lost a couple of more feet in the recent rain, and is now undercut by a couple of feet. The oil company, which is responsible for road maintenance, never bothered to clear the culverts on the upstream side after the first washout. Their notion of repair was to plant a couple of yellow hazard warning signs. They now have a much bigger job ahead of themselves, and it's their own doing.


The exterior framing is complete, the sheathing is up, and the housewrap is on. The housewrap (Tyvek brand, in case it's not painfully obvious) serves as a weather-proof barrier under the final metal siding, giving an additional layer of protection to the plywood.


What to do on a cold, rainy afternoon in the woods? Just step indoors and play a game of scrabble. Even with a cloudy sky, this picture didn't require a flash indoors. It's going to be a very bright house, indeed.


Sunday morning was clear, even if the ground was a bit soggy. Elaine's niece Bonnie has had lots of experience riding horses, so she was nominated to be the first person to ride Zope at the ranch. We weren't going to let the lack of a saddle (or bridle) get in our way, especially since none of us was getting on the horse.  Bonnie made a brief circuit of the northern end of the pasture, then dismounted.


The metal is all on and the window frames are going in. The guest suite (left) has a large window that reaches from the sill to the roof (with many "lites" or panes, to the uninitiated.) The sewing room window on the right makes a right angle turn in the middle of the opening in the rammed earth wall. The corner will be glass-to-glass - no mullion.


This back view focuses on the master bedroom, with it's 14' window.