Keeping Sting from running through these Fields Of Gold takes a full time intern. C’mon buddy, we got rattlesnakes here. No, snakes can’t tell you do Yoga; or if they can they’ll just bite harder.
The new water trough is protected yet accessible; the cows wend their way through the corral soon enough.
Up in a high pasture, Dave has added in the double sized water tank. The whole area needed grading and de-swamping, as the cattle had smashed the old tank creating a true watering hole.
The spring water rises here at the springbox, then flows via underground pipe to the trough.
Water flows in and out from within the trough. The inlet is the near pvc, and the outlet opposite and spills from underground down below (can be seen in the first image). The wet everywhere is partly things drying out still, and from a day of rain.
I guess I never took a finish shot, so here we are with one little tooth of tile missing yet.
The seamless inner surround of the window is pvc board and completely impervious to water. The upper window framing is waterproof injection formed poly resin for indoor/outdoor.
Dropping from the window to the bathtub as seamlessly as possible. This tub may find itself listed as an Elder Trap, aesthetic before safety I always say.
As we were leaving I last minute remembered to put the storm window back in place for winter. The bit of new windowsill is visible outside the window. It is juust thicker than than board it replaced, and I discovered that the storm window can no longer fit. Three corners of the window can fit, but never a fourth. This will take tools that are already packed deep in the truck, and we are on our way out the door…the house probably won’t notice.
Bucolic. Sure. Maybe. Let’s inspect the big willow trunks…
Are trees supposed to be see-through like that?
The split is visibly in the tree at right, heading toward the prone position of the one tented over the creek. This and another big willow lowering toward the power line and potentially crushing the tool shed are on my radar…
Concrete is patched.
The new refurbishment of the old system has seen its first big rain, and worked perfectly- directing water to the lower yard. Bonus, the lighter media in front of the door seems to glow in starlight- which helps when coming in from stargazing.
Last day is for cleaning/fixing Bluebird houses. This hawk flew along with us and perched on poles ahead, then flew and perched- E tried to get a picture of him perching, but no luck.
Remains of a Tree Swallow nest. They use the bird boxes as well, and are also a protected species.
The deer are in line with a bird house along the fence line.
Fall roundup for meds and sorting.
The neighbors move a portion of their herd up the road after we’re all corral’d up.
The day runs in reverse.
3 cowgirls on herd and a daddy-daughter up in the lead.
Tile is grouted and curing for a few days before sealing.
Next comes the window seal / trim, and final bit of tiling.
Meanwhile, concrete. The corner ate nearly all my bags. Another day of set before I pull the forms, and I’ll do the curve at far R and maybe a bit in front of the kitchen door.
Leveling it up with a scrim board.
The corral water trough hasn’t held water since spring. Time for a fix.
Dried out and rusted out.
Dave and I disconnect the drainage.
Bobcat slides the old trough out of position.
Time to level and build up a footing for the new tank.
The new tank is much bigger (800 gallon), rectangular, and made of heavy fiberglass. No more rusting out.
More dirt to level out both sides of the steep corral.
Slid into place, but will need posts driven around it and cross-beams added.
The water line is extended to reach the middle, next Dave puts in the drain. Then the water line is opened from its valve under the house (I surprised the packrat- she is huge! and reset her trap and blocked off her latest access), and water blasts in from the springbox far up the hill. The same water source as the sprinklers for the yard. The fiberglass tank was a chilly footbath when the springbox was empty, it will be full by morning. Dave will return to finish this out, and then head over the hill to install a much bigger (1200 gallon) fiberglasss round tank, replacing a steel tank he placed last year that the cattle promptly destroyed. The critters are putting pressure on all sources of water…
The yard lost water pressure back in July. I thought it was because the springbox splitter up the hill had been turned a bit too far to the cattle trough, but we were heading back to SLC so that was fine. Turns out, that wasn’t it.
Last fall we fixed both spring lines to the house/yard/corral, putting in 50′ of new pex line for each spring after pulling out old pin-holed metal line that had rusted out in the marsh below the house spring. We fit the pex to good metal line where the ground was dry. I discovered that 30 feet beyond the new pex was a pinhole section in the drainage near the road.
Last year’s pex line ends up here somewhere…
While I drove to Great Falls for new pex line, Dave and Ike dug out along the metal pipe looking for a solid section- we all hoped the line was still good as it headed under the county road. It was!
Always bring a section of pipe to the store. I told the hose guy I needed a 3/4 inch interior diameter(ID). He pulled it down and I said it looked small, and maybe it was a 3/4 outside diameter- he gave a little lecture on how all measurements are ID. Everything looked small, the pipe, the connectors- he assured me it was just an issue of a different manufacturer (Sharkbite v Pex). I told him it was another 80 mile drive if he was wrong- On the highway out of town I skidded into a turnaround, knowing I should have ignored the hose guy. Yarg! We’ll make it work…?
We made it work. All buried, and the helpers/bobcat went home. E and I 4-wheeered up to the springbox and I pulled off the filter I’d installed last year. At the connection to the underground tube a wad of tiny roots had formed a blockage. This was the final fix for full pressure. I headed back down and opened up the full pipe valve (added to let mice pass) and I let the entire sprinbox empty (lots of once thirsty dead mice had sunk to the bottom, as the world has dried up)- down at the yard a macabre splash-zone formed as I headed back up to refit things at the top and pick up E.
The old concrete at the kitchen needs some help. A clear old slab underlays the shattering top slab.
The top slab was poured with an inserted steel rain gutter (packed solid with dirt and long forgotten) that makes a 90 degree elbow to where another run of steel gutter (missing- a weed garden for as long as I can remember) would direct water down the hill in the back yard.
I need more concrete, and a long run of drainpipe. The record high pressure dome is baking the West and bad smoke arrives along with the heat. This can wait; I have a planned project inside where it’s cool and the d.i.y. electrostatic filter-fan keeps the air clear.
The kitchen table is filling up with tools again…the Feller must be onto another little improvement.
It took awhile to suss out the issue even with the power of Lasers. The tub is level end to end, but not side to side.
Once Nora explained things I got on to creating a first layer of tiles at level. This layer is then set and left to cure overnight, so the remaining tile can build upward.
The tiles are set, and will cure out. Next comes grout.
When I frame in the window I’ll resolve the missing top rail bits.
The yard baked for six weeks since our July trip. It was much too dry to mow when we arrived. I’ve been watering the entire yard since we restored the line, through the terrible heat & wind & 8% humidity. Now mowed short for winter.
The front yard was crispy. It recovered as best it could. The terrible megadrought late-season weeks-long high-pressure-dome is done, the smoke cleared out, it even rained a bit this afternoon, and will drop into the 30’s tonight. Fire danger is off the charts. The afternoon rain was hard enough to put up the mower for tomorrow.
In SLC it has been over 100 degrees for 10 days, hitting 107 yesterday (it was 90 here)- same record high temp there as our drive home in July. This sets a new record number of consecutive days over 100 for Salt Lake. Since records began in SLC, there have been 3 September days to reach 100. The megadrought is crushing it!
Cement board tub-surround topped with greenboard, and drywall for the rest.
Cement board over last winter’s freeze-fix under the sink. I caulked the seams rather than mud them, for sanity mostly.
Prior to drywall it is smart to level out all the old beams by planing up the beams through addition or subtraction. This lets the drywall go up flat. A less optimal option is to float plaster and take up the difference. That’s what I’m going with.
It took awhile to overcome the old header board (that I’d left in place even though I’d pulled the ceiling) which was a bit proud, and an added anchor to the floated corner at the door (unseen here). All done in 20 minute sanding plaster, and for the final skim coat I’d brought up premix media from the SLC shop drywalling. I forgot that I’d brought it, but discovered it at the last.
I added rubberized window seal between the beams and the drywall, allowing some give.
Then it was on to painting. Just the drywall seal for now. I also experimented with covering the ceiling media in layers of paint, keeping clear of the edges / wooden beams. It worked well, so I may paint a fresh panel before cutting it, then put it up over the original layer. This would keep the beams clean and double the ceiling insulation as well.
The tub surround needs a special waterproof sealant, and about twice as much tile as I have around. The tile I have is for the woodstove and heat battery, which I’ve never had the time to put up- so I was going to use it here. Good thing it wasn’t enough media, as this isn’t where it goes anyway. I’ll hit the tile stores in SLC to find something nice.
The base of the walls around the house have a steel footing layed up with the concrete, except for this run of wall from the kitchen door and back through the bathroom. Critter highway. It is cleaned out, and a layer of the blue breathing media is pressed in then capped with wire stucco mesh.
This corner had no gutter for more than 30 years, and the concrete broke up with freeze/thaw. The concrete issues will have to wait, but I can reseal the exposed subfloor and corner beam.
Mudded up with mortar mix, similar to redux on the ice house a few years back (I wiped the wall down after the photo…)
No more access, so the new work inside should stay clean and clear.
Still a storm every night, but with just a breath of rain. Cooling us off from hitting the low 90’s, which is pretty hot for up here.
The next morning we drive home into a long headwind that spins up to oven temps of 107 in Idaho and into Utah. The little truck could only hold 70mph with the A/C on without overheating (the radiator fluid hasn’t been changed out in years…). I was worried about getting over Malad summit, but a rainstorm met us at the foot of the grade and swept us over the top and back into the heat. As we neared SLC a giant outflow hoodoo wall of dust enveloped us in a howling twilight, and soon met the driving rain of the monsoon system. We were home with a half hour of stormy driving, and temperatures had dropped to 80, falling to 70 by dawn.
Nora lets us know the storm will arrive after dark, when everyone’s down for the night. She gets us up so we can appreciate her storm forecasting- and get her a pill.
The cats have taken to leaving mice up off the floor. Here is a spent little plaything on a chair.
Here’s a little Eeker on a coffee table.
Played out. Xander ate the arm off another played out playmate, and he was left on the floor. Only the display worthy kills are elevated.
The bathroom window will eat an entire day. I have cut away rot till I reach good wood. This same leak was causing problems a few posts back, with the sill plate fix and the new 2×4’s behind the tub. The window sill was bad enough that I removed it.
A start to the fixes- a few boards fit to fill the gaps, and some poly glue to seal things up.
This is the old and new window sill plate. The new plate is from the same run of treated lumber that I sistered the lower sill plate with, and there wasn’t enough left to make the part- unless I glued in a part. An 8pm fix for clamping overnight and installation the next day.
1950 was a big summer for the house. My dad had told me they got electricity in 1950, and I’d always thought he meant in the 1950’s- but this is the second place in the house I’ve found a “fix” of summer of 1950 newspaper stuffed in a wall. In this instance, it was under the window sill.
With the drop ceiling removed I insulated up against the upstairs floorboards.
The bays get “bumped out” to fit deeper insulation. Some with 2×2 (actual of 1.5×1.5) and some with runs of 1.5″ insulation.
The moonrise was huge, and of course, looks tiny in a picture. No one can explain how that one works, which is a nice mystery.
R16 rockwool is laid up.
Into the afternoon and evening the cement board surround goes up.
Things are getting tidy-er.
Since the window frame needed so much help, and I had to pull the lower window, I took the opportunity to free the seized upper window. When I make a screen for the whole bay we’ll be able to open both windows, which creates its own convection to air the room. Keen!
The remodel on the bathroom was all about replacing fixtures, opening/refinishig the window, removing the old linoleum and finishing the wood floor, painting, then hanging artwork. Since then a Feller thought has been haranguing Danger.
Padded blanket in the tub, towel racks / artwork / curtains removed, plastic over the sink and toilet, and impact paper on the floor. Uh oh.
This does a lot, but also nothing- as the everything goes everywhere.
Terrestrial space suit for super team-up of DangerFeller.
Dividing the walls that will stay from the walls that will go.
No insulation here. Most had about 3 feet full from the bottom, then a tangle at the corner/ceiling. And I’m using the term insulation, but I mean fiberglassed mouse poo and seed caches.
Paperboard sandwich lathe material (entire room) with swan border, and black adhesive backing for plastic tile board that was overlaid.
The ambience of critter is overwhelming.
Three 50 gallon contractor garbage bags of just fiberglassed poo.
It looks tidy, but the smell is relentless.
See the sparkles below the window- all the bays from the window down are filled with Vermiculite, mined in Libby Montana in this era, along with asbestos. So hazmat suit is pulling double duty, at least.
If you look up, DangerFeller pulled the ceiling as well. Then wire-wheeled it “clean”.
One morning it was misty- pea soup then lifting like this, then rolling back in again.
Triple digits in SLC are a long way away.
The lumber order for the 1920’s edition in under the name Genevieve Gerhart.
The order is being sent to Monarch, Montana.
Kinda precise gridding for some aspect of framing…?
Our hottest day of 80 degrees spawned some massive cumulonimbus storms and wiped out all the flowers with a long intense pulse of hail.
I like the sideways hail vaulting from the roofs to form a crucible along the path.
The creek flowed for the first time this year, but just to about here.
Things have cooled off considerably.
Big marble stingers.
The sudden cold generated mists.
DangerFeller has found a trouble spot.
The window had a leak (fixed 10 years ago) that dropped down to the sill plate.
Standing in the tub looking down from the window to the old cinder block- after the rotten section is removed.
DangerFeller awoke at 4am grappling with the inevitability of this little jerb within the larger jerb.
A bit out of focus down there, but note the new treated board nicely married with the unrotten original board.
Here is the other end, looking down 18 or 20 inches. Next I’ll lay in a treated 2X4 on top and lock both the old and the new to the topping board with screws.
Next I add support legs to the old framing, and add the center board, which is on center-16 for drywall. (Oh, and also all the “breathing media” in blue). It replaces a board that had been cut into to hold a recessed soap tray: while forming the space for the tray the carpenter had dropped his chisel into the vermiculite (which is like loose foam), and the board was subsequently shattered from his nice bottom cut all the way to the top. His board was scribed to nearly match the angle of the window- I’m going another route…
Old houses need to breath. This old gal has lots of water staining in various places tracking along ceiling supports, down the walls, and of course the worst is under the window.
The first three bays from the door has my old 10 mil remains, and the nearest bay has the new6 mil: about half as thick, so more room for insulation.
AL foam panel goes up next to form an air/vapor barrier, creating seamless envelope.
The open spot below the window is so DangerFeller can fix the window’s remaining problem area from its long ago leaking.
The last step for the panel is spray foaming all the edges, which happened way to late in the day for pictures. Demo of walls was Monday, ceiling demo was Tues, cleaning and prepping was Wed, and today was blue breathing and foam/Al vapor barrier for the walls.
Night time thunderstorm with rain and the poppies begin to bloom.
This bunch must be anticipating tonight’s storm.
Purple Bearded Iris and purple Columbine.
Boulder, Colorado in Montana: Shazbat variety.
Ohio blooming in Montana.
A proto iris and a bearded iris, for taxonomic comparison. The skinny yellow iris were split from our pond in Coatsville last year (?), and the purple was also from SLC original to the house’ 1940’s owner- in a giant root bound mass that would put up just a few blooms. Now they are the entire South bed along the ice house, in the front bed, and up on the hillside bed (and still in SLC as well).
Boulder, Colorado blooming in Montana. The Nanoo Nanoo variety.
Lilacs have a few blooms remaining.
Original to the ranch butter and cream iris with some of the original to Coatsville purple.
Butter and Cream being showy.
Matching columbine volunteered among the P & C iris.
These giant white iris had 4 rhizomes among the SLC purple- all blooming now. They hadn’t bloomed in our 10 years at the house, out in their root bound purple patch.
Another emergent: micro clover is finally emerging. I spread it into the lawn last summer in a big way, and a bit more this spring. It will help revitalize tough patches like this, bring nitrogen into the soil for the grass, push out weeds, and amp up the drought tolerance.
After last summer’s springbox waterline fixes to the yard and house, I added this inline high-pressure filter for the yard. Now every little thing that slips past the cage up at the top of the line doesn’t jam up the sprinkler heads.
I also built this new high footing for the water bird.
The water bird is joined by this super-jet, with a 50′ range and 360 degree rotation- so it waters a 100 foot circle, and can even water from the front yard over the hedge and into the back poppy patch.
Missing the holiday traffic while finding a free day in E’s schedule meant a Tuesday departure, discovered on Monday; but we were out the door about 8am. Whelp, two acres of lawn are always growing so we can’t get there soon enough… a front porch sunset thunderstorm with double-rainbow washed away the long drive.
The butter & cream Iris were my grandmother’s- their new bed is a few years old now and they have gone from rootbound & nearly played out to filling out the new expanded porch bed with 100 blooms.
The tree swallows were getting pushed by the wren in May, so they built a mud nest on top of their bird house to foil her; then they moved back into the house.
The lilac bushes are 12 feet tall and 100 feet away, for scale.
If you wonder how long it takes to mow the lawn, then we need to discuss the concept of time.
The lawn all headed out and so I go with the mulching option so the lawn can reseed itself (my free mower from a few years back has a mulching blade!).
The big iris bed was in the last pic, just way down there… needs weeding, as always: but in full bloom! Back in SLC the Iris are long done and I even split a few overgrown spots to give away and in trade for other fancy Iris (Orange!).
The flowers have filled back after the ice-house redo of fall 2020.
While Feller’n the yard, E rounds the house asking, “Is this somebody’s foot?”. We determine it is not a “lucky rabbit” foot, but may be a “lucky” rabbit-foot.
3 mice (2 pictured) overnight on our arrival, and none since.
Feller project: put an exhaust fan in the upstairs window. Specialty widgets ordered in SLC and brought up: a> small window fan. b> storm window arms. This’ll be a cinch (many hours later…)
See how the arm ends in a little wooden nub on the storm window. That really didn’t want to happen, and couldn’t happen without that; but we got there.
The little fan blows air out, aiding the natural convection of the house.
Above the door to the upstairs is now a rectangular air channel. This way the door can remain shut and the hot air at the ceiling will draw right out while drawing in fresh air from all the 7 openable downstairs windows/doors to one of 4 openable upstairs windows. The only openable window was the kitchen screen door prior to Feller’n, so we may have reached maximum Feller’n in air circulation.
Here is it again, with a metal screen on this side.
This foam/foil cap fills the air channel in winter, inserted from downstairs (opposite the screen).
The poppies are just beginning to bloom!
The hummingbirds have arrived!
This hummingbird ate right out of my hand!
We tied a string to it, though Audubon Society says it may be a federal crime…
When E told me she’d never flown a hummingbird before, well, I found some string.
We left our one house guest in the company of the cats, who are consummate entertainers and conversationalists, while we attended to the gardening. Upon our return we discovered a real face-off murder mystery had occurred!
In the gentlemen’s smoking room the fellows were in their favorite chairs. Our clamorous entrance awakened them and they watched just as pictured while we discovered the body at the site this very photograph was taken. They both were, of course, aghast and appalled that such a thing could happen in the room while they fortified themselves with rest. They assured us it was a great mystery, and that our guest had stepped out of the room soon after our departure and they hadn’t seen him again…til now. Mortifying.
Such a devastating murder couldn’t even be mentioned in the company of this young lady. Why, we have seen her entertain both mice and rats. She carries them most gingerly from place to place, as they feign a great fatigue. She doesn’t mind that they will soon stir and leap about in animated conversation with her, then beckon her to carry them again, in their exhaustion. No, she cannot be told of the terrible deed that happened just outside her private room.
The whole neighborhood was abuzz with the gruesome deed, and many gathered to gossip. I hope we don’t become known as the “murder house”!
Storms begin to roll across the high valley.
The sun declines as the clouds build.
The winds pick up and the clouds race outward.
The storm front arrives with lightning and thunder, then long awaited rain closed with a double rainbow at sunset.
The entire second floor’s original footprint of the house has reached Tin-Woodsman level.
That must be the door to the Tin Woodsman’s empty heart.
If the Tin Woodsman had a vision of The Singularity, it resides here.
From the pink & jiffy pop room, looking to the remaining 16 feet of the original ranch house.
Wavy old panels. I’ve already removed the kickboard.
I peel a line with my j-bar, as the seams are fastidiously nailed- and this way I can pry the panels free.
All kinds of ranch weird was trapped behind the panels. I wore a head sock, N95 respirator, goggles, gloves, heavy shirt, jeans, boots; and all were blackened and hazed with fiberglass.
Cobwebs on the wall and nasty on the floor.
I throw all the panel out the window of the pink bedroom, and wagon it to the garage.
The floor gets swept and the wall/ceiling shopvac-ed.
Next I pull all the zillions of tack-nails that held the wall panel.
Then I spray foam all the seams between the planks, then cut the foam.
Now I can hit every structural nail with the framing hammer, then drill in a passel of tightening screws.
Then the 2 inch AL faced foam panel goes in. I also foam paneled the door to my dad’s childhood bedroom- it is the biggest room in the house, the size of the kitchen, bath, laundry.
The circle on the floor is the original stovepipe passage- I marked the corresponding hole on the ceiling (barely discernible here). I put the camera up in the little crawlspace/attic; about an inch or less of old blown insulation remaining up there (mixed with mouse poo).
I used lots more screws/washers this time, and will add more in pink jiffy pop as well.
Time to foam the gaps.
Foaming the gaps.
Keeping the light hardware tidy, yet sealed up.
This is where 3 planes of roof meet, and prior to the steel roof, was a leaky problem. I pulled the water ruined panels from the stairwell as well, across from this winter’s “magic door” fix that runs up this portion, through the room above, and on up to the roof. Enough birthday fun for one day- I’ll finish it out tomorrow.