Friday, December 28, 2007

Stripping Footing Forms

After the fun we had pouring the footings we took a few days off. We covered everything up the day we poured so we figured we would uncover and strip forms. Once again, My father and father-in-law were a big help.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Pouring Footings--Day from Hell Starts

There are a few days in a guys life that you fondly refer to as "the day from hell". This was one of them. We knew ahead of time that it was going to be interesting but when we looked at the thermometer and saw 10 degrees it just confirmed our suspicions. Thankfully I had enough people there to get things going. We called Fisher Sand and Gravel and had them add some extra Hi-Early to the mix to help with the cold and got rolling. When the pump showed up we got to work. As with most inexperienced crews, the first 60' of footings were a LOT OF WORK. Holy cow it was hard on us moving the mud twice. We got the hang of it pretty quickly though. I had to run the pump for about 50', then stop and go screed the footings while Kelly, Butch, Lonnie, and Lonnie's friend would shovel the excess flat, pick up the rebar, and mag the corners. Then we would start all over and do it again. 18 yards later we were done pouring. Then we had to set the vertical rebar. Kelly tool the last picture and as you might notice, it was getting dark. And we still had to cover everything back up!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Finishing Footing Forms

We got the footing forms finished up and staked into place. Butch was a real slave driver but thankfully he let us take lunch. Then the real fun started. My father and Butch got involved when I broke out the laser level. Both ex-surveyor/engineer/supervisor types the exchanges became heated. Set grade up 2, down 1, where's the high spot....What ARE YOU THINKING???? It was funny in the end but the pictures caught the moment pretty well. The sunset was a very nice end to the day.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Footing forms and finish of excavation

Once again the Kelly boys made the dirt fly. While I was getting ready to set footing forms, Bernie dug in both the cistern (fresh water) and the septic piping and set them to grade. I was able to get the upper part of the footing forms mostly built as Bernie switched to digging the trench for the lower footings. The footings in the front had to be set into a trench to keep them below the frost line.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

December 8th--Ground Breaking 2

December 8th--Ground Breaking

It was a good day. Progress at site, Finally. I showed up with my Father-In-Law (Butch) in tow along with a load of insulated concrete forms (, 2x6 footing forms, rebar, and $1300 worth of frost blankets. Mark and Bernie Kelly were already there. They are a bit of a success story too. Both of them worked underground at Stillwater Mine. I had the good fortune of starting my underground carreer with both of them and I feel that I owe a lot to them for keeping me alive for that critical first year. Now to get the chance to work with them in the sunlight is a real treat. They are a real class act.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Getting it right--Site Survey--

Once the land purchase was complete we had to decide what to build. Kelly and I finally settled on a "Grand Montana" package from Paramount Log homes. Ray and Jody own and run Paramount and we have been extremely happy with the amount of help they have given us. We made some changes to the floor plans and settled on the footprint of the building so we could get going.

Once we had picked the floor plan and package, we spent about 2 months getting estimates on everything from insulation to kitchen cabinets. We then sat down with the banker and got the ball rolling. Once that was complete, it was time to break ground but before that could happen we needed to verify the property line locations so that we could satisfy the setback requirements. Below are pictures from those two days. Lucky for me, My father is a surveyor and I have done a bit myself. With the help of a Registered Land Surveyor we were able to locate the corners and stake the lines. We would have been done a little sooner but the Mule deer were distracting us from the task at hand.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

20 Acres--The lay of the land

When the family decided to move back to Montana from Alaska, we had only one thing in mind. Our own piece of Montana. We discovered this parcel through our Realtor, Rhianna. She listened to what we wanted and went searching. At first, this particular chunk of ground was not very appealing but we soon discovered that once you drove away from the access road, the views of the Beartooth's and the Priors were breathtaking. Then we found that we could also see the mighty Yellowstone River, we were sold.