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Long Weekend

May 31, 2011

Despite promises of rain, thunderstorms and flooding, we were able to spend most of the weekend out working at the property. I found an old wooden bench in the barn, and we put it in the shed for when the rain does come. In Montana there is a saying that “if you don’t like the weather wait five minutes,” and that was the way the weekend went.

Wild turkey nest

While I’m glad that so much is happening at the property, it was unexpectedly upsetting to see how torn up it has gotten over the last week. The ground is muddy and we don’t have a driveway, so all of the big equipment has left the property rutted and torn up. People have had to start driving across the fields which just spreads the desctruction. I know that this place was never pristine – it isn’t even a very nice field of orchard grass – but it still is upsetting to see your “home” ripped up. The trade off is that we have a well and an (almost) septic system).

I had a chance to rototill a garden (!), but the main focus of the weekend was taking apart the old house. As you may recall, our excavator tipped the house over last weekend. Mr. B and I have been hand demolishing the place, sorting out good wood from bad, trash from steel or rubber, and trying to avoid massive and creepy piles of mouse poop.

We’ve made great progress in just three days. The house is stripped down to the ground floor. Of course, to me, it still feels like everything is going very slowly. It also feels like we haven’t been very productive because the house has expanded as we make more piles. We originally thought that we would be able to build our house somewhere else on the property and deal with this place later, so I didn’t spend much time researching costs for demolition. To have one of the reclaimed lumber places do the work costs a lot though, so this is our best option now.

Steel for recycling

The most time consuming part of the demolition processes isn’t sorting out the wood but dealing with all of the stuff. The previous owners stashed 30 years of stuff in the house, and there is the potential that the owners before that left a lot in the building as well. Old sinks, water heaters, heaters, bottles, magazine racks, masseuse chars, chairs with ripped up upholstery, dressers, tricycles, brooms and mops, a strangely high number of very heavy ceiling lights, mall security gates, tires, buckets, car hoods. It all has to get removed from the house and stacked until we get a dumpster out to the property.

The house is was an old log cabin and a lot of the wood is still in great shape. Mr. B and I are saving the old lumber and rafters to sell and use. We’d like to use as much of it as possible on the property, especially in visible places, to keep the history around. We’ve heard that there are pictures of the property back when people still lived here, and one of our neighbors thinks it used to be an old lumber camp. The old barn on the property has three milking stalls in it, so whoever lived here kept cows. It’s a shame that the buildings have been so poorly cared for and how only good for lumber for projects.

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