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Some Sun, Some Progress

June 13, 2011

We continued the task of throwing away and sorting the old house. Sunday was sunny with scattered (or is it isolated?) showers, alternately hot and cold/rainy. Mr. B and I got an early start to make the most of the not pouring rain.

Redneck solutions

Because the old house is up on a hill, there is a steep slope between the trash piles and the dumpster. The dumpster is also very tall, and after about an hour of throwing away relatively light trash last week, I told Mr. B we needed some sort of bridge to reduce walking and the danger of my accidently dropping something heavy on my head while trying to throw it away. Mr. B (as usual) responded with a simple solution – a bridge made out of pieces of the old house. This thing saved us so much work, I don’t care if it feels like you are in an episode of American Gladiators when we try to walk past each other carrying nail-filled boards.

Cleaning off the ground floor ranks as one of the more disgusting things I’ve done in my life. Mr. B did the shoveling, but I still almost threw up when we were carrying trash cans full of wet packrat poop, urine soaked paper, and rotting miscellaneous bits to the dumpster.

One nice surprise is the giant lilac bush behind the house. I didn’t notice it for the longest time, and it has been slowly blooming for the last week. The property is about 200 feet higher than Missoula, and in a canyon, so our lilac is about 2 weeks behind the bushes in town. Lilacs and rhubarb were two of the most common and hardy plants planted by early Western pioneers, and a staple on many homesteads. Missoula is chock full of giant, old lilac bushes, and in the spring the air is full of the smell. I was initially sad to leave the flowers behind and have to wait for new bushes to grow up, but now I know I’ll be able to smell lilacs on our property and in the future house.

The property’s destruction-by-wheel continues. As you can see in the background of the picture above, there is a huge swath of mud that is now impassible, even for a small pickup. This is fine since we are planning to put a driveway there anyway, but it means that everyone has started driving further off in the fields. Our soil has a high clay content (the rest is silt), which means that even a relatively small amount of compaction (say, by tires), especially when wet, will knock all the pore space out. Pore space is what holds air and water in soil, and it is necessary for things like plant growth, water drainage, and  that nice puffy look we like to see in good soil. Short of tilling, everywhere the trucks have gone is going to be permanently damaged. You can see this other places on the property where the grass is about 5 inches shorter in the old truck path.

Mr. B’s younger brother (Mr. T, of course) came out to lend a hand in the afternoon. Ah, youth. So much energy. I went home early, but Mr. B tells me that they managed to get the remaining three walls taken apart and a third of the floor pulled up. Well done! We’re hoping to finish taking apart the house this week. Our dumpster is nearly full (one third is just furniture we took apart), so we’ll need to find other arrangements for the concrete foundation and the rest of the wood. Once the old house is gone Shorty can begin excavating for the new. Hooray!

FLOODING UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who’s written in regarding our flood issues (real and feared). Missoula has been getting less rain over the past few days and the water in both our creeks dropped several inches. We’re still slated to get more rain this week, and we still have a lot of snow up in the mountains. I’m guessing that flooding will be part of our summer, although hopefully we’ve seen the worst of it by now.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Rita permalink
    June 13, 2011 3:27 pm

    This old homesteadded area is also full of lilacs, tamed in yards and wild wherever they felt like growing. You all look good. See you soon.

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