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Back to work

          It’s been a quiet week in the Bustling Burg. In true Montana style, the weather did an about-face, zipping the mercury down from the 90s and even 100s to the – much more reasonable and appreciated – 70s. The other night we even had a light frost, evident in the matted-down hollows in the tall grass vacated by the deer at dawn. With the fire danger mitigated by cooling temps, rising humidity and the occasional nighttime rain shower, the woodcutters are all out in force. Everyone wants to get their firewood in before the snow flies. It feels odd to not be out there with them; this will be the first year since I moved to Montana that wood will not be my primary source of heat.

          Bruce the plumber has looked over the design for my solar-thermal heat system, and says it shouldn’t be a problem, which is a relief for me. I’m very much a concept-oriented person, and when I’m forced to work with someone who isn’t concept-y (like our fearless leader), miscommunication is the norm. They say the devil is in the details, and I whole-heartedly agree, so given a half I chance, I relegate the details to someone else. Bruce did just fine with the details, and stubbed in all the drain pipes for the bathroom, kitchen, green house and utility room, even noticing that I hadn’t indicated that there will be a washer in the utility room.

          I was sorry  – once again – that I had to be at the Post Office instead of on the job site when they put together my passive geothermal system. I really wanted to get pictures. Not that photographs of four inch, schedule 40 pipe laid out in a manifold around the house would be terribly fetching or engaging or likely to win me a slot next to Ansel Adams, but, not having any babies of my own, I have to have something for the scrapbook. I will get to put my mark on the half-wall that will serve as thermal mass between the windows and the living area, though. I’ve constructed a Tibetan ohm (the symbol I use on my pottery) out of clay, which I’ll have Tell press into the top of the wall when the concrete is just the right texture… that is to say, when I’ll most likely be at work.

          After much hurry-up-and-waiting, I have a pump in the well, and power at the meter base. Today Mitch the electrician should be up there putting in conduit to the house and to the well, so that we’ll be ready to pour more footings early next week, and, with luck, the floor by the end of the week. The backhoe (finally) goes back on Tuesday, and so Roger is in a pickle about how to get the concrete for the slab all the way to the back wall, but I’ve learned not to take his pickles seriously. More precisely: I take his pickles with a grain of salt. He is far more capable than he would have you believe.

          I bake pies for Roger, Sarah and Tell at every opportunity. Never piss off the snowplow driver, the electric line worker or your builder, is my motto. In my own business, I’ve been known to charge aggravation tax to pin-headed customers. And I’m exceptionally pleased that, on Roger’s advice, I chose the Logix foam blocks instead of the brand that Tony Junior chose for his house. Today they are pouring his walls, and I hear three corners have already blown out. Pray to St. Oofta for them.


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