October, 2004

Via Satellite!

Our satellite Internet connection was finally completed, over two months after the initial order was placed (and paid for). Hopefully we will have an easier time updating the web site and keeping current on other sites now. Unfortunately, satellites are so far away (about 22,300 miles) that the speed of light becomes a performance problem. But, it's better than a phone line — if it is not snowing or raining hard! The bridgercanyonlodge.com web server is in Florida; we use the satellite to copy files to Florida, and you get them (much more quickly) via land lines from Florida.

Reading for this month was Last Climb and The Lost Explorer, two of several books about George Mallory's exploits published since the discovery of his largely intact remains in 1999 — 75 years after his disappearance on Mount Everest. Lost Explorer co-author Conrad Anker (who actually made the discovery) lives in Bozeman.

The elk are back! Hunting season starts soon, and weather in the high mountains is turning bad, so the elk are heading to the safer pastures of the lower canyon. The bull elk are bugling and collecting their harems. Neko is busy trying to keep them away; however, the elk just stand and stare at her as she barks.

Our framing crew is now on track. Here, most of the crew and a couple of hangers-on relax with a beer after work on Friday, celebrating the completion of the main floor. Next week, main floor walls start going up. The crew was unable to work the previous Monday due to snow, so we started a policy of free lunch on Saturdays for anyone who shows up to make up lost time. Most of the crew showed up the following Saturday and were treated to a lunch of barbecued ribs (and a warning that we probably won't be quite so extravagant every time).

The main body of the house will be timber frame construction. Since the roof will have a low pitch to minimize its exterior profile, the interior beams are simple arches rather than the typical triangular trusses. Here are a couple of the arches in preparation by Montana Idaho Log and Timber in Victor, Montana, near the Idaho panhandle. Apparently they are getting some rain there as well.

While walking to pick up the newspaper at the mailbox one morning, Gary was startled by a bear in the ditch. It took a few seconds to realize the bear was dead. Judging from the debris laying about, it had been hit by a car. Later that day, we saw a bear cub in the bushes above the driveway near the carcass and the next morning the newspaper delivery lady left a note that she had seen it. We deduced that the dead bear was the cub's mother and called Sam do not call 911 Sheppard of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. He told us not to call 911 (of course!), and gave us his home phone number so we could call him with any updates on the cub. Unfortunately, no-one has seen the cub since.

We now see how we are meeting some of the design goals set for the architect as outlined in August, 2003 (the actual house is smaller than shown in that drawing).

The house is not visible until the final few feet. Coming up the drive (0.8 mile), one cannot see other houses or into the canyon. This gives the impression of remoteness and generates suspense: Is this really the right road? What does the house look like? When will we get there? Is this it? It seems too small.

The house blocks the view into the canyon as one drives up, parks and walks to the entry. Walking through the front door, guests find themselves on a "stage" looking down on the hosts and other guests in the Great Room, with views beyond into and across the canyon. As they continue their grand entrance by walking down the stairs, the space expands to the sides, above and below to reveal how large the house actually is, and how grand the view into the canyon is.

Be sure to check the Main House Progress.