Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Falling Rocks


Nothing like a boulder tumbling toward the street (and neighbor's houses below) from two stories up the hill to make you glad that you parked your car where you did...

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Wrong Lot, part 2


Looking toward the lot next door

Did you sleep well last night? Here's the conclusion of yesterday's post! 

Instead of commuting to work, my husband took the morning off. We were just waiting for the phone to ring. Thankfully it wasn't a long wait. 

The lady on the other end was laughing in an embarrassed way... she was indeed the owner of the lot next door, but she had never known it. 

The tax maps had convinced her at last. 

She explained to us how her mistake must have happened. At the time they bought a lot up here, there were very few houses. A man in charge had brought her family up to the top road and just waved his arm in the general direction of the bare land full of dry grass, juniper and sagebrush to a lot they had bought. He mentioned that their lot was next to the house that was up there (it wasn't quite!). Using the one house close by as a reference, they staked out what they thought were their corners and came to the lot as a recreation place for years. 

(The surveyor we had hired before buying our lot told us that the small metal signs or flags stuck in the ground were not our corners, actually they were quite a bit off. But now the mystery of those metal markers was solved!)

We were hugely relieved that we had been proven correct. We actually got to chatting and enjoyed our talk with her. She said that she had a three-story house plan already approved by the county to build, but had never gotten around to building it (This is, of course, the very reason we built our house away from that side of the property, and closer to the smaller house. We just had a feeling that someone would build a huge house next door someday!).

We mentioned that the view on her real lot might even be better than ours. But I'll never forget her phrase, "the dream is dead." She did even want the lot that was hers. Perhaps it was because of our house being on the hill now. Perhaps it was because if it wasn't the one lot that her family had affection for, nothing else could really substitute. It was a pity in a way, because when we were done talking with her we agreed that she would have probably made a very good neighbor. 

"I will sell you the lot," she said. 

We waited, but never got word from anyone about it. Perhaps the lady had changed her mind. Then one day much later, we saw people on the lot next door looking around. On another day soon after, someone different was stepping it off, as if to measure. Since my children were out playing, I was mighty uncomfortable with a stranger so close by! By then we realized that it must have gone up for sale and we didn't know it! A quick look on the internet confirmed this, and we called the realtor, who seemed to know who we were and advised us to a lower price. 

Thanks to a long-ago mistake, and a gift from my in-laws, we now own the lot next door. But we will never quite get over that feeling that courses through us when we think of the silver truck- or black SUV- that pulled up that Sunday afternoon!

Monday, June 28, 2021

The Wrong Lot, Part 1

 Okay I have to take a deep breath on this one. Every time we remember it, our blood pressure shoots up!

 It was October. My husband and sons were getting the porch roof sheathing up. As these things go, the only free times were after work in the dark, or on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. This day was Sunday afternoon. I was still in my Sunday finery, we had finished lunch and the RV was still in the Sunday Morning State (if you know what I mean). I was contemplating when to start in cleaning it up when a truck pulled up the driveway. As my husband tells it, it will always be a black SUV that pulled up the driveway, but I maintain it was a silver pickup. We will never agree I know, but we'll always remember what a shock it brought!


My husband was up putting the big boards of sheathing up on the back part of the porch roof (similar to the photo above), when a lady got out of the pickup, looked up and spoke. His first thought was "I had better get down off of here before I fall off!" so he was able to put himself in a safe spot before processing what she had just said. 

What she said was "I'm afraid there's been a mistake. You are building your house on the wrong lot."

My first thought upon hearing this was that it was some sort of scam and this person was trying to somehow collect some reason to sue us! I had heard about people getting their deed stolen or forged... so I went on my guard. But when I heard her name, I knew who she was from the tax map. She was the owner of the lot next door

There was no convincing her of that fact-- no, she said, she had been coming to this lot for thirty years. Every year, in fact, to picnic and take a hike, except for the past three years her family was not able to make the trip to check on their property. 

She said it was probably not our fault, but that it must be a mistake from the title company. She said maybe we could trade lots to make it right. Something would be done to fix it... all the while she looked astonished and disturbed at a half-built house on the lot she thought was hers.

I was still wary; after all this could have all been made up! But I decided to invite her into the RV and pull out the proof that indeed, this was our lot. I showed her documents, Title company records, I showed her the names of the previous owners of the lot, I showed her the county tax map online, I showed her her name on the other lot. She just shook her head. 

 It was Sunday, there was nothing she could do but wait until Monday and go into town and see what had happened. She still maintained it must have been the Title company's mistake. She said she would go to the Tax office in the morning and check the maps in person. So she got our contact information and left. 

Still thinking we were going to be scammed for some reason, and wondering if I gave out too much information, I trembled but knew that we were in the right. We did all that we were supposed to do to secure a lot that was for sale, we had all the paperwork, receipts and research. As upset as I felt, my husband was far, far more shaken than I was. He sat on the floor in shock for a long time!

We just had to wait until the tax office opened Monday morning. 

To Be Continued....

Saturday, June 26, 2021

More Night Work


Getting rafters ready to finish up the porch and side eaves. Just a short post today, some rather unpleasant memories coming up...

Thursday, June 24, 2021


 We will be forever grateful to the friends who brought us scaffolding to use on our project, and which appeared to be on perpetual loan (since house-building took us so long...).


  Scaffolding was essential more times and places than I can recall: putting in windows, brackets, porch eaves, siding way up high and even painting trim to name a few. We were so thankful that those tasks didn't have to be done while on a ladder. But, the scaffolding did cause a few extra heart palpitations at times...

How about three stories of scaffolding, and then workers standing on a bucket? Not my favorite thing to look at. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021



We did not have a tool to make these thick brackets at home, so my husband went to a DIY place in a neighboring town. They had all kinds of tools to do all kinds of things, for a small fee.
These brackets hold up a bit of a roof, which you will see later on. First they had to be lugged up the scaffolding and lagged onto the wall. Not easy tasks but the end result is quite nice:)

Friday, June 4, 2021

Clean house under construction

Looks like at one point, we had this place all cleaned up. Thought I'd share the "glamour" photos of all the wood-y wonderfulness!

 The Dining Room. The temporary table was made with the last remaining sub-floor sheet.

Looking into the Kitchen

You can see how the stairs "fan out" a bit as they come down.

Looking across the table to the "shop" (which is the living room). Under the clear plastic covering on the table were paint sample brochures, so while we ate our meals we could contemplate color choices. 

There was a special project in the shop-- er, living room. More on that later!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Domestic Activities

 Now that I look back on the end of that summer, I am amazed at the progress on the house! But at the time it seemed to take forever! It was hard to keep to a temporary camping-style life, so out came some domestic anchors... the sewing machine, for instance.

 Laundry, always there. Will be there all of our lives.

 You can see at the bottom of the photo there were some stamps and ink pads sneaking in under the laundry....

RV chores. 

Speaking of RV chores, sometimes construction had to be RV focused. Here you see a thickly insulated box/mini shed that kept our water and plumbing hookup from freezing in the winter. Sort of a miniature well house.

The one big event of the year... taking fiddle classes at the fairgrounds. We were constantly cutting out social events, holidays, and vacations to focus every chunk of free time on construction, but the fiddle workshop qualified as "school!"

Wednesday, June 2, 2021


Just beautiful:)

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Double Columns


Double porch columns, made from 2x6 and 2x4 lumber, will be "wrapped" with something like a veneer... at least that is as close to the plan as I can explain. 

(Don't say anything, but it has been so long since this "wrap the columns" plan has not been done, that I am cleaning my paint brushes on the columns whenever they are loaded with white paint... shh...)

Scaffolding came in handy in more ways than one. With the builder gone during the day, I could take advantage of solar dryer...