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It has been an intense six weeks – so intense that I have not been willing to set aside enough time to make posts to my beloved blog. Nick has used up the good will of his boss at the FBI (who generously allowed him time off to build his house) and has returned to the office. We have several days of work yet to do to get a waterproof roof on the house but that will have to wait until this coming weekend.

We have worked seven days a week from dawn to dusk for six weeks and nearly have a framed building to show for it. It has been exhausting but satisfying. Mary and I will hang around until Sunday. Hopefully, the roof will be sheathed with plywood by then. Nick plans to hire professional roofers to put the metal on the roof and finish the soffet. The 14/12 pitch of the roof is rather intimidating and it’s a long drop to the ground. He’s yet to get a bid on how much that will cost and if it’s too much we plan to put tar paper on and wait until next year. A waterproof roof would allow him to work on the interior through the winter.

We have had many engineering challenges which resulted in much head scratching but so far we have successfully met each of them. We are especially proud of how our valley rafters interlock precisely. Those compound-miter cuts had smoke coming out our ears!

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RAISING THE OAK BEAMS
A giant oak tree that grew where the house now rises has come home to roost. Nick cut two 6″ x 16″ beams out of it with his chainsaw. The problem was: how do you lift a 500-lb beam above your living room? We moved them to the living room floor by chaining them into the bucket of a backhoe. This was quite a sight. The 20-ft beam protruded directly ahead like a giant bowspirit. Once the beams were on the second floor, I roughed up the chainsawed surface with an axe to give it a hand-hewn look. We then put a temporary beam between the two walls and hoisted each of the two oak beams into place with a chain hoist. They look quite impressive over his living room (which has a 20-ft high cathedral ceiling.)

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VIEW FROM THE RIDGE
One hundred feet below Nick’s house winds a small creek. On the far side a thickly forested slope rises about 500 feet to a ridge that overlooks rolling hills stretching to the Shennendoahs. This ridge is a popular hiking trail. While we were up there we must have met thirty or forty other hikers. Interestingly, many of them are Koreans (Nick’s wife is Korean.) This photo gives

you some idea what the countryside hereabouts looks like.

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