Sunday, April 15, 2007


When we went up to check on progress this past Saturday, we arrived to find the beginnings of a giant hole in the ground. The photo above is taken from the same vantage as the first photo of last week's post, and from now on, this will be my weekly photo spot from which we'll be able to mark our progress. I am trying my best to mark the corners of the house, as it is really difficult to gauge from the photo. Billy + Walter are standing at the southwest corner, and the big orange piece of equipment is pretty much at the northwest corner. The right side of the photo shows the backyard area where the pool will eventually go. Whenever that might happen. Here's a view of everything as you come up the driveway:

Below is a photo taken from the southwest corner looking east.

As the trees get thinned out, a lot of the shale outcroppings are being exposed, and they look amazing. Hopefully all the moss will be able to survive after the trees are gone (moss thrives in the shade). The big dirt hole above is a good sign - that means no rock and therefore no expensive laborious hammering required for that spot. Walter did hit some rock on the west side of the home site, but so far he thinks it's shale and will therefore crumble pretty easily. The good news is that we only need full basement space enough for our mechanicals (which won't be a problem to get), and so, if there is too much rock as the excavation moves north, we'll just make the rest of the basement a crawl space.

We'll be in London this week, and therefore won't be up to visit the site on Saturday, so check back the first week of May for more progress, when hopefully there will be a more recognizable building-shaped hole in the ground.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Despite what you see above, there was no actual hurricane. Last week, our G.C. (general contractor), Walter Heitmann (above), officially began work on our site. We had met with him previously to go through and mark which trees go, and which stay. The above photo was taken looking at the home site, looking northwest. Clearing is a delicate process because once you cut a tree down, you can't put it back. Obviously we'll need to clear the immediate area around the footprint of the house. As for the surrounding area, we don't want some huge artificial clearing, but we'd like to clear enough so that 1) trees don't one day fall on our house, and 2) we have enough sunlight shining into the house and on the yard area. So we are doing this in stages. When we went up on Saturday, we marked some more as keepers, and some as gone-ers (I don't know how to spell that). This week, Walter and his team will be chipping up all of the smaller felled trees and brush, and putting aside the larger ones to dry so we can make furniture out of them - we have mostly white oak and pine, and i think some hemlock? So, this will be the process until we are happy with the rough landscape - clear enough for the house and yard area, then gradually thinning out the surrounding land. Hopefully in another week or two, we can start excavating! Here are some more pictures - click on them to enlarge: