Monday, February 26, 2007


Limestone is the favorite exterior wall material in the hill country. That, a metal roof, and a big covered porch go a long way toward defining the hill country look. I took this photo Friday, and by today the limestone should be done. The roof will go on later this week.

As the contractor I've hired to do the house shell nears completion, I'm starting to get a good grasp of the work I still have left to do on the interior. A lot. Years of it. I've got someone lined up to start the geothermal heat pump installation in the next few weeks, and I'll soon start electrical wiring, insulation, and plumbing fixtures. All I need is about twice the vacation time I can possibly hope to take over the next few months. And maybe a few gullible friends to help out...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dried in

Lots of progress in the last few weeks! Here is a view from downhill showing the windows and second floor deck installed. There'll will be a larger lower deck which I'll construct as soon as I win the lottery. I'm at a key point in construction now; "dried in" means that work on the interior can proceed without regard to weather conditions. It is not really completely weather proof since the roof consists of just roofing felt right now, but the felt will keep any rain short of a blowing storm.

This second photo shows the main entry, with the front porch still under const- ruction. That area will get a metal roof too. The limestone will be installed everywhere you see the Tyvek sheeting in about two weeks, after the paint is complete.

And here is the happy architect basking in the knowledge that he designed something that actually got built without any major screw-ups. Seeing each piece of the house come to life has been a thrill, but enjoying the view from the second floor deck with my sweetheart is definitely at the top of the list. Friends have asked what it feels like to have this experience, and "thrilling" is certainly a part of it. Along with feeling blessed beyond belief, proud, plus a little overwhelmed at times. And maybe a bit wasteful, as we prepare for the next relief trip to New Orleans, giving a tiny helping hand to people who don't have a place to call home, much less two homes.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Don't back up

My son Alex has helped out many times at Wimberley over the years. During this recent visit, I tried to spend more time having fun with him than on some of our past work-till-you-drop episodes. But, we still managed to get ourselves a little dirty stacking some logs that I'd been saving for his visit. Logs I couldn't handle by myself.

Here Alex is poised at the edge of a big drop from the second floor. Good thing he is as agile as a goat.

Whenever he visits I end up thinking about future get-togethers of family and friends in the completed house. I just love the idea of having a really special place to spend time together like that. Doing simple things like roasting marshmallows in a campfire, watching the stars from the deck, or playing around at the creek. With another generation already starting to hatch (my grandson Braden is the first), the Wimberley house should be just the ticket. The first challenge is to get it completed in time for him and others to enjoy it while they are still young. Who knows, maybe one day Alex will bring a son or daughter to visit and tell them all about his adventures helping Grandpa get the place built all those years ago.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Pleasant Pheasant

Standing atop the new 2nd floor decking in the Wimberley house with my son Alex, we looked down and were stunned to see this pheasant walking around only about 100 feet away. It seemed not at all concerned with all the construction activity, and even as I approached with my camera it just went on scrounging for tidbits to eat. The closer I got, the more I realized that it was a little TOO pleasant for a wild bird. My bird books say that pheasants are not even found in the hill country, so it must be an escapee from a pheasant farm. Or maybe a bird that was released for hunters to shoot but who evaded their shots.

I'm curious to see if it will be a regular visitor to our place, or if the naivete it displayed makes it an easy meal for a fox or coyote before I ever see it again. So, if I don't see it on my next visit, I'll be checking the grounds for clumps of pheasant feathers laying around...