More action shots. Measuring neighborhood quality. And our first rattler. Oh, and our first visitor from Denver.

Frank, one of the concrete guys, was grabbing a hunk of the old house floor slab from a little pile we left at the top of the stairs we built when Ann was here. Out pops a baby rattlesnake. Frank's manly so I did not hear any screaming, but the news spread like wildfire through the site. It was quickly dispatched. I now know much more about rattlesnakes.:

  • Apparently when you find one baby there are likely others in the area.
  • Baby bites are the worst since the baby dumps all it's venom. The adults only do a little until they get the desired effect.
  • Grilled rattlesnake is very good. Tastes like chicken. Of course.
  • You have to be careful when gutting a rattlesnake not to pierce the venom sack as it will taint the meat. I'm unclear just where the venom sack is, but don't plan to be gutting any rattlesnakes. If we do, we'll call Mimi (Ann's favorite sister) so she can talk us through the dissection.
  • A rattlesnake should be treated as alive until the head is severed.

Here are some shots of the now deceased baby rattler and it's environs.

I was talking to Uncle Bob of the VFF the other day. He observed when they first came to the Quail Manor, they were a bit concerned about neighborhood quality. They're more accustomed to gates, guards and BMW's. When they got here they noted the bunk of plywood had not been stolen. Sign of a good neighborhood.

Was talking to CtC the other day when he noted that we have never had the toilet paper stolen out of the port-a-potty (Kibo for anyone who has done RAGBRAI). Sign of a good neighborhood.

So, by any conceivable measure (that I have listed) the "A" Mountain neighborhood is top flight!

The action shots the other day were a big hit, so stand by for more. This time of the Benchmark Concrete wizards who have been busting their bottoms here for weeks and weeks.

They were pouring the front porch and various steps around the Quail Manor. I must comment. I have come to expect nothing but amazing results from the Benchmark wizards. The VFF on the other hand are blown away. They would walk by and just rave about the edging and tooling.

While I'm on the subject of concrete. Benchmark is so freaking good, they don't even have a web site. At least I couldn't find one. Their phone just rings. And they show-up in design and architecture magazines. Apparently they did one of these home makeover shows, Did a pour at like midnight. Cameras rolling. All that appeared in the show was a shot of several of their butts as they were on their knees doing the troweling and finishing. They used a real hot mix so it would dry quickly and told people to stay off it for awhile. Of course they walked across it and left foot prints....

There will be pictures later of the end product. Since today's concrete is outside, potentially wet, and a slip hazard; it got a "broom finish". They gave me the option of how "soft" I wanted the broom finish. Told them soft like a mink coat. One of the characters says "we don't have mink, but we do have chinchilla". So they did chinchilla. It's real soft.

Here are the action shots.

JN came by. No problem finding the place. We had pick-ups parked three deep out front and up the cul de sac. His son is starting, in Astro freaking Physics, at the U of A. We did an orientation at the plan dresser at DnT's and then a walk around. I think he was pleasantly surprised. But those who know JN can buy him a beer and get his REAL impressions!

Meetings today with Dan the roof guy and Manny the HVAC guy. We seem to be getting close to having all that sorted.

Can't remember whether I have discussed the HVAC unit yet? In small living, finding a spot for the air handler is problematic. Anyone who has stayed in a hotel room knows how great listening to a furnace fan can be. And ducting has to be sorted. So. What they do down here is use "Gas Packs". They are combined gas heaters, air conditioners, and air handlers that go on the roof. You do have to run ducts, but not that many since all the big stuff is in the unit.

The HVAC gas pack unit is going to have to go higher on the roof than I wanted so the supply and return ducts that come out the bottom have enough room in the attic to do their thing. The attic is bigger near the peak than at the exterior walls. To appease me, we are putting it towards the back of the house so hopefully a little less noticeable as you pull in the driveway. And the pergola will mask it from the back yard, unless you leave the pergola. Problem is that puts it right above the master bedroom. They know that means it has to be REAL quiet!

Manny, his side kick and I were standing and looking at how the duct runs would go in the attic. He stops and says "this is really clean framing, we never see this". Thanks VFF.

Roofing is all as planned. He is going to fabricate a skirt with flashing that matches the roof for the gas pack mount so it looks built in. Also going to fabricate flashing to go on top of the pergola rafters so they don't get burnt-up from the sun or rot from rain. The flashing will go between the rafter and the 2 by 2 tubing sticks. Everything coming together...

Pergola started going up today. Early yet, but magnificent so far. Have a look at today's pictures. I helped with a few of the rafters. Heavy is not a strong enough word to describe them. Everything was placed by hand. Stuff is just tacked in place so we (meaning of course VFF) have some flexibility with spacing. We're finding the lumber varies quite a bit from it's nominal size and length. Some of the shots are from up towards Peggy and Al's place to get a little different perspective. DnT are getting some really nice firewood for this winter. I threw a shot of that in too.