Emigrant Peak cloaked in snow Winter
in
Montana

Page 30
 
 
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Winter's Challenge in the High Mountains of Montana
 
January 21st, 2008
The days are growing longer and the full beauty of winter in in Montana's high mountain country grows ever more apparent. A soft blanket of snow thickens with every passing storm adding new contours and smooth curves to a rugged landscape. Almost three feet (one meter) of snow covers the yard and surrounding forest. Outdoor work is difficult at best in the sub-freezing temperatures so thick plastic tents are erected over all three porticos and two balconies. While winter winds howl work on the new house continues as long as the single lane gravel road remains open.
Last winter Aaron and Justin framed and roofed the house. Over the spring and summer we added siding, porticos, flooring, insulation, walls, plumbing, rough electrical and heating. Now that the house is warm and weather tight we will trim and finish every room and all three tented porticos while the snow flies.
Porch Tent
A plastic tent encloses the south portico to enable construction in the bitter cold temperatures.
West Portico Tent Another tent covers the west portico. Bitter Cold 5:30 in the morning and almost 30 degrees Fahrenheit below zero.
 
 
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South Portico
A classically inspired tile floor is complimented by a marble balustrade.
January 23rd, 2008
During the month of January Chuck and Shane meticulously constructed four tile floors inside the tented porticos. Each floor shared the same classic diamond tile pattern with a 12 inch tile border. Many tiles were custom cut and all were carefully glued in place over the GrateDex grated flooring. The grout lines were precisely aligned and left open for water drainage. Once the floors were completed marble balustrades were assembled along the edge of the balconies. Massive newel posts were placed directly over columns and then rails and balusters were bolted and glued in place.

Our tiles came from the friendly folks at South Cypress Floors. Visit them on the web at http://www.southcypressfloors.com or call them at 800-891-2623.

The beautiful marble railing came from the knowledgeable and helpful folks at Timeless Architectural. Visit them on the web at
http://www.timelessarchitectural.com or call them at 800-665-4341.
North Portico Balcony
Under a weather protection tent a tile floor and classic balustrade is constructed on the North Portico balcony.
Coffered Ceiling
A coffered ceiling adorns the south portico.
February 8th, 2008
In early February the weather warmed enough for Josh and Dave Skattum of Gutter Solutions to finish installing the gutters and downspouts. Copper, half round gutters were considerably more expensive to purchase and install than the far more common, rectangular aluminum models. However, half round gutters are stronger, stiffer and able to withstand freezing snow and ice better than traditional aluminum ones. Their shape complimented the classic design of the house while the copper matched the roof trim and snow brakes. Eventually, in a year or two, the shiny copper will weather to a reddish orange patina and then a soft green.

Call Josh or Dave Skattum of Gutter Solutions at (406)222-0846.
Gutter Solutions
The crew from Gutter Solutions.
Copper Gutter Crown
Half round copper gutters form a lovely crown
for the new house.


Our gutters, downspouts and accessories were supplied quickly from the folks at Classic Gutter Systems. Visit them on the web at http://www.classicgutters.com or call them at (269)665-2700.
Half round gutter
Half round gutters can fill with snow and freeze but they will never split like squared aluminum models. The ice expands and simply pops out of any half round gutter.
Scrolled Holder
A cast brass fitting with artful scrolls securely holds a copper downspout in place.
Mermaid
Beautifully detailed mermaids support the half round gutters.
Elk Herd
A herd of Elk forage for food in the deep snow and bitter cold in the pre-dawn blue light.
February 15th, 2008
While the snows deepened and the winds howled outside I kept busy. In late January I enrolled for a second semester at MSU and studied Western Civilization II under Professor David Large who previously taught at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The course was challenging and ultimately rewarding. I enjoyed the course and the company of my classmates immensely.
During my spare time I unpacked my collection of used books that many kind people graciously gave me as gifts and some that I picked up at thrift stores. I carefully cleaned each book and added a clear plastic cover to those with original paper jackets. Perhaps the new library will be ready this summer I thought and my treasured books will be ready for their new home. The winters are long in Montana. I designed my house with several specialized rooms so I could fill the winter months with many indoor activities. A library for reading and research, a basement workshop for light repairs and crafts, n entertainment room for watching movies and TV, a heated garage for working on the car and power equipment and a spacious greenhouse to raise flowers and vegetables.
Covering Books Used books are cleaned and covered in preparation for the new library. Sunset A winter sunset sets the sky ablaze while the earth shivers below.
By Valentines Day on February 14th the snow was almost four feet deep and perfect for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. National Forest Service land borders my property so I simply donned a pair of snowshoes and started to hike. The best part of snowshoeing is that it allows you to traverse steep hillsides and even some cliffs with relative ease. I plodded up and down hillsides that would have required ropes and climbing gear in the summer. I fell down once which is dangerous in four feet of powdered snow. It is easy to get disoriented when covered with snow, panic and then asphyxiate by breathing in the powder. Fortunately I was in a grove of trees and I managed to pull myself upright by grabbing a few branches and pushing against a ski pole.
Cross country skiing is even more fun than snowshoeing and for that I headed to the freshly groomed trails in Yellowstone National Park. I spent several wonderful winter afternoons exploring the back country of Yellowstone and enjoying the fresh air and warm mountain sunshine in the latter days of February and early days of March. I saw more animals in the park during the winter then I did in summer. Herds of bison and elk were commonplace. Wolves and the occasional coyote followed the elk. Rabbits drew forth foxes which in turn hunted small ground animals like mice and other rodents. Eagles, hawks, owls, crows and magpies were just a few of the birds that flew overhead while I skied silently across the snow covered landscape.
Self Portrait
Cross Country skiing in Yellowstone National Park.
Road Home The gravel road to my home in the mountains is reduced to a four wheel drive only, set of tire tracks cut into a fresh blanket of snow. Yellowstone Ski Trail Freshly groomed ski trails wind through Yellowstone's back country.
Yellowstone in winter Spectacular scenery awaits the adventurous skier. Lone Bison in winter
A lone bison ignores me while munching contentedly on some dry grass.
For More Information:
  • Click on the underlined text below to read more about:
  • Yellowstone National Park Lodging and activities or call them at (307) 344-7311.
  • Official National Park Service, Yellowstone Park information or call them at (307) 344-2386.
  • Yellowstone National Park Association educational programs, printed guides and online store or call them at (307) 344-2293.
   
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Page 29
Winter cascades into Paradise valley

Tim's Life
Main Table of Contents

Branford Bike
Fire Story
Table of Contents

Page 31
Artistic Creations