My biological Dad just bought an unfinished house near me. It is a solid timber-framed little gem tucked into what could only be described as an idyllic small canyon. The brook that runs through it begins about four miles west in an area well above 1,000 feet above sea level. There are no visible neighbors. There are a couple of pools there that will be perfect swimming holes for the grandkids.
My Dad’s friend Mickey and his wife Connie came down from Franklin County to see the property. Mickey saw a big trout scooting under a rock through the crystal clear water. The brook adds a lot to the already private and beautiful property. However, the house needs finishing.
My Dad, who was recently widowed, cannot move in until things like water, electricity, heat and insulation, are installed. Between the two of us, the job is getting done. My Dad is doing as much work as he is able while coming to and fro from his temporary home.
The overriding philosophy of this project is to work with the best contractors that we can. That can be problematic in these times because everyone is so busy. Fortunately, my Dad found a great guy named Dylan to close the house in before winter. My top-notch electrician John has been doing the electrical work on weekends. Green Mountain Power sent a lineman to climb the pole to hook up the electricity. No bucket truck accessibility. All of this is working great despite one roadblock, and it is literally a real blocked road.
During that heavy deluge the local area suffered back in July, a pond above the property let loose. It meant that any washout was magnified multiple times due to the volume of water coming down the brook. While his driveway survived the flooding from Tropical Storm Irene, it did not fare well in that no-name July storm due to the failed pond. About halfway down his long drive, a washout narrowed it to where only small pickups and cars can get through. One visitor slid into a ditch the other day. In his zeal to get out, he tore it up to the point where the narrowed driveway is now impassable. It will make the delivery of materials difficult in the coming weeks as final construction moves forward.
Despite this setback, the professionals that we are working with have come through time and again. The excavation contractor on the project is a neighbor, and he is working with the state to engineer a two-part plan to restore the driveway while preserving the stream bed. We are so grateful that Thad, the excavation contractor, is on the project. He has a sterling reputation, like our other contractors. We know the work will be right.
I’m enjoying working with all these folks and my Dad on this project. Some of the work we can do ourselves. The heavy lifting is getting done by people who know what they are doing. My Dad is 8-, I am 68, so digging ditches, climbing ladders, and the heavy labor will be left to the young. However, I’ll jump in wherever I’m needed.
One of the features of the property is an old logging road. The lane curves uphill and behind the house to a lovely plateau. There is a fire pit with a table and chairs for summer recreation. Recently an old tree fell across the logging road. Yesterday I walked up there with my electric chainsaw and cut the tree up into lengths perfect for the fire pit. I am looking forward to utilizing that wood for an autumn campfire with my Dad and family members in that lovely spot in the woods.
As a long-time fine artist, my father chose that particular property for its aesthetics, a place that will act as a muse for his watercolors and acrylic paintings. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course. The opportunity to view his work based on his new property’s natural surroundings will be worth helping him to manage and complete the project.