February 29, 2008—Leap-year’s day excitement

You can’t tell from this photograph, but the place was jumping today. The roofers were roofing, the stucco guys were putting up stucco paper and wire, the electricians were wiring and Kai was busy drilling holes in the bracket corbels to be installed above the south-facing clerestory windows—it was a full house!

Also, this afternoon a potential drywall contractor came by to show samples, the alarm company rep came to talk to Jim about the alarm system, and the foreman for the stucco contractor came to discuss the color sample he had dropped off on Friday. All this and the Big Rose Move were going on at once. (For more info on the roses, click on Garden)

Plus, look at the top of Kai’s truck at that huge beam. It is supposed to be installed over the front gate on top of two very tall posts.

Here is another shot of it. It is really a big piece of lumber, and so heavy, it did not need to be tied down on Kai’s truck and came up the steep hill just fine.

This low resolution photo does not show the handsome corbel ends cut into this beam, but the whole thing is quite elegant.

The wood on the left are our beams for the veranda and covered walkway roof, and behind them are the two posts to hold up the crosspiece on Kai’s truck.

They are huge—almost 12" thick!

The gate installer put in very heavy-duty steel posts set in 4' of concrete for us to bolt into, but this wood will just rip those posts right out of the ground. What was I thinking? I just have to say that I had no idea of the scale of these things! Obviously, if we are going to install these monsters, we will have to do it another way.

Also in this shipment were our beautiful carved vigas which will hold up the smaller beams shown above to support the veranda roof and covered walkway around the courtyard.

The posts cost $17 and the carving was $24 a foot—amazing. You can’t even get a piece of uncarved Douglas fir for the price of this carved post plus shipping.

I have been to the lumberyard in New Mexico where they make these posts. It is a very simple operation, they have a couple of guys under a shed roof carving these posts. I hope the building downturn doesn’t kill this business, they do such a good job.

Here is a close-up of one of the vigas.
And another shot. I can’t get over how cool they look. When they are all in a row around the courtyard with their double corbels on top, they will just look terrific.

Here are the latillas (sticks) which will be nailed on top of the brackets to make the sunshades over the windows. These are peeled latillas—stripped pine branches—and are used for all kinds of things in New Mexico, including ceilings.

A good friend of mine, who lived for a long time in Albuquerque, installed an unpeeled latilla ceiling in his stucco bungalow in San Rafael. He put in some dark beams then nailed up the latillas—cut to fit the space between the beams—next to each other, one after the other, until the space was completely filled. It looked fabulous and fit the style of the structure wonderfully. You see this ceiling all over in New Mexico, but unless you have been there, it is completely unfamiliar.

The electricians we working getting all the wiring in. We went over all the work they had done so far and I changed a couple of things. Jim had come up specifically to go over the kitchen electric layout, and we discussed the kitchen lighting and plug layout with the electrician and fine-tuned it a little.
These shots don’t look exciting, but this our power folks! It is very exciting to me.

I didn’t get a chance to take more pictures of the stucco paper and wire going on because I had to leave right after we finished up in the garden to bring one of the crew home. I will be going back tomorrow for another day in the rose garden and hopefully will have a chance to take a few more photos.

Also, since it may rain, I hope the roofers have FINALLY finished the roof and we are truly closed in!

To see today’s Garden page, click here  
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