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Unfortunately I did not find your book in time for that house but we have it for the next one. It is a great book, full of useful information. Lots of it seems like common sense after you read it, but I did not have the common sense to think of it before I read it.
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Try one of our new Construction Bargain Strategies for free. Coupon code: CBS. One strategy could save you $1,000 or $10,000 or maybe $50,000 when you build or remodel.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/18/2019 9:36:07 AM

The 14’ window wall was delivered earlier this month, and with some Yankee ingenuity I got the four panels up to the second floor by myself.  They average about 100 pounds each, but are large, almost 4x8, so bulky.

The two fixed panels sit inside the opening near the center, widthwise.  The sliders fit outside. Since the lintel is ICF, with 2 1/2” of foam on the face, I took a 1x6 about the same length as the two fixed panels and placed it flat against the top surface and set it with concrete anchors.  That way I had something to attached the aluminum top track to. Got the fixed panels set and trimmed and proceed to do the sliders.  When setting their 14’  track on the outside face of the opening, I quickly noticed that the opening and a 3/4’  bow in it, concave to the face, but I didn’t think much of it other than the contractor hadn’t been as precise as he should have been. So I set the sliders and notice now that there is a gap between the slider and fixed panel frames when closed, when they should have been quite close.  The culprit? The bow.  So now its either create a piece of trim attached to one side of the slider the hangs over and effectively closes the gap, or see if ther is enough room vertically on the fixed panel section to add another 1x to extend out further and allow the fixed panels to meet up.  I can’t simply replace the old 1x6 as I also used construction adhesive in a “belt and suspenders” approach.

Oh well, we’ll figure it out.  It does look good though!


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 3/2/2019 3:28:41 PM

The first winter in the house is going well.  Propane use, which includes hot water, the fireplaces, cooking and heating for the 7200 sq.ft is running around 150 gallons/month.  To me,that is a very reasoable, infact a very low amount, but at $2.30/gal, a significant monthly expense. Sure wish we had nat gas.

The solar gain is working very well on the main and upper stories.  It provides all the heating needs from about 10:00 am throughout the rest of the day when the sun is out.  Fortunately this is more the norm.  There is unfortunately no gain on the second floor as we extended the upper deck by two feet in width during construction.  While I knew this would shade the windows below, it was still the correct thing to do.

We’ve had several renters now and they are all amazed at the finishes, the “warmth” of them and the location next to the slope and views.  For us, we’re not sure about having people below us, which we can still hear to some extent.  I guess it’s easier for younger folks. We had to install a temporary wall across the stairwell using Lexan panels while waiting for the glass wall to arrive. I assume that noise will be cut further when the glass is installed as we ordered laminated for sound reduction.

We’ve gotten lighting installed for the stone walkway, lighing inside the china cabinets and for the open shelving in the kitchen.  Used LED strip lights throughout.  I would highly recommend them to anyone.  For the walkway, I used aluminum extrusions made for the purpose with translucent covers.  They hide the LEDs and diffuse the lighting nicely.  I need to put them on a timer though as renters either don’t know they are there and that they can switch them on, or they do and never switch them off and they run 24/7.  I saw a timer when I was organizing the garage.  Just need to remember where I put it.

I’m slowly organizing the garage.  Wish it would go quicker, but it’s better than before.  The lift has been really handy and has gotten a good amount of use, the latest of which was replacing the O2 sensors on the old Tahoe.  It was a job that cost $110 in parts and would have been between $500-1000 for a garage to do it.  A few more of jobs like that and it’ll have paid for itself, not to mention I’ve become a great friend for some of the local folks! Lol!

Spring appears to be very much on the horizon.  And while I have spent the entire winter skiing almost every other day, as the temps warm up and mud ensues everywhere, we’re looking forward to the change in seasons and getting outdoors doing warm weather things.  But we can get snow well over March and April and even into May, so we’ll just roll with whatever Mother Nature sends us.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 12/8/2018 10:57:41 AM

are all that is left to do on the house.  Trim on the edge of the flooring as it meets the stairwell on three floors, putting on the Bona Traffic sealer on the last two landings, installing low voltage path lighting along the the stone steps from the front of the house up and around to the main entry.  And install connections onto the coax and Cat 5 cables throughout the house. That’s really about it, I think.  An absolutely great feeling to have, and at the same time I see it’ll be a transition to a new life.  

For the past almost six years, Sandra and I having been working on major house projects, first on the Barrel Race, then on Mutton Bustin’ and finally on this, The Last Rodeo with no breaks in between.  Although I formally retired three years ago, I haven’t truly been retired as we have been working 8-12 hours a day, seven days a week for these past six years on the projects.

I certainly beleive in the owner-builder philosophy.  It is a fantastic thing to become, a source of great pride and accomplishment and a source of great monetary savings.  But for those that are on this site and are deciding whether they want to become one, it is important to decide early on just how much you wish to take on.  Do you want to be a GC only?, do you want to save more by doing more of the project yourself?  The decision should not be taken lightly.  The time you have, the skillset you have, the tenacity you have to work on a project until its completion all should be considered.

Our original plan was to start this project back in 2012, while I was still working.  I traveled 5 days a week, but figured working the weekends, we could get this started and moving.  In some ways it was fortunate that the other two projects intervened.  They were small enough that I could get them done working on weekends.  We ultimately found out this project was not and being retired when we started it was a key to getting it finished in the 2 1/2 years it has taken unless we wanted to be GCs only.  It was a huge project.

I consider myself to have a pretty good skillset, but we did have to use subs for the shell inside and out, as we had neither the time, nor the equipment to do it.  My original idea to run the ICFs myself quickly dropped off as I saw the scope of the project when the hole was excavated. It would have taken months for me to run a single floor and I had three floors of ICF.  Again, I hired out the exterior framing.  I know how to frame and I could have set the floor trusses roof trusses and subfloor, but setting the roof beams and trusses, especially when there was a 50 ft drop on one side and I’m in my 60’s was simply too much.  A crew was needed.  Let them do it all.   And sheetrock, unless it is maybe a single, small room - I don't ever consider doing it.  I’ve done plenty of the past 50 years, but gave up on all but the smallest jobs.  It is simply too time consuming when you are building an entire house.  Your time is better spent elsewhere. Plumbing electrical mechanical, flooring painting (painting it the easiest trade in my opinion and can save a bundle). 

The bottom line is, be honest with yourself.  We want to do it all, but know what time you can truly devote, know what skills you have.  Know that your spouse needs to be involved or she will feel neglected. Know that there are times when it feels to both of you, but especially to her, that you have no other life.  Those are the times to go back through the pictures to see just how far you have come.  Know that it can be an all-consuming job, the extent of which depends upon how much you choose to do yourself.  But even as just a GC, you need to stay on top of it.  Lining up the next subs, making sure they are ready to go, staying on top of the current ones to make sure they are progressing and doing it to plan.  You  have to be involved the entire way.

In doing so,the pain that you both will go through will be replaced with something that will last for years, that will be a source of pride and accomplishment and will shelter you for the future years.

Anyone who is on this site has started the process, a testament that you have a desire to take on a task.  It os only a decision now just how much or little you wish to take on.  That is up to you. Good luck!

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 12/2/2018 10:17:19 AM

Another big task knocked out. Again, there are plenty of nail holes to fill, but two  thousand feet or so of baseboard is in.  We’ll get the last landings installed today. Four done and two to go.  We’ve been looking at plywood there for so long we almost got used to it, but it sure looks good in doug fir matching the stair treads.  Sandra will apply a coat of BonaTraffic to them today and a second coat tomorrow and in a week they’ll be at full hardness and ready for Christmas visitors.

And then it’s working on nail holes and punchlists. As mentioned in the last post, the lists seem to be small and manageable. So they should go by pretty quickly!

Sandra is on Facebook - something I’m not, but one thing it does is bring up pictures from previous years.  It did this the other day with pics from a year ago.  Wow! It really shows how unfinished the project was back then and how far we have come.  A year ago we had a raw interior other than drywall and paint, a drafty house with some heat, scaffolding set up in the living room, no finished ceiling, cabinets anything!  What a difference!


Finished landing. So different than the next picture of the unfinished
An unfinished landing with the bullnose attached. Plywood with paint drips, stain drips and drywall mud. Not very pretty.
Scaffolding in the LR a year ago
Ceiling still raw
Pretty bare even in January

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/29/2018 10:23:15 AM

Well finished as far as installed.  I put the final pieces up on Monday after we returned from a Thanksgiving trip.  Still have the nail holes to do, but a big job out of the way!

Also put up much of the remainder of baseboard before I ran out.  All of the fourth floor is finished having taken care of a couple small pieces and Sandra’s office.  All of the bullnose corner pieces throughout the house are installed as well.  Some slight trimming and subsequent touch up of the stain will be necessary but at least those buggers are cut and in.   Other floors have a few pieces of base to install, mainly in closets and that’ll be finished.

The nosings for the landings are in, and that went well.  Actually have gotten the flooring for two of the six landings installed before running out of wood so we made a trip to Santa Fe yesterday to get the rest.  That’ll have to be sanded and stained so hopefully this weekend it’ll be ready and I can get that finished.  

As far as the glass partion wall, that is still an issue.  I’ve decided that a patio door system and taking off the bottom track will be best, but trying to find someone to custom make one and not have then install in a manner not like everything else they do is impossible. So I’ve contacted the local glass guy again and asked him to source and install per my idea.  Hopefully he can come by in the next couple days to measure.

Sandra made a punch list for the fourth floor.  Only things missing are barn door guides and connections to Cat 5e and coax.  Not a bad list!  I’m thinking this’ll be similar for all the other floors. So I feel pretty good about where we stand.  

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/16/2018 10:12:43 AM

2Drinking our coffee this morning, Sandra just found an article from 1985 about snowboarders and just how dangerous they are to themselves and the skiing public. Talking about how ski patrols run them off when they find them. Lol!  Time have sure changed since then.  While we don’t board, and while boarders tend to be younger and some may go faster than what they have control over, there are less than a handful of resorts that restrict their use today and that’s a good thing.  Resorts in general need people using the slopes to stay in business and boards are popular with kids.  But the article was laughable around the panic people had some 30 years ago about the boards’ increasing popularity.

Door trim will be finished today, I think.  Finally. Sandra is staining some more baseboard.  While that won’t go in until we get back from Thanksgiving that’ll allow us to finish that when we get back.  Really very little of that left to run.  

We have a couple thousand nail holes to fill in the trim, literally.  Sandra has offered to begin that as we are beginning to run out of things for her to do.

I’ve got stairs to make for the bunkbeds.  The stringers are weathered and urethaned.  I’ll begin setting those when we get back.  And we have yet to do the landings on the stairs. I’ve made the bullnose for about half of them, will see if I can get the others made today after I was able to get a couple more pieces of doug fir the other day.  Get those stained and they’ll be ready to install, again sometime after we return.  

I’ve been trying to get someone to create the glass curtain wall for the stairwell.  It looks like we may end up using a custom patio door set.  Got an estimate yesterday.  Figuring how to attach it is going to be the last headache.  I’d love to insert it into the opening, but a stair tread is in the way.  And since the walls are ICF, there is 3” of foam and sheetrock in either direction from the corner.  We may have to extend brackets further back on the wall so we can hit concrete for attachment.  Between the manufacturer, and myself, we’ll come up with something.  In order to rent, the wall has to be in place to separate the two living spaces both from sound and egress.  And it would be nice to finally have some positive cash flow from renters!

Speaking of, Sandra will get started on creating a book for their use.  Two actually.  One as to general things about the area, but the main one is to explain the various features and functions of the space.  Things like the microwave drawer and even the kitchen faucet, which no one seems to be able to figure out! The gas fireplace. The need for only toilet paper in the toilets as we are on a pumped septic, yes mundane and unglamorous things such as this.

We have a friend, whose specialty is making commercial video and photography coming in early December to shoot the house for a website and rental sites. We traded work on his house early this year for the shoot.  We’ll be ready by then with everything necessary for him to get that accomplished.

We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and hope all can spend it with family and friends!


This single tread is in the way of fully inserting a glass wall into the opening. So a partial insert will most likely be used with much of the framework extending out. Not ideal, but not much else can be done
The space where the curtain wall needs to be placed
The ski room and entry for the rental level
Ski room from another angle

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/13/2018 10:43:34 AM

eating breakfast tacos, staying warm while the temperature outside is a brutal -27F, the house appears to be performing pretty much as planned.  We turn the thermostats down at night to 55F and the furnace on the main level came on rarely. And unlike the rental house, where frost heavily formed on the inside of the windows at these temps, frost here is on the outside as it should be.

We’ve had three good snows so far and with the cold temps, they are making a lot of snow.  Keeping our fingers crossed that the snowy weather continues.

The wall in the lower ski room is finished and I’ll startadding the ski racks and garment baskets today.  The small table for the breakfast niche is finished. And later this week I’ll try to get some more door trim up- yes there are a few pieces remaining that had to wait until more wood was weathered and finished.

Trying to get a solution for a glass partition to separate the rental level from the stairs into the rest of the structure.  I was hoping to use a frameless method, but it looks like a sliding patio door system may be the method. Unfortunately attached to the face of the opening as the stairs are in the way on one side. We’ll see what can be designed.

Our daughter in Denver had found some ski lift chairs from Steamboat Springs that were for sale.  These had been taken out of service in the 80’s.  We bought three of them a couple months ago and went up this past weekend to get them and bring them back. They’ll probably stay in the trailer until Spring and we can make them into swings or simply seating. Sorry Cousin Dave.  We didn’t get a chance to stop in. It was a quick up and back before the storm got too bad. And we made ot out just in time.

I need to do a few things to the truck before we head out for Thanksgiving.  New headlight assemblies.  Ford’s single bulb headlamps are horrible in brightness and distance, so they are getting replaced with quad projectors.  And front brakes are getting replaced as the OE rotors are warped badly.  So the truck is on the lift warming. Thank god for a garage!

Time to quit and get to work.


The small niche table support form the stump Sandra found in the woods
The top frame attached
Table finished using repurposed antiqued oak flooring
A telephoto view of the house from the base area yesterday. Man it’s so good to see snow on the slope!

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/1/2018 10:22:51 AM

Everyone is praying for a good snow season after last years “worst in memory”.  Both the resort and the state rely on good snow pack. The resorts for skiing, and the state for irrigation, wetlands and fire protection.  The fall has seen fairly consistent precipitation compared to last year when it seemed the tap shut off September 1.  So far we’ve had two good snows.  5” two weeks ago and 16” yesterday.  The resort is also gearing up to make snow as the nightime temps are now getting to be consistently in the teens.  Those of you in Texas and other points south, with your AC still on probably find this a bit hard to fathom!

Our progress has slowed a bit.  Seems that with the shorter days, the colder weather it’s harder to work as hard or as long.  I spent much of the past week welding brackets and fabricating the railings for the bunkbeds.  The main railings use old skis as you can see in the photos below.  Need to make stairs for both sets.  I’ll cut templates from cardboard this morning to see what wood I’ll need.

Also welded up a frame for the small table on the rental level. This is the one where the stump will be the support.

The wood wall in the lower ski room is waiting on more wood, but 70% finished.  We then have ski racks to hange, finish trim etc.

Been watching the thermal performance of the house.  We keep the house relatively cool, which doesn’t feel uncomfortable in a dry climate. But so far we are using about 2 gallons of propane a day - to heat 6500 sq.ft. Will be interesting to see what happens as the weather turns colder.  When the sun is out, the south-facing windows bring in a tremendous amount of heat now sun is lower in the sky.  That has worked out as planned and contributes a lot to the lower energy usage.


One side of bunkbeds with the railings installed

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 10/26/2018 9:31:50 AM

Ok, so we have three garage doors, one of which is a 16’ unit.  Although I had an installer out a year and a half ago to set it up, it never worked correctly with the motor.  It needed 1) more tension on the springs, and 2) possibly different springs as the guys selling these didn’t do a great job of calculating the springs for the smaller doors. I figured they may have messed up on this one as well.  Sometimes I can put things off a long time, especially if I have a temporary fix, which in this case was opening it by hand.  But finally, with winter coming, I decided to get it properly fixed and called the fellow out again.  He came out, increased the tension by a half turn, reset the limits and closure pressure and it worked! For a day.  Yesterday Sandra went to use it and it stuck halfway upon closing.  I came home and tried to reopen and close and the sucker opened completely, way past where it should have which required two people to pull on the rope to manually close it.  Seems like the clamp that attaches to the motor spindle is slipping and can’t be tightened any further. Called the installer and he said they have a new type of clamp.  He’ll order one and come back to install. Damn it was nice while it worked!

Steel arrived Tuesday to make brackets and supports for the bunk bed rails.  I’ll try to start on those this weekend.  Going to use skis place horizontally as the rails.  Found a bunch at the local Habitat Restore in Taos for peanuts.  Just had to remove the bindings, which is a bit of a puzzle.  They like to hide the screws that make the attachment to the ski and each manufacturer does it differently. But in the end, I got them all off and had a garbage can of bindings to haul away.

Sandra has been antiquing used oak flooring we got from a friend.  Mutiple coats of paint, then sanding it off a bit and adding dark and clear wax.  We’re using it as a tall wainscot in the second level ski room.  It’ll protect the wall from skis hanging on the racks. I’m gluing it with construction adhesive, using 18 ga. nails to hold it in place while the glue sets up.  With the colors she’s using, it really gives a big splash to an otherwise drab room. Slow process getting it up, and once done, I still need to trim the top, but should be done tomorrow if we have enough prepared.

We went out into the forest last weekend to look for a stump that we could use as a table pedestal.  Found a perfect one with a root splay.  Got it back to the house, I trimmed it and Sandra cleaned the dirt, bark, sanded it and weathered it.  Letting it dry before urethaning it, but it’ll make a perfect base for a kitchen table top we’re getting ready to build.


An oblique view of the wainscot going in. You get more of a brown, wood look.
Straight on though, you see an explosion of color.
And the bunk beds now have mattresses and some of the bedding.enouh for our daughters dog at least!
Raw stump
Sanding it

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 10/14/2018 10:28:39 PM

Friends and family came out to visit and vacation over the past couple weeks, both groups working it around the balloon fiesta that’s held in Albuquerque every fall.  Weather has been a bit spotty for the festival, but they got to see the ascensions and evening festivities.  Much time was spent in Angel Fire and surrounding areas including narrow guage train excursions to see the fall foliage.

The visits were a good test of the interaction between people and house, and all went very smoothly on that front.  The last of the company left this morning before the arrival of the first real winter storm of season.  Yesterday we got the snowplow back onto the Jeep and reinstalled the side windows.  I raked out the driveway to reduce the variation of gravel so I don’t scrape it off with the plow. And I spent a couple of hours foaming the remaining holes in the garage ceiling around plumbing and garage doors.  That should eliminate cold air that was able to circulate in the ceiling and make its way into the second floor. 

Before company arrived, I got the lower section of two bunkbeds built.  Today I started on the upper bunk on one section started.  Need to cut slats for it and eventually make railings but slowly they are beginning to take shape. Ther e has been a lot of trial and error in laying them out, but what I learn on the firstwill translate into faster construction on the next ones.

Oh and the chairs for the dining table arrived.  A month early. Really wonderful construction with all mortise and tenon construction, steam bent backs and a fantastically smooth finish.  No cushions but extremely comfortable nonetheless.  

And the pool table came as well. Not much left except mattresses for the bunks.  I’ll be happy to not see the delivery trucks coming every day!


Dining table with chairs finally added
Fall colors from the train. Beautiful country!

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/28/2018 9:50:52 PM

The architectural inspection went well.  Fellow only spent a few minutes taking pictures for the committee meeting the following week.  We passed and will get our deposit back.  Last inspection will be the final from the building dept. I think we’ll hold off till after the first of the year, or close to it.  Trying to get back to trim, but so many things to do before company begins arriving in two days.  Got several tv’s up this week and ordered a couple more.  Every bedroom gets one and each of the living areas.  Still have a couple  more to order.  While you can spend a bunch on the latest and greatest, you can find some pretty hellacious deals on 4k smart tv’s.  Like 55” units for just over $300.  Really saves a bunch.

Been wanting to finish the install on the range hood for the lower kitchen.  But they forgot to send a chimney extension (10’ ceiling), and then the one they sent wasn’t the correct one.  So called today and will see if they can get it right.

Got the final piece of threshold up and caulked.  I can put the wet saw away! Yea! One more thing done! 

I finally got the washer and dryer for the rental level installed. That feels good! 

Will begin to assemble a coffee table tomorrow now that the weathering is done.  Definitely not getting finished before company comes, but- - - - - 

Taking time off to be with friends and family so will be a while before the next post!


Skytrak loaded for the journey to its new home.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/21/2018

:-(. It’s time to say goodbye to the trustworthy machine that did sooooo much heavy lifting on this project. It’s been sold to a contractor in Albuquerque who does disaster restoration.  That includes a lot of roofs that need replacing after fires, and this machine should do very well helping them pull off the old trusses and hoist up new. Saturday morning, tomorrow, I’ll drive it down the mountain and load it upon a flatbed where it will be transported to it’s first project down there for the new owner.  

It’s a machine that we really could not have built the house without it.  The framer, the stucco guys, the roofer, the landscaper the rock guys and most of all - us! have relied on it to reach to the highest heights, lift some awfully heavy loads, emptied dozens of semi trucks.  And for all of that, we have paid very little.  Some maintenance items and fuel. It’s being sold for $500 less than I bought it for.  A pretty good deal in my estimation.  I would suggest than anyone building a housethat needs heavy equipment, think about buying used and reselling when done.  The equipment is valued by the hours on the machine, not the year and the number of hours one actually puts on it is really pretty small.  In my case, a couple hundred hours over two years.  That really didn’t decrease the value.  And for two years, it was at my complete disposal.  Rented, it would have cost $1500-$2000 a month.

But it’ll be sad to see it go.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/20/2018

So this week I got the shelving up in both kitchens. The shelves that Sandra had worked hard on preparing are finally in place. The rental level kitchen went pretty easily.  The backsplash is made of softer tile and the masonary drill bit went through easily.  On the other hand, the tile in the main kitchen is thick, porcelain tile.  Porcelain is so hard that a regular masonary bit barely makes a dent.  I ordered diamond bits from a tile tool supplier.  Did they work? Well, barely. The first bit wore out after 12 holes, the second lasted even shorter.  In the end, I reduced the number need to be drilled by eliminating the lower screw on each shelf bracket.  After all, it is the top screw only that is really holding everything up.  

While Sandra is finishing up urethaning the bunkbed frame pieces, we’ve started on two coffee tables, using material from the sawmill.  Just started those and we’ll see how well they turn out.  A lot of individual pieces go into each one.

Sandra repainted the entire stairwell this past week.  A ton a work! It had gotten pretty trashed over the past year plus, from hauling stuff up and down, and staining the stairs.  It just looks soooo much better all freshened up!

Company arrives a week from Sunday.  Two groups through the middle of October. Trying to get as much done before they get here.

Just about ready to have pictures taken for the rental unit so we can get it listed on AirBnb and other sites.  Just waiting for the pool table so it can appear in posting pics.

We think we’re almost done, but boy! It just seems to never end!


Fireplace on the second (rental) level is finished. Just need to get a TV and mount it
Rental level kitchen with the shelves in place. Makes such a finished look
Main level kitchen shelves. This is the coffee bar, where guests, and us, can go get set up in the morning and stay out of the main kitchen! ;-)

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/15/2018 9:33:48 AM

This time it is the architectural.  Had one before but didn’t pass as all of the outside stuff wasn’t completed.  I had been under the assumption it was only to ensure I complied with the finishes and style that had been presented originally, but then was told it was also to ensure the exterior was finished.  So now it is. The past couple weeks have been spent going around and taking care of the last little items. Garage door trim is the last item and will be done today.  The exterior thresholds are done and turned out pretty good.  I had been pondering how to trim them out ever since the doors were installed in 2016. But the final idea was the best.

We continue to make slow progress on bunk bed frame materials.  They have been cut and planed, Sandra has sanded much of it and applied the weathering solution and the moisture content is dropping as we’ve had a full week with plenty of sun and no rain.  

Hopefully this weekend, we can start applying the window coating using the Skytrak to get us to the upper reaches.  With the good weather, the ground in the backside should have dried out enough to allow us to get the heavy monster in without bogging down.  But, with all the things we have on tap, maybe that chore will stretch into next week.


A shot of the theshold process. First had to take a diamond balde on a grinder to cut the concreteto the correct height. Since the area to be covered is both the concrete core and the foam form, thinset was applied to the concrete section and large globs of silicone (which sticks to anything clean) to the foam. The stone slab is then set in place.
Different door than the one above here, but shows all of the stone set in place
Using a grout bag, much like a large pastry bag, to grout/caulk the joints. Instead of using actual grout, I used LogJam log chinking material. Wonderful stuff! It’s an acrylic-based material that has a grit included, a lot of air entrained and sticks to most things. We’ve used it on all of the stone, and stone/:window joints and it has held up extremely well. As it is used on log homes, it is flexible to allow for the expansion/contraction of the logs. But here it is still stiff enough when cured to work really well for these other applications. And it comes in a large variety of colors. Far more than regular caulk
Finished threshold

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/9/2018

The last fireplace is nearly finished, as long as I have enough stone!  It’s going to be really close. If I’m short, I’ll have to order a small box of additional which will set back the completion a few weeks.  Definitely trying to limit waste to a minimum and am doing a good job of that, but it’ll be close.

I have four of the eight thresholds set.  Will work on some of the others this afternoon.  It’s a really dirty job as I have to grind down the concrete ICF core to get to the correct level that everything lines up.  A huge amount of concrete dust just gets everywhere. Ugh!

Sandra has nearly all of the kitchen shelves weathered and most lacquered.  As soon as the brackets arrive, we can begin setting them. She has also begun lightly sanding and weathering the components for the bunkbeds.  While the wood isn’t completely dry yet, it’s a jump on them and allows the weathering to take place while we still have decent sun.  As the season progresses, the intensity of the sun continues to drop and will lengthen the time it takes to weather the wood.  Last year, it took up to two weeks during winter to get a somewhat decent amount of weathering.  

I’ll also try to get over to my old landlords shop this afternoon to use his big planer on the 1x material for the coffee tables.  While that may be a later project beyond what is more pressing, I might as well get that done so as the weather turns colder, it’ll be a good indoor project.


early stage on the fireplace
Further along. Mantel set
Nearly there!
Sandra lightly sanding a 6x6 for a bunkbed
A couple of elk for vistors this morning

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/6/2018 11:10:02 PM

We had a full house over Labor Day weekend, with the daughter from Denver, her boyfriend, a couple they are friends with and Tom, who is building across the road, and his son and a friend of his. It was a good trial run for having future visitors and rental guests.  All in all, it went very well.  I had just gotten a 36” griddle hooked up to house propane, which we used to cook breakfasts.  Wow! That thing is great and  makes it so easy.  Bacon, sausage, hashbrowns eggs any style and pancakes.  I felt like I was working at Waffle House.  Tuesday evening, we had people over for dinner and used it for scallops and shrimp.  Now I felt like I was working Benihana’s. :-)

But no joke it makes easy work of large amounts of food.

Went to ABQ to see off some friends who are moving :-( but that just gives us another place to visit in the future, right? 

So tomorrow it is back to work.  The fireplace is slowly coming along.  The new stone is heavier and doesn’t sit as flatly as the Eldorado brand did, so I set a few rows and let it sit till next day.  I set the stone on top of the outdoor fireplace, and am now working on the exterior thresholds which are getting a flat stone.  The thresholds are going along better than I expected.  I’ll started actually setting some of them with thinset and silicone tomorrow.

Once the thresholds are finished, I think I’m  for the final architectural inspection, no wait, teim around the garage doors.  That should be a pretty quick job. Maybe by the end of next week I’ll be ready for it.

It’s been raining every day for well over a week, and while that is great to keep fires at bay, it doesn’t help with getting the lumber to dry.  And everyone is starting to get tired of it. And the forecast is for more to come.  We’ll see what we can do about the wood.


Downstairs fireplace slowly taking shape.
A little further along with the mantle attached

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/30/2018

Drove up to Pueblo Wednesday to pick up the stone order at the distributor that finally arrived.  Stone for the downstairs fireplace, stone for the top of the outdoor fireplace and stone for the door thresholds.  So now it’s time to get to work on it.

Started running the downstairs fireplace today.  Got it up to the level of the hearth and will let it set overnight so the thinset can cure.  Will set the wood hearth on it tomorrow and begin to move up on the stone.

Thresholds will be next.  Get those finished and we’re closer to a final inspection as well as an inspection for the architectural compliance.  I need the latter to get our deposit back.  

I got a small load of steel on Tuesday.  Some 1/2” square tubing and flat stock.  A piece of flat will be used on one last barn door, bit the other was ised to make a cover grate for the sewer pump.  The pump is at the bottom of a 4’ diameter culvert.  I have needed to get it done for some time so no one can fall in.  Took about an hour to build, cutting the steel and welding it all together.  Another item taken care of.

Sandra and I have been  working on the rough cut lumber, even though it hasn’t fully dried.  Got the shelving cut to length, then I used a powered hand planer to get it semi-smooth.  Then Sandra takes the orbital sander to it.  The 1x material has dried pretty quickly, as one would expect.  I keep reversing the exposure to minimize cupping.  Weathering has taken place on several and lacquer is going on.  

I’ve gotten all of the 6x6 planed, as well as quite a bit of the 2x6.  These I’ve used the planer to try to create a look of handscraping.  We’ll see how well it turns out. It’d be neat to begin the first bunk bed in a couple weeks.  

And lastly, we set the backsplash on the downstairs kitchen.  Took a day to get it up.
Sandra has since grouted it.  It’s white subway tile and brightens up that level a lot.  

So, a lot of things in the works, and one has gotten finished.


Sandra sanding on the shelf boards
Backsplash going up
Grate being made
Grate finished and in place
Some of the 1x material up drying
One other thing that got done was connecting a propane line to a new griddle, eliminating the need for a refillable tank.
A beautiful sunset tonight over the mountains.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/21/2018 10:00:59 PM

Sandra has had the fun, not, of grouting the tile we set in the main kitchen.  Unlike most standard tiles, this has a very deep inset profile around the edge of each one.  Like a good 1/4” deep by 1/2” wide.  She tried using a grout bag, like a pastry bag only larger, but it didn’t really work.  So she is using her fingers to work the grout in without filling the entire depression.  A slow process, but she has now finished two sections, one more to go.  

I’ve been continuing to work on door trim.  I think it’s nearly finished, but I’m short a couple boards.  Do I, order a bit more aspen? Or try using spruce.  I’ll ponder it a bit. But the crown moulding on top is just about finished.  It’s gone reasonably well, if only, I could measure correctly.  

I went and picked up an order of rough cut lumber at the mill this morning.  Took my 10’ trailer.  I didn’t realize just how heavy the order would be.  From my estimates when I unloaded each piece, I probably had close to 3000# on a trailer designed for 1500#.  Some pieces were so long they nearly dragged the ground.  But we made it home in good order.  I unloaded and spread it out to dry, and then the skies opened up. Oh well. This load is going to be planed but in keeping with a more handhewned style.  Most of it is going towards four bunkbeds, some for a couple large coffee tables, and some for exposed shelving in both kitchens.  Plenty of work to do once it dries.  I figure about a month and we can begin working it.

Waiting on the stone for the lower fireplace.  It’s in Denver now, distributor in Pueblo, CO can’t spare a truck to pick it up just yet as one of theirs is broken.  They asked if I could go and get it in Denver. An extra 3-4 hours that would be added to a 7 hour trip already. No thanks! Hopefully. They can get it within a week.

The car lift got a good workout this past weekend.  Daughter in Denver drove down for me to install skid plates and rock sliders (heavy duty guards that take them place of running boards) on her 4-Runner.  Seems she is getting into trail riding since she moved west!

Should be able to tile the lower kitchen backsplash over the weekend.  Using subway tile on it so grouting should be much easier when Sandra works on it. All in all, things keep progressing!


Sandra grouting the second wall section. You can see she is working it in by hand
A closeup of the crown moudling detail around each door. This adds six pieces of trim to each interior door.
The load of rough cut lumber. 2x6, 2x12, 6x6, and 1x6.
Laying it out to dry.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/20/2018 2:26:36 PM

While the rest of the country is still experiencing hot weather, fall is appearing here in Angel Fire.  You can feel the angle of the sun isn’t as high as it was a couple months ago, the days are definitely shorter, and today is cold and gray.  Yesterday was beautiful and we took the convertible out for a drive through the valleys and mountains, but you could see a visible change in the color of the aspens, turning a lighter shade of green and one actually a full yellow color, a month and a half ahead of itself.  Although we enjoy skiing, neither of us are ready for winter yet and wish the summer would last a while longer.  It’s gone by so quickly. :-(

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/14/2018 10:15:55 AM

o we decided to tackle the backsplash on the main level yesterday.  Took Sandra and I a very long day but it is up.  It started very quickly, but when it got to the myriad cuts that needed to be made and made again, that’s when things slowed.  I cut and Sandra installed.  Still has to be grouted and will be once we get grout, but at least the bare wall with all of the pencil marks from cabinet installation are covered.  We’ll head to Albuquerque later this week to pick up the heater for the patio and stop by HD for the grout and get it finished.


Sandra at work installing the backsplash
Coffee bar section finished
Stove area finished

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/13/2018 10:42:42 AM

We’re at a stage where things seem to be coming together pretty quickly.  The top rails on the deck were started and finished in a few days. Went to big blue to get redwood 2x6 but their inventory shown online didn’t match.  They had none in stock.  So I decided to get douglas fir, also pretty weather resistant, which they had in 2x12.  Ripped them down on the table saw and then ran each through the table saw again, twice on edge at a slight angle to create a a double cant, or roof-like shape on the top side, to shed water and create a nicer profile than a simple flat board.  After sanding and staining, they, and some live-edge boards that Sandra had prepared were all installed over the next few days.  Really makes for a finished look.

More door casing was prepared over the weekend as well.  I think we’ve got the final pieces done, just need weathering, lacquering.  We’ll find out when we install, if we have it all.

Ordered 400’ of small crown for the tops of the door moulding.  It arrived Friday and yesterday Sandra applied the weathering.  She should be able to lacquer it in a couple of days.

I’ll start the tile backsplash in the main kitchen today.

And the big thing that happened - we have living room furniture!  We had ordered it in lat June and last night it arrived.  Used the Skytrak to get it up to the third floor, where the guys offloaded and set it up.  Reeeealy nice to have something to sit on!  


Sandra lacquering live edge boards. She has nearly used the entrie trailer load we brought back from Tennessee earlier this year.
Running a top rail through the table saw at a slight angle. Two passes like this to create the profile needed
Top rail installed.
Section of live edge top rail. Used to create a larger surface to allow for drinks to be set upon. Backsplash of powder-coated steel cutouts to prevent glases from being down over the edge
We had a visitor early morning last week. A good sized black bear foraging for food. Was really a beautiful animal with a gorgeous coat

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/7/2018 11:44:55 PM

We continue to make progree on the trim.  The door casing should be finished by the end of the weekend with only the crown moilding portion left to finish.  That won’t be done until we after get a final inspection, as we are working hard to get the required things done to get that. Those things include all of the normal trim, exterior thresholds and top rails on the deck railings. 

I’ll head to big blue today for redwood 2x6 lumber to make those top rails.  Sandra has also been preparing several live edge planks that will also be used for top rails where we want to have more of a gathering place on the decks.  The live edge rails will allow room for drinks to be set down in a more attractive setting.  

The railing for the retaining wall is up, the stucco work an the retaining wall and in the window well is finished.

I’ve finally decided to use the stone we used for window sills for the thresholds and have a plan on how to attach them.  I need to find out if they are in stock at any of the local (3 hour drive local) yards.

The 3rd floor outdoor patio space is finished with the addition of a great coffee table that Sandra made.  It’s been wonderful to sit out there in the evenings watching the sunset and the fireplace.  I’ve ordered a radiant heater to add warmth. The fireplace puts out quite a bit, but if the wind is blowing, it doesn’t get far.  The 9’ long radiant unit will hang from the beam and provide significant additional warmth.

All of the bedrooms have been finished, complete with beds and bedding.  We had recently received the last two log beds we had ordered.  They were a bear to get in the house. The crate they arrived in weighed almost 900 lbs with the pallet. The headboards alone weighed about 200 lbs each.  As with everything else bulky or heavy, the beds were loaded on the Skytrak and lifted up.  But from there we had to stand the head and foot boards on furniture dollies to move to the respective bedrooms.  Crazy, but there are in and look great.


Outdoor space with Sandra’s coffee table finished and in.
Guest level living area. Waiting on stone for the fireplace. But based on the outdoor one we just finished, it should take a day or two only to install the stone here
One of the guest bedrooms. Ready for company!

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/24/2018 12:36:28 PM

After a long inspection, and a requirement to get railing on the retaining wall and top rail on all railings finished, we received our permanent CO.  Final inspection yet to be obtained once everything - trim, thresholds, etc are done.  But a major milestone!

New inspector accompanied on the visit.Glad he was present so as to make the final inspection go smoothly

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/21/2018 3:22:13 PM

Fireplaces that is.  The outdoor unit is finished and working, just waiting for stone to cap it.  That leaves the second level fireplace, ready for stone but it’ll take several weeks to arrive.  Originally they had told us it was carried in stock, so we had waited before trying to get it.  But as always, there is plenty of other things to keep us busy.

Sandra has been working on the second level doors while table and shelf projects sit and dry. With a short break in the rain, I turned my attention to going back to stucco around the window well window, and on the top of the retaining wall.  Before I could start the retaining wall though, I had to set post anchors, drilling into the concrete and using some of our leftover Simpson bolts to fasten them.  I’ve got one more hole to drill, for a power run outside. Then I think I’m done with the big hammer drill for some time.  It was one of the best $400 spent on the project.  Drilled close to 2000 1/2, 5/8 and 3/4” holes, 5-10 inches deep, several 4” holes with it and it still works like day one.

I started to clean my side of the garage as a break from working on the house.  It’s not a whole lot of fun, and I’m taking my time on it, but in a few weeks it might look like something organized.

Called for a permanent CO for Monday as well as a final.  Hoping to get the permanent even though not all the doors have handles since they are still being lacquered, but we’ll see.  The final I have no idea whether I’ll get.  Have no idea what they require to be finished.  As you know there is still tons of trim left. Speaking of which, I’d better get to some of that today.


Fireplace and outdoor furniture. Looking more like a home all the time
First evening of use. Almost like camping!
Construction stage
Posts anchored into the retaing wall
First coat of stucco applied

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/16/2018 8:52:47 PM

We often use the two words interchangeably, but there can be a large difference.  While I am working to try to finish the house, getting trim done, two fireplaces done, taking care of annoying start up issues that seem to keep showing up in a house of this size.  Sandra is trying to make it a home filling it with artwork, rugs, and a boatload of accessories.  What I am finishing off as basic structure, Sandra brings to life.  So slowly a home is being created.

The outdoor fireplace is ready for stone.  I would have started today but it rained heavily this afternoon and while its pretty well protected, I didn’t want to have to cut stone in the rain and I took the opportunity to install the check valve and new brass fitting on the upper water heater, change the oil on the old Tahoe, and drill a couple new anchor points in the concrete wall to make sure the deck stays attached with the weight of the fireplace and guests.

So it appears after taking a shower tonight that the check valve did the trick on the water heater issue.  One more issue taken care of (I think). And the leak is fixed.  I had originally used a galvanized reducer when hooking it up, but after many temperature cycles, it had started to drip, possibly because of differential expansion of the brass on the heater and the galvanized fitting. So hopefully having brass all around will prevent any future problems.

So tomorrow I’ll begin the stone until the afternoon rains come.  We’ll see how fast it proceeds.  Once the rain starts, I’ll look at running some baseboard that Sandra should have finished preparing.  


Fireplace ready for stone. Above and on the sides, there was a heat resistant material that was supplied with the unit. I had a little Durock left over that I pieced in as well, but the rest is metal lath.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/14/2018

So the shower glass is finished. I did the four smaller showers and the glass guys showed up on Thursday and finished the other two he had left.  Sandra grouted the niches so the showers are finished.

Although I thought a lot of the 4th floor baseboard was finished, I spent an afternoon running more until I ran out.  Sandra needs to prepare some more so I can finish it off.  

Got the gas and electric run to the outdoor fireplace today and fired it up.  Tomorrow I’ll begin getting it set up for stone-set the fireproof panels and attach the metal lath.  I should be able to start running stone on Monday.  We will be certain to enjoy it as once the sun goes down, it gets chilly pretty quick.  

We’ve been overrun with chipmunks and ground squirrels and they have been eating Sandra’s flowers to the ground.  So we bought a couple traps and in the course of three days, have caught 24 of the suckers and relocated them a mile away.  

We have been having fits with the showers that run off the the pumped loop.  This is the loop that provides for constant hot water at all of the fixtures. The shower temp starts out hot but within a few minutes, begins to cool off considerably.  Thought it may be bad temperature compensators at the showers, but yesterday I got the bright idea of actually grabbing the hot water line on a shower where the the piping is external to the wall.  It was the hot water itself! So now I’m running ideas through my mind - is there a blockage in the air intake or exhaust? Is there an issue with gas flow? Is there simply a problem with the heater itself? So I pull out the manual and read through the troubleshooting section.  Apparently, I was supposed to install a couple check valves in the system.  One on the main line, and one on the hot water loop. What the function is supposed to be ( of course I understand what a check valve does) here, I’m still not sure, but I’ll head to the plumbing supplier on Monday, get a couple and see of that solves the problem.  Cross my fingers!

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/12/2018

Tuesday the regional freight company brought up three major pieces, a pellet grill, the last refrigerator, and the last fireplace.  Sunday mattresses arrived.  We are getting closer to ending major deliveries here, and closer to selling off the Skytrak.  We have two sofas, five chairs and two more log beds that will arrive late this month, and that’ll be about it.  Dining chairs have been ordered, but will take 4  months to be made, so by then we should have sold off the Skytrack and will bring those up by hand.  That piece of equipment has been invaluable that’s for certain.

So the grill got assembled, the fireplace has been set in the frame and the fridge has been set in position. Elder daughter is coming down from Denver this weekend, so Sandra asked if I could put the glass in her shower.  I had watched the guys install the master, which helped but actually doing it took some time.  Did get it set, learned some things in the process and have proceeded to the next one.  Have decided to do all four smaller showers myself as they will only take about two hours each.  Glass guy still needs to come back for the other two we had contracted him to do.

Got the dining room table delivered, but as it seems to be with this local artist, it’s not finished.  Frustrating to say the least. 

I’m flip-flopping between projects, glass, fireplace, trim trying to keep moving as I wait for things to cure, age, dry etc.  Oh, and in the meantime had to repair the old Tahoe whose power window broke and the instrument cluster need to be replaced. No shortage of things to do!


Outdoor grill set in its frame. Need to connect the gas and electric to it, install the metal lath and rock it.
Dining table. The legs are old pitchwood stumps to keep in the same theme as the fireplace

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/4/2018 9:33:26 AM

We’re slowly working through the trim - creating it, preparing it and attaching it.  As we get more installed, the house looks more and more finished.  Mirrors are all installed in the baths and the fellow that did those is going to set at least three of the shower enclosures.  At $200 each I think it was a great deal.  And they are the big ones with large sheets of glass.  He got the master done yesterday.  Will hopefully come back after the holiday for the other two.  It took him and his two sons a lot longer than I think they thought, but the barn door hardware was new to them so it included a lot of learning so the others will go a lot quicker.  When he’s done with those, I’ll talk to him about the other four.  They will be easy for me to set, but again, we have plenty to do and the price is very reasonable.

I was able to get the remaining glass extricated from the crates and set into the baths it goes in, so I can get those out of the garage and give us some more room.  Yea!

Outdoor fireplace was shipped this week.  It should be here by Tuesday.  I’ll begin framing for it tomorrow so it’ll be ready to install when it gets here.  Nights here get cold, it was 34F this morning, so it will be nice to have up and running as soon as we can get it in and finished.  The exterior will be rock, and hopefully we still have enough left from the house.  

In addition to sanding, weathering and lacquering the trim, Sandra has started on the rest of the interior doors that have now all been set. That’ll take a couple weeks but should prepare us to get the final CO.  Yea!

And I have gotten the window well window wrapped in lath and put on the scratch coat of stucco.  It needs to sit for a couple weeks before the next (brown coat), which then needs to sit before the color coat.  But by the end of the month it’ll be done.  

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 6/26/2018

We’re sitting on the front deck looking at the smoke from a new fire. This one is about 13miles away and in the direction of the prevailing wind.  Not a good thing.  Small size now but as we learned on the fire a few weeks ago, that can change overnight.  We’ll see what happens over the next couple days.  

We’ve gotten most everything unpacked and put away.  There is a yearly garage sale/ benefit for the library that was fortuitous in the timing.  They are coming by tomorrow to pick up several pieces of furniture and a lot of accessories.  It will clear a large hole in the garage! And the truck iss loaded with all of the incorrect cabinet frames to take to the dump.  More space!  A lot of our time this past week has been spent on nesting.  Getting towel hooks, and various other things in to make it a home.  I did find time to set the rest of the prehung doors and only have two more barn doors that will get set once more hardware arrives.  Today I was back ripping aspen for door trim.  Sandra will need to sand and treat tomorrow so it can age and get lacquered before she heads out of town this weekend.

Shower glass is still in the crates.  I’ll begin to get to that shortly.  Ordered suction handles for it to make it easier to carry.  It is amazing how much glass weighs!

Lanscaper came back last week and together we got the picnic table set.  Fred Flintsone would love it!

And we had the driveway finished off with real gravel. Had them create a swail to carry off the rain.  They filled that with larger rock so it stays put but can be driven over.  I took the opportunity to lay conduit and wire in the swail with the 
Idea of getting more lighting out there as well as power for the eventual gate opener

So we’ve been busy with long days but the finishes are happening


Finished drive and parking. Nice to have real gravel, not the dusty mess we had before.
New fire. About 12 miles away. Hope they cN get it contained. Right now at 0%
New picnic table. The wind will have hell trying to blow this away

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 6/20/2018 12:51:08 AM

That little house we’ve been renting held a lot more stuff than I ever expected. Heck we moved in two and a half years ago with two trailers. How did we collect so much more?! We’re just about done, with one more load to be tranferred over.  

Saturday we hauled out box after box of kitchen stuff from the storeroom, put it on the Skytrak and took it up. Three full pallets worth.  Sandra and our elder daughter spent Saturday and Sunday unpacking it and putting it away.  Having her down to help was fantstic.  Really sped things along.  But since was fortunate enough to not be a part of it, I’m trying to figure out where things are.

I haven’t been able to work on trim or doors or shower glass as with any move, there are pictures to hang, washer/dryer to connect, towel hooks etc etc. But I’ll be able to get back to it soon.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 6/15/2018 1:22:52 AM

So, we started the move today, taking our time and getting the master moved over and set up. Unlike a typical move where a house full of stuff gets dropped off and you sort through for days/weeks, we only have limited stuff in the small house we have been renting to get to the new place.  A second bedroom, the office and the rest of the living room and we’re done.  Now, there is a whole storeroom of stuff in the first level of the new house, but we can pull that out at our leisure.  Kitchen stuff first so we can set up and cook.  Our elder daughter is coming in this weekend to help Sandra get that set up.

Sandra found out tonight that at least one shower needs the temperature adjusted.  Had barely lukewarm water. I’m sure there will be a number of little things like that to take care of.  But being able to sleep in a house that you built for the very first time is such a blast! Cant wait to wake up and have that first cup of coffee looking out at the mountains. Wait, we did bring the coffeemaker didn’t we?

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 6/12/2018

wow.  A bunch this week. Just today two washers, two dryers, a fridge, a two huge crates of shower glass.

Tomorrow the last pantry will finally arrive, I think, if Fedex finally gets it on a truck from Albuquerque.  Also the doors for the second floor came in and will be delivered.

We got the appliances inside, on the proper floor and unboxed.  The crates of glass we will unload on the ground and haul up either in the elevator or Skytrak depending on size.  Speaking of the Skytrak, it has been an indispensable tool during this entire build and today bore that out again.  I can’t imagine how we would have unloaded the 1200 lb crates nor get the appliances up into the house.  In a couple months we’ll be done with it and look for a buyer.  A few have shown interest but we’ll see what happens.


All of the pieces, less the fridge, that were delivered today

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 6/10/2018 8:59:24 AM

Two meanings - one is that astronomically the days are getting longer the closer we get to the solstice. This is really nice, but it also tends to keep us working far longer each day, with all the extra daylight.  Ten, eleven hour days up at the project are pretty common right now as we try to get things as ready as we can to move in.  We definitely will not be finished, far too much trim to make that happen, but trying to get most of the messy things taken care of so it doesn’t make as much of a mess later.

Sandra has been powerwashing the decks and patio, and planted a truckload of flowers outside to spruce things up there.  She’s been trying to keep up on weathering and lacquering the trim as I go ahead and put it up.  I need to order more aspen and that will slow us down some as it takes a couple weeks to get it in.

I finally got the upstairs fireplace working again after receiving new parts from the manufacturer. I’ve got several Nest cameras to install today and connect to the phones.I don’t think that will be too difficult.  Will go ahead and connect the thermostats to the phones as well now that we have internet.  We received the barn door hardware and as I finish door frame trim, I can begin getting that in place and hang the doors. I’m thinking next weekend for the move having pushed that back a bit to give us time to get a myriad of little projects finished. 

Oh, and it looks like shower glass, washers and dryers will arrive on Tuesday. The final  pantry from the cabinet guys made it all the way to Albuquerque before Fedex lost it.  Now how you lose an 8’ pallet, I don't know.  I’m supposed to give them a call on Monday to see if they have found it. Arghh!


Bar height table that Sandra made for the coffee/breakfast area from live edge. Boy it will be nice to see the wood floor instaed of cardboard!

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/30/2018 8:45:00 AM

Finally got the beams up over the dining/kitchen area of the main floor. Almost 30’ long, they were not the easiest things to get in place, but with four of us lifting off of scaffolding and Sandra placing props underneath as we wiggled them in, we finally had them all set.  Only took an hour for the three.  Help came from the fellow building across the road, another friend, and the pastor of a local church - all of whom have borrowed the Skytrak on various occasions.  Good deads beget good deeds.  I truly thank them for their help.

I’ll trim out the edge of ceiling/wall that you see on the foreground, and hang chandeliers over the island and where the dining table will be and Sandra can begin removing the cardboard protecting the floor up there.  We have a few out of town things to do over the next week, but will hit it hard on the move-in afterwards.


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/27/2018 1:14:01 PM

I don’t think so!  We get amused when someone new comes by to look at the house and then says “But you have so much more to do!”, especially when we tell them we are moving in, in a couple weeks.  Yes there is a fair amount of work left, but coming from where we started, or from where we were just a couple months ago, we see it as maybe 2% of the work left to do.  The flooring will be finished by sometime tomorrow and doors will be ordered for the second floor. Sandra’s nearly done with staining the stairs.  Beams in the kitchen will go up on Tuesday as I have secured a couple more people to help. Backsplash can be started, and then the kitchen is done!

A friend across the road who is also building arrived back in town for a month to get more done on his house.  He is dried in and has my stone guy staining and putting stone up.  When he saw where were-he was amazed!  He understood the building process unlike most other people.  He had seen the house bare and devoid of stucco, stone, sheetrock, paint, stairs, decks, railings and landscaping.  He appreciated where we were and how close we are to the finish line.  Those that haven’t seen the changes or been involved in their own build, just don’t understand the effort and time that goes into building.  So when it happens to you that they think you have so far to go, don't get discouraged, just be confident in yourself, look back at pictures of the process and you can assure yourself you have come a long way.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/25/2018 3:44:26 AM

posted a blog post on the temp CO to the old Mutton Busting blog by mistake yesterday. I guess the euphoria of getting the CO made me a little goofy. Sorry!

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/23/2018 7:59:52 PM

Plumbing passed yesterday and so I called for a CO.  Inspector came by and after borrowing my permit, returned with it and an actual “certificate”!

So we are good to move in when we want.  In the meantime we are working on preparing trim which takes a couple weeks to weather and then lacquer.  In order to get a perament CO, we need to get the floors and doors in on the second floor. So while the trim is weathering, we’ll probably start on at least the floors.  Shouldn’t take but three days tops.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/22/2018 1:36:21 AM

So the electrical inspector came today and went over all the things on his list.  Actually, he hadn’t written everything down and appreciated me calling the out those items.  After he was done, he wrote out a yellow ticket and stuck it to one of the main panels and congratulated me.  Niiiice to get a second final taken care of!  I set the line from the main level condensate pump this morning and called for a final plumbing inspection.  Hopefully that’ll be in the next day or two aso I can then call for the temp CO.

Finished assembling the barn door I’ve been making for our master bath, fasten the last hand rail, and cut blocks for the the beams to be fastened to.  Trying to lay out just where to set the beams on the ceiling.  Thought I had it and then realized that there was a return air vent in the way. So I’ll look at it with a fresh mind in the morning.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/21/2018 2:12:39 AM

So this could be a a good week.  I’ve got final electrical tomorrow and should pass as I took care of everything he called out, I passed final mechanical last week, and will call in for final plumbing tomorrow.  While the inspector was out for the mechanical, I queried him about connections on the water heaters for condensate and pressure relief valve. He ok’d how I was planning on routing them and also offered a suggestion of his own which I’ll take.

All the final bits of the stair railing were fabricated this weekend and even though they are not painted, once onstalled they will suffice as complete for inspection purposes. And so after plumbing is signed off, I’ll call for a temporary Certificate of Occupancy, and if we get it we can think about moving.  I said think, as there are still the beams to install in the kitchen.  Really want to get those up and off the living room floor as they are simply in the way.  Get them up, and we can begin the final move of the tool cart and a few other odds and ends and strip the Ramboard and cardboard that are protecting the hardwood, and finally see what the living room will look like!! But at the very least, we will not be sweating out making the move before our lease runs out!

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/17/2018 10:59:44 PM

It just seems that time goes by so quickly, especially when one is on a schedule.   And work just seems to go so slow.  Talking to Sandra on her journey back this morning she seems to think I’ve gotten a lot done while she’s been gone, but to me, it seems like I’m in slow motion.  I guess things are getting done but sometimes it’s two steps forward, one back. Like today, I walk past the lower water heater and hear a drip drip drip.  It had been fully connected since yesterday and then this morning had started to leak at a solder joint that will require a dismantling of a line to fix.  Argh!

In the meantime, everything is fixed for the electrical final, registers are in for the mechanical. I got the shower niches tiled,  I’ll get the leak fixed, get the condensate drains connected and I should be ready for plumbing next week.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/15/2018 1:05:49 AM

I didn’t pass electrical. I missed a couple of covers on switches and receptacles. How I didn’t catch those earlier I don’t know. Need to convert a Romex line on the elevator to armoured cable and the worst of all, for which I feel totally brain dead was forgetting to put GFCIs on all but one of the outdoor receptacles. Absolutely no excuse.  Something I have always known but changes in how I was running electrical and me forgetting that only non-GFCI plugs had been installed a year ago lead to the error.  But boy, was I embarrassed!

So after he left, I took care of the outdoor receptacles, the covers and have only the armoured cable left to be done.  I’ll call Friday for him to come back on Monday which is his day in the village.

WIFI was connected this morning.  That’s a great feeling since we need it when we move and wern’t sure how long it woild take after placing the order.

And late in the day, I took some of the treated rough-sawn  that’s left over, to our landlord’s shop to run it through a planer.  Going to try to build a barn door for the master bath.  I planed from one side only so we still have a rough side to expose.  We’ll see what Sandra thinks when she gets back.  

Will head over to Taos in the morning so I can get the missing elbows and finish getting water connected to the water heaters. So- armoured cable, water heaters.  I shoild be able to get that done.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/14/2018 2:04:04 AM

Spent better part of the weekend making sure all the electrical was finished in prep for the inspection this week.  I needed to place covers over a number of boxes such as where pendant lights will be hung, but haven’t as of yet.  A couple of receptacles still needed to be installed in somewhat out of the way locations and I got the chandelier short taken care of. Still not sure what it was, but I took it all apart, put it back up and it works fine. 

Made up the last wooden hand and stair rails.  Will install when Sandra returns and stains them.  

Started looking at the last of the plumbing.  Found out I’m short PEX elbows so water heaters will have to wait until I can get to Taos and pick a few up.. I swear I bought some when I was there last, but if I did, they are no where to be found.

The three shower sets in the third and fourth floors, leak slightly.  Most of the plumbing and mixing valve is exposed, and the leaks are where the attachment to mixing valve takes place.  I took them all apart today, but it looks like the seal is getting sufficiently compressed.  But the seals are of pretty hard material.  I’ll pick up some garden hose washers, intall them and see if they make a difference.  

The shower niches, yes remember them? They need to be tiled, now that the bottom ledges were installed by the granite guys a couple weeks while I wait on a chance to get to Taos, and after I fix the leaky shower assembly I’ll pull out the tile saw and get those finished.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/12/2018 2:40:54 AM

Made a call to Santa Fe for a final electrical inspection.  I’m wrapping up several unfinished items in prep for that.  Finally got the chandeliers in the stairwell done.  That was not much fun, but it is very good to see all four of them work as designed with three and four way switches at different floors and that no shorts were created when the sheetrock was installed!

But spreaking of shorts, a chandelier in the bunk room bath is shorting after I installed it today.  Was a PITA to put in, and now I’ve got to find the short.  Wasit created during installation or is it in the fixture itself? :-(

Installed many of the handrails yesterday. Will install the rest over the weekend.  Pretty easy job once I had them cut to length and created the returns.  Simply lay down in place on the brackets and screw to the bracket.  Still painting the steel sections as weather (wind) permits.  A slow process with 25 sections to do, but it doesn’t need paint for a CO, so it’s kind of a side job as the paint takes time to dry.

Will hopefully begin getting the water heater connections moved along.  Last fittings were delivered this week, but I was so close to electrical that I thought I’d try to get that done and gone.

Sandra’s gone for another week so doors and trim are stagnant but that will change when she gets back in a week.

Started shopping for homeowner’s insurance as we’ve only had builders risk, or course of construction, up till now.  A bit disheartening when I saw some of the quotes come in, but finally, it looks like something reasonable has started to take shape.

Oh! And got a call from our telecom provider.  They’ll be out bright and early on Monday to make the final connections to the fiber that was installed what seems like an eternity ago when we laid it with the electric service.  Wasn’t an issue on their part, we just haven’t been ready for it until now.  Another sign we are closing in on the end!

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/8/2018 12:42:13 AM

So the new inspector came out today to discuss the occupancy requirements.  Turns out what I need is a temporary occupancy certificate to allow me to move in before everything is finished on all levels.  I still need to have the three trade permits completed but not all the interior doors need to be done nor the floor.  That makes things reasonable to be able to get in in time.

Also had a question about handrails.  Code requires them to be continuous, but there is an exception that allows them to end at a newel post on a corner.  Inspector didn’t know that when I queried him aboit it, so after showing him the code exception, he agreed to it.  That will make far easier to run the railings by eliminating trying to make the turn.  So other than running a few sticks short of 1” tubing, I should be able to finish the railings and handrails this week.  Then work on hanging chandeliers in three floors of the stairwell so the electrical final can be had.  Plumbing will wait until the final connections are made to the water heaters.  Mechanical will be ready after the remainder of the register vents arrive.  By the end of the month we should be ready!!
 Meanwhile the finger is healing well, but will take over a month more to get close to fully healed.  Fortunately, it doesn’t give me much problem with work.  Thank goodness!


Still getting snow, with a few inches last Thursday
Finished look of the door posted earlier, after treating and lacquering. Still missing trim.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/3/2018

Called down to Santa Fe to get hold of the inspector that now covers our area since we lost the local inspector last fall.  Wanted clarification on what is required to get a certificate of occupancy. Old timers here said the list was minimal, but I want to be sure as our lease is up July 1.  The inspector came back with a long laundry list of things, so I’ve scheduled a “technical assistance” meeting for Monday so he can view where we are and we can discuss.  He did say that finals on mechanical, plumbing and electrical were required.  We are close to all three. Electrical needs lighting installed in the stairwell, plumbing needs final connections to the dishwashers and water heaters, and mechanical needs register grills. But he also mentioned flooring and doors, all of which are on the second floor and should be able to be installed when we are living on the third and fourth.  So we’ll see where we stand.

Yesterday Sandra sanded the first to second floor steps and stained the them, but ran out of stain again so the framework and railings will have to wait until we source more.  What we are using only comes in quarts and we have already cleaned out the two closest HD’s (up to three hours away) three local hardware stores in Angel Fire and Taos.

And yesterday I got the half bath floating vanity installed creating a frame support out of leftover railing material.  The top and shelf are out of live edge material that Sandra prepared. Final drain and supply connections today after I hit the plumbing supply place, and I’ll add a skirt to better hide the plumbing when finished.


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/2/2018

...and the saw won.  Paraphrase of an old rock and roll song from the sixties.  I was triming second floor kitchen, trying to use a short piece of toe kick.  I placed another piece of kick behind it against the saw’s fence as it has never been totally straight.started sawing, when somehow, the rear piece I was grasping got caught by the blade, ripped everything out of my hands and in doing so, tore a large chunk of of one finger, requiring a visit to the doctor.  Can’t stitch as too much is gone.  Will have to watch and wait over the next weeks to see if it heals without a graft. So, another lesson learned in late life, like the ladder incident a year ago, it could have been far worse.  After a night off, I’m able to get back to work with minimal interference.

Sandra is continuing to make progress on the stairs.  A very long, and frustrating process. There must be 500 individual surfaces or more, many requiring tortuous maneuvers to get to to be stained.  And we all know how liquid stain is!  She comes home covered - herself and her clothes.  Bit two sections are pretty much done with one more to go.  And the finish we are using for the steps, Bona Traffic, is finished on those floors as well.  

I got the 8 prehung doors of the 4th and 3rd floors hung over Sunday and Monday.
Sandra has treated then and started to lacquer them. Yesterday she started working on the ones that will be used for barn doors.  

I spent time yesterday doing a little plumbing leftovers under a could of sinks, taking care of my hand while doing it. Also started to create a support for the half bath sink which will be hung from the wall along with a shelf underneath it.  Both are made from some of the live edge material we brought from Nashville.  Frame will be made from some of the  angle iron and tubing that we are using on the stair railings.  Hopefully try to get that finished today and begin setting the vessel sink and faucet.

Local telecom company came out to look at what would be required to run fiber.  Fellow was happily surprised that we had planned ahead and buried it already when we ran the electric line.  We discussed how to get it into the house from the outside termination and we shoild have that all taken care of by the time we move it without a problem.

We’ve received conflicting reports about what is required for a CO and I’ll call down to Santa Fe to find out for sure.  We’ve got to keep moving on this.  Two months before we lose our rental.


Steel railing out for finishing, the staris look so good stained and with all the ratty protective stuff off of them.
Knotty alder door. Will post a shot of it after the wood treatment and lacquer when it’s done. Still needs caing, and we’re trying to figure what wood we want to use for it

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 4/27/2018 8:23:26 PM

Well, I didn’t get both islands supoorted as I had hoped, not did I trim the door frames.  The fabrication of the metal angle and subsequent trimming out of that took a lot longer than I had thought.  But I did start the second island and it should go a bit quicker now that I have the process down. And I did get the shower measurements and will clean up the drawings and send off for glass.

Sandra started staining the next level of stairway until she ran out of stain.  Amazing how it changes the appearance of the stairs!.

The weather has been spectacular the past three days, with low 60’s blue skies, which means plenty of warm sunshine, and most of all, very little wind.  It makes it a pleasure to go outside and cut and rout and stain.

A couple of photos are attached.


Kitchen with the crown moulding. Need to run the toe kick, put a cabinet panel on the dishwashers and after Sandra comes back in mid May from a trip, run tile backsplash
A close up of the crown
Trimof the angle iron support

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 4/27/2018 9:55:22 AM

The granite guys came back yesterday and finally finished the last two shower curbs.  With that I can get a full set of exact measurements and order the glass.  It’ll take about a month to receive it here.  

The beams we received camestained in a shade that did not fit anything we had going on. Instead of a walnut, they came in a very reddish brown.  Sandra sanded and redid with something that should be a better fit and once fully dry we’ll try to get them up next week.  Although hollow, they are still pretty heavy, and almost 30’ long once assembled together.  I’ll need some help for this job.

The past couple days I’ve slowed on the stairs as Sandra stains and lacquers the handrails and I wait for some deburring bits to clean up the welds.  Instead, got back on the kitchen to install cabinet lighting (LED strips) and get down the HORRIBLE business of running the crown moulding - a job I absolutely hate, especially when it’s as large as this - 6”, and there are so many changes in direction.  But it’s finally finished and sets off the cabinets well.  Today’s chore is to install the support legs on both islands for the overhang on each.  Included with that is a piece of angle iron along the length of the overhang to eliminate having to add a third leg in the middle.  The angle will hang from the top of the leg, being recessed to sit flush.  A piece of trim will then be glued to the angle to hide it.  Shouldn't’ be a hard job, but will take some time.  

Also need to trim the door frames on fourth floor doors so we can take them up and set them in place and Sandra can use the wood treatment on them.  All in all, a full days work ahead of me.

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 4/21/2018

So winter returned this morning with incessant wind again, and some snow.  Moisture is welcome around here this spring as we had so little snow, that fire danger is extreme. So it was a good thing. But it did prevent Sandra from working outside sanding the handrails.  And I stayed in for good measure as well. Lord knows there is plenty inside. Sandra went ahead and lacquered the live edge we are using to make the half bath vanity and then proceeded to resand the top surface of the stair treads leading up to the fourth floor, taking off the protective film we have placed on them with the wild idea it would protect them during construction.  Well it did for a month and then it began to get worn through and get more so and more so.  After a thorough sanding - stain! What a chore! There are sooooo many surfaces to cover.   But it looks great to have them stained.  Unfortunately neither she nor I got photos yet. So later.

For my part, I started creating the metal railing for the stairs.  Each square tube has to be cut and fitted individually between two pieces of angle iron that has been attached to the stair frame. Then welded.  The assemblies will then be removed later to finish welding, clean and be painted.  

Late in the day, the first order of doors arrived by truck on an 8’ pallet along with the beams for the kitchen on a 14’ pallet.  I am so happy we have that Skytrak!


First metal rail section done.
Further along. I got the entire first floor to second floor done in one day. This will go quicker than I thought - I think ??

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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 4/20/2018 1:50:37 PM

Tuesday was the day the granite guys were supposed to show up - and they did, although late because of an accident on the interstate.  Typical spring winds with 45 mph gusts were whistling when they got here.  There were 14 pieces of granite that had to be lifted to the 2nd and third floors which was accomplished with the Skytrack and a boom setup they had brought with them.  With ropes clamped to the bottom corners to steady each piece as I lifted it, we slowly and safely got them up to their respective floors.  We waited for a momentary calm and held our breath when lifting the main island panel that was over 5’ x 10’ but all went well and they set about getting the panels laid down.  A word of caution, make sure you’re present at all phases.  As I was busy running the Skytrack, and later work was going on two levels and you tend to be awed by the changes taking place and not paying attention as you should to the details they are doing, mistakes can happen.  For us they pulled back a piece of romex into the cabinetry that needed to be left hanging out through a groove I had made at the top of the cabinet.  Fortunately, by removing the dishwasher and a drawer in an adjacent cabinet, I had enough access to pull it back through.  And then yesterday, Sandra said “I can’t get the spice racks to pull out”. They flank the stove and with legs on front, they are made to look like cabinetry.  Well, they do look like it so well, the granite guys glued the countertop to them! Honest mistakeon their part, but if I had been watching more closely, I could have caught it as they were doing it.  Should be a relatively simple fix with an oscillating blade and a little time, but time thay could be spent elsewhere.  Moral of the story, watch their every move! 

Now, they still have to finish the shower curbs, which they had planned on doing before they left. But now the remaing pieces turn out to be too short and will have to be made again.  They have another job in town next week and will bring the new material with them and finish it. I hope.  It’s been over two months on a very simple and small job.  I am over this!

I’ve gotten the three kitchen sinks in and plumbed.  Need a supply line or two to finish them. But the faucets, airgaps and soap dispensers are all in. The master sinks have faucets set and supplied, but I need to get p traps and tail pieces to finish them.

Tuesday, the steel for the stair railings arrived.  Shipped up from Albuquerque.  The 1” tubing was cut into 8’ pieces and was covered with cutting fluid, so I had to wipe each down and then again with lacquer thinner.  Once welded up, I’ll clean once more before painting.

Sandra had been working on the live edge material a little at a time.  Made bench seats for the girl’s rooms and some shelving.  Just started on a top and shelf for the half bath sink. I need to come up with a support for those so they can float without haveing a cabinet.

Half of the doors arrive this afternoon.  They are for the third and fourth floors.  So we can continue to try to finish off those levels in out spare time;-))

Well time to go to work!


Lifting granite slabs one at a time.
Getting a slab ready to lift
The big one
Liftoff of the big one
Kitchen with granite done


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