Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fire Safety

Building started with a bang. By Day 3 we ran into two major issues involving underestimates about the height of the foundation and issues with the floor plan. Turns out the "slope" on which the house will be built is more like a "steep mountain" when grades were shot with a laser. At its highest corner the house will stand almost 8 feet off the ground, making it almost level with the treetops in the front yard. The living room will be a room with a view, indeed. Putting the house up high keeps us from having to dig it into the ground; something that would require retaining walls and the loss of a huge chunk of forest behind us - not an option - in my opinion. Why build a house in a forest, and then cut down the forest?

Blank slate - after builder's cleared.

We're not even a week in and already overwhelmed - BUT - we're building!! And anyone who says "Oh- building is fun!" is a complete liar, so we were prepared for total chaos when the process got started.

First of 45 loads of road base for foundation

The beginning of foundation forms!

Of course, the best news of all is that we were spared from the horrific fires in Bastrop, just south of the property. Had the weekend winds blown in the opposite direction, then our story might be ending just as it begins. Less than 20 miles separates us from the fire, and, as of this morning, the fire has grown to that size (or larger) in length and width. The magnificent Lost Pines forest is gone, apparently, not to mention hundreds of homes and farms. We're sad, and lucky.

So lucky, in fact, that when a fire started in our neighborhood in Austin yesterday afternoon, the firemen got it out quickly enough that it never spread out of control. In my panic, I started grabbing "essential" items and stuffed them into a bag in case of evacuation. Unpacking the bag last night, I found my choices baffling. Inside the bag I'd crammed a few crumpled credit card statements, my expired passport, a "Congrats - you graduated from college!" card from my parents, a ring, one sports bra, and my new pair of cowboy boots. You know - all of the items necessary to pick-up-the-pieces in case of a devastating fire. Probably, this means we need to come up with a list of what to grab and what to leave in case of a quick exit since I clearly exhibit poor decision-making skills. This morning the air is filled with smoke; from the east, from the west, from the south. But after four solid months of 100 + degree weather, at least it's finally cool - and that's something.


Brett said...

Hang in there! We're up by the Leander and Steiner Ranch fires.

Congrats on finally getting it all started.

By the way, we've started the process on the property and even a blog to keep family posted on the progress!

Megan Kuhlenschmidt said...

Glad you guys were spared! You should submit your emergency packing list to ;o)

No Name Farm/Ranch said...

Brett - I can't believe you already found a place!! I look forward to hearing more details and glad to hear you started a blog (hope you'll share it!). The blog's been a great way to point and laugh at ourselves from the distance of a few years.