Sunrise Give me a home...

Page 20
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May 1st, 2007
Tragically the the Big Creek forest fire killed every tree in my yard; over 1,000 of them. Many were over 100 years old while others were between 200 and 300 years of age. In one afternoon they all perished in a massive super hot blaze.
Jack and Norm from Mike Adkins Excavating pulled the dead trees up by their roots from my front yard last fall and then smoothed the surface. Over the winter I designed a symmetrical set of walkways that lead from the house, garage and greenhouse to the point at the end of the front yard. The main axis ties in perfectly with the east/west house axis. Eventually I would like to plant flowers and shrubs along the walkways, add a few park benches, statues and maybe a gazebo with benches on the far point.
Front Yard
Chuck and Keith stake borders for the gravel walkways.
The geometric design of the walkways comes from Italian Renaissance gardens in the 15th century.
Amidst charred branches and scorched rocks, life springs anew.
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Bill Taylor of Taylor Tile installed the Venus and her son Cupid mural on the walls of the first floor shower and bath.

Visit the Aristophanes Tile Mural web site at to see many other beautiful tile murals at exceptionally reasonable prices.
Venus and her son Cupid grace the ground or first floor bathroom shower and tub in a print originally created by Guillaume Seignac. It is said that if you are hit with one of Cupid's gold tipped arrows the next person of the opposite sex you meet, you will fall madly in love with. Cupid was a mischievous boy with angel wings that liked to frolic and play pranks on others. Here he is kindly placing a garland of flowers in his Mom's hair.
In the master bath is another mural of the the classical Goddess Venus. In it she emerges from the water on a shell, blown towards the shore by the Zephyrs, symbols of spiritual passions. Venus is joined by one of the Horae, goddesses of the seasons, who hands her a flowered cloak.
Bill Taylor, pictured to your left, and his crew, Dustin and Alex, at Taylor Tile meticulously built the fine tile walls and assembled the beautiful murals.
Alex carefully grouted "The Birth of Venus" mural by Sandro Botticelli.
Birth of Venus
The Birth of Venus tile mural from a painting by Sandro Botticelli around 1463.

Visit Bill Taylor's Neptune Brewery web site at to purchase his micro-brewery beer made from a Renaissance recipe and fit for the god of the sea, Neptune. Or visit the brewery at 119 North Street in Livingston, Montana.
Call (406)222-7837 for hours.
Neil Aakerstrom designed and built a beautiful hardwood floor for the living and dining rooms. He divided the adjoining rooms into three equal sections. In the center of each section, Neil built a diamond from a hard tropical red wood, maple and black walnut. He then framed each diamond with northern red oak which lent a radiating pattern to his creation. The borders of the floor are black walnut and ash as they are in the rest of the house. Diamonds are also used in the tile floors and just outside the living windows, in the front yard garden walkways. Neil
Neil Aakerstrom.

e-mail Neil or call him at (406)222-6343.
Living Room
Three beautiful diamonds flow across the dining and living room floors.
Britton secures oak hardwood flooring in the kitchen.
Lee perfectly assembles a fir wood floor over concrete in the basement workshop.
Neil thought that a thick, fir floor would work best in the basement workshop. We needed something that looked better than painted concrete but would not break if heavy tools were dropped on it. Installing a wood floor over basement concrete is a challenge. It cannot be nailed in place and basements are often damp so the wood will swell and can buckle. Neil chose fir that was specifically cut so the grain alignment minimized swelling. Lee then custom cut every plank and artfully glued them to the concrete floor. For two long days Lee toiled on his knees with a bucket of glue and a wooden mallet. Finally the floor was perfectly aligned with no gaps or buckles.
Fir Floor
Two days later the fir workshop floor is completed.
The ground floor mud room, newly laid, diamond pattern tile floor. Note how the diamonds are perfectly centered inside the border.
Aaron and Justin cut the first dead trees in late April. Then Keith and I were in charge of landscaping. Keith cleared over 350 dead trees while I hauled them to the burn piles in the front yard. On May 3rd Jimmy and his crew hauled the first load of six foot tall Colorado Blue Spruce trees up the mountain. Over the next two weeks they planted 88 trees in the front yard, side yard and by the driveway entrance. The sight of fresh green trees was uplifting for everyone. Late winter snows and early spring rains brought forth plentiful buds and explosive growth as the trees quickly adapted to their new home. Trees
Jimmy and his crew bring new trees to the yard.
A late winter snow provides much needed moisture for spring flowers.
Zachary plants and unwraps the first new blue spruce tree.
May 9th, 2007
A few pages back I said that the outside walls of a classically adorned building are a canvas for artists. The house and outbuildings will employ trim that was first used by the ancient Greeks over 3,000 years ago. The outdoor trim belongs to the Greek Ionic order. Inside the house we will use trim from the Corinthian order which was widely used in ancient Rome two thousand years ago. Each order has its own language of unique shapes and sizes. Although not overly complicated it is critical to understand the various orders and place the correct shapes and sizes in the proper place on a building.
front yard
Justin and Aaron mount cornice trim to the garage.
Window Trim
Window and chimney trim adorn the east side of the house.
Painting Trim
Joe Fay keeps the carpenters well supplied with painted trim from his garage studio.
Visit Joe Fay's art web site by clicking on the underlined text.
Keith slices into another fire killed Douglas Fir.
Every single tree on my 20 acres in Paradise Valley had its life sucked out of it by the voracious Big Creek forest fire. Many stood proudly for over 200 years before succumbing to the flames. A few trees were already young adults when the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. Tragically all were destroyed on a blisteringly hot, Sunday afternoon, last July.
New Trees
New green trees replace charred and dead ones in the side yard.
Small trees and branches burn quickly in the front yard. We saved the bigger pieces for the fireplace and next winter.
Jon Ellen Snyder, my realtor, told me that I would never be lonely if I settled in Montana. Big Sky folks are inherently friendly and you will always have visitors during the summer Jon Ellen stated. She was right and I love living here. I always enjoy sharing the unique pleasures of Montana with my friends and family.

On May 22nd my niece Susan and her three wonderful children stopped by for a five day visit. On the morning of the 23rd four inches of wet mountain snow greeted Susan, I and the kids. When the skies cleared Emigrant Peak shown with all its brilliance in the late afternoon sun. For the next four days Susan, I and the children had a wonderful time exploring Paradise Valley, shopping and eating in Livingston, watching animals in Emigrant and experiencing the sublime beauty of Yellowstone Park.
Susan and her children, left to right, Hailey, Bryson and Bailey.
Elk graze on fresh meadow grasses about one mile south of the new house.
A welcome sight
Three pairs of children's shoes and Susan's tennis sneakers provide welcome company for my weathered and lonely work boots.
Home On The Range by Dr. Brewster Higley
Home On The Range (1876)
Oh, give me a home where the Buffalo roam
Where the Deer and the Antelope play;
Where never is heard a discouraging word,
And the sky is not clouded all day.
A home! A home!
Where the Deer and the Antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the sky is not clouded all day.
Oh! give me a land where the bright diamond sand
Throws its light from the glittering streams,
Where glideth along the graceful white swan,
Like the maid in her heavenly dreams.
Oh! give me a gale of the Solomon vale,
Where the life streams with buoyancy flow;
On the banks of the Beaver, where seldom if ever,
Any poisonous herbage doth grow.
How often at night, when the heavens were bright,
With the light of the twinkling stars
Have I stood here amazed, and asked as I gazed,
If their glory exceed that of ours.
I love the wild flowers in this bright land of ours,
I love the wild curlew's shrill scream;
The bluffs and white rocks, and antelope flocks
That graze on the mountains so green.
The air is so pure and the breezes so fine,
The zephyrs so balmy and light,
That I would not exchange my home here to range
Forever in azures so bright.
Balsalm Root
Arrowleaf Balsam Root - a favorite food of elk and deer.
A home where the buffalo roam....
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Page 19
The Artists Arrive

Tim's Life
Main Table of Contents

Branford Bike
Fire Story
Table of Contents

Page 21
Spring Progress