BCCS Homestead Improvements 2 - 29 May 2004


A note from Gregg:

Dear Members and Friends of the BCCS:
I can only begin this recap of our week-end in the Cove by stating my astonishment at the progress and amount of work realized. Permit me to offer a modest summary of what we accomplished.
Joe Brady led a contingent of carpenters (aided ably by John Makely) in building a new, board and batten privy. It is of vastly superior materials (true 2 x 4 inch poplar studs) and includes a small tool shed on the back. Minor work (finishing the roof, installing stoop stones in front of the door, and bringing finishing touches to the inside) remain. John is going back out there this week-end to work on it.
Earlier in the week, track hoe work graded the steep slope to the west of the Homestead, taking out a half dozen trees and building a swale to divert run off and seeps away from the new porch and patio areas. The machine operator also reconstructed and strengthened the run off swale that winds around the hill from the frog pond 200 feet up Jack Mountain from the Homestead.
Duane Martin, Phil Lucas, and Dave Kohuth went at the downed logs with chain saws while many of us jumped in to split the wood, transport it, and stack it. This was hot, itchy, tiring work, but nearly 3 cords of drying firewood are now stacked in the lower lot.
By far, the most intriguing work was the stone construction. Ed Kehs, Jr. and Sr. showed us precisely how to build a superb set of front steps with massive sandstone blocks. They are true masters of the feathers and wedges! Those of us out there on Thursday night got the benefit of a stone work clinic on Friday. Jeff Uhl, Scott Olson, Mike Artz, Keith Wheeland and I worked to move these massive stones until John Sweet showed up with his tractor to wrestle the largest one into place.
A succession of cars and trucks arrived Friday night and by Saturday morning, all the lots were filled with vehicles overflowing out into the fields. (the trackhoe also leveled the steeply slanted portion of the road just as it heads into the north field). Thanks to Mike Artz for weed whacking the grass around the Homestead and Frank Marks for bush hogging the central part of the meadow...(there were others who contributed to this too!)
Work began in earnest right after breakfast on Saturday. Joe and company started on the johnny house.
The Kehs team constructed a small stone wall along the chimney side of the Homestead as a precursor to a water moving swale to be built there later.
Nate Walter and Josh Richardson started work on building a stone box for the open pipe culvert adjacent to the the road, covering it with a huge slab for an elegant road drain. Several of us shuttled rock from the old fire ring for this project.
John Sweet did yoeman's service with his tractor, keeping the rock building team supplied. Nate and company then began work on the lower, long stone wall..this lower wall running  30-40 feet at 3.5 feet high aided by Nevin in his tractor and Jean hauling rocks in her pickup. A nice, dry-laid wall emerged in just a few hours! (see photo in John Wilson's post). On Sunday, they dog-legged this to the north porch corner, installing a series of three free-standing stone steps that permit access to the future upper level.
Ed and Ed lead a team of rock movers in building a massive stone staircase up the bank to the future patio. Then, despite sweat, sore backs, and bruised and scratched hands, arms, and legs, they charged into rebuilding the fire ring. This structure, slated to be four tiers high, will truly be one of the remarkable features of our Homestead. Built to resemble a minature amphitheater, the massive stone construction, precise edging, and perfectly scribed semi-circle would do the Athenians proud! Two tiers remain on this project. The actual patio and upper wall also are not yet finished.
Work is slated to continue on the week end of 17 July.
Saturday night, we counted 50 individuals for the spaghetti dinner. I checked with several other members and none of us recalled another Memorial Day Expedition with so many folks in attendance. And never have I seen a more vibrant, enthusiastic crew. One would have thought we had just mapped a mile of virgin cave. Indeed, a few went caving!
Traditionally, this has always been a work week-end...with some nominal caving on Sunday. The game plan this year took into account the need to advance the stone patio project.
By now many of you have viewed John Wilson's posted photos of the work efforts around the Homestead. The changes at the property are indeed dramatic and reflect the interest of the membership to improve the property. At virtually no cost to the Society, but with a deep investment in sweat eqity, the Homestead is on the threshold of being transformed. No, we have no plans for telephones or electricity, but we are bringing this wonderful 200 year old log cabin into a new era of use and enjoyment.
Below is a list of those attending and helping in the work. Every member and friend of the Society owes these folks a big thank you!
Mike Artz
Hope McAdam
Nate Walter
Keith Wheeland
Jean Hartman
Justin Mauck-Hill
Allison Eye
Melinda Eye
Mary Makely
John Makely
Christina Fox
Jess Fox
Kearstyn Cook
Justin Cook
Jeff Uhl
Nancy Gibson
Keith Christenson
Dwayne Martin
David Kohuth
Ed Kehs, Sr.
Ed Kehs, Jr.
Nevin C. Davis
Al Grimm
Nevin W. Davis
Judy Davis
Bryan Crowell
John Wilson
Joe Brady
Gregg Clemmer
Mike Ficco
Kathy Haverly
Frank Marks
Judy Marks
Scott Olson
John Sweet
Myron Cook
Chris Cook
Patrick Cook
Sara Good
Josh Richardson
Bruce Dunlavy
Charlotte Lucas
Phil Lucas
Ann Wefer
Erin Rust
Trudy Nicholson
Mike Nicholson
Sue Brady
Katy Brady
Char Sweet
Those of you who did not attend, missed out on one of the truely memorable times in Burnsville Cove in many years. (We even saw a bear!!) Next work week-end is 17 July 2004.
Might we see each of you there?