February 2023 Update
Infrastructure, duplex design, work parties, and wildflowers.
Welcome to our new Substack! What was once a private email newsletter has been migrated to Substack to embrace the build-in-public ethos.
In addition to the newsletter we also launched Montanoso Stories, which are a set of living documents that create the narrative history of Montanoso.
It’s infrastructure week at Montanoso!
This month I dived deep on water, plumbing, prefab trenches, building systems, and more. I’d like to lay the utilities in a covered trench so that upgrades and repairs are as simple as removing a concrete cover. The big open question is whether this would cause our water main to freeze in the winter.
I also reached out to local water filtration and rainwater collection companies. Our well water is very hard. Rainwater collection is desirable because the water is naturally soft and we’ll need to handle stormwater anyway, but it has high upfront costs. It seems to be a trade off between high capex for rainwater collection vs high opex for salt costs for well water softening.
The design for the duplex is coming along
The architect Adam had an idea that I just love: separate the units with a two-foot thick limestone-block wall. This would provide soundproofing, a huge thermal mass to buffer temperature, and a beautiful natural texture within the homes.
The homes are clocking in at roughly 600 sq ft each (40 ft x 15 ft). Adam came out to the site and we platted the homes and their courtyards to get a feel for things. Each home will have an additional 600 sq ft courtyard that encompasses a live oak.
Work parties and wildflowers
We had another work party this month to clear junipers from around the live oaks in the front yard. Luke and Ben worked all afternoon and we made a huge dent in the junipers. Alas the chainsaw battery died before we were able to cut the final remaining tree. On the way back to the house we were greeted by the Creator Cabin longhorns.
The trees we cleared are adjacent to the wildflower meadow where the first bluebonnets are starting to poke their way out of the ground. I’m in the early stages of planning a wildflower party that I hope will become an annual tradition. But before the party I’d like to clear the remaining junipers, rent a wood chipper, and spread the wood chips around the trails and bare land.
In the next month I hope to accomplish:
Build the cow fence. Really truly this time, the supplies have been delivered.
Have the architect present the design of the duplex.
Come up with a budget for phase one of the Montanoso development.
Launch the LLC.
I’m excited about this new Substack and I hope you subscribe to follow along!
Best regards, Andrew
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