Parallam Exchange & Delivery-Tague Lumber

In early June, we had two parallams delivered to repair first floor structural damage caused by the hoard’s excessive weight. Here is the post from June 9th.


When we were getting estimates from builders/framers, one of the builders walked down into the basement where John showed him the ceiling joists. The builder said, “Why did you get two parallams instead of one? Now you’ll have a lally column in the way.”

The draftsman and John decided on two parallams because John would need the help of three other men to help him lift one long 27′ parallam. Trying to get 3 capable men to help John lift a parallam and coordinate timing would be close to impossible. So that was the reasoning behind ordering two parallams instead of one.


Now that we have hired a builder and we will have a team of framers at the house framing out the new roof and addition, we will now have men available to help John.

John called up Tague Lumber, where he purchased the 12′ and 16′ parallams, and spoke to the manager, Rob Fiff. John explained the situation and Rob said that normally Tague does not accept returns or exchanges. He said he’d make an exception in our case, because the two parallams never moved from the spot where they were placed by the delivery truck.



So last week, Tague delivered the new 27′ parallam and picked up the two parallams stored in the garage. We have to store the new parallam outside so John wrapped it in plastic and later covered it with a tarp.


Washington’s Headquarters is a Few Miles from Brick House 319


For all of you who live in the area, you’re all familiar with Valley Forge Park and Washington’s headquarters but for everyone else here’s a glimpse at gorgeous stonework.



The sun was setting on Washington’s headquarters, which he rented during the winter encampment of 1777-78.


On weekends, the front door is open for a tour and peek inside.



I love the touch of brick surrounding the round window above…


I think I see a row of brick below the window too! And, of course, brick chimneys…


This reminds me about choosing shutters for Brick House 319. I would like to have shutters that open up like these…


Next time I’ll ask if some of the window panes are original…


OK, so I can’t get enough of the beautiful stonework…


Bars on the windows?


What was stored in the round dome to the left?



All of the log huts throughout the park are replicas; the first one was built in 1935. Huts were added through the 1950s for visitors to have something tangible to see.

Conditions in the camp were horrendous. Forced to live in damp, crowded quarters, Washington’s army of approximately 12,000 suffered from a lack of adequate clothing (many without shoes) and food. Morale plummeted while diseases such as typhoid, dysentery, typhus and pneumonia ran rampant, an estimated 2,000 died.


The mound is below…



The view from the mound…keeping an eye out for the redcoats….


And if you time your arrival correctly, you’ll see a very long freight train that is super fun to watch from one of the benches at the train station (just a stone’s throw from Washington’s headquarters). The train passes through at about 7pm and if you happen to be standing at the rail when it approaches, wave at the engineer and he’ll blow the train’s whistle. Two long, one short and one long…




The Bat is Out of the House & Bat Facts from a Wildlife Biologist

Bareboat 2007 131

Since I’m on the topic of bats, I pulled out this photo that I took of John snorkeling at the entrance to Byahaut Bat Cave in St. Vincent. If you’d like to read the article I wrote on St. Vincent, which includes travel tips, click here.

When I went over to the house yesterday, I asked John,”Is the bat still here?” He said, “No, it took off.” I remained for a while to make sure I didn’t hear the eerie chirpy noise that bats make and all was silent. So leaving the door open worked; the bat, possibly two bats, flew the coup.

Before going to the house yesterday morning, I emailed Meg, who is one of my blog followers. Meg, has an interesting and informative blog called Animals and Weapons. She emailed me the other day and I discovered that she is an wildlife biologist located in Colorado.

Considering she’s an expert on wildlife, I shot off an email to her asking about the proper removal of a bat (just in case it didn’t exit via the open door.)

PS Our dog, Kiwi, had his rabies vaccination in October and it’s good for 3 years. Due to a heat wave, he was not at the house when the bat paid a brief visit.

Meg responded with the following bat facts:


Bats! Bats are such awesome insect eating creatures! Not cool when they are in your house…

Ok first things first: While bats (and any other mammal) can carry rabies it occurs in very low amounts in the bat species. Raccoons and skunks are more likely to have rabies than bats. Rabies can only be spread by saliva through an open wound bite and since you are not sleeping at the house you would know if you were bitten! (Also, bats are not attracted to hair, that’s a myth). If you were to discover a bat flying around in the room of a sleeping child or elderly person it would be a good idea to catch the bat and test if for rabies. Better safe then sorry! I would also make sure your dog is up to date on his rabies vaccine.

-If you see a bat lying down ALWAYS wear big thick leather gloves before handling it. If, heaven forbid, you are bitten, try to catch the bat to have it tested in a laboratory immediately (it will be killed). The turnaround time on this kind of test is very fast and will prevent unnecessary and expensive rabies shots for you.

-You can’t purposefully kill them. It’s illegal in Pennsylvania and most other states. The only way you can get rid of them is excluding them from getting back into the roost. They can get into attics with cracks smaller then a 1/2″.

Here’s the bad news: (Keep in mind that the attic at Brick House 319 has been gutted  and is wide open without a floor and  soon the roof will be taken off.) The following facts pertain to anyone with an attic and a potential bat issue.

-Bats attracted to roosting in attics tend to do so in groups. You may have a small colony up there. I would wait until tonight to watch it/them come out. They will leave the roost at dusk and you’ll have a better idea of what you’re dealing with. If it’s one or two bats it will be pretty easy to do the exclusion process which involves putting up netting so they can get out but not back in and then sealing up all the holes in the attic (they can’t chew through things so caulk would work for this activity).

-Unfortunately bat populations are in decline for various reasons including losing roosts. If you’re pro bats (just not in your house) you might consider putting a bat house up in your trees. Putting up a bat house while undergoing the exclusion process may quicken the eviction process since the bat house will become a more desirable roost then your attic. Also, bats can eat 1,000 mosquitoes a night. They are good neighbors just not good tenants!

Here’s the good news:

-Male bats tend to be solitary but if it is a colony it is a maternity colony. Luckily it’s starting to be late enough in the summer that the pups (babies) are getting old enough to start flying out at night so you don’t have to worry about sealing in a bunch of pups and excluding nursing mothers.

-I’ve worked around solitary and colony bats in caves often within a couple feet of them. They don’t spook like birds do. They don’t have many natural predators so they will sit tight unless directly threatened. Often they will stay perfectly still as if dead until you poke them and then they will move so suddenly you might (as my bat biologist friend says) crap your pants.

-You will likely find that you can still get work done around the house and in the attic as long as you maintain a respectful distance and don’t mess with them. If using noisy tools like a nail gun I would test it out and see if they moved and if not I would continue on like normal.

-Excluding bats is a relatively easy and inexpensive DIY project. Basically you find entry points, install one way exits with netting wait a week and then seal it up. Here is a PDF I found that described the process pretty well.

-In late August through early October the bats will begin vacating your house in order to migrate south or to find more suitable winter hibernation areas. So if you wait long enough and are able to work around the bats they will leave on their own and then you can seal all the holes while they are away without having to deal with exclusion netting.

Questions for Meg, send her an email:


If you would like to make your own bat house, click here.

Removing Aluminum Trim & There’s a Bat in Brick House 319

In preparation for taking the roof off, John removed all the aluminum trim on the house. Bill had a “bender,” and years ago,  he installed the aluminum over the wood trim. After John got it all off, he placed it in a pile to take to the recycling yard.

In the meantime, a bat got into the house through the open back door. I walked in the house yesterday and I heard a cricket-like sound. I thought to myself that doesn’t sound like a bird. Also, a bird would  more than likely be flying around trying to get out. Instead, the bat (or possibly two) was hiding up in the ceiling and probably hanging out (pun intended).

John walked in from outside and I said, “Do you hear that?” He said, “Yeah, a bird got in here.” I replied, “I don’t think it’s a bird, I’m pretty sure it’s a bat!” “And I think there might be two because I hear the sound in two locations.”

John said, “And what is your experience with bats?”

Response: “Enough to know it’s not a bird!”

The one thing that we don’t have is a fish net or a butterfly net. I’ll have to buy one today.