Rick on the "Ditch Witch". We trenched about 400' in all to get to the site. The machine did a great job in mixed till and rock, but contrary to the representations of the guy who rented it to us, it will not "cut through anything", at least without a good deal of maintenance afterward!


The Montecristo Club Cabinet #30 Robusto is the official cigar of the Taconic Observatory.


We cut a trench through solid bedrock underneath the building - very slow and hard.


Needed a jackhammer to finish the job in the solid rock.


Trenching Ann's flower garden and lawn. Perform at own risk. She was very cooperative, though.


I used the "Witchette" for trenching near the house. It's still a large machine and difficult to maneuver. Worked fine in till but lacks the heft to tackle ledge.


Panel box roughed in.


Fiber optic cable and two strands of Cat5e cable bring internet and intercom to the site.


We used plastic conduit and outdoor-rated boxes for the observing room. There are 7 quad boxes for 28 outlets total...we might have gotten a little carried away.


Rick made all the decisions about electrical design and specification and did all the complicated installation. I pulled cable and nailed boxes in, usually in the right place. Everything he did passed review by my licensed electrician and by the electrical inspector with flying colors.


Oh my God - there are lights - and heat - in the warm room!


Progress inspection sticker from the electrical inspector - we must be doing something right!


There's another 24 outlets in the 12' x 8' warm room: "Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess." We insulated the warm room and finished it with the same barn lumber purhcased at a local mill and used for exterior siding, here installed horizontally.


Cat 5e and fiber optic transceiver under the installed desk in the warm room.


January 1, 2005 - snow on the inside...


...and exactly one year later, the snow is on the outside, and we're getting pretty comfortable: power, heat, internet connection, intercom to the house, a very nice cork floor and plenty of music. Ceiling has been finished and recessed lights installed.