the boulder of gold :: Okan Arts
the boulder of gold

the boulder of gold

By Patricia Belyea

Content Warning This blog post contains nothing about quilting or Japan.

WAUCONDA WA  It’s not often that pennies rain down from heaven. That is almost what happened when a boulder bounced down the hillside behind our country home last November. The impact, when the one-ton projectile hit our house, shattered seven logs, broke two windows, and shifted an interior wall by two inches. This in turn skewed the upper kitchen cabinets so their doors flew open and their contents smashed onto the stone floor.

My husband Michael was on the property at the time. He recalls hearing a low rumble, a moment of silence, and finally a big KABOOM. The boulder did not roll down the hill. Instead it ricocheted across the hillside. When the boulder got to our back fence, it flew over the top and made contact with our house about 8′ above ground.
Our insurance company is Foremost, owned by Farmers Insurance. Foremost insures remote homes such as ours that are ten miles or more from the closest fire station. We made the insurance claim online as the incident happened on a Saturday and the Foremost offices were closed.

Jack Craemer, a Specialty Property Rep, reached out to us first thing Monday morning. The level of service we received seemed incredible as the Paradise Fire had started just ten days earlier and every West Coast insurance rep was crazy busy. After two days of deliberations, we learned that Foremost was covering our claim. Yeah!

If the boulder had hit our house at ground level, it would have been considered a Rockslide—which our insurance doesn’t cover. Instead the boulder was classified as a Falling Object which is covered in most people’s home insurance policies. Falling Objects are typically trees, tree limbs, or blue ice from airplanes.
The next step was finding a crew to repair our log wall and interior damage. Jack C directed us to three construction companies in the area that could repair the log wall. When I contacted all three, only Jack Bacon Woodworks got back to me. Jack Bacon immediately headed to our Wauconda home, a 45-minute drive from his Republic workshop to check out the job.

When Jack B called again, he has an excellent assessment of the problem and a solid approach for the repairs. In discussing the details, it seemed that Jack B owned our project. He was our man!

Jack B started at the end of January when 20″ of snow lay on the ground and the temperatures dipped below zero at night. A rancher neighbor, Doug Pritchard, plowed our long drive with his tractor so Jack B could get access. Our home was winterized for the season so there was no running water at the time. Jack B warmed the house by turning on the propane furnace.
Finding replacement logs was the first challenge. Paperwork from the owner/builder showed us that the original logs were made of lodgepole pine from a company in Idaho. Jack B learned that the company no longer makes our style of logs nor uses pine. Ultimately the blades that turned our logs were uncovered and new logs were made from Douglas fir. The logs were then freighted to the Feed & Seed store in Republic where Jack B picked them up.

Installation of the logs was tricky especially since Jack B did most of the work by himself. Matching windows were ordered from a local company.
For interior repairs, our kitchen was demolished and the damaged wall was rebuilt. Custom cabinets were built by Bill Scott out of knotty alder. The bathroom was repainted.

Nothing was easy. The tumbled marble floor had to be extended for the footprint of the new lower cabinets. The kitchen ceiling, which flows into the dining area and two hallways, needed a fresh coat of paint. All in all, the job was completed in just under two months.

More amazing, I never met Jack B while we worked on the project, or gave him any drawings. We only talked over the phone, usually very early in the morning.

Michael and I drove over to Wauconda after the repairs were completed. The next day Jack B stopped by for a visit. I got to meet the man with the warm Indiana drawl whom I trusted to take care of everything.
What happened to the boulder? A friend of Jack B’s demolished it with a jackhammer. Then the rubble was hauled away.
I am so grateful for all aspects of this calamity. Thank you Foremost Insurance for streamlining our damage claim. Thank you Jack Bacon for delivering confidence and a remarkable resolve to all the repairs.

The wayward rock that tumbled down our hillside has been nicknamed the Boulder of Gold. From the destruction came a new custom kitchen that I never planned or expected for our 25-year old log home. I know my life is blessed but this is more than I could have ever hoped for!

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36 comments to “the boulder of gold”

  1. Jackie Heupel says:

    Patricia, Never even missed the quilts or Japan! What a wonderful story of good will and God’s providence that the boulder flew and there was someone not already overcommitted due to the fires. Congratulations and thank you for sharing.

  2. Peggy says:

    Wow! What a story. Good to hear nobody was hurt and a happy ending.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Peggy–We were told that if we’d had a wood frame house that the boulder would have gone straight through it! That would have been a big problem! PB

  3. marlene barkley says:

    Isn’t it great when you find a good person.
    so glad that everything has worked out, including a new kitchen. I had a long distance problem years ago and an angel came to my rescue.

  4. Penny Torkington says:

    This is a really remarkable story. How very Bless you are and so very lucky that no one was hurt. Life can be very good at times. Thanks for sharing this story.

  5. Richard K. Worthington says:

    A fine story, well told. Patricia!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Dick—The insurance company had never seen anything like it. So our claim went to the highest levels as to what to think of our boulder. Ha! Hope all is well. PB

  6. David Owen Hastings says:

    Wow! I am so thankful that no one was hurt, and that you had such good people like Jack B. and your insurance company to make it all better.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      David—Agreed. I’m thrilled that no one was in the bathroom or kitchen that moment of that morning. On the same day in Seattle, our niece gave birth to a baby boy. Victoria wanted his nickname to be Rocky, but the name didn’t stick. PB

  7. K J Varnell says:

    What am amazing narrative. Jack B sounds like one in a million. Does he have a “page” where one may leave kudos?

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Kim—Jack is the most regular kind of guy. Barely uses email. Starts his day at a REALLY early time. No online presence, for sure. PB

  8. LeeAnn says:

    Wow! So happy for you. It looks great! Another creative project, turning calamity into good fortune.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      LeeAnn—It was fun to choose the laminate. I was sent a ring of 150 patterns—mostly wood grains or neutral grays and beiges. The pattern I selected was called Extreme Green Bamboo. It looks like wasabi on steroids. So in the end I found happiness with the bright green color and the blue-sky wall paint. PB

  9. Susan Smith says:

    Wow, incredible.. glad no one was hurt. Great that you found someone who did such an amazing job. Foremost is the best insurance. They replaced my carport cover when it blew off and over the top of the house in the horrible wind in Jan. Adjuster was out as soon as I called. Your repairs and new kitchen look wonderful. You never looked stressed or out of sorts through the whole experience, you are awesome. New landscaping boulder ..without paying a fortune to have it hauled in, (ha..ha) .

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Sue—The whole experience was incredible. I trusted Jack and Bill to know what they were doing and just stayed out of the way. I had no stress because I knew that I would get a great kitchen. Glad to hear Foremost was there for you as well. PB

  10. kerry says:

    WOW! That was quite a story, with a really happy ending! It’s so good that no one was injured! It sounds to me like Jack B. should receive one of your wonderful quilts!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Kerry—It was amazing, ever step of the way. Hmmmm. I don’t think Jack will get one of my quilts but I do believe that will will work with him again this summer. PB

  11. Thanks for sharing that amazing story of your home’s calamity and the subsequent repair journey! I think I would have kept the boulder of gold somewhere in the landscape as a reminder of a happy ending!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Cindy—I couldn’t figure out what to do with that rock. The boulder was something that could never be moved without heavy equipment. But I know what you mean—a momento of a fantastic story. PB

  12. Carol Kuse says:

    Just the story we all need in this negative world! God blessed you all.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Carol—I know what you mean. That boulder brought a little uptick to the economy of one of the poorest counties in Washington state. Even our dear friend and neighbor Doug Pritchard benefited from a few days work of plowing snow. PB

  13. Debra De Shazor says:

    Glad you are safe and with no injury

  14. Heidi says:

    Patricia – What a wonderful outcome! And love your optimistic, positive attitude. Blessed indeed!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Heidi—You would know as you truly understand gratitude and blessings as one of my most positive friends! PB

  15. sgrehome says:

    Wow! It’s a wonder that your husband wasn’t injured. All in all, an uplifting story and a timely reminder that good people do still exist in the world.

  16. Shauna Moulton says:

    Patricia, what a wonderful story! Seems things often work out when viewed from a “glass half full”perspective. You’re very fortunate that no one was in that part of the house at the time of the boulder. Glad your cloud had a silver lining!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Shauna—There was a lot of deliberation about whether to cover the claim or not as no one at the insurance company had ever seen such an occurrence. Foremost checked to see if there was any seismic activity in the region within 90 days of the incident. No. So they could not blame the rolling boulder on an earthquake or other natural event. It was pretty crazy at the beginning but then, as you mentioned, everything worked out beautifully. PB

  17. Cheryl Ooka says:

    Jack B. did an amazing job!!

  18. Lana Hamburger says:

    What goes around, comes around! Word on the street is you are a most deserving recipient of a job well done!!! All your patience, fairness & the perseverance of what you do for your customers has come back full circle by way of Bill & Jack. So relieved you are all okay & the local economy got a little boost!