Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Summer Vacation

Remember that old writing assignment from school? The one entitled "What I Did for My Summer Vacation?"

Well, when our longtime friend, Nikki, and her friend, Tracey, get back to Chicago, they'll be able to answer that question with two words...sanding and sealing. Nikki drove all the way to Torrey in July and spent many long hours sanding braces and trusses plus working on a long list of odds and ends. As if that wasn't enough fun, she came back last week with Tracey, and together they spent another five days sanding and applying Skidmore's Liquid Beeswax to twenty-eight porch posts.

Sanding is a time-consuming, arm-numbing job that taxes muscles and fills lungs with saw dust. We've christened our belt sander, an experienced Rockwell, The Locomotive because of its deafening roar and its ability to knock you off your feet if you are unprepared for takeoff when you push the trigger.

How did we get so lucky as to have friends who spend their summer vacation like this?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Some Assembly Required

Over a year ago, beginning on August 15, 2009, Scott and I had a lesson on timber framing with Adam Riley from Teton Timber Frame Company. He and Jake, one of his employees, drove to Torrey from Driggs, Idaho to teach us as much as they could cram into our brains in three long days about the business of cutting our own timbers. At the end of the crash course, we had cut the posts, girts and truss for one bent of our eight-bent house. Scott and I were exhausted, and I shed a good number of tears because it had been so much work and we had so far to go.

In September we spent another three weeks building two more trusses. It was a challenge trying to decipher what all of our notes from Adam and Jake meant, not to mention dealing with timbers that had had another month to twist and turn in the heat of the warm autumn days. Still, as that building season ended, we felt we would really be able to complete work this summer.

Always the optimist, I thought we would be finished and ready for a raising by early July. Scott, the realist in the team, thought we’d be lucky to be ready in early August. A year and ten days after our shaky beginning, all of that work came together as Adam, his employee Mike, my mom, Wayne, Doug, Shanna, Scott and I raised the frame of our house.

Scott set up his camera to take a picture every few minutes to record the whole affair. It’s plain to see that some assembly was required.