The Beginning – chapter 23

One morning out my window.

One morning out my window.

Chapter 23
The building projects on each property are all coming along very well. Rose would like another woodshed near her house, but can’t enlarge her current one without closing her driveway or building a new driveway to the house. Finally she decides to just add it to the north side of her house and move the oil tank, since she doesn’t heat with oil any more. She could put it right up next to the entry porch and use the 2nd door from the porch to carry wood in, without ever having to go completely outside. She says she is getting lazy in her old age.
Maybe we can do that after Will and Shari’s is filled. They are close to having it done, now and so is Roman and his sons. Those guys have been working very hard on making the little cabin and outbuildings into a wonderful area. Rose and Kara wish they had met them when they first started building out here. Or before. Some of the “help” they have had has been less than stellar. Roman has been stocking his building supply shed every time he goes to town. He has also been stocking the cabin with supplies they will need for winter. Will and Shari are doing the same and both groups ask us questions all the time about what they will need to make winter easier. When they found the fur dealer in town, they bought some excellent hats, mitts and mukluks for winter wear. They got some military surplus flight pants and parkas, then some bunny boots, which look like cartoon bunny feet. Big white air cushioned military surplus. I think they are the warmest boots ever made and feet sweat in them, very badly, but they don’t freeze.
These guys have some money to spend so they can just go buy what they need. It would be easy to be jealous of that, but they are so nice and they share when we need something before we even realize what they are doing. They earned it, so no matter what, it is their right to use it as they want. I am super thrilled when Shari drives down the hill at their place in a little 6 wheeled ATV that looks like a small pickup. It has room for 2 people and a small dumpbed on the back for hauling dirt or whatever. That is the cutest little vehicle and she says it is very fuel efficient. She has been dragging wood down to their house from the woods out back with it. Their dogs love running along beside her. I am glad she is never totally alone out there.
She is starting to show her baby bump fairly well and says she is not sick at all now. Will cuts and hooks up the logs, she drags them down and unhooks, then back for the next load he has ready. I ride up and back with her on her next trip, but don’t want to slow them down as they have a good system going. So after one trip, I go over to see how Rose and Kara are doing. Kara has the shack open and I get an ice cream, then go on down the hill to see
her Mom.
Rose is peeling posts to use as the uprights for her next woodshed. She has cleared out the area and leveled it some with the grub hoe. She said with the loose hydraulics on the backhoe, she would probably take out a wall of the house if she tried digging with it. She has hauled quite a bit of gravel to make the floor of the shed. She asked the guys to pick up any old rugs they find at the Transfer Stations for added floor in the woodsheds. Some that they have found are so nice, she is storing them in the shop. They will be fine in the small cabins she has been building for guests or family to have privacy if they visit.
I like that idea and have used my old little cabin that way, too. I should put up a couple more and can use them for dry storage if needed. Maybe put them out through the woods on my place, not in my yard. That is what Rose is doing. A cabin here, a cabin there. Privacy and quiet for everyone. When I get home, the pets are acting nervous and jumpy but soon settle down. I still get that feeling like someone is watching, once in a while and I guess it gets to the animals, also.
I decide to do laundry and go to get the sheets out of the little cabin. Someone has used it since the guys and did not make the bed as nicely as they did. Dang, I better start locking things again. Maybe the feeling of being watched was for real. Nothing seems to be missing, at least.
Pal sticks close to me while I do the laundry, I am glad of his company. Now I wonder what I did without a dog for so long. I know he would let me know before anyone came in the yard or got too close.
After hanging clothes and as the next load is washing, I go turn hay along my driveway and the small amount left out along the roadway. Some is ready to pick up, so I load it in the pickup.
I unload the hay after adding the rinse water, and turn the hay on the pallets. It is getting as dry as it needs to be, so I will have to hurry up on the barn.
After hanging the last load of clothes, I start on the barn walls again. I place heavy duty frames around future windows. Then back to the rocks and concrete. I am having a hard time going up a ladder with rocks or concrete so I guess it is time to switch over to log sections. First, I place the bolts in concrete along the top of the wall, then drill holes in the plank I will use on top the rocks to nail the log sections to. I place the planks before the concrete is set up, I may not have drilled the holes totally straight and want it to actually fit. Probably not the right way, but it should work. I have set bolts on up through the planks, also, to put through the log sections as I don’t think nails will hold it very well. It’s a good thing I had a lot of those long bolts.
The guys show up after I have finished cleaning up the concrete mess. They are a bit upset that I didn’t wait for them to do the heavy stuff. Well, they have stuff to do also and why should they feel obligated to come do my work?
This concrete seems to be the quickset stuff, so we go ahead and start stacking the logs I cut earlier. We have to measure and drill, but it still goes quickly. Soon we have it high enough to set the poles across for the floor support for upstairs. I will probably need some more pier blocks and add some uprights down the center of the building to support the weight of the upstairs floor if I start storing much up there, like feed and hay. Well, hay anyway. I mark where I would like an overhead haymow. It will go directly over the widest door downstairs. If I put in a pulley system and hooks, I can fill the loft with it.
After the logs on the walls are notched out and the poles placed across, we continue stacking the logs up another 4 feet for the side walls. If I had more logs, I would build the side walls higher, but I don’t. I will have to frame in the rest of the gable ends. The guys want to know if I want a regular barn shaped roof on it. I am not sure how to make one of those. Roman says he does, and if I want, we can do it. However, we will have to build trusses for that. I am not sure I have materials for trusses, and have never used them. I am running low on salvaged materials with all these projects.
It is so late by now, my stomach is complaining loudly about the lack of food. Kara closed a while ago, so can’t even go get a sandwich from her. I do have some pocket bread I made last night, so I can heat some chili and stuff those. So I invite the guys in and start opening chili and heating it. Then chopping some green onions from the garden and shred some cheese into a bowl. This will be a simple meal, but I hope it fills them up. I fix a large bowl of salad to go along with the chili and have some leftover chocolate fudge cake on the counter. Not the best meal I ever prepared, but not the worst, either. I set the salad on the table and the items to add to their sandwiches, then fill the pocket bread and place on plates and set around the table. Everyone is quick to sit and start in. I never have to worry about leftovers with this group.
Roman says we should build the floor upstairs then build the trusses on the floor to raise into place. Much easier than building them on the ground, then lifting up almost 2 stories into place. Makes sense to me. Noah places a gentle kiss on my lips as they go out the door, just a hint and a whisper of a kiss.
In the morning, I am up and hauling all the 2×6’s I can find over to the barn. Maybe I have enough to do the floor. I also need to place the future staircase. Too bad I don’t have one of the pull down staircases, although they might be hard to use carrying a load. I think I will leave open spaces to fork hay down into hay racks for feeding. Maybe make a small raised edge around each one so I don’t just walk off into open air some winter day while feeding. So, I need to place where things are going to go, downstairs before trying to do much upstairs.
I think I will put a small room in the center to store dry feed in, easier than hauling large bags up stairs and then back down to feed. That will help support the upstairs, also. I think I should add a chimney so I can heat the barn if needed. Not sure where to put a chimney with hay in the upstairs. Maybe an insulated pipe out through the downstairs wall and then up at the gable end of the building. It won’t have as good a draft, but it should still work. I will have to put a cleanout at the bottom of the elbow so I can brush the pipe often, since it will be outdoors. Now to check all the stovepipe I have stored. I think I have an insulated elbow. I can strap the pipe to the building all the way up, to support it, if I use a metal pipe to strap it to, then strap that to the building.
While I am sorting through pipe, the hair on the back of my neck feels like it is rising. I whirl around and see someone duck in behind some trees, farther out in the forest. Dang, what a time to forget to bring Pal with me. I know better
. I pretend not to know the man is there and slide my handgun into my hand and start walking back up the hill to the house. After I get to the upper edge of the trees, I fire a couple of shots into a stump, just as warning. I don’t know who this is, and it could be one of the guys from Shari’s home town or just some fool looking for access to the land below mine. Either way, I am not happy about it. When I get to the house, I let Pal out and keep him near me. I worry that someone may hurt him if he catches them on my property. I’m not too worried about them, they take their chances if they are trespassing.
As the days progress, we finish up my barn, and I put the now dry hay up in the loft. I cut more as I found it and started putting the pallets in the barn and drying the grass in there. We are going into August and it is usually our rainy season. We have been lucky to have a dry summer so far and no local fires to worry about
. Rose’s new woodshed is finished and starting to be filled. I have panned a small amount of gold out and sold it. It was enough to buy some much needed supplies and 2 young goats. I was lucky enough to find 2 that are unrelated, a male and a female. Now I will have to build some fences as goat proof as possible. Especially around my garden. I also bought as many seed packets from a local nursery of Alaskan type seeds. Most are heirloom, so if possible, maybe I can save seeds from them.
Carefully, I pack them in a cannng jar with a good lid and store it out in the ice house. I also store several boxes of ammo out in the ice house in canning jars with good lids. These are placed in an old tote that fits in behind the shelf unit I built in the back. I placed an old handgun in the tote, wrapped in an oily rag and then in a ziplock plastic bag. The inner and outer doors are always locked on this building, so I consider them quite secure. Later, I add a shotgun and shells for it, also. Since I seem to have folks hanging around in the woods, I cover everything I carry to the ice house, so no one can see what is being stored. I’m starting to feel a bit paranoid.

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