Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Building a life # 7. 'Who could ask for anything more?'

The Pumphouse is framed up.

Feeding the goats in their temporary pen. The chainsaw has the milling hardware that helps to make squared timbers for the barn.

The completed barn with Maggie, Muffin and probably Alice.

Most pump-houses are the size of an outhouse, but we plan a multi-use building - a 16x16 foot pole frame sheathed in plywood on a concrete base. Here we can all sleep in our proper beds, have a washer and dryer and use electric heat. With batt insulation and plastic vapour barrier lining the walls and ceiling, the walls lined with our drapes and with carpets on the floor this should be quite comfortable ( luxurious, compared to our tents).

Some friends come over and camp beside us for a few days and we quickly raise the frame. How proud we are! Once the roof and siding is on and I have poured a concrete floor, my next great challenge is to install the electricity; mains service, panel and wiring for the pump, washer, dryer lights and outlets. I have my bible - a Readers Digest book on everything to do with building and a little red book with the electrical code. A lot to learn in a short time, but the local hardware store is very helpful with consultation and diagrams and eventually the inspector, on my second try, gives me the ok . We seriously watch him drive away and then - WOOPEE!

We move the trailer beside the new building, stretch a tarp between the two and we are in business for the winter. We now have light and heat, running water and a telephone. Who could ask for anything more?

The next urgent item is the barn. It needs to be a larger version of the pumphouse, so on the other side of the driveway I level a 16x32 foot piece of ground - it always looks so small at this point - and pour another small concrete pad just for the milking area. The rest of the uprights sit on concrete blocks. I have an attachment for the chainsaw bar that allows me, with a lot of sweat and noise, to trim round logs into squared timber. The longest log (36') is the ridge pole, and it is a great day when we skid it up and lock it into place. It is very nice for this project not to have to use the generator every time I need power for my tools - a chain saw cannot do everything ( almost, but not quite all.)

Now we can unload the ‘pup’ trailer and store our furniture ( minus the beds, lamps, dressers and washer/dryer) in the lofts, move our goats and chickens in and regroup for the next really big project -the log cabin.

It is now time for Anne and Elaine to start school and fortunately the bus comes right past the end of our street. The first afternoon after school we tow our big dory ‘Swallow’, that I had built back in Okanagan Falls, down to Ganges, our island town ( with it`s clapboard buildings and wooden sidewalks) and go for a sail in the harbour. This day would usually be the beginning of a busy school year for me as well and it feels liberating to be sailing instead. It has been a terribly busy summer but we have met our targets and are ready for winter.

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