The end of the trip is always a sad time for me…but usually I am also happy to get home. This year we never left home, well, except to go to the hardware store, and this year we have a new space to use, so it is a very different trip. Here’s a bunch of pictures roughly in order of completion with some lessons sprinkled in.
Lesson #1: We are not done but we had fun. We thought we could get the entire area done with pond and all in two weeks, but that is like driving through Texas in one day: not gonna happen. There were so many things we needed to learn, and so much identity theft and heat and trips to the Depot. Harold ended his run as construction dog by barking at a child who had the audacity to wear a baseball hat. Ah, well. We got the wood walls up, and the plant wall, and lots of fun times dropping the stapler over the fence and miscalculating wood and deck building (the original deck being revealed as a parallelogram!), but we kept going even with trips to the police station, times on hold, and needed air conditioning breaks.
Lesson #2: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We used up a ton of scrap wood from a job at my Mom’s house (old floors), old wood we had, and the scraps from the demo and this project, which made this a collage of all the wood from times ago. You can see this in the woodpile (and yes, once we finish the pond I will get the wood away from the house because of termites!) Robert built me a sweet planter for the plant wall (made from a pallet that furniture came on) and watching the water drip from plant to plant and into the custom-made tree trunk box was a real highlight.
Lesson #3: About the redwood. I always feel terrible about using redwood, but we built this deck to last, and that’s what redwood does. We saved all the old boards from the old deck and they will be rehabbed into a raised garden path. I plan to use every scrap of the redwood somewhere. It is too precious a resource not to use it that way if you use it at all, and this deck is covered from the rain and built with approximately 9 million screws, so I figure that if our redwood house is still standing at almost 100 years old, so will this deck stand.
Lesson #4: Keepin’ on keepin’ on: We still have an infinity pond and plant boxes (watered with shower water!) to build, but I won’t have time to blog because school starts and we have other things to get busy with, but I do plan one final post when the space is complete. The house is just a continual project anyway, but it sure feels good to get one part done.
Lesson #5: Thanks, Jim. Every evening as we were still working the crows that I imagine are our departed friends, Buddy the pitbull and Jim, would come to caw and Robert would say, “Shut up Jim! I know I’m doing this wrong!” but the truth is, it is because of Jim that we were able to do this at all. We have his old DeWalt chop saw, and Robert wore his old tool belt on this job, but more than that it is what Jim taught Robert as they talked and built the Tortoise House that helped us do this right. Maybe it’s not as precise and level and square as the space Jim would have built, but then our house isn’t actually level, square or plumb. I found many moments to think of Jim and miss him on this project, and I actually felt like he was here with us, happy when something worked, spouting off in his irreverent way when something was completely wrong. So, thanks, Jim, and I miss you so much.