Saturday, November 23, 2013

Buttoned Up!

It was my brother's birthday yesterday, and the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.  I actually remember the day in 1953.  I was four years old.  My father was teaching in Exeter, a prep school in NH, and we lived in an apartment in a building called Merril Hall.  I'm the youngest of four and my brother would have been turning eight.  I was standing in the kitchen and had one of those little spring loaded guns with the suction cups that stick so effectively to the smooth surface of a refrigerator when whetted correctly with saliva.  It was one of those moments in life when things change monumentally, and I knew it somehow at the time.  While I remember watching the assassination on TV, and I remember the iconic images from the funeral and other events, I most clearly remember the shift in perspective that happened towards the spring loaded gun, which was summarily removed from my hand and discarded with alacrity.

But I digress.  On my brother's birthday, and on the fiftieth anniversary of Kennedy's assassination, I went down to Keene in the midst of a very subtle rainfall and worked on the final siding of the little barn.  It is rumored that we are to get 4-6 inches of snow this weekend, so I felt even further motivated to get the building buttoned up.  And while there is nothing really new to convey on the process of building, there is on the emerging and complete sense of gratification that is starting to occur.  It's been a long process.  I think it's been three years since the idea first germinated with the tree blowing down, and I have about two full weeks of work in the building, spread out over a full year.  In reflecting back as well, the whole building seems like a gift.  The tree fell down on someone else's property and was freely given away.  Random people generously helped with the labor to get the tree in the lake.  The roofing lumber came from an old barn that got damaged by a flood during Irene.  It was sitting by the side of the road as I was driving by with my truck.  The windows were found at the dump.  The granite for the foundation was listed as free on craigslist less than a mile from my house.  The rough cut two by fours were from a renovation that was being done where I work. And lastly, the expensive part of the building, the siding and trim, emerged on craigslist for a 100 dollars.  The interesting thing on much of this was the timing of all of these things.  They seemed to fall in order as needed.  

The siding is now done.  The second gable end went smoothly.  It was highlighted by a recharging break.  I went to visit a friend of mine who is renovating a gorgeous barn.  He has power there, so I headed up and recharged my batteries for my saw, and hung out on some saw horses and visited and got the tour of his project which is exquisite.  It's a different scale at 33 feet by 20 something, but it's equally organic in process.  The recharge allowed me to get back and make the final forty cuts or so on the gable.  

I also had the opportunity, given the incoming snow, to re-stack much of the remaining wood from the train station.  This allowed for some needed consolidation and cleanliness, but it was a good two hours of work.  

The next step is to finish up the exterior trim.  This includes the ledger board around the building, the corner boards, and final window and door trim.  I also have to build a sliding mechanism for the main door, something that I assume will be fun.

As a side note, I got the first pond hockey of the year in on November 21.  Late afternoon from a friend. Two inches of ice on a shallow pond, and a whole lot of fun.  This is pretty early ice for around here.  No one went through, but the danger adds to the quality of the experience.
Leaving in the dark.  The stump on the wall ends up looking like a crawling lizard at times.

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