Tuesday, June 23, 2009
A break in my schedule left me with a few days to do some work on the house at the beginning of June. During my previous visit I had cut away the front half of the camper, thus exposing what little kitchen was left attached to the house to the great outdoors. I left the house with a blue tarp bungeed over the gaping hole. I wasn't able to return for nearly two months and I was afraid that a family of coyotes had possibly moved in. Luckily, upon my arrival the house was undisturbed and ready for more work. It was late in the day Sunday so I spent the remainder of the day getting my tools together and thinking about how I would proceed with the foundation (which was partially started from my last visit). Another area of thought was of how to smoothly connect my new kitchen addition to the hulk of camper. Ideally the camper will disappear altogether in the final stages of siding the addition.
On Monday morning I cranked the old Chevy pickup to life and drove out to Thorndike where I have previously purchased rough-sawed lumber for 35 cents a foot. I got several hundred feet of 2X6s and 1X8s. The mill was hopping like I had never seen it before. There were many new employees and there seemed to be new projects going on in addition to the usual custom beams. It was good to see this local Maine business located along a bumpy back road doing so well.
When I returned I began gathering stones and mixing Mortar for the foundation. Fitting the raw stones together is time consuming and back breaking work but it looks wicked cool when done. It took me all day to finish the northwestern-facing L of about 16 feet. It looked heavy and organic, like the earth had grown this foundation for my little shack to sit upon.
The next day was considerably easier. I finished framing out the floor in the morning and decided to also frame out (and support) an outcropping which, when the foundation is molded into stone steps, will form the back entryway. Perhaps I will tackle that project next visit. For this day my goal was to frame and insulate the floor and put down the 1" sub-floor. It took 14 hours that day but I reached my goal. After pounding in the last nail of the sub-floor I laid on my back and rested. It feels good to be so tired and to work hard for a cause that I know to be meaningful. I rewarded myself with a cold Guinness. It would give me the energy to make dinner. I was starving.
On Wednesday, my last day, I framed up some of the walls and connected them to the camper. The connection required some cutting and the removal of a temporary roof I had erected over the camper. I then framed out a new roof that now connects the addition to the rest of the house by spanning the length of the camper. Again, the plan is to entirely encapsulate the camper with the house which of course includes a new roof. The roof is also something I will need to finish at a later date. Towards the end of that day I installed the windows (generously donated by Dave Tubman of Brewster MA). It was another day of valid accomplishment. It made me sad to think that I needed to leave my little utopia so soon, but as usual, I was out of money and needed to return to my work on the Cape.