A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Walls Came Tumbling Down

The builder is coming out this week to get the shell for the addition started. He said it should take a week to ten days so I'll soon have my project going! I've worried some that I'm changing the feel of the cabin. This place has always been so different from the houses in the city we lived in and I don't want to lose that. It's always been a cozy comforting place. Hopefully, by using similar materials and only adding the one bedroom it will stay that way. I've also tried to position it and the windows so that I can still see the wildlife walking by and see Orion in the night sky. When I can't sleep now it sometimes helps to raise the shade and see the stars.

Week before last, after I finished the screen porch/door project, I tackled knocking down 15' of the stone skirting. It's going to be covered with the addition and I didn't want to have a stone wall in the middle of the crawl space. Plus the HVAC contractor needed room to work so he can extend the duct work to the new bedroom and bathroom.

Being petrified of spiders, respectful of rattlesnakes, and just generally scared to death of crawl spaces, I had to reach deep inside myself for courage! Armed with bug spray for spiders, scorpions, and centipedes and my little 410 for rattlesnakes, and leaving plenty of room to run, I was ready in case anything came out of there. I began with a masonry chisel and small sledgehammer but saw right away that was pointless. So I got the big sledgehammer and that worked great. I just swung it like a croquet mallet, not trying to lift it up like John Henry driving steel spikes. Once I knocked the stones loose I took the hoe and pulled them out.

I cleaned the area up, set a bug bomb off under the cabin, and then temporarily closed the opening using the corrugated metal I took off the screen porch the week before. I'll take that down when they start the addition. As with the cabin build there will be a period when the crawl space is not closed in. I have to wait on the duct work to be done before I can do that. I'm hoping no varmints go under there and tear up the ductwork I already have. I've been at war with raccoons the last few days over whether the peaches, cantaloupes, and grapes in the garden belong to them or me. They won. I'm hoping they take the victory and have the grace to leave me in peace but that's mostly wishful thinking.

I took a break from the country life and joined my family in Houston to celebrate the birthdays of my sister Kathy and her husband Derald. We had a fish fry, as we've done all our lives in my family, continuing the tradition when we left Louisiana for Houston. My brother Andy is the fisherman and the cook. Kathy's daughter-in-law Esther is the exceptional cake decorator. We caught up on what is happening in everyone's life, told stories of days past and loved ones gone, and yes, we laughed plenty. There is no comfort like that of family and old friends.

One of those old friends, in a conversation before I left town, told me something that made me smile, while breaking my heart at the same time. He said "Sue, you and Rickie had something special. You did your own thing and you didn't care what people thought. Not in a rude way, you just didn't need other people's approval to be happy and you didn't have a need to impress others."

Back here at our place, the addition that changes the tiny cabin to a small cabin wouldn't be considered impressive by anyone's standards. But it impresses me and Rickie would be impressed too. Not at the room itself, but at the years and sacrifices that led to it happening. I hope he'll be impressed with my work on it.

The heat of summer has dried the grass up and I'm seeing more deer as food gets scarce. They come into the yard and they eat the alfalfa I'm having to buy again for Woodrow and Gus. My little halfway tame cottontail, Little Bunny, has disappeared after 3 years. She would hop up to me and follow me to the shed waiting for a treat of birdseed. I watched a fox chase her one day and I guess he caught her, although she was giving it all she had. Today I saw a baby bunny by the bunkhouse and I wonder if it was one of hers. We have three baby turkeys hanging around, not as many as some years where we've had over a dozen. Life goes on.

I haven't seen Tougher Than Leather in weeks now. That's happened several times these last months since Rickie died. Then just as I think something must have happened to her she shows up, so I hope she does again. Sarah said she appears when I need her and maybe that is so. The sight of her carrying on has lifted me out of a hole several times.

These friends, family, and wildlife move in and out of my world as I do theirs. We all touch each other's lives, sometimes just for a moment, and never give it much thought. But the little things we do - hugs from loved ones, kind words from friends, a wild animal with many enemies accepting you as part of their world, fish caught and shared with the family, a little injured doe that shows up when you have given up - now those things are impressive.

And on an extremely smaller scale, I'm kind of impressed that I knocked that stone wall down!


  1. You got a lot done, good for you,things are looking good.