A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blue Shadows on the Trail; A Bunkhouse Project Update

It was late afternoon and I found myself wandering  over to the bunkhouse. Rickie had the idea to situate it facing down the hill and it blocks the late afternoon sun. It’s very shady and the breeze blows up the hill. Low and behold, Rickie had beaten me there and was sitting on the steps enjoying the view! And some whiskey!

We had done everything we had set out to do that day on the bunkhouse. We had installed the steps so we can get in and out now without a ladder. I had cut the boards that week and Rickie brought the stringers for them. It didn’t take long to put them together.

Out next job was to cut a hole in one end wall and install the Air Conditioning/Heating unit. It always seems a little worrisome to go cutting a hole in a perfectly good wall but it went smoothly. We got the unit in and trimmed around it on the outside. We had some leftover cedar fence boards and cut them down and used them for the trim.

Then Rickie did some shovel work to uncover his water lines to the longhorns’ water tanks. They are near the electrical pole and we needed to get them uncovered so they won’t get cut installing the electric line to the bunkhouse.

The electrician had been out earlier in the week. He had rescheduled his trip out so he could go help his grandma load some cows. That’s when you know you are in Texas! And that people are still raising kids to know that family is important. He has the inside wiring done and is waiting on the plumber, who is going to dig the trench for the line to the pole. Then he’ll come back and finish up.

We had good news from the plumber. It seemed at first that we did not have enough drop to the septic tank. But the fellas kept digging and trying to get to a lower spot before the tank and we lucked out! If they had not been determined and kept at it, we would have been faced with hundreds of dollars needing to be spent on a lift station or the other option of no plumbing in the bunkhouse. Well, that option is more acceptable to men than women, I think!

And we got more good news. There are support beams under the bunkhouse and we were afraid they were in the way of where the toilet needs to go. They are near each corner so moving the toilet location was not an option. I was afraid we would have to do a back flush toilet. But again, the fellas measured under the bunkhouse and in the bunkhouse and said they could make it fit. 

After much online searching, I located a tiny sink and it will be delivered tomorrow. I also ordered a dual flush toilet, a tiny 2.5 gallon point-of-use water heater, and a faucet. I am going with a bar faucet so it will be easier to get a coffee pot under there. I’ll pick all these things up next week at the home store.

The plumber should be out the first of next week. I am anxious to get this and the electrical work finished. Then my fun can start!

I bought 3 different vinyl floor tiles and put them temporarily just inside the door (we have to add a plywood subfloor before installing) so we can all walk on them and I can see which one looks like it can take a lickin’ the best. I have already decided I don’t like the color of one. All seem to be taking the dirt and caliche ok so far but it hasn’t been long. I’ve had unexpected issues with every floor I’ve ever chosen so I hope I don’t pick something I am annoyed with later.

It was a week of good luck all around. I had a flat tire in the yard Sunday after unloading some building supplies I brought back from Kerrville. Rickie had already gone back to work so I was on my own. I sure was glad I had it here and not out on the interstate! I have changed a flat on a pickup several times and I believe I could do it again if I had no other options. But I called a place in town and a couple of nice fellas came out and changed it. They took it back to fix it and I went in later and they put it back on.

I feel very lucky to be in a place with such people as all these that helped me out this week. I come from a family of people that worked as contractors and mechanics.  There are no better people to help you out. The small independent contractors get the job done and they always seem to remember that people come first. The plumbers got here before the auto fellas and when they saw the flat tire they offered to change it. The auto shop men offered to bring the tire back once it was fixed. The electrician said he was only going to charge me the hours he estimated it would take even though it is going to take a little longer. (And I redesigned the whole layout on him after we first talked, but we won’t go into that.)

Meanwhile, back on the bunkhouse steps after our work day Saturday, Rickie is sipping his whiskey and I am drinking a Corona. The doves are settling in the trees and the shadows are growing long.  The cardinals and finches are eating the last of the birdseed by the water tank in the yard and a doe is huffing at us from outside the fence. The new wood on the steps and in the bunkhouse is giving off that sawdust smell I have known and loved since childhood. That smell that makes my grandfather, my dad*, and my uncles come to the surface on the river of my thoughts. Sometimes I think that smell is the main reason I like to work with wood. Like an addict, I keep looking for projects so I can get my fix. The sawdust smell mingles with all the other smells; the caliche, the cedar, the smells of the land.

"Shades of night are falling, as the wind begins to sigh, and the world’s silhouetted against the sky………"

(*My dad was a plumber, not a carpenter like my grandfather and uncles. But I still associate this smell with him. It is the smell of the job site, the new home construction, where he did a lot of work.)

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, made me think of Max Stalling songs. If you've never heard of him you should give him a listen. You'll love him, another great Texas singer/song writer.

    I love that 'blue shadows on the trail' too. It just rolls off the tongue well. Blue Shadows Ranch, Blue Shadows Resort, Blue Shadows, Texas. Has a nice ring to it.