A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Friday, June 7, 2013

You Can Never Have Too Many Porches

My love affair with porches continues. Last week Rickie took some vacation days and we added a porch/deck to the little bunkhouse. Now we aren't professional carpenters and we have learned mostly by trial and error. Rickie's dad taught him some things and we learned others on our own. This, supplemented with my tiny bit of OCD, gets our projects done, although it's not always a pretty process! We are somewhat like the brothers on Yardcore, the DYI series, or two hissing snarling cats. But we settle into a routine and then things go pretty smoothly. 

We live on top of a hill made of rock and our climate is almost as dry as Mars, so we can use some materials and some methods that maybe won't work where you are. We used cedar for the posts but not for the top of the deck. I love, love, love wire and wood fences so we made the railing out of welded wire and wood. A few years back I learned to use the compound miter saw and I cut all the boards for the project as Rickie attached them. We did the measuring and the leveling together. Once we got past the frame, the hard part, it went fast! 

Many years ago, as a single mom, I lived in a "mobile" home, which was not really very mobile. I wanted a front deck to sit outside and had never built anything before. I worked with a lady who was then the age I am now. She told me how to build one, using concrete blocks for the base. For some reason, my dad told me that method would probably not work. My dad was a plumber in a family of carpenters so I never was sure why he said that. Carpentering was not one of his best skills and he was normally an encouraging person. I think he probably thought I would get it started and he would have to finish it and he wasn't much on projects, unless it was digging in the dirt with his backhoe! 

Larry and John, then 11 and 9 years old, and I went ahead with it and we got it built. I learned from that just to go ahead and not worry too much about it. There are many ways to do something and just because it's not perfect, don't let that stop you. Having had several houses built by "professionals" I've also learned that a person doing it for themselves generally produces a better product than assembly line builders. Looking behind the walls or at the drywall and trim work in a tract house will convince you of that.

The porch added a lot of useful room to the bunkhouse. It gives a place to set ice chests and dirty shoes and to drink some coffee in the morning and some adult beverages in the afternoon. And for the little kiddos that come out, it's a place to play, color, take a nap, dance, and with the addition of a washtub, take a bath! We had two different birds nesting in the trees by the bunkhouse so it's also a good bird watching hangout. We have one more part of the bunkhouse project to complete and that's to add a walkway of granite gravel to the cabin. 

I finished off the porch with some new plantings that I am hoping the deer won't like. Pink skullcap, winter savory, and a native yellow flower I can never remember the name of! 

We've got a few other smaller projects going on out here. I just finished a sandbox, complete with cover to keep cats out, for Bixby. And I've finished the cantina part of an outdoor cooking/cantina cabinet. We're also moving the fire pit to the area between the cabin and the bunkhouse. All I've done on that so far is to tear the old pit apart! And I'm halfway through with a stone skirting project on the woodshed. 

But it's Summer, so I've got to make time to go floating down the river! Life is good out here in the heart of Texas and I never forget how grateful I am to be here and be able to live this life. 

(How far we have come; this photo of the partially finished pumphouse shows the only building on the place when we bought it 24 years ago.)

1 comment:

  1. I think it was needing that. Y'all did a good job. And I see you got rain too!