Friday, November 1, 2013

The Woodshed


Some words about the woodshed.  I did not know what would happen in the Daddy Life when my boy started Kindergarten. It was a strange mix emotion and euphoria. The result was this woodshed.

The Woodshed, (with a capital W) as it became known in my house, began to form in my mind several months ago. In the winter we had three trees down, and the WOOD from these trees was burning a hole into the farthest reaches of my masculine anxiety. All summer I shuffled these rounds about the property. I used them up on the deck for end tables. I dug out stairs and forts and paths. I even split some of them. But my STORY about the wood was that I would build a woodshed and STORE the wood for future fires. This was the manly thing to do. To build and split and stack. But all summer long this was just talk. It was a dream to offset all of the work I actually do every day - managing the children, cleaning the kitchen, planning the meals, etc.

And then September came and two things conspired to make my dream a reality. Suddenly I had one in school and this gave me a heretofore unseen quantity of TIME. Ada was around, but she is very helpful and often plays nicely on her own. So I had no excuses. The second occurrence was that it began to rain in September. It began to rain like only an Oregon winter can. This was the opposite of an Indian Summer. It began to rain in earnest and didn't stop for three weeks. And I panicked.

"THE WOOD IS ROTTING!" I thought to myself in all capitals. "I'VE GOT TO BUILD THIS WOODSHED!" And somewhere inside of me I feared that something else was rotting, too. The part of me that I put aside to change the diapers and rock the babies and make the bottles and soothe the wild beasts that are in my daily care. So I began the project to deal with my excess of firewood, but it began to symbolize my ability to deal with my own latent work. And that is when the mania gripped me.

It began simply enough, cutting down the old chain link fencing from the dog run. Then there were stakes hammered in the rain, and strings run, and measurements. There was a design that changed several times. Eventually I settled on something loosely built on the plans of a pole barn, with a level deck hung from the poles and a shed roof on top of that. But then I started making orders from the lumber yard, and the design kept growing to accommodate larger eves, a front pitch, and nice tongue and groove decking. The woodshed grew and grew, and as it went up I began to fall in love with it. I couldn't think about anything else. 

October was mercifully dry, and I continued the building with some help from friend Bjorn and father Danel. Eventually we got the metal roof onto it, then laid out the joists and decking, and finally some fencing on the ends to hold in my wood ricks. I spent all my time working on this thing. It was peaceful down there, in the back of the house. And the children knew where to find me. It was the loosest form of child-care imaginable. But it worked. I think we all needed a little break after our summer together. And then all of a sudden it was done. A big beautiful pole-barn of a woodshed with open air and large eves. I showed it off to my friends - and got many good ideas for its use. Yoga studio, brew-shed, covered ping pong pavilion were just a few. 

I still had a major problem on my hands. I had built a gigantic woodshed, but the loading of my wood was another matter. There were stacks of wood all over my back lot, and much of it was still in rounds. Somehow I knew that loading this thing would not be my biggest problem, and again the universe conspired with me to make it happen. A big thanks to Erik Larson, the Alaskan wood boss. He was in town and made some time to come and help me finish the job. 

And then, with all my wood split and laid up for winter, the mania subsided. I became my normal, amiable self again. The Daddy Life returned for the winter months. I was happy to be back, but one thing is different. Now we are going to have a lot more fires. 
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