Tuesday, May 06, 2014

#188. or, I'm Pretty Sure the Local Mennonites are all Quite Amused With How Long it's Taking Me To Build a Barn.

  So, April was a bit of a blur.

  Because this past winter was unusually cold, and it seems that I'm unusually soft, I didn't really get my ass into gear and begin to make any actual progress on my barn until we were careening headlong into 2014's calving season.

  Fortunately, I had the foresight to hire out the erecting of the building portion of what was to become our barn. Otherwise, I would still be calving outside. My contribution was to be putting up all the pens and to finish the little room that serves as the place where we keep all of our calving and basic veterinary supplies, along with facilities for washing up and hopefully have a handy supply of warm water on hand. Because I know how loving my wife gets when I crawl into bed and rub my cold feet on her calves, it's equally nice to have warm fingers when I reach into the backside of a cow when I go fishing for a calf. That, and cows kick much harder than my wife does.

  Anyways, when I did get down to the business of carpenter-ing,  I made fairly decent progress with the wiring, insulating and sheeting of the room. I had an idea of the layout I wanted, and where I wanted to put the cupboard. It had to fit where the water and drain lines came through the concrete, and I wanted a large laundry sink, because some of the stuff we wash is awkward and unwieldy. To save time, I thought I would just pop over to Home Depot and pick up a pre-assembled cupboard. The trouble with that was, Home Depot doesn't sell a line of cupboards, built to the specific blueprints, filed away in the barn cabinetry directory of my brain.

  Turns out, nobody builds that.

  Now, if I remember correctly, by this time, the first of our calves were already on the ground and while not all the cows come through the barn, some do. So as I assembled pens around the cows that did decide to visit there, I made the decision, almost nonchalantly, that I would just whip up my own cupboard. Like it was an actual thing where I could manipulate wood with my bare hands and turn it into something useful. Or better yet, recognizable. In fact, I'm pretty sure I tweeted that I was going out after lunch one day to build a cupboard. Sort of, I'll let you all know at supper, how it all went down.

  Then I spent the better part of two weeks building that cupboard.


   The thing is, I sort of enjoyed it. Measuring fifteen times and cutting once. A lot of the wood I used in my cupboard was left over cut-off's from when they built the building. I took a bit of pride in the fact that I made very few mistakes and pretty much accomplished what I had intended to do. Even if it did take a lot longer than I thought it would.

  I have no problem in telling you, that in my youth, I was pretty careless with my wood. It didn't matter if I misused it, there was always more wood to try it again. But now that I'm in my mid forty's, for some reason, I've developed a greater appreciation for wood, and in turn, for using it properly. It isn't as satisfying anymore, to try and quickly bang out a project and let a lot of that wood go to waste. Good wood is a bit harder to come by these days, and because of that, I'm finding it's more important to try to use all of the wood for the job, and not finish the project knowing you left some pretty decent wood behind.

  ......Of course, having acquired a nice little line of power tools has made it a bit easier to get the most out of my wood. But it's nice to know that if you apply yourself, you can come up with a satisfying outcome for everyone.