49: Ridge Beam!

Yesterday, I drove to Ralph Morgan's sawmill, four miles down the road in Webster, to pick up the huge timbers that will somehow be cut and hoisted and shaped and seated into notches to frame the roof. Overloaded, my truck crept home and up the steep road into the holler. Unloading it all took time. Even though the beams, although not cultivated on my own land, were legitimately cut and sawn locally, I felt a need to pull a draw knife down the sharp edges, softening the look and feel and roughing up the overall impression to better match the un-hewn log walls.

Unsure where to stack and store a 3x8 (full dimension, more like a 4x10) 15' beam, I decided to drop it into the bed I made -- I had pre-cut notches in the top of the vertical poles, made from the log that Tobias milled so expertly with his saw, travelling up to support the beam but also securing each wall log on their journey toward the roof's peak.

The beam is green. This green beam is not lean. It weighs enough to be mean. I watched Ralph cut it from a massive chunk of white pine. It probably weighs 120-150 pounds. Fine for carrying around but not so ideal for lifting overhead on a ladder. I called my neighbor (up another branch of the holler), Eric, for help with the mean green beam: "Hi Kathleen, how are y'all this evening?"

Kathleen: "We're fine." Matter of fact. Cheerful. Good.

Me: "I hope I didn't hold you up on the way in!" She had driven in behind me and all the lumber, catching up to me on the gravel road before our drives separated. "So, what are y'all up to?" Fishing.

Kathleen: "Oh nothing, what's up?" Good -- not bathing Molly or still eating. I explain that I only need him for a second, but... "Eric! Will's on the phone!"

I ask Eric if he has 5 minutes to help me lift the beam into place, that he'd be home 15 minutes after leaving his front porch. You see, he's helped me out so much, and he worked till after dark recently, helping me string the 20x40 foot tarp way up in the air, above the cabin, to protect the Penetreat from leaching out in the rain. I say, "this'll be a real 5 minutes, not a Will-Gatlin-Five-Minutes, which translates into something not always popular among our overly-tolerant-already wives. Actually, Kathleen's really cool, and Eric's really generous, but I didn't want to take advantage of my great neighbors, and this was the epitome of short notice.

We got it up, and he got home. One underlying theme of this whole project remains the generosity and camaraderie of my friends.

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I use this blog to chronicle certain aspects of my life near the Smokies. I'm building a cabin. I kayak. Sometimes I bike.