A month or two ago Marla was helping me down at the barn. She was doing general clean up and organizing so I could continue with the construction process. While she was cleaning up she calls out to me “whats with this pile of bent nails?” Meaning, “why are you keeping bent nails and what should I do with them”? Well I was “keeping them” only because I did not have a garbage can nearby to throw them in. But after thinking about the pile of bent nails for a while I realized that maybe there was another reason they were still laying around. The other reason is that they are a subtle reminder of my maternal grandfather, Pappy. Pappy was born in 1900 and died in 1992. He was an agrarian of the highest order and spent his whole life tending “God’s garden” as he referred to his farm. So why do bent nails remind me of Pappy? Because as a boy spending time on Pappy ‘s farm I would watch him cobble together small carpenter projects that needed done around the farm. ( He wasn’t much of a carpenter but he excelled at growing fruit, vegetables and animals for market. ) And always the cobbling was done with bent nails that were straightened out on the anvil as much as possible before being reused. In all my years of being around the farm I don’t ever recall seeing him use new nails. It was always the old, rusty, bent nails. You see, he grew up in a time when you didn’t run to the store to buy everything . You either made it yourself or made do with what was already on hand. And then when he was in his 30’s the Great Depression hit and hit hard. His, and many other generations, knew the meaning and the daily application of the word “thrift” and it’s application was considered a virtue. Today, we hardly know what the word means let alone its day -to-day outworkings. Our culture encourages consumption, extravagance and even waste. And when we do so we are lauded for doing our part in “keeping the economy rolling”. Although I am a product of the consumer generation and know that I have a long way to go I am developing an appreciation for thrift, frugality and “making do”. Every once in a while I pick up a bent nail, straighten it out and give it a second life in a new board.
After the trees were felled and the logs were sawed into boards it was time to begin working on the frame. The main (vertical) posts were made out of 8” x 8”s. The main load bearing beams (horizontal) would carry the weight of the second floor deck and the roof. They are 2”x 12”s and are notched into both sides of the 8”x 8” post. There are 13 posts, so that is 26, 2” x 12” notches that had to be cut. It really was not that bad. We did it with a power saw, chisel and wood mallet. Please check out the “soon-to-be-Marine” trying his hand at notching the posts. He did a good job and I am very grateful for all his help. Actually, I consider myself very blessed to have two boys that will help out their Dad when needed.
Stay warm my friends (spring is on its way!!!)