Monday, December 14, 2015

Comes A Time: "You gotta tell your story boy. You know the reason why. Are you ready for the country - because its time to go." Are You Ready for the Country - Neil Young

Summer 1975
To create a home from wilderness. You're starting with a blank canvas. Again, the "Whole Earth Catalog" provided the resource and a book called "Shelter" the inspiration. In the 1970s we did not have the internet but we did have a renaissance in thinking and the printed materials to go with it.
During the first year a septic system was added to the camp along with the running water to enjoy indoor plumbing.  At first dependent on a generator it was relatively easy to switch over and get power brought in. In those days, the power company was willing to install the lines and poles to come 1/4 mile into the woods as long as we signed a contract for purchasing a minimum of power for a given number of years.  This was essentially free.  Not the case today.
Once the camp was completed (for those of you not familiar with the expression, a "camp" is a seasonal dwelling not far from home where a person or a family might go to get away), the next step was to create a base of operations. From there, I could begin construction on a full sized dwelling or house. This "base" was to be a  barn, specifically a pole barn.  The pole barn was the first of many pole structures I built over the years. They were horse shelters, wood sheds, a camp in the Carrabassett Valley and a storage building. The value in the pole buildings was the strength gained by placing large cedar and/or hemlock posts 5 feet into the ground.  The structure was then hung on those poles. There was no need to construct walls to support the building.  It was just a matter of hanging the walls on the poles.  The barn was the largest of my buildings and proved itself by carrying heavy loads in the loft and withstanding the raging winter winds known as "The Montreal Express". This was rightly named, as you could hear it coming through the notch in the mountains north of us long before the force of it impacted the woods and our structures.
After starting with the camp and then building the barn, my skills were perfected well enough to take on the task of a real house.