The barn has a new wing. Not the barn that is really Ed’s shop. This is the barn near the turkey enclosure, the one Ed and his brother Gene raised last year after bringing it to Cornville from Desert Hot Springs and our friend Tom’s house. The barn, a simple pole and metal sheathing building, has served us as a place to store the tractor for a year now. When Leah and I decided on Brighty (who has turned out not to be pregnant…too bad!) coming to live with us, Ed insisted on adding a stall wing to the pole barn.
I warned him immediately that he only had three weeks to get the barn up. There could be no delay. He said “No problem. I’m going to let Gene do it when he gets here.” Gene comes out here to work, enjoying the pure physical labor of the farm.
Isn’t family wonderful? Right after Ed said that I called my brother-in-law, Courtney Lawyer (who runs JustFloorItAz.com), and told him we finally had a job for him to do up here. Courtney loves it here and he’s been bugging us to let him repay our hospitality by doing some of the many jobs we never get to. The only problem is that weekends go too quickly and we like spending time with his kids, so we don’t really want to be working while he’s here. I told him we finally had a job for him, one that repays all his weekends enjoying Green Acres. He said yes without hesitation, bless him.
What’s amazing about this is that Ed didn’t have anything to do with this job, other than putting together all the material necessary for the job and putting out ant stakes to deter the big red ants from eating our volunteers.
Okay, the ants won’t really eat people…I don’t think. Or maybe these are the ants the Native Americans or rather the Indians of the movies of the Forties and Fifties staked some unfortunate Red Shirt over so the plucky hero would find their bones and bring vengeance down upon the whole tribe. For sure these ants look like they could eat you. I don’t know what species they are but they live here in a BIG way. Their homes span yards–there’s no missing them because the grass has been removed to display the front door, a toilet paper tube sized hole, which is surrounded by a perfect circle of bare dirt. The more ants in the nest, the bigger the circle. Over time they carve distinctive paths through the grass–which I always step over, just in case. Most of the time these big ants are pretty docile, unlike the smaller, nastier ants that bite. You can stand near one of these big doorways and be ignored, but woe be to you who ends up with one accidentally crawling up your pant leg: they don’t bite as much as they eject acid onto you and it burns for hours. Our friend Kathy Klein of Danmala, the beautiful mandala-flower art, described the experience as psychedelic.
Back to the miracle of the barn raising. Gene got here on Thursday along with Jeff Marine, a childhood friend of theirs. He started working on Friday, his sole job to straighten the posts that Ed’s cousin Marco bent when he backed the tractor into it in July. Courtney arrived on Saturday morning, and he and Gene became partners, each of them armed with their favorite DeWalt drill. Up went the poles for the sides. Sheet by sheet the roofing made its way up the ladders and across the supports. Ubolts were purchased and put in place. A guys night out was arranged at Cliff Castle Casino, where Larry the Cable Guy was playing.
This morning the last sheet of roofing went into place. It looked great despite a slight miscalculation that left 3 inches more of the overhang at one end of the barn than the other. All that counts is we have a place for Brighty when she shows up…or will have after Wednesday when the contractor takes down the three metal single car garage doors which will make up the walls of her stall. As you can see, it makes a very nice cool space for the animals. The turkeys are already enjoying the extra shade. They’re watching in the background.
Oh, you might be asking why Ed wasn’t out there helping? Because I had asked him to please get our bathroom finished for the weekend. It’s not that I didn’t want to share the other master bathroom (when we bought it the house had two master bedrooms upstairs, each en suite with massive bathrooms) with my sister and her family. It’s just, well, three months waiting to have my own toilet again was long enough.
Ed said, “Sure! It’ll all be done before they get here.” He even agreed to buy a vanity from Home Depot instead of making one himself. He EVEN said, “Let’s face it. I’m too slow when it comes to building things.” WOW!
As of right now, I do have my own toilet. It was functioning by Saturday evening. It’s extra tall. Once again Ed’s planning ahead. He says it’ll be easier for him to use when his knees don’t work anymore. I suggested that asking his knees to lift him off the John will keep them working well into his Eighties. He wasn’t impressed with that suggestion.
The tub is in as well and looks beautiful…but the plumbing leaks. The vanity is still at Home Depot where it will most likely remain because once the weekend is over he’ll change his mind about buying a pre-made piece because, after all, it really isn’t quite what he wants.
That’s my guy! I guess it’s not such a hardship to walk from my new 1/4 bath (or is that 2/3 or 3/4 bath because we do have the shower in although Ed won’t let anyone use it yet and theoretically the tub is in although it doesn’t work) to the big master bath to wash my hands.