In anticipation of the soon coming rainy season, Silver Oak took off work and his parents came down from Ohio for about nine days to help build a permanent deck roof. The plan was to build a hurricane resistant structure covering our deck and his parents’ camper, which is parked parallel to our tiny house on the other side of the deck.
I took several trips to town to collect materials needed. Hauling three tons of lumber and concrete was a learning experience in itself. Once I entered a small parking lot to pick up something for Silver Oak, pulling a heavy trailer behind me. Then I realized to my horror the only way out was backing! Six months ago I would have majorly stressed out. It took about 10 minutes, but with our 12-year-old directing I managed to get out. I was glad for being stretched the past few months in things like this, forcing me to learn.
Silver Oak and his dad got right at it digging holes for the big posts and constucting posts and beams. Rather than using 6×6 posts, they glued and bolted together three 2×6 boards which are easier to find and make a stronger post. The big support beams were made in a similar fashion. We purchased a small cement mixer from Harbor Freight and 100 bags of premixed concrete from Home Depot, which gave the best price for materials. The two men removed our temporary roof and concreted the posts in to harden for two days.
On Saturday we hired a real carpenter to help (who refused payment) and another brother from church joined us to put up the huge beams. Another builder friend gave good advice about building this structure. My dad also came for the day and did some electrical work, including a new electrical outlet inside and a new light on the deck. Again, we are blessed and grateful for good friends and family who care.
The girls and I made brunch for everyone. Actually, after all the cooking trials it ended up being lunch. Our power capacity maxed out running two small air conditioners (it was unbearably hot), the vacuum cleaner (for our usual Saturday thorough cleaning), and big power tools for construction. Unfortunately our propane oven still uses electricity (that must change in the future). With too much power consumption the oven just wouldn’t stay hot.
With our little portable generator we powered the outside oven successfully at last, but the muffins fell because the oven cooled when they were only half done and the egg casserole baked unevenly. It was good just the same, but next time we’ll plan our power supply better.
When the volunteers left that day all the big beams were in place! Silver Oak and his dad started on the rafters that afternoon, then on Sunday we were gone most of the day. We still had no roof, but Monday they planned to start putting up the metal. Sunday night there was not a cloud in the sky, but we covered everything on the deck with a huge tarp just in case.
Wouldn’t you know, in the middle of the night, we were hit with a huge thunderstorm! We awoke to loud thunderclaps and torrents of rain. We closed the windows to keep water from blowing in. Usually at night the temperature drops so we use fans in the windows and personal fans at each bed which keep it quite comfortable. But with the windows shut it soon became stuffy.
Then water began streaming into the top of the front door. With no roof overhead there was nothing to stop it. What next? After about two hours of raging storm our little off-grid power system shut down. The inverter screen indicated a temperature sensor alert. Now we had no fans either. Things were getting worse.
This post is getting too long, so I’ll pick up tomorrow. Aren’t I mean?
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