Will the Projects Ever End?

The Great Wood Extraction

If you've been by the farm any time in the last 3 months you'll notice a nice new building half way up the driveway. This building will be our visitor space, serving as "home" for summer camps, a classroom for our cheesemaking and sausage making sessions, a place to pick up when you preorder or need to grab your herd share milk and somewhere for us to potentially open up a farm store. It has looked a little funny being half finished, sort of like a one room fishing shack. That is all about to change starting today! This sweet little building is getting a wraparound porch. I know, pretty exciting…right? To say I'm excited about this addition is such an understatement as to border on the ridiculous. It has been in the planning stages for years, sat in kit form for a year, on the wait-list for concrete since November, and, most recently, on a two month wait-list for locally milled lumber for the porch (picked up last night). We still have to wait for the roofing metal till the end of next week but cross your fingers Ball Construction doesn't have a big job lined up next while we wait (Wayne is very popular and for good reason!). As is often the case with things we found out yesterday afternoon that the wood was ready, and that Wayne wanted to start the porch today. I started to come up with a million reasons why I couldn't possibly be the one to pick up the wood; the turkeys needed to be moved, I hadn't finished my newsletter, I needed to wash my hair (well maybe that last one wasn't real) but the truth of it is I hate driving our truck with a passion. I feel like a little kid behind the wheel...it's undignified! I especially hate pulling any sort of trailer, I stink at it. Don't get me wrong, I can make turns like a champ, rarely dropping the back tires off the road into a ditch but backing up is a challenge for me. This trip to a sawmill back behind someone's house had the potential for a lot of backing up. While I was listing all the reasons why I couldn't possibly pick up the wood, Scott was apologizing, telling me how he was just too busy at work and how sorry he was as he headed back to his car. Watching him go down the driveway the 16yr old me was fully present in my mind rolling her eyes and muttering something about being a wimp and a baby, I had to woman up and get my butt over to Hillsborough or I was going to have to listen to that inner voice go on about this for ages. I climbed into the truck (which you need climbing gear for), adjusted the seat and, with kid number 2 keeping me company ( and to help with any heavy lifting that might be required) I headed down the driveway. As I prepared to pull out onto the road, I adjusted my seat one more time. Instead of the one notch forward I needed the seat rocked all the way forward and got stuck....I should've been nicer to the truck when I got in, it felt like payback. Garett and I both tried to move it but it was stubbornly stuck. Instead of turning around and heading back to the house and finding some WD40 to lubricate the runners I decided to move forward and get the whole thing over and done with. My knees still haven’t forgiven me, the trip to Hillsborough was painful! Twenty-five mins of discomfort later we arrived at Smithy's Sawmill. The sawmill is behind The Smith Family Farm under a nice big pole barn (before owning our own farm I never paid any attention to farm buildings, now they're all I see). Backing up would definitely be necessary. I left Garett to work on the seat while I looked for Matt and our wood. He wasn't hard to find, I caught him sawing a huge tree into 1" planks. Mesmerized by the huge saw moving slowly down the length of the 16 ft log I stood to the side watching. Once one length had been covered the whole log was turned 90deg and the process started over again. The smell of freshly cut wood calmed my nerves. I'm not sure why I find that smell so pleasant. As was expected I had to reverse the truck and trailer. Luckily Garett had fixed the seat by the time I got back (all it needed was a little WD40 which Scott keeps in his truck for some unknown reason, along with a set of wrenches, probably best not to ask....) Backing up went as well as can be expected with Garett sitting next to me sighing and suggesting that I let him back up, audibly making an occasional sharp intake of breath as I slowly made my 50 point backup turn and my freshly cut wood mellow evaporated. He wasn’t helpful. It also didn't help when the guy who loaded the wood put the bulk of the weight over the wheels rather than evenly distributing it causing the trailer to teeter back and forth with the wheels acting as the fulcrum anytime there was a bump (no matter how slight) in the road. The trailer alternated between sitting its weight on the back of the truck and trying to lift the back tires off the ground. As for braking, just don't ask about the braking. It was a very heavy load, to boot. According to the running gloom and doom commentary from my otherwise delightful middle kid when a bump in the road caused the weight to slightly shift behind the wheels, the front end of the trailer lifted the bed of the truck up then settled back once that bump had been traversed. I also got updated on the status of the trailer tires (looking like they were loaded heavy) and the smell of burning rubber (possibly imaginary). I was a nervous wreck when I pulled into our driveway 40 minutes later (yep… the trip back took twice as long). Thankfully Garett had put pretty much every strap we own on the wood so the load though heavy was well within our legal and design weight limits (Scott made me add that bit, he didn’t want you to think I was a menace). There was never any real danger of catastrophe, but my nerves weren’t buying that logic. Not for the first time I swore never to drive the truck again. Do you want to know the worst of it? The seat was ever so slightly too far back (I was afraid to move it after my first trip) so I couldn't push the gas pedal all the way down (legs are too short) making us back up traffic all down Bahama Rd for about 10 miles. I will never complain about being behind a slow truck ever again! For that matter, don’t follow too close. They might not have been as diligent with their straps.

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