The Joys Of Building

woman in wood fired hot tubI recently completed teaching a workshop in Meadville, Pennsylvania which once again reminded me of how much fun it is to build a house with my own two hands. In the case of the workshop, it was more like 25 sets of hands, but the idea is the same. There is nothing quite like seeing a project grow from an idea to a reality.

One thing that I know for sure is that many hands make for easy work. That is so evident in the workshops I teach as so much is accomplished in such a small amount of time. In fact, I did a quick calculation and discovered that in just 7 days, we accomplish what would take two people seventeen and a half weeks to complete (when calculating “man-hours”: a measure of one person working one hour on a task).

Back to Meadville. I promised the host’s mother, Barbara, that I would sing the praises of the hosts and their extended family, and I can do nothing less than that. The hospitality, food, and kindness were all so wonderful that it is no wonder everyone worked so hard to get the house as close to complete as we did. I would like to extend a public thank you from us all (I’m sure I can speak for the group on this one) for a wonderful experience. We all felt right at home and thoroughly loved and supported.

I was thinking of calling this post “To Heaven and Back Again” due to the contrasting experience I had at the workshop juxtaposed onto the last several days back at home. Let me explain. When I returned home from the workshop in Pennsylvania, I got straight to work on our own homestead. We are currently building a tiny house on a trailer (238 SF plus sleeping lofts) that will be our home for the next few years while we explore our new property and plan for our straw bale “forever home.” That part is wonderful; however, the weather has decided to not play nice.

I have been building in a steady downpour of 40F rain which has turned the ground into a thick mess of sticky clay. I have never been a fan of high heels, and I certainly don’t like them on my work boots, but the mud seems to enjoy traveling wherever I go. The extra 4″ or so makes reaching high things easier, but everything else is harder, slower, wetter, and less enjoyable.

I have stayed in positive spirits along the way, but today’s weather nearly defeated me. I was not able to stand the wall I was framing at the end of the day (as I had hoped to) because of all the mud on the deck, and that was disappointing. I did make it back to Heaven, after my short trip through a wet Hell, by way of a cedar hot tub.

It was the one thing that kept me going during the downpour: the smell of wood burning in the Snorkel Hot Tub stove. If you’ve never seen a snorkel Stove Hot Tub, check them out. Although not as easy to assemble as we might have hoped, it was well worth the effort in the end. There is nothing quite like a soak in a wood fired hot tub under a rainy sky after a long, cold, damp day of construction.

Ahh, the joys of building!

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6 Responses to The Joys Of Building

  1. Jim Federico Thu, September 26, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    Years ago when we bought our home here in Santa Susana Ca, we knew we had a lot of work ahead of us ! And we decided to buy a hot tub so we could soak after a long hard day of work also ! My wife and i had met at a hot spring near Death Valley and we visited these springs a lot ! So for us having a hot soak after a long day of work was good but also very spiritual and healthy for our tired bones .. To this very day it’s one of the best decisions we ever made !
    Now were preparing to build our strawbale home in Arizona , and the very first thing we want to instal is a hot tub ! Were off the grid and need to find an alternative tub that wont require power. And now i just may have found it ! Once again mi amigo you helped in ways you never thought ! I will look into this type of tub you have !
    Last … I highly recommend that everyone have a hot tub ! Off the grid or not … It’s the best thing you can do for your mind and soar body ! Jim !

  2. Dale Thu, September 26, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Reminds me of a Paul Simon song, “Slip Sliding Away”

    Slip slidin’ away
    Slip slidin’ away
    You know the nearer your destination
    The more you’re slip slidin’ away

  3. Laura Collison Thu, September 26, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    I was lucky enough to be at the workshop in Meadville and WOW what a teacher you have so much passion and love doing it, it was one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life, and can’t wait to do it again. The host family was amazing. I made an photo album to show all my family and friends. Miss everyone and hope to met again soon

  4. Laura Collison Thu, September 26, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    Andrew wishing we could all be there to give you a helping hand, its so true many hands make light work. So glad you are enjoying you new cedar hot tub!!

  5. Andrew
    Andrew Wed, October 2, 2013 at 12:32 am #

    Thanks Laura!!!

  6. Andrew
    Andrew Wed, October 2, 2013 at 12:33 am #

    Thanks for the kind words and great fun in Meadville

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