We’re one step closer to completing our master plan–building a mortgage-free micro-homestead. Our 1400 sq. ft. main house is dried in. You can do this, too!
I’ve watched the big house grow out of the hill above the tiny house for over a year now. Slow and steady. I help when it’s possible to help and have done my share of pushing my comfort level – operating a sawzall and picking up giant windows to send them through the hole to my husband standing on a 30 foot ladder top my list.
I’ve had some fear watching the big house grow. First, it looked like an alien spaceship, a giant green blob on a stand. I thought, ugh, what have we designed? Of course, I can picture the house in it’s finished glory, but each stage is slow and I get to know the house uniquely in those stages. Once the roof went up, it looked massive. I wished we had made a lower pitch. We considered everything about the pitch except how difficult it would be to actually install the roof. There was even a week or two in there where we had no idea how we would get the roof on the house. We considered renting lifts, buying scaffolding, borrowing scaffolding, and hiring a crew. Then we decided it was impossible. We built a giant green hunting stand.
It can be so discouraging to face things we don’t know how to do, especially when the answer isn’t easily found at our finger tips. We couldn’t Google how the hell do you put a roof on an 11×12 pitch in the woods on a hill with only three ladders? Or is it really impossible to install the last rafter over your head when your ladder doesn’t go that high? Believe me, we tried. We found pieces of information, but the answers didn’t come from Google, they came from the moving–from the doing.
We have to keep moving to find what we need. When we were stumped, Karl kept doing things he could do, like cut the block boards for the rafter vents and then an idea would come: I’ll install footholds. I’ll buy a walkboard. I’ll shove the metal up from the walk board. In the doing, the answers come.
Eventually Karl installed toe boards to nail off the roof sheathing, then came up with the idea to clamp a long rope to the metal roofing. The rope went over the peak and down to the ground where I stood. Karl walked up the ladder pushing the metal sheet while I pulled the rope from the opposite side of the house to make sure the metal didn’t fall on him or get caught by the wind. Once we got the metal sheet in place, he grasped a chicken ladder and screwed the sheet down. While he did this, I ran down to the tiny house to write some more on our eCourse and then he’d whistle for me when it was time for the next sheet. We maxed out at 4 sheets a day. The roof took a long time. Fear wrapped with uncertainty wrapped with a 30 ft. peak looking into a valley and yikes! It was easy to put it off. Oh, and we had a few ice and snow storms in there too.
So you can imagine how thrilled we were to install windows. We were thrilled because it went fast. Fast fast fast. We installed about 5 windows at a time. The downstairs windows went quickly, the upstairs took a bit more time because we had to move ladders and secure them to the house, and move the safety harness–I had no idea how much time goes into moving ladders and harnesses. If our house was one level, we’d probably be finished with the exterior by now. I know we will be glad we built two-story when it comes to heating. It’s also amazing to stand in the second story windows and take in the mountains around us. But, oh, the agony of figuring out the logistics.
Working with Karl to accomplish this dream is life-giving. I see the spaces we poured over on paper in real-life 3D. I see the building start to take on its own character. What looked like an alien blob on a stand, then a giant house–too big and ugly for inhabiting, now looks majestic, inviting, creative and homey. I see what Ella will see when she wakes up each morning. And Archer, too. I see the spaces we’ve designed for solitude and creativity. I can even imagine my meditation cushion in front of the low window I added for my mindfulness nook. I stand in my office and see the big white oak framed perfectly by the window where I will write. I hear the clinking glasses of future dinner parties and the guitars and fiddles of music nights. I hear teenagers upstairs and their parents laughing downstairs. I see artwork in the stairwell and barn wood on walls.
I feel alive and excited. The light did this. The doing did this. The living with the unknown and then knowing did this. The windows did this. This seeing out and the seeing in to the soul of the house did this.