Yesterday was simple. Lift wood, carry wood, float wood, stack wood. Then lift some more. A chore difficult to get wrong. It would be a challenge to screw it up, really. But we managed to flirt with danger at least and, at the end of the day, found ourselves only half-way done. Some things are more difficult than they look.
This pile of wood – about 24 pieces of big 2-bys (wet, of course) started out at my neighbour’s dock where they had been dropped by the barge last week, We intended to take the bulk of them to the bottom of our highline for lifting up to our site later that day, along with a few salvaged logs that were already waiting at the bottom end on the beach. The balance of the wood would be taken around the peninsula to the shore out front of our house. Both of these actions required loading wood on a boat. Sally’s little whaler was the boat selected.
‘Course the dogs had to come, too.
I also have to float a 40 foot section of steel catwalk out around the peninsula to the shore in front of the house and get it high enough to beach and then remove the attached floats with a mini-grinder. After that is done, the catwalk is to be flipped over and dragged and lifted up onto the small steel base that I described building last week. It should sit at a 23 degree incline and give us better access from the beach than does the lethal stairs currently employed as the main access.
Deadly as they are, I have yet to hurt myself on those stairs in eight years (one of the few places on the site that has no blood stains). I may not be able to say the same thing for getting a two-ton ramp in place.
None of this is rocket science but all of it is bull-work. It seems that everything has to be lifted and carried at least several times. If there is a continuing theme to living remote it is that ‘you spend a lot of time carrying heavy things’. It’s like a curse. It’s like some primitive God of the forest has condemned you – for the rest of your life – to carry double your weight again and again every day. I swear I carry, on average, 600 pounds over the course of any given day at the very least. If it is an official lifting day, then you can triple that easily.
Have I mentioned my mild obsession with winches?
I shouldn’t say ‘I’. Sally is lifting right along beside me and, to be fair, proportionally more. She is half my weight and, although I take the bulk of the heavy stuff, sometimes she simply has to take the other end of something too heavy for just me. And even if I carry three one hundred-pound beams, she might have to carry ten thirty-pound pieces to help out. It all adds up.
Sally is fit. She is also strong-like-bull. And she looks healthy and beautiful. By comparison, I am a little chunky and look like a bull. Hard physical work seems to affect us differently. And, as I said, we are only half way done on this one chore. Who knows what I will eventually grow into…….
Anyway, it is Sunday and we have downed tools and muscles. We are going over to the neighbouring island. They are hosting a traditional-cum-hippified Fall Fair. They compare quilts and pies and have a petting zoo. They put wheels on zucchinis and race them. Everyone sees their neighbour. It’s a day off. Way off! No heavy workout except for the smile muscles.