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Grindbygg Timber Framing Course: Rainproofing the Worksite

by Tyler

Class is over for the day; dark clouds are looming, and the forecast is calling for rain. With only four work days left in our course, we can't afford to lose any time to inclement weather. So, after dinner, Peter and I spring to action. Jumping in the truck, we ride down to Jeremy and Hercilia's place, where Tara and I are storing the timber frame we cut at North House Folk School last year.

When we moved to Vermont this May (an adventure in its own right), we covered the frame with a massive tarp. These days it's just sitting in storage, unused. This evening, Peter and I are going to re-purpose the huge polyethylene sheet—we're hoping we can turn it into a canopy for the entire worksite. I'm not 100% sure how we're going to do this, but Peter has plan. After a brief chat with Jeremy, we load up and head back.

Hauling our Timberframe to Vermont

Pulling in, we unpack our supplies and I run up to the camper to get the "rope" we'll be using: spare CAT5 networking cable from our off-grid cable internet installation! Peter seems dubious at first, but I'm certain it will hold up. With nightfall fast approaching, we don't have time to go buy anything anyway. As I unravel the mess of black wire, Peter climbs a ladder and explains what we're going to do.

By now it is getting dark and we're working by headlamp. Together, we string a ridge line between two trees about fifteen feet above the middle of the worksite. Immediately, the plan becomes clear. We'll toss the tarp over and tie off the corners—hopefully it will be big enough!

CAT5e Network Cable as Rope

Meanwhile, Peter's wife Amy has joined us, and she's patching a myriad of holes in the tarp with duct tape. Just as we tie off the last guy line and finish the patchwork repairs, a light rain begins to fall. Standing under our canopy, listening to the droplets splashing overhead, I am relieved. Come rain or shine tomorrow, we're ready! The whole process has taken about two hours, and the resulting cover looks remarkably sturdy.

Back at our camper, as the adrenaline of the day wears off, a heavy fog of exhaustion and pain sets in. Before heading to bed, Tara and I make a half-hearted attempt at going through the day's photos. This is a nightly ritual for us, and we rarely end a day without completing it. Tonight, neither of us has the wherewithal to see it through. We'll just have to tack the three hundred-odd photos onto tomorrow's to-do list.

As I gingerly collapse into bed, staring at the ceiling, the last three months of preparation flash through my mind like a movie. I can hardly believe we've made it! So far, the event is kicking my ass. My ribs hurt so much from falling the other day that I can't even roll over without help. As soon as I've found a comfortable position to lay in, consciousness leaves me. The work doesn't cease though—it's a restless night, full of timber-framing dreams.