Every once in awhile, I feel as if we might be worthy of the “homestead” that the previous owners created here. Specifically, I may have confirmed my own packrat cred.
When I began to repair the garden swing after its recent accident (see All Fall Down) I went to the shed and found a nut can full of carriage bolts. I would use these to bolt together two 2X4s to create a new, stronger crossbeam on which to hang the swing. I gave Michelle a shopping list, which included the lumber, and nuts and washers for the bolts, but asked her to wait for my call before buying anything.
When I began work, I went back to the shed, and soon found all the nuts and washers belonging to the bolts in another container. My predecessor’s pack rat proclivities had saved me once again (see In Praise of Pack Rats).
I then began casting about for lumber. I had a few possibilities in mind, some of which would require setting up the table saw, powered by the gas generator, to rip into shape. Instead, I discovered a forgotten resource: about a dozen 12-foot cedar 2X4s.
I bought these at a bargain, either from a house building project in town, or the local hot tub manufacturer. They’ve been waiting for another project, but surely I could spare two lengths for the crossbeam.
I soon had them drilled and bolted. Aly and I hung the new crossbeam, and worked to position the swing when Dave and Anke arrived from their boat. We all worked to position, balance, and secure the swing. That evening, when Michelle came home, she tested it by sitting on it while viewing a massive double rainbow on Lynn Canal. She approved it, and it’s now ready for our next visitors: my youngest aunt and uncle, whose cruise ship docks in Skagway later this morning. They’ll take the fast ferry to Haines, and will be able to have lunch and a few hours on the “homestead” today.
The project would have been completed in time, but drawing on our own resources allowed us to repair the swing without waiting for outside materials. That felt like carrying on an important “homestead” tradition.