More porch-building tips
I was going to write a
long post about why Mark and I decided to sink this year's retirement
money into farm infrastructure (aka paying Bradley to build us things)
rather than putting cash in the bank. About how it's just another
example of the homesteading motto: keep your eyes open for
opportunities and then seize the day. We figure Bradley's obvious
skills and expanding confidence will soon put him out of our league, so
we're accepting every possible minute he can spare to make our farm
more self-sufficient until that inevitable day comes.
But I suspect you don't
really care why so much new infrastucture is coming to the farm
this summer, and would rather read about how it all happens. So
here are lessons learned from porch 2.0.
With porch 1.0, we had already bought four
by fours to support the roof, but Bradley was involved in the supply
run this time around and had other ideas. He explained that using
a pair of two by fours for each support post is just as sturdy as using
a four by four, and also allows you to attach the post more securely to
the floor (as you can see here), all while costing significantly
less. The only downside of this method is that you end up with a
support that's 3 inches by 3.5 inches rather than one that's 3.5 inches
by 3.5 inches, but that won't be an issue if you're not trying to put
heavy things on top.
Next, Bradley asked why we'd
buy inexpertly-cut stair risers when he could make a more stable set of
steps out of dimensional lumber. He built the simple stairs above
for the uphill side and the enticing steps to the right and below for
the downhill side.
In both cases, Bradley
cobbled the staircases together out of odds and ends we had leftover
from other projects. You can see that each step is made from
multiple boards so that we didn't have to rush to the store for wider
planks, and that the stair steps on the downhill side rest on little
pieces of lumber attached to the inside of pairs of slanted
boards. This is all treated lumber since the area gets extremely
wet in the winter.
Speaking of wet, muddy
ground, I'm starting to realize that Mark's right to put porches so
high up on our priority list. It's amazing how much effort (and
mental energy) has been drained over the years by slogging through the
mud pit that develops over the winter in the area that's now under roof
outside the East Wing. In addition to looking forward to the
winter luxury of dry feet, we've enjoyed the summer luxury of cooler
living conditions without the need for electricity during this current
But the most important
benefit of the porches is harder to quantify and is due to the fact
that porches make us spend a lot more leisure time outside. Stay
tuned for the startling discovery that resulted from that outdoors time, coming up in tomorrow's post.
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