First, he was a rough-in carpenter. A large crane came and set the logs, and then Greg climbed up his ladders and built the dormers. He had never done anything like this before.

Then, Greg became a roofer. He rented a skylift and rode it up as high as it would go with the metal clamped beside him, and I watched from below as he laid it carefully into place. Sure, we had put metal roofs on our pole barn, cabin, sugar shed, shop and goat houses, but Greg had never roofed around dormers, and never so high in the sky.

Next came the windows and doors. I helped as an added hand to set the windows in place, but Greg made all of the sills and frames, planing down the rough lumber so that its hefty classic lines contrasted beautifully with the hand-hewn logs. Then, Greg became an electrician. He pulled what seemed like miles of wires through and between the logs, and he pulled twice as much wire as in an ordinary home, for you see, our home is wired both 12
volt and 110, so that we can live full- time with our 12-volt system, lights, fans, fridge, deep freeze and cell phones, and then switch on the inverter to occasionally use our 110 appliances, such as washing machine and satellite internet, computers and television.

Greg did not sleep well at all the night before the electrical inspection, but when the inspector remarked that Greg’s wiring did not really need to be laid out quite so beautifully, I knew that we had passed. That night, Greg slept soundly.

Next came the insulation and chinking. Greg learned that chinking is an art. I gave it a try but ended up with chinking (caulking) all over my clothes and in my hair. Greg’s patience and artistic flair resulted in a gentle swirling pattern that dressed up the rough logs.

We then began to install the floor. I was able to help as an assistant and even operated the air hammer as we laid the pecan floors. And yes, Greg has been a blacksmith for some time now, but never before had he built an iron railing from scratch.

We bought the raw metal, and Greg designed and fabricated the metal railing that encloses the loft and runs up and down the stairs.

Then, Greg became a plumber. He carefully drew up the pipes so that they would run behind our cabinets and above a small section of beadboard that serves as a dropped ceiling. After spending more hours than I could have imagined picking out the necessary pipes and fittings, he had all that he needed to run the lines and vents.

And finally, Greg became a tile man. Yes, I did help choose the tile for the bathrooms, but it was Greg who measured and mixed the mortar and set it into place and it was Greg who spread the grout.

He learned about backer board and thinset. He learned how to cut the tiles and fit them around pipes and fixtures. He learned how to lay the tiles out so that the pattern would run symmetrically from wall to wall.

So for the past two and a half years, Greg has held many jobs, from roofer to tiler, with many others in between, while I have simply lent a hand here or there. But I do suppose that we really have undertaken one very important job together, for you see, we are both
dreamers.

If we had never dared to dream, we would never have had the chance to see our dreams come true. I now know that it won’t be long at all before we pack up our toothbrushes and carry them across the gravel driveway to move into what really is our dream home.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in Ohio. Visit them on the web at straightcreekvalleyfarm.com.