Painting the sky
Wednesday, January 4, 2017 11:33 AM
Our log house is coming closer and closer to becoming our home. Greg has pulled what seems like miles of wires through the logs.
They were predrilled for just such purpose, but because we live with 12 volts and only turn on the inverter to run our 110 appliances, Greg had to essentially wire the house two times, once for 12 volt and again for 110, but the wiring is now complete, as is the clear coat of wood preservative that I painted on all of the inside logs and ceiling boards.
I have always enjoyed painting. There is something about the finished result, all perfect and pristine, that gives me a real sense of satisfaction. I enjoy being able to see the results of my work, so I have been looking forward to painting the wood preservative on the inside of the logs.
It had always occurred to me that the cathedral ceiling was quite tall, 21 feet from the main floor to the ridge beam that spans the width of the house, and there is a lot of wood up there. The ceiling is lined with beautiful tongue and groove boards that span the heavy trusses which run from the ridge beam down to the front and rear log walls. Even the log walls are tall, measuring nine feet tall.
I could have stood on an inverted five-gallon bucket and painted to the top of the walls, but even if I wanted to use our 24-foot ladder to climb up to paint the ridge beam, there would be no wall to lean it up against, and there would be no way to prop the ladder up against the sloping ceiling. I began to wonder at the wisdom of building a log house with such a tall cathedral ceiling. I might as well try to paint the sky.
Greg smiled at my wondering, and calmly suggested that we rent some scaffolding, so rent we did, three five-foot sections. I would now be able to stand on the top of the scaffold and reach both ridge beam and ceiling and apply clear coat to my heart’s content.
Greg put the scaffold sections together. I readied my painting supplies and climbed up. I felt as though I was climbing a huge yellow jungle gym. This would be fun. I reached the top and sat down. It did not occur to me in the least to stand up. The floor seemed very, very far below.
Greg pottered about the first floor, installing the switches and outlets at the end of his wires. I gathered my nerve and stood up. I began to brush the clear coat onto the ridge beam. A gentle clatter accompanied my brush strokes. The scaffold sounded almost like a wind chime, but there was no breeze blowing. It was my shaking knees, causing the scaffold to rattle.
Greg looked up. “Are you all right up there?” I explained that my shaking knees were causing the whole scaffold to shake. Greg directed me to sit down as he clamped the scaffold to the loft beam.
I stood up again. My knees still shook, but the scaffold was firm beneath my feet. In time, my knees stopped shaking, and in more time I realized that I actually was having fun. I really did enjoy climbing up and down the scaffold, and three days later, as I finished the last section, I lay back on the top of the scaffold, my hands behind my head, and looked up at the ceiling over my head. Greg pottered about below, finishing up the wiring.
As I lay there, something occurred to me. Maybe, someday, we should build a jungle gym for grownups out by the goat yard. I imagined sitting on top of it, close to the sky. The chickens would fly up to say hello, and from our jungle gym perch we would watch the pigeons as they flew in formation across the creek valley sky. This would, indeed, be fun, but perhaps I shouldn’t mention this to Greg, not just yet.
Perhaps now we should just keep on with the task at hand and finish building our log 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 south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at straightcreekvalleyfarm.com.