Breaking Ground

3:30 PM on May 29th, Asa arrived into Tucson International Airport. She had just spend a bundle of time in Northern and Southern California, Washington, Florida and now she was going to see a little bit of Tucson, Hot Hot Tucson. That night was mostly spent cleaning the house, doing laundry, getting dinner, and going to sleep early. The next day however would prove to be much more productive.

May 30th we woke up and without much direction for the day I drove with Asa over to Grant Lumber, the local lumber yard, where I proceeded to hassle the employees for any information they might be hiding in regards to building structures. I was told 4×4’s would do the trick so long as I didn’t have a heavy roof, redwood was stronger and less scrumptious for bugs, though it needed to be sealed and then again at regular intervals through out it’s life time, while Doug Fir was cheaper, way cheaper, by like a third the price, and could be painted and never dealt with again. However, it was a softer wood and bugs found refuge in it easily. It also didn’t fare as well in the weather. I also learned about having straight beams on the verticals and about how deep I should sink a post in concrete for the size structure I told them I’d be building. I picked out a stain I liked, “Redwood,” called Jon to see what he was doing for the day, and dropped my card on the counter. “I’d like 4 12’x4’’x4’’s and 4 16’x2’’x4’’s, both redwood, and this can of sealant.” Just like that I was sunk into this project.

Asa and I got home, changed into work clothes and started to seal the wood while Jon and Will made their way over. The wood was sealed and dry within an hour because of the 100 degree heat we were working in, both slowing us but also allowing for more to be accomplished in the day. Jon arrived and soon after Will walked into the back yard to find us standing about ready for the next step. We measured out the perimeter, drove stakes into the corners and began to dig.

We dug all night. Through layers of caliche** that bent tools and strained muscles. Fortunately Jon is a beast of a worker and drove through the impervious layers of soil to no end. Just past sun set we had successfully used a portion of concrete from a previous project and sunk the first post fairly square, both vertically and horizontally and we ran to the hardware store in our giddy state to buy more concrete and a level along with the necessary brackets for the cross beams. Jon had by this time departed and Asa, Will, and I returned to recheck our work on the first post with our new level. We were good. We then turned our attention to the remaining holes in the ground and began to sink the remaining three posts. By the time Will was getting into his car and heading for his loft we had four erect redwood posts in my back yard. Impressively enough the palapa, a figment of my imagination, a dream that I concocted in Ecuador simply for my own entertainment had become something, something I could hold onto, lean against, and in due time put my hammocks upon.

** A white soil horizon consisting of calcium carbonate, typical of arid and semi-arid areas. Brief heavy rains dissolve calcium carbonate in the upper layers of soil and transport it downward; the rainwater then evaporates rapidly, leaving the calcium carbonate to form a new, solid layer of soil.