Monday, September 14, 2009

Palapa - Final framing and start of thatch collection

Sorry for the delay in blogging, we have had a stretch of really good weather so I have been working hard with the guys to get done with the palapa before we get a bunch of rain, so I have been working from early in the morning until dusk so we can get Marjie & Chuck’s Winnebago moved down into “The Hollow” before the real rainy season starts (we never know exactly when it will start to rain in earnest, but it usually starts sometime in September or October).

So, Monday, September 7 rolls in and so do Julio, Rudy, Balta, and Rueben. The first thing to do is get the collar ties in so that the weight of the roof on each side will not push the middle of the sides in. Chuck, “Monkey Boy,” got up in the peak to work with Julio while the rest of us were on the ground handing things up for them to work with. We had to go out and find a few more trees to complete this last part which meant we had to peel bark as well (I am getting pretty good at this now, not too hard when you learn the tricks of removing bark from the different trees).

The ends of the sticks all had to be trimmed off and we had a complete wooden structure to put the thatch on top of. By the way, we save the trimmings for firewood for cooking and if the ends are long enough, I will find a use for them making something around here – we try not to waste any parts of these nice hardwood trees.

Here is a very rare picture of me this high in the air at the completion of the roof structure. No, I really don’t like getting up off the ground too much, but I had to see what the view was like from the top – pretty nice, but I still like the ground under my feet!

In the afternoon we started collecting cohune leaf. So, we hooked Tinkerbell up to Chuck and Marjie’s trailer and off we went to the village of 7 Miles, where the leaf was close to the road. It is kind of ironic though that we had to go off the property since we are building the palapa under two cohune trees (those are the palms you see next to the structure in all the pictures). But, the leaf on the trees is better when they grow in the open, and the palms here are mostly growing in the shade.

Rudy was the smallest guy to go up in the trees so up the ladder he went to start cutting the leaf while the rest of us were hauling it to the roadside and stacking it on the trailer (yes, Balta was getting buried while stacking – but we got him out). Cutting the leaf does not kill the tree if you don’t cut ALL of them. They just keep growing back as the tree grows taller. If they are not cut off, they eventually die and fall off.

Once the truck and trailer were full, we started the slow 3 mile drive back to our property. I couldn’t turn very sharp due to the stalk in the middle section of the palm fronds, so getting through one of our junctions was a little tough, but we made it without breaking any of the thatch – or the truck or trailer.

As we were coming back to Moonracer Farm, we picked up some of the guys’ kids to ride with us and see the project. We unloaded the truck at “The Hollow” and were done for the night. And had some great monkeys climbing on the palapa testing out the strength of the beams.

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