Monday, September 7, 2009

Sky Hooks

So, at the end of Friday, Chuck and I asked about timing for Monday morning. Julio and Rudy replied, “We will see you tomorrow morning, same time, around 7am.” Oh well, so much for recharging the body batteries and getting some of the regular chores done (like weedwacking, cleaning up pastures, weeding the gardens, planting some flowers, cleaning up the hiking trails, etc.) Marge was a little disappointed too, she wanted to sleep in a little bit, getting up at 5:30am and having to run, run, run all day until it was dark, then eat, catch up on the internet, then get to bed, was getting to her too. But, being a trooper, she decided to volunteer to weedwack and such to keep things looking good here.

That night in bed I was pondering the next step of the project – putting up the main beam for the roof. We have no trees right over top of the palapa and I couldn’t think of any way to get something about 15 feet higher than what we had up all ready. The beam was going to be 25-30 feet above the ground. When I was younger, we always joked with the new Scouts in our Boy Scout troop on campouts to go find us a sky hook, which is exactly what we needed – something to suspend the main beam, centered over the existing structure, so that we could start building the sides to the roof. Since Julio and crew had all ready come up with very creative ways to do everything else, I decided I just had to wait until Saturday morning to find out how we were going to do what I considered the hardest part of the construction.

Saturday morning rolls in and Chuck and I are ready and waiting. Marjie and Marge had made coffee and snacks for the guys to start the day. Rueben and Balta set off into the bush for more building materials and came back with some really long poles about 3” in diameter and Julio proceeded to instruct us on putting the new sticks straight up in the center of the structure like 2 flag poles, about 6 inches in a hole in the ground and tied to the main beams for upper support.
He then wanted two carabineers to tie way high up on the poles. Julio then shimmied up the pole with the carabineers and tied them up as high as he could as the pole was trying to bend down a bit. He also ran a piece of long nylon rope through it so we could haul the center beam up. We tied the rope to the center beam piece, put 2 guys on each rope and hauled it up while 2 guys were up on the existing structure pushing it up as high as they could, then they shimmied up the poles and help push it a little higher up and level it.

Next, Julio climbed up the temporary poles, nailed the center beam to it, then got on top of the center beam and proceeded to nail the sides of the roof to the main center beam. Everything was a bit shaky at the top but Julio was comfortable enough to get sticks from us from the ground, center them, and nail them up.

And of course we had to stop for a coffee break. This reminds me of the old photos of the guys building the sky scrapers in the USA back when there were no safety harnesses, hard hats, etc.

Team work makes everything so much easier and these guys really know how to work together to make things happen.

The rest of the sides of the roof went up next and the while structure was taking shape; what a difference a roofline makes. At the end of Saturday we had the main structure framed and only had to put some more supports in to strengthen it for the weight of the cahoun fronds that we were going to use for the outside of the roof.

And here is the final shot for the day. What an accomplishment, and still no injuries or even close calls.

Oh, I have forgotten to mention, it has been raining just about every afternoon during this project. The rain on Saturday was later than usual so Tinkerbell had to spend the night in the Palapa area since the driveway is a slick mudslide after it rains. We hope we can get her out so that we can start hauling leaf in a couple days.

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