Homestead Life: New Arbour, Stubbornness & Love For Sticks & Twigs

by Charlotte Walker

When I get an idea in my head, I just want to make it happen – immediately. I don’t like to wait for or rely on help from others.

I don’t know my limitations until I leap in and discover how hard a project really is. Then there’s a moment of wishing I had paused first, but at that point I am invested so I carry on to the end.

Building a new arbour was a perfect example. It might not seem like much of anything, but it was a big lesson for me.

The original arbour was beautiful, and delightfully constructed with wood foraged from the forest, twine, good knotting and a few screws. I loved it.

Sometimes In my eagerness to make something I overlook realities like the massive weight of snow crashing down or putting pressure on things. Engineers and builders would cringe. Creative people might think it’s cool … until it collapses. Which it usually does. And it did.

A New Arbour, Stubbornness & A Love For Sticks & Twigs

So beautiful right? No one knew how shoddy the workmanship was at all! It was beautiful while it lasted! 🙂

After a hard winter the old “sticks and twigs” arbour collapsed, cracked and disintegrated. I knew I had to build it sturdier this time but didn’t want to spend money on the project. I was THRILLED when my husband said I could use the stack of warped 4×4 posts he had tucked away. With a picture in my head, I thought to myself, wow! This is going to be impressive.

What it was = heavy, sweaty, muscle straining work. It soon became more serious when I realized I could not use screws.

I had to find a long drill bit, and use a ratchet to put in long lag bolts (old rusty ones that we’d saved after dismantling something). I suffered. I struggled. My arms burned.

Then I found out I was using the wrong sized bit, got the right one and it was way easier to tighten those bolts. Regardless of the folly, I got those suckers in.

A New Arbour, Stubbornness & A Love For Sticks & Twigs

Wobbly wood is really horrid to work with when you are trying to make things level and accurate. I was constantly confused about measurements because one end would be wider than the other no matter what I did.

This project was not without frustrations and I should have spent some time on-line reading about how to do it before I leaped in. Mistakes were made, and then corrected.

Then there was the standing each side up, getting them the right distance, and affixing the top in place. I had to do it this way because it was too tall, too heavy and the vines needed to be carefully worked around. Not easy to do on your own but I got it done.

The worst is when you get it all in position (thankfully I am tall) and realize you can’t quite reach the drill or the screws and have to line it all up again. there were a few times when things got sketchy and I thought I might not pull this off. With no one to holler to for help, I just had to toughen up.

What seemed like a project that would take a few hours, took a lot of hours (a few days) and my body hurt. I’ll never under appreciate or underestimate the effort that it takes to make “big” things solo again. It is so much easier when I am the assistant in projects like this. I slept for 20 hours. 🙂

A New Arbour, Stubbornness & A Love For Sticks & Twigs

Ta-da! Tall enough for even my tall father to walk though without ducking. A little dull looking now but Imagine it with all sorts of green leaves and birds fluttering around it.

Wooho! There is is, standing tall and solid. No wobble. No string and twine. I am not sure I’ve learned my lesson about construction though. There’s a certain feeling of accomplishment having completed a durable yet challenging project but still… sticks and twigs are so much easier and prettier to work with and I’ll keep building things with them forever more! 🙂

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