The time has finally come. I can’t believe how quickly this time has passed (sound familiar? I just can’t wrap my head around it!). July 17th was the first day of our last stint in the valley. I left you last time talking about the demolition of the old shed in the orchard to build a new one for the horses that will soon call the valley their home. I mentioned that we were going to have about 40 milled pieces of lumber to carry around to crank out our last and final project.
Unfortunately, there were a few hiccups along the way and the project was not able to be completely finished, but the main beams are in the ground (which was a very difficult task in itself because first the old beams had to be removed…they were about 2ft in the ground seated in cement), we have the main part of the roof frame done, and the rest of the design is going to be very easy to follow for whomever decides to pick up the project next semester. I will warn that future person though; this is probably some of the hardest, heaviest wood you will ever encounter. It took 3 of us to carry one 3×3, 13ft beam and that same beam took two men, hammering, and bending 4 nails, and then the decision to countersink all of the next nails, before that one single beam would go into place.
Soon after that, just when things were picking up pace, the drill died. No more countersinking the nails. Kylie scoured old basecamp and came back with steel nails that were meant for nailing through CONCRETE! Those wound up working, but we only have 15 of them, so we have been using them very carefully! Some of the valley crew is going back out there this coming Tuesday to do one last clean sweep to get everything out of the valley until next time. I’m not sure if maybe we will take a half day and get some more boards up on the roof or not, but if not, I am very proud of what we have accomplished.
When work wasn’t being done this last time out in the valley, I made sure to make good use of it. The majority of it was spent with Team Ramrod, sitting up on the cabana, laughing until dinner was served. On Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd, Sam and I laid out on the beach just down from the swimming hole for a little while in the morning. The sun was a ’blazing by noon and retreating into the water wasn’t even keeping us cool! Don’t worry mom, I had sunscreen on!
I got the beginnings of a rainwater collection system done to one day be put on the completed shed in order to be a source of water for the horses. It’s nothing too fancy; just a garbage can sawed in about half, so they can get their heads into it, rubber hose covering the edge so no one gets scraped up. Then there will be a gutter system off of the roof with a large funnel at one end connected to a piece of hose directing the water into the water-can.
If this little system had been up on Tuesday, 7/24, the can would have been overflowing! We had the most incredible rainstorm that I had ever seen. Sam and I sat hunkered down in our tent as water sprayed in through the rainfly. There was nearly a small river UNDER our tent, so the floor felt like a waterbed (thank goodness that part didn’t leak). I happened to look outside to check on our shoes just in time to see my flip-flops being carried away, so I ran out to grab those, and then we waited…and waited… for this monsoon to pass. While we were waiting, wondering if it would ever stop, we entered ‘survival mode,’ and decided it would be okay to eat our peanut m&m’s(at about 6:30am!).
Wednesday was a normal work day but plans changed at the end of the day and a group of us hiked out that night instead of Thursday morning. This impromptu change in plans probably was a blessing in disguise. I tend to be very sentimental and really hate goodbyes, and this quick exit kept me on my toes. We still are going back in to clean that last day, so we’ll see how I do leaving one more time. There were 2 last mandatory volleyball games to be played and then we hit the road.
A few interns have already boarded planes to head for home. Michael, one of the members of Team Ramrod, had his family come visit this weekend and will be heading back home in a few days…the time for goodbyes is quickly approaching. There have already been plans in the works for perhaps a trip to a football game in Alabama or a visit to Texas, so I have no doubt that I will remain close with these new friends I have made here. Instead of ‘goodbyes,’ these should be ‘see you laters.’
I’m so grateful for being able to come here and experience and learn all of the things that I have, about myself, about others, and about a new way of living. I have made memories that I won’t soon forget and friends that will (hopefully) last a lifetime.