Thursday, February 01, 2007

Part VII: Building the House

The basement foundation was finished, and now it was our turn to enclose the sides and roof. My brother Mark had very generously offered to forgo his usual camping near the Boundary Waters in Minnesota to help us work on our basement. We are so thankful for the week he gave us.

Our well was being dug the same time we were working on the basement. Jim had contacted as many well drillers as he could find to hopefully get someone to drill before winter set in. One man agreed to come, but never showed up. Finally, a man came over to check things out, and told us he would soon return to get busy. We had to learn to accept the schedules of the various contractors, because there were days when they would just plain not show up -- with no explanation. We had been told to get someone over to witch for water since there was no guarantee that water would easily be found. That just didn't sit right with Jim and I, since we feel divination like that was not something the Lord would approve of. Instead, we prayed a lot about the correct location for the well.

The day the well drillers showed up was the day Jim felt impressed to change the location of the drilling. Instead of drilling in an open space he asked them to please drill closer to our power pole. That was fine, and they began drilling.

I can see why not many people make well drilling their occupation; it is a very dirty, muddy, cold job. They must have worked on our well for at least a week. Shortly after they began they hit a large rock and had to move over just a bit. We continued to pray!

We take photos of everything, and this one shows our first bit of water! We were so thrilled. Of course it took drilling down 243 feet to hit water. We were charged $5.00/foot for the test hole, and then an additional $8.00/foot to actually develop the well.

The drillers had to come back on a Saturday when we were ready to bring the water to the house and install the pump. Jim was away from home that day, so the boys and I were in charge of doing what we could to help out. All I can remember is how bitterly cold it was that day in October.

The man who excavated and poured our basement brought his backhoe to dig the trench for what was needed to get the water to the house. It was amazing to watch him operate that backhoe, as he actually walked it across the trench so he could dig in front of him as he went along. When he was finished he walked the thing back off the trench!

While all of this was happening, I had an amazing conversation with the well driller's assistant. Besides telling me he was missing his son's basketball game and the well driller was missing his grandson's basketball game, he told me the well driller was as thrilled as we were to find water, since he had drilled just 2 miles away from us a few months earlier and never found water. He had not expected to find water on our land. We were praising the Lord over that revelation!

While all the well drilling was going on, Jim, Uncle Mark and the boys were working on enclosing the basement. In this photo, Jonathan was making scrambled eggs on our Coleman stove. He knew how to use the stove much better than I did! Uncle Mark taught the boys how to catch hornets, since they tended to swarm us every time we sat down to eat a meal.

Jim chose to utilize wood for the parts of the basement that would be above ground, including the entire side facing the lake. The basement was built into the side of a hill. The cement contractor used this type of machine to smooth out the floor, and people often ask us how we ever got it so smooth.

Uncle Mark was great at teaching our boys the fine art of housing construction. He seemed to have all the time in the world to answer any and all questions. Mark later told me the burden of the construction was not on his shoulders, so he was much more relaxed about it than Jim was.

We also had the Kenney family up from Fargo for work detail. Their children were soon referring to my brother as "Uncle Mark," and learned as much as our boys did.

Everyone had a job. Jim was learning a lot from Mark as well.

Boys and Gerbers go hand in hand!

That corner is where our bathroom is currently situated.

This is the side of the house that faces the lake, which is farther down the hill.

Finally getting the roof ready for winter! We weren't sure how a flat roof with rolled roofing would handle snow and cold, but we gave it a try. We didn't have enough finances left to install windows, so we faced the winter living in a dungeon. The only window we had was in the door.

Left to right: David, Andrew, Peter and Jonathan. This was our makeshift door until Jim could install the real thing. This piece of plywood was nailed in front of the opening to keep critters out while we were back at Metiogoshe Minstries for the night.

Caleb Kenney getting a lesson from Uncle Mark in the proper use of tools. Peter was taking the lesson in as well.
Our time with Uncle Mark wasn't all work ... There was time for play as well. Our boys and the Kenneys had a lesson in black powder loading and shooting.

We have a nice shooting range developed by Jonathan. Kenneys seemed to have as much fun as our boys!
While all the building was happening, the ladies fixed meals over at Metigoshe Ministries. What a crew!

October 4, 2004. The Lord gave us beautiful weather in which to build. This was the summer the area had its last frost in June, and first frost in August! We went from raw land to starting our own homestead in the Turtle Mountains.


Anonymous said...

Good one Lynn.

Gp B

Goodolboy said...

Hello Lynn, Warm enough for ya?
;-) Enjoyed your post. Love the pictures. I know what ya were all going through with your well. Similar deal happened to us. While havin the house built I was to meet the Hydro fella to discuss service to our property. While out there the drill truck pulls up (unannounced). Says, we are here to drill your water well. Ok great, thanks for comin, I guess. Where do you want it? Uh? How about here. Sure. I ask, how deep ya think ya got to go? He says oh about 100 to 130 feet. They start and I watch. Many hours go by and the driller shuts down the drill and walks over to me. He says we got a problem. We are at 200 feet and not enough water. What do you want to do? Hey I don't know, what should I do. He says he wants to keep goin but can't go anymore than 240 because he will hit salt. I'm into this deal for over 4 thousand now whats another thousand goin to hurt. So he goes down another 20 feet and hits water. 15 gal/min. Talk about a happy camper. Yea, prayers do get answered. Sorry to hear about your animal troubles. Sent Cheryl to town today to get blankets for the horses. Goin to get worse before it gets better around here. Say hi to the Turtle Mountain Boys for me.

Lynn said...

Hi Guy,
Well drilling can certainly be a stressful time! Jim was trying to keep track of the concrete guys while watching the well drilling; then we had company on top of that! We receive 50 gallons/minute at our place. Down on the prairie (where town is located, 15 miles away), some people we know have 3 wells and just trickles of water. Someeone takes a shower, and they have to wait an hour before drawing any more water. As you said, we are very thankful for what we have.

I think it's time for me to sew some goat blankets. I'm very thankful to say that Ebony is back to normal. Hope your horses weathered the weather and are doing okay.

Marci said...

Sounds like Uncle Mark was the man to have on site. I love all the pictures you took. They will have to go in the final book!!! =)