While I was away on the book tour, the pond below my cabin finally filled with water again: when I arrived home, it was already starting to freeze.
The vegetation around it was winter-brown.
A few willow leaves still hung on the bushes.
And when the mountains revealed themselves, they were half buried in cloud.
Five days after I arrived home, I went back into Williams Lake with my truck.
It was clear to begin with – a little fog at Tatla Lake, above which the Niuts floated like ghosts…
By Williams Lake, however, the rain that had plagued the last part of my book tour closed in. This is Sheep Hill dropping down into the Fraser River. (I read a pioneering book where it was mentioned that a woman who drove up this hill to her new home was so scared that she did not travel back down it again for 40 years! Roads and vehicles are much better maintained now of course.)
The truck needed a major job that would take time, so I left it there, and Super Sarah met me at the garage. Sarah first came to me as a wwoofer in 2007. I met her off the bus – a tall, very quiet 19-year-old with long straight very blond hair. What was I going to do with her? What would I talk to her about? I never had friends as a teenager – I didn’t know how to behave as one, especially one who was 50 years younger than me!
It turned out, however, that Sarah was a pretty good carpenter – she had just finished helping her dad build a house. She helped me put the porch on the river cabin at Ginty Creek.
She worked for me three times altogether over the next 3 years – principally helping me build my house (see Ginty’s Ghost) then got a job! I have not had a wwoofer to match her. I did not expect to have Sarah wwoofing for me again so I was absolutely delighted when she said she would like to come for a week’s “vacation” and work her butt off for me at the beginning of November. Not only was I looking forward to her carpentry acumen – but also I expected to capitalize on a much more specialized skill. Sarah was now a fully qualified electrician!
Her Dad did the original wiring for the house, and he put a light socket over where the table is now, but when I got the furniture in, I realized the light was not quite where I wanted it. So I added a clip-on lamp. Functional, but ugly.
Sarah got busy…
A three-bulb light did not illuminate the cookstove top so it was repositioned…
And finally Sarah installed an extra light over the sink.
On Sarah’s second day, we woke to falling snow. This was the second fall of the year, but the weather was so mild, it did not lie on the ground for long.
Sarah and I started on the attic ceiling. Even apart from Sarah’s skills, it was a job that would have been very difficult to do alone. The tongue and groove boards had to be slotted into place.
Other wwoofers had done most of the wall and ceiling work, but it had been two years ago. There had always been other more urgent jobs to do. It was so wonderful to at last tackle what we could of the job. I wasn’t sure if I had enough lumber. We hand-sawed the boards to length.
Then came the tricky bits around the roof supports.
To tackle these, Sarah manouvered a monster tool with a flexible blade – I would have used a chain saw and produced a much rougher job.
After 3 days of intense work we decided to have a break and do some burning. I was anxious to get it done before the brush and debris got too wet or buried in snow. The picture cannot show the intensity of the heat of the fire in the back ground.
I like to cut stumps off – the place looks less messy. Sarah was keen to use the chain saw. (The weather was ridiculously warm.)
On Sarah’s last day, we finished off the ceiling. By scrounging bits and pieces we had just enough lumber. Here is the last piece being fitted into place.
To work on the second end of the ceiling, we had to move most of the junk piled there to the other end. It will all have to be moved back again.
Then I can build storage units, and finally – finally! – after many long years, I can sort it all out, toss out a lot of it, and place it where I can find it! If Sarah had not arrived in such a timely fashion, I would have had to put the ceiling, and the sorting, off until the wwoofers arrive in the spring.