The first thing you need to know, I suppose, is that when we moved into our farmhouse there was no front door. The land had been subdivided in the 90’s in such a way that the lane was moved and what was forever the front of the house, was now the back of the house. In practical terms, it meant that when people came to visit, they all entered through the garage.
So one of our first projects was putting in a front door, along with a huge window to let in more light. But I never planted a shrub or a bush in that entry area because, “that’s where the porch will go.”
For nine years we’ve been talking about it. Saving for it. And finally last winter we had a friend give us a quote. It was great. He said he’d be back in a few months with the official estimate.
And when he did, it was double what he had said months earlier. Between lumber and incredible demand for contractors, the price had soared. And we were left quite discouraged.
But lo and behold, and completely unbenounced to me, my uncles were planning a trip to come to our house for a week this summer, “to build Becca her porch.” I kid you not. Uncle Wayne from Alaska, Uncle Paul from Kentucky and Uncle Carl from Waconia (my mom’s brothers) are all coming to make this happen, along with some serious help from my brother-in-law Jedd.
The most remarkable part is that I didn’t ask for this. I had talked to my Uncle Wayne years ago—like three, maybe four years ago—about how he would build a deck over the cellar door. But we haven’t discussed it since. And here, the three brothers are planning a summer vacation at my farm for a week, to bless the socks off of their niece.
It still overwhelms me. I am so grateful.
They begin work on Friday and I am ready to feed them a good breakfast, lunch and dinner, coffee break and afternoon pick-me-up. They’ll eat well, that’s my promise to them.
But before they can arrive, we had some serious pre-porch projects to tackle. First, Jedd (my sister’s incredible husband) came with donuts on a Saturday morning in April and helped us remove the side entry to the garage.
It was a sweet morning watching him in action, even letting the kids use his tools.
The next serious conundrum was the basement entry. You can’t very well move a cellar door that size on an 1880’s foundation. So we got clever and Rory and Ivar built concrete molds to build up the walls. We will actually have a trap door in the floor of the porch. A very clever fix for a real humdinger. (Great word. Let’s bring it back.)
Then Rory went to dig the five holes for the posts. It was totally straight forward until we hit a giant boulder, there since the creation of the world, right in the very spot we needed our center post. It was mind boggling. It was discovered at 8:45pm on a Tuesday night, and the inspector was coming the next day. So Rory called our neighbor Eric across the road, who happened to still be at the shop, his family cement business. He was just on his way home and “sure he’d grab the jack hammer” for us. Honestly, do you know someone who has a jack hammer handy? This moment is still such a miracle to me. Because by 9:00, we had our neighbor here, generously busting up a granite boulder with an electric jack hammer (“twice as powerful as the usual air-powered kind”) for over an hour. The thing was a beast. His wife came over and they pretended like it was just another normal thing neighbors do.
Our kids finally went to bed that night after 10pm and the part of the boulder that was in the way was gone. Rory finished digging the holes and we passed inspection the next day. We honestly don’t know what we would have done without Eric.
Finally, this weekend, Jedd came back and worked all day in the heat getting the first three posts positioned positively perfectly. (Didn’t mean for the alliteration.) But it was remarkable how precise (the p words keep coming!) Jedd placed those posts. (I seriously cannot help it.)
Now this week, Rory has still been working and we have been getting everything ready for the huge and fantastic week ahead.
My Aunt Annie recently told me that my Grandma (mother of these three awesome uncles) had her deck built by her brothers who came to spend a week at her farm. I love a good story more than anything. And all of these stories preparing for the porch and those to come make for the most special porch I could ever ask for.