It's amazing how we haven't really even barely begun to start yet and already I've got some things I want to pass along to those who follow. Listen and take heed, I plead thee:
- Your tools will break. It won't be because you failed to do proper maintenance or because you used your crescent wrench as a hammer, things just break. It'll seem like everything you are using is suddenly falling apart. Really it's not like that--you just notice it more because you're using them more. Take a deep breath and use it as an opportunity to buy more toys.
- Sometimes when you fix something you end up uncovering a new problem with that same device. This happens more with big, intricate things (like chippers or chainsaws) than it does with hammers, but don't be surprised either way. Just view it as maintaining your investment or (if you really hate that particular tool) use it as an excuse to buy the one you really wanted anyway.
- Along those lines, it pays to properly maintain your tools. Trust me on this--you'll be happier and there will be fewer breakdowns along the way too. Put the shovel away at the end of the day or it'll get rained on sure as anything. If you leave the marking tape out the wind and/or squirrels will find new ways to distribute it randomly around the construction area. Park the ATV each night in a secure place that (preferably) is out of the rain. You'll never find those screws you set down right there until you run something with a tire over them, and then you'll know exactly where they are. Etc.
- Everything takes longer to do than you think it will. You might already know this because you're a hands-on kind of person (or you wouldn't be doing anything as crazy as building your own house!), but it's even more true once you're looking at a dozen trees to turn into firewood and it's two days before you break ground. Ya just gotta plan for it and take any help you can get--otherwise you're going to go nuts (more than you are by building your own house, that is).
- Anything you need to do will almost certainly require that you have something else that you left way over there. If it's uphill from you and/or you've got to carry something heavy the odds of this double. The only solution I know of is to carry a tool belt that has one of everything on it around with you all the time.
- Nearly every task depends on something else that has to be done first. You can't cut the logs into firewood because the chainsaw needs a new chain, and you left those over in the back of the truck, and once you get those you realize that you're low on lube and chain oil, and why isn't that in the shed where we put it last week? And so on, and so on.
- Wood rolls downhill when you're cutting logs up into manageable sizes. Don't be downhill when you're doing this.
- Firewood doesn't stack nice and pretty like it does in the cartoons. Most of you know this already.
- You can flip your generator over end over end by yanking just a bit too hard on the extension cord while trying to get the knot out of the it. Ask me how I know.
- I haven't even gotten to things utterly out of your control, like scheduling delays and soil test disputes. Breathe deep and save the vein-popping for the arguments about wallpaper vs. paint or tiles vs. wood flooring.
But no matter what, remember that this fun! We're building something designed by us
the way we want it,
and we're doing it with (mostly) our own sweat equity.
And that makes it all worth while.
Steven in Colorado Springs
My Construction Website
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