They were a tough lot. Some with scruffy beards, one with green hair, all with tattoos. They liked to drink and chain-smoked and it seemed they all rode Harleys. These were the men that had come to erect the timber frame for our first house. They were fearless. Kneeling down they would shoulder 200 pound posts and then stand and walk up a steep ladder then out onto a narrow beam twenty feet in the air. As the snow swirled around them at the peak of the roof they’d chat while smoking cigarettes waiting for the crane to lift the next post to them so they could place it, post and beams, lifted, one by one until the skeleton of the house was revealed. Some mornings the supervisor was hung-over sick, pausing to throw up as he directed the crew. The men would argue as they worked. They were tough men and loud and angry threatening to kill one another. By the end of the day they’d be laughing, talking about women and the beer they’d drink tonight. This went on for a coupe of weeks. When they finally left, the shell of the house was complete. And we would miss their camaraderie and expertise as we forged ahead with the construction, alone, just two brothers building their first house.

Frame Raising

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