I don’t remember the words, but I’ll never forget the way I felt when Todd sang his song “Friendberry Jam” to me. Just imagine how sweet and delicious it was. We’ve been friends — going on 35 years — since we roomed together in that basement closet on Humboldt Avenue, just a bit north of Brady Street, in Milwaukee’s hip “East Side”.
We lived for music, and it seemed so simple and obvious at the time that, if you did what you loved, you would be forever satisfied. It’s true. I know it, and feel it every time I come to The Springs.
My old friend Todd Nelson, who works as a finish carpenter in San Francisco, was passing through town and I jumped at the chance to enlist him to help me rebuild a deck near the Scuppernong Spring. He was willing and able and, after I picked him up from the airport and he got settled at our place, we headed out to The Springs. Ben Johnson promised to join us after work and I was feeling pretty confident that we could get the job done.
Over the years the end of this deck has slouched into the springs and it’s pretty slippery when wet.
I was an eager apprentice as Todd taught me the tricks of the trade and how to think about solutions to problems like this. After an hour of musing and discussing, we agreed on the plan and, while I cut the 18′ oak beams we recently harvested from the river into quarters, Todd performed the deconstruction.
Ben arrived as Todd made the finishing touches refitting the top section of the boardwalk, and he sparked us into high gear. A coworker just gave Ben a laser level, but watching him excavate and build the support platforms was enough to convince me that he can do pretty well without one. I was amazed that none of the 4 platforms he constructed needed any tweaking after it was laid.
We may have to put some railings on this deck!
Thanks Todd and Ben for your extraordinary efforts and thanks especially to Todd, for spreading us with Friendberry Jam.
I’ve been busy this past week, and on Monday I spent the morning cleaning up the debris from our recent excavation of the oak beams from the riverbed. Below you can make out the edge of the one beam we left in the river, creating a nice bend where the dead straight flume had run.
The edge of the flume was built over a substantial stone base and I dug out an opening to allow the water to carve its thalweg around the bend.
I pulled spotted knapweed all afternoon and that darn stuff is causing me to break out in nasty red blotches or bumps that make me scratch like a hound dog. The bugs were driving me crazy as well, so I escaped to the shores of Ottawa Lake to watch the sun go down.
On Wednesday my spotted knapweed weevils arrived! Because of the super fast response I got from the DNR, my permit was ready in time for Kandace, at Weedbusters, to send me the flower weevils (the root weevils will be available in a few weeks). Look at those hungry critters!
Dinner is served!
Yes, yes, be fruitful and multiply!
Long-time followers of this blog know that I’m a big fan of audiobooks and I can’t recommend this superbly rendered version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin highly enough. Here, take a listen as George and Eliza contemplate the meaning of freedom and liberty as the Canadian shore looms ahead.
See you at The Springs!