A week ago today, Buck and I were out back with our orange metal dibbles, planting more trees. Because of storm forecasts, the framers were at another project today, one that is already dried in, so they could work indoors. The framing contractor had rigged up a sort of tent out of heavy plastic, to cover the open seams on the second floor where they had cut into the existing roof, leaving our westerly exterior wall vulnerable to rain. Planting our trees, we could hear the sounds made by the brisk wind as it was getting under the plastic tent. It sounded like sails flapping at a marina. We had already gotten rained on once, and the darkening sky promised more.
There was a loud ripping sound, and a strong gust split the plastic tent. Buck and I watched as our protection blew off the roof. “That’s it for the tree planting today,” Buck said to me. “Now we have a different problem.” And so, expecting a deluge any minute which would pour water into the open seam of our little home, Buck began to do what he does so well: that is, to protect his own.
I served as carpenter’s helper, digging discarded small nails — the kind that are pushed through a red plastic circle — out of the clay around the foundation, large nails scattered about the floor, and various sizes of cut 2 x 4 wood, as Buck got on an eight foot ladder, and fashioned a weatherproof seal out of large sheets of plastic, pulling it tight and securing it so that the wind couldn’t find a place to get back in. I kept looking at the sky, dark and rumbling. As Buck worked feverishly, I noticed that it began to change. Off in the west behind the darkness overhead, was a starkly contrasting cerulean sky. At first I thought it was a reflection, or a mirage. But no — by the time Buck had finished his work, my neck and shoulders were roasting in a sunburn befitting a sophomore on spring break. We got lucky, and the crisis was averted.
Rough weather returned over the weekend. By this time, the north wall of the existing house was put in jeopardy. The framers ran out of plastic covering on Friday afternoon, and by the time we realized they were several feet short of protecting the house, everyone was gone, it was the weekend, and rain started on Saturday morning. Buck to the rescue again. This was more complicated, and required cutting plastic, duct tape, flashlights, and rain in the eyes, but he got it done, and we ended up with only half a pot and four towels worth of water in the house. On Sunday morning, Buck secured the remaining leaking areas, which was a good thing, because it came a flood. Later in the afternoon when the rain stopped, he swept all the water off the plywood on the second floor, while I took a push broom to the standing water on the slab below. It was like rolling small waves with the broom. Kind of fun, actually. I would get a head start, push the water, run after it and push some more until it flopped off the edge. Weather forecasts predicted rain until after midnight Sunday, but a strong wind blew the storm system out late Sunday afternoon, and we’ve had bright sunshine and brilliant stars ever since.