Did I mention that it was nice and warm up at French’s Camp, as I logged in my time helping to set up Reggae on the River, 2017? I mean, compared to last year’s 106 degree weather, prior to the start of the festival, 91 degrees is kind of mild, but it still warranted ice cubes in my hat.
Bull had suggested that I arrive Friday morning at ten, which I did, once again finding that I was the only kitchen volunteer on hand. Fortunately, having worked on a set of steps on Thursday, carved into the sloping path from the food storage area, to the kitchen itself, I had job security.
From Thursday afternoon until I arrived Friday morning, the newly installed steps (sans rebar) had fared well, with only a couple requiring immediate attention. Bull has mentioned that he is going to bring some rebar that I can cut into short sections, which I will then use to anchor each of the steps.
I will drill holes through the 24-inch-long steps on either side, and drive the rebar through each step and into the ground, thereby ensuring that someone can’t dislodge a step and possibly take a tumble. Since I can accomplish said tumble, myself, under the best of conditions, I wanted to try and limit the possibilities for further demonstration of my prowess.
Furthermore, having crafted a railing from the top to halfway down, I now commenced to completing the railing, by adding another post at the base of the steps, and using an eight foot length of 2 x 4, that had also come off of Bull’s truck, for the railing. For the post, I used an eight-foot length of 2 x 6 fir, chopped in half, and screwed together to form a four-foot length of 4 x 6 fir, perfect for my bottom post.
By the time Bull had arrived, the railing was completed, and all I needed was to borrow a hasp from him, so that I could smooth out some of the wrinkles that the fir had developed over time. Souvenirs, in the form of slivers, are not that much fun.
|As the sign suggests, "Watch your step."|
“Bucket seats and four on the floor,” I explained, as he examined not only the railing extension, but the rock step at the bottom, because I had run out of lumber for any more steps.
“If I had it to do over, Nate, I would have used river rock for the steps, since it’s what I’ve been doing all summer at home anyway. But this will suffice,” I added, nodding at what was already in place. “What’s next?”
And we were off, striding over to the Ambassador Lounge, where in past years we had set up a second kitchen for the performers and other VIP’s. Not so this year, since the powers that be had decided one kitchen would serve all.
“Are you pretty bummed that we only have to set up one kitchen this year?” I asked Bull as we headed over there. He actually started off with the party line that there were substantial other responsibilities that were still pending, and that we had our hands full, blah, blah, blah.” He kept a straight face the entire time.
I gave him the look and he couldn’t pull it off, breaking off into a wicked chortle. “Half the work, Bro, half the work. Another tragedy.”
|Last year's Ambassador Lounge|
“So here’s what we got going on-I need to have these four table tops replaced with that plywood that’s on top of my truck.” I surveyed the scene. Each was four feet by three feet, and the tops had been destroyed through water damage, the composition material simply peeling and shriveling up, making the tables unusable.
I got the specifics and then we returned to the far corner of the kitchen, where he pointed out an oven, sitting on the concrete, that he wanted a cabinet built for. Again, he laid the numbers on me, and showed me a small pile of freshly purchased, green fir, which included both 2 x 6’s, and 2 x 4’s.
“What time’s lunch?” I’m kidding, of course, because Gluten-Free Mama had hooked me up with a lunch that couldn’t be beat. I am not one to take matters of the stomach lightly, always ensuring that I can’t be caught without sustenance readily available. I rarely pig out; it’s more of a graze. A half-sandwich here, a banana there, and-gasp-some gross-for-you, but nonetheless tasty potato chips.
Fresh tomatoes for my sandwich and water, always lots of water. There was lunch offered at one point, somewhere around 2:30, but that’s my point. 2:30? For those who ate breakfast at nine or ten, maybe. I am not one to wait around for an arbitrary lunch-time, not if I can avoid it by simply planning accordingly.
Table tops cut and installed, without complications, I moved on to the cabinet for the stove. Bull had told me, “It wants to be six inches off the ground, and it needs a counter-top, I don’t know how high-I’ll have to check with the ladies.”
I looked at him and said, “If it’s a counter-top, then it wants to be 36 inches-that’s pretty standard.”
Clapping his hands, he responded, “Say no more. I’ll leave you to your work,” and that was the last I saw of him. I absolutely love it when I am given a task(s), and left the heck alone. All three of my jobs on Friday, the steps/railing, the table tops and the cabinet were in the shade. That takes careful planning.
Now I took precise measurements of the oven, took them again, fired up some Chem Valley/Ogre Berry and sat there for a full ten minutes, while I drew up the blueprint in my head. So elementary. Four upright posts, 35 and 3/4 inches long, four at 28 inches for the depth, and a total of six cross pieces, four at 27 inches, and two at thirty, and I was set to go.
|Fresh off the assembly line from G.E.|
I stepped behind the bamboo of the kitchen wall, off the concrete slab, and made every single cut before I started assembly. I was working in the dirt, in the shade of the huge oak trees, for the cuts, but moved back on the slab to assemble my tinker toys.
The entire job, from start to finish, including going back over to the Ambassador Lounge, in order to cut a piece of 3/4 inch plywood, 30 inches by 30 inches, for the counter top, took two hours.
It’s not Ikea, but the oven is no longer sitting on the slab, with an unusable surface.
Like I said, meatball carpentry, with bucket seats and four-on-the-floor.
Tomorrow: My Wheels