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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Crossing the Great Divide

C.S. Lewis“But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder.” - C.S. Lewis, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" 

It's time to share what happened with the old bridge out at Stone Table Farm.  Well just like the Bible tells us God is renewing all things - so it is with old bridges.  It has been renewed and transformed from something scary and broken to something useful and beautiful.

This is what the bridge looked like when we first bought the land.  It was 10 utility poles from the old power lines that run across the back of the property.  They are big poles (about 14" in diameter).  The two outside ones were in tough shape so they had to go.  Then we were down to 8 that were in good shape.

At first we tried putting a deck on the poles as they lay.  We thought we could level it by placing shims and different size boards underneath the decking boards.  Boy - were we wrong.  It turned out to be a big headache and the effort was quickly abandoned. 

So in came the excavator.  The plan; to lift the log ends and level them to create a workable surface for the deck boards.

Then we had to fill in between each pole with rocks that we found around and in the road.  All of these were picked and hauled by hand.  We placed larger ones right down in the water and then smaller ones cascading upwards towards the road surface.  This was to help with erosion control.

The final product turned out remarkably well.  All the poles were level.  All the spaces were filled.  We could drive across it carefully with tires balanced on individual poles.

Of course we had to eat while we were out there.

The next step was laying the decking for the bridge.  This decking was literally decking.  It was our friend Terry's old deck that he had pulled up.  We put that recycled pressure treated lumber to good use.  It took a little thinking through but we got a system worked out.

At one point everyone was lending a hand and we were cruising right along.  At one point all 5 of us had hammers in our hands and the woods echoed with our banging.  Talk about family bonding.

I forgot to mention that we started all of this around 5pm after Nate got off of work.  Darkness was coming quick and the gravel for the road was being delivered the next day.

Next we laid decking boards perpendicular to the ones we had placed across the poles.  These were the "tire tread" boards that would be driven on as well as give all the boards more support and strength together as a unit

 It was starting to get dark.  We had to work by the headlights on the van.

But by 8:30pm the bridge was finished!  Denise and the kids were the first to cross it.  A job well done.

click on any pic for a larger view...

Now for the gravel.....

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