I love my cobbled-together sugar shack. I love it because I made it myself, and even if it does look like I stole it from a fairly well off hobo. It is a testament to architectural horror, to aesthetic expediency, and to what one man with limited power tools and a lost tape measure can accomplish in an afternoon. It will suffice for this year but it was never meant to last. I was thinking about what an amazing bonfire it would make this summer, literally with every nail I drove home. So unless I plan to build another one next Spring, (and I will if I have to) I need to start plans for a more permanent solution now.
Right outside our kitchen window is our well. Well, it’s a well. I’m not talking about a modern long pipe stuck into the ground kind of well. No, this is a bona fide “What is it, Lassie? Is Timmy stuck in the well?” kind of well. It’s about 5 feet across and goes all the way down. We don’t know how far. We’ve never measured it. We’ve also never made a positive determination about whether or not this is the well that our water comes from. Our neighbors say no. They knew the former owners and claim that before he died, the old man would fire up a gas powered pump, throw a hose down the well and water his lawn from it. That just doesn’t seem like something you’d do if that was the source of your drinking water, especially when it would have been easier to hook that hose to the spigot on the house. My wife says yes. When those same neighbors installed a new septic system last year, some very official officials asked to check out our well and the pump in the basement as part of the certification process. They told her that it was our primary well. I say that until we’ve paid someone to say yes or no, put it on paper and have it notarized, I’m not going to argue about it but I think the official official was right.
What does the well have to do with my permanent sugar shack? Ah HA! It’s my foundation! I’m going to build on top of the stone and mortar base that’s already there. It already has a cover built on it to keep out, well, everything. All I have to do is temporarily remove that cover, build a floor and four walls and then put the cover back on top of it all. Instant shack! One side of that cover is already hinged to allow access to the well. Once it becomes the top of my shack, I can use that hinged side to open my roof and allow the steam to escape when I’m boiling. Oh yeah.
I’m going to have to start drawing up some plans for this. I started hoarding boards from broken pallets when I worked at C&S. I’d bring them home, clean the nails out of them and stack them in a corner. I amassed more than enough to use as clapboards for the side of a shack this size, plus building miscellaneous shelves and storage space and whatnot. What I need is 2×4’s to frame it. Those I can start collecting from the pallets we currently toss out at B&N. It’s a hell of a way to spend my breaks but nothing is ever really free, right? You always end up having to work for it somehow. (Did you know that I keep a circular saw at work? And that I’ve had need to use it not once, but twice? I receive and sort books, so go figure that one out.)