Friday, November 26, 2010

Mountain Manny & Daphne-of-the-Forest

Once upon a time, about thirteen years ago, Daphne-of-the-Forest and her younger brother, Mountain Manny, spent six months together on Mountain Manny's 160 acres on the north slope of the Granby River in Grand Forks, building a house. A house to become a home that is not on anyone's radar; a house that is completely 'off the grid'.

The road to the house winds ever upward for two kilometers before reaching the building site. A very short stroll takes one to a magnificent view, which overlooks the entire north end of the Granby River Valley.

He gives dimensions and approximates what he wants. She draws plans; they collaborate until satisfied with a general layout.

They lug a generator, tools and lumber Mountain Manny personally milled from windblown trees salvaged elsewhere on his property up to the building site. Then the work begins. Borrowed surveying equipment is brought to use. The area is cleared and sauna tubes with steel reinforcement are poured... so does the rain! After a full twelve hours, the foundation is done.

Whilst Mountain Manny is working for the Man during the day, Daphne-of-the-Forest doffs her clothing, with the exception of her steel-toed boots and a sun hat, to rake two yards of gravel to back-fill around the sauna tubes.

What a tan she has! She loses weight; she is very fit; she is happy; she is 46 years young.

The building progresses at a rate in conjunction with Mountain Manny's daytime work and left-over energy from same... which is considerable.

A crew of friends come in on a Saturday to raise the walls! Up, up, up they go. Lots of beer drinking and pats on the back for the rest of the day.

Mountain Manny's adopted son, Joseph, arrives for a stay and is quickly put to work helping raise the roof. Daphne-of-the-Forest is making best-use-of-wood and she cuts all pieces to exact measurements as requested by Mountain Manny.

When it is time to check if Mountain Manny and Daphne-of-the-Forest have built a true and square building, they are amazed, pleased and proud to note they are only 1/8th of an inch off overall.

Adopted son departs, leaving Mountain Manny and Daphne-of-the-Forest to assemble, cut and install a tin roof. Mountain Manny attaches himself to a makeshift safety harness while Daphne-of-the-Forest (using a special blade in a hand-held skill saw) cuts and passes the over length pieces up to Mountain Manny.

The basic structure complete, 'tis then time for Daphne-of-the-Forest to return to her little shack in the woods on Vancouver Island. Mountain Manny drives her home. The picture is the two of them - beaming - upon their arrival.


Chrystal Ocean said...


A lovely, lovely story, Daphne. It so aptly paints a picture of the woman you still are, regardless of the passage of time.

Kim said...

Pioneer woman! and man and adopted son.

Daphne Moldowin said...

'twas a very special time in my life, fer sure.