Friday, July 15, 2011

Families Working Together

Gramzee Series Part 5:

As part of vacation week here David and I decided to complete a family project with our daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. They are visiting for the week. Doing family projects during our vacation week has become a tradition. This is our third season doing so and it has become a favorite week of the year for us.

We have a beautiful stream that meanders through our woods but it is difficult to cross when the water is high. Here is a view of it last winter. It is truly a special place.

And here is a view of it as all that snow was melting.....

Right now, in mid-July, the water is low and it would be a great time to build a little bridge over to the other side. We spent some time studying the stream during the spring run-off, thought about the snow-shoeing and skiing options, located good boulders as base points and choose what we thought would be the best location for a little bridge. The span would be about 18 feet. David spent some time drafting plans on the computer and created a scale drawing along with a series of working drawings as well. Detailed planning definitely made the job progress smoothly.

Once the kids arrived, a shopping list was assembled and Josh and David headed off to Home Depot for materials. Because the bridge site is down in a ravine and quite a distance from the house we decided to build the bridge in our garage, disassemble it, move it to the site and reassemble it. The first photos are from the initial assembly in the garage. David and Josh are working on laying out the main bridge trusses. Because the span was long we had to piece together three 10 foot 2 x10's. We put two end to end to create a 20' span and then used carriage bolts to attach the third piece to the side.

Certainly the advantages of building in the garage were light, power and a level working surface. Josh drilled holes as Taylor studied the activity. This project was a dream come true for Taylor at 26 months.  

Amy, David and Josh did the majority of the work as I got to be head gopher and child watcher.

Taylor participated whenever it was safe.

The entire bridge was assembled with the exception of attaching the decking. Everything was carefully labeled and all the bolts and screws were then undone. Thank goodness for power drills!

With help from Taylor it was all loaded into the back of Grampa's pickup truck.

We drove the pieces through the woods to the place closest to the actual bridge site and then lugged the parts in from there. We again started assembly. The two main trusses were built up on the flat area. Taylor loved putting in the bolts and helping Daddy with the ratchet.

Once assembled, five gallon buckets were used to roll the trusses down the hill to the final location. Just like building the Pyramids!

The trusses were connected with the cross bracing in place.

Taylor and mommy made mud pies and played in the stream.

The uprights were added, decking screwed in, handrails attached and...

Voila! We have a bridge! 

Here is the construction crew testing the final bridge out. We are thrilled with the finished project.  It greatly enhances our maze of paths through the woods.  And although I am not looking forward to another winter yet, I am really looking forward to witnessing spring run-off under the bridge.

The shopping trip for supplies was on Monday, July 11th. We started construction in the garage on Monday afternoon and by Thursday afternoon the bridge was done. During that time we had some really special three generation experiences. I can't think of a better vacation!

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©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

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