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While progress is being made, there have been a few recent setbacks, too.

Brad, one of the most valuable guys on the crew, got in an accident about a month ago and won’t be back on the job for months and months still the docs say.  Biggest setback, of course, is for Brad, who has been in a lot of pain, and can’t work.

And then Bruce, the general contractor, just had to go and do about the same.  Got himself in an accident last week, and broke his knee and wrist and generally banged himself up.  Three months ’till he can put weight on his left leg, the docs say.  He pretended when I saw him today that he plans to be on the job site this week.  He really looked like it.

Bruce Recuperating

Bruce Recuperating

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The Sticks and Stones crew have been going full-bore on building the roof for the house the past coupla weeks.  And this is no mean feat.  A couple of months ago I counted up over 50 different roof sections.  And we’ve added a few more since then.  And just Friday, Steve from Streamline and Bruce from S&S tweaked the design again in some fairly major ways.  It’s kinda complicated.

Shown in the pic below is Kenny Huffman, who has definitely received short shrift on this story so far.  Kenny works for Sticks and Stones, and is close to, if not the lead guy behind Bruce.  Kenny used to work with his dad in the family machine shop (Fathers and Sons thread) and is particularly adept at visualizing in 3-D.  This skill has come in particularly handy with the nightmare that is the roof.

Kenny is one of those guys who will do just fine no matter whatever happens with the world because he’s just plain dedicated and capable in making and fixing all kinds of real things.

Roof Framing

Roof Framing


We’ve finally started roofing the garages – over a year after we started.  Initially we had planned on doing slate.  That is until I started getting quotes.  Because of the steep sections of the roof in the Queen Anne house, and that there are over 50 separate sections of roof on the house alone, the quotes ranged from ridiculous to astronomical.

Enter Vasse Vaught.  Recommended by architect Paul Sullivan at Streamline TimberFrame, Vasse is a local guy who trained and apprenticed in Switzerland in copper-roofing craftsmanship.  Slate can last 150 years or more, but so can copper.  In Europe they take this kinda stuff very seriously – you have to go to school and apprentice for many years. Vasse and I met several times, I spent countless hours on the internet researching,  Vasse made an offer that was fair, and we shook hands.

Vasse on Garage

Vasse on Garage

Vasse is a local craftsman, with a local business, who needed work – just my kinda guy.  He does consulting gigs all over the world, and I told him he could leave when he needed to, so this was his kinda project.  But he told me not to post his web-site – he figures this house is going to keep him busy for the next year or so.  He buys copper in thousand pound rolls, and every single piece of roof is hand-formed and soldered.  In the picture above, he’s soldering one of the seven pieces of flashing to trim in just this one piece of cornice-work.  Old-world craftsmanship.  Worth doing.  Worth supporting.


It occurred to me just a bit ago how virtually every contractor working at Crooked River either has their son working with them, or at least brings them to the job with them more or less occasionally.  It’s truly amazing and wonderful to me.  I learned a lot from my dad, but only in conversation – I never got to actually work with him.  I’m jealous of these kids.

This gives me great confidence in the future.  All of these kids work really hard when on the job.  Many of them plan to follow in their dad’s footsteps with their trade, or often to take over the business.  Many of these contractors are already multi-generational businesses.  Studies have shown that in general, family-owned businesses are more successful than the alternative constructs.  It’s good to see them still thriving, at least in the trades, and in our neck of the woods.

I’ve coincidentally snapped just a few pictures of contractors with their sons on the job, which I’ll start attaching below.  I’ll see how many I can rack up by the end of the project.

First off is Bruce, the General Contractor, with his son, Neil.  Neil plans to be a college professor, so he just humors his dad by coming to work with him.  But once I was able to catch the whole crew contemplating some problem while Neil was sweeping the floor, catching him as the only one working.  Huh.  He has something to learn about being a college professor 😉

Neil and Bruce

Neil and Bruce

Months after taking this picture and posting to this blog, Neil was back working with his dad on a school snow day, and he told me how much he hated this picture and asked me if I would take another one.

Neil and Bruce in Winter

Neil and Bruce in Winter

Now isn’t that much better?

Next up is the multi-generational Shortt Excavating.  I already told the story of using Macray Shortt to build the road at my current house 25 years ago, and now am dealing primarily with his son, Michael, and I’m sure I’ll be transferred to his son Ryan as the lead guy before I’m finished with them.  These guys have done everything from building the roads to digging the basement to installing the geothermal system.  I think just about all of their equipment, and it’s quite an inventory, is currently at Crooked River.  The whole family is terrific to work with.  I’ll get a picture of 3 generations to post here soon.

Michael and Ryan Shortt

Michael and Ryan Shortt

Next up is Jason and Jagger Rutledge, our “biological woodsmen”.  Jagger has worked with his dad throughout his whole life so far.  They’ve done so much work on the farm that I think I’ve employed just about everyone in the family at some point.

Jason (2nd from left) and Jagger (3rd from right)

Jason (2nd from left) and Jagger (3rd from right)

Eversole Well Drilling was also a multi-generational business with father/son on the job site.

Eversole Well Drilling

Eversole Well Drilling

Mark Cox has done all the masonry work so far on the house, and the cabin, too.  He seems to be just as happy laying concrete block as doing this one of a kind type of “dry-laid” stone chimney on the cabin in the old style.  He often brings his dad and his son to the job, as in the picture below.

Mark Cox Masonry

Mark Cox Masonry

There are so many other folks – Dale the painter who has brought his son Tyler to help, Russell who has come to help his dad Jim with the big log cabin project, Kyle Morgan (who I’ve known since he was born) who pretty much works full-time with his dad, Al, on timberframing and similar projects, father/son team John and JR who bring out their bull-hog to clear land for me periodically.   I expect the trend to continue, and intend to update pictures and stories of the guys and their sons working together.

As an aside, I’m a 50% owner of a women’s clothing manufacturer, WinterSun.  I spent last week at a trade show in Las Vegas with my business partner Anga Miller, and she brought along her daughter Karina to help.  So it seems it can go with daughters, too.