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Caveman Day: Groanhouse Part Three

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

When we left our homeowners, they were shimming up the groanhouse base and drilling bolts into concrete with an oversized hammer drill.

This went on for a long time. You will note Tools' awesome ear protectors. They belonged to Marcy's dad, who treasured them and passed them on to his son-in-law. He had used them on an aircraft carrier in 1962. Tools, who recognizes quality when he sees it, went online and found parts to replace the dry-rotted foam interiors. They are the best ear protectors he has ever used. They also make him look like a very large and demented mouse.

It was a day for cavemen.

And instruction booklets drawn by cavemen. A day for squatting and pondering, drilling and shimming. If I had a nickel for every time I was asked,  "Well, what do the directions say?" and every time I answered, "Nothing. They say nothing at all about that..."

Eventually we got the base leveled and secured with something like 70 concrete bolts. It ain't goin' nowhere. The greenhouse may break and blow off of it, but the base will remain.

We inserted the l mm polycarbonate side panels, which are about the consistency and ductility of deli trays. Wacka wacka wacka.  I am assured by the distributor of the Rion Prestige Groanhouse that they have surprisingly good insulative capacity. All this remains to be seen.

We had quite a bit of trouble with buckling side panels. Another call to the distributor ascertained that we would have to deconstruct the frame, remove the offending side panels, get the mat knife out again and trim excess material from the corners. Oh, goody. Later on that. I'm a little knife-shy at this point.

Here's how it all looked when darkness fell. It ain't up yet. We have another tier to add, and then we have to somehow lift the constructed roof (once we get the replacement top panels) and put it atop the second tier. And then we have to build the sliding doors. Just looking at the "directions" for the doors and their hinges makes me want to die. Looks like a five-man job to me, maybe another two or three days of work. This is the end of Day Three. Day One was five hours of just Bill and me. Day Two was Bill, Dave, Marcy and me. Day Three was the same lineup. Still in pieces.

But closer.

It was time to warm up. I went down and stuck a fork in the pork shoulder. Not quite done. But oh my gosh. Far as I'm concerned, you can throw the chops and loin roasts in the wood chipper; that's about all they're good for. Somehow, of all cuts, the succulent shoulder has escaped the ministrations of hog breeders, who seem determined to make pork into chipboard.

 That's OK. Let it cook. We have libations. We talked about Dutch oven cookery, about South Dakota, about birds and prairies and classic firearms. We laughed a lot.

Chet Baker took up his station on Marcy's lap, pawdypads on the table.

No, thank you, Daddeh, no wine for me. I do not care how good it is. It makes people silly. Which I am all for, because Boston terriers hang on to their silly. I am waiting for pork. Pork pork pork.

The roast was delectable, and we ate every last bit of it. Followed by Marcy's pumpkin cheesecake with caramel sauce, to match our gaudy tablecloth.

How is your meal, sir? 


There will be more installments. We're waiting for two replacement roof panels for the ones I cut down. I can't wait to see what it'll be like to build the second tier and then somehow lift, carry and fit the heavy roof onto that. And then build the doors. And then we have to hook up the gas heater. And put what remains of my plants inside the structure. Structure. It will be a structure, not a collection of parts. And then, and only then, are we gonna party.


Oh my word woman. That is quite the mis-adventure. Gotta say though, that last photo is a classic. Love Chet's eyes!

I so would have drop-kicked this project at least two blog posts ago. You guys, and your capacity to take this do-it-yourself-no-tools-required project to infinity and beyond is, well, to infinity and beyond.

Here's hoping for no more storms of the century, for the next decade or so, at the very least.

Posted by KH Macomber November 13, 2012 at 8:31 AM

I just love reading your blog, Julie. Makes me feel like one of the gang. Can I be one of the gang? Not in the 'I'm going to stalk you until I'm one of the gang' sense, of course. Just the 'I'm going to carry bacon in my pocket to attract you, Chet Baker'sense. Would that work?

BACON. You had me at BACON.

Enjoyed the 3rd pic. Just put a tool in a guy's hand & watch 'em mug for the camera. Feel like there should be a campfire going somewhere in the backround.....adding to the ambience of Caveman Day.

Pork butt! "I like pig butts and I cannot lie."

Hopefully you can write an instruction manual and sell it back to the manufacturer. But you will definitely have lots of memories as soon as you get this monster together.

And thanks for the reminder about pork shoulder. Many years ago I had a tradition of cooking a shoulder every fall. I marinated it for a couple of days in a mix of most everything, then smoked it on the grill. Its time to revive that tradition.

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