I didn’t plan it this way. Would’ve been way too stressful to even try to start, stop, start again until finishing the demolition phase of my boathouse project on something like a special day. But today I was up an extension ladder around the eaves prying and snatching loose the pieces of vinyl soffit and pulled down the last of it on the creekside gable at about 5:30. When I called my pal Biff to ask if he’d help me drag the trailer load of siding and roofing, metal flashing and aluminum trim, to the landfill, he mentioned something about today’s summer solstice.
“Oh, yeah,” I said. Longest day of the year. Well, I mean, they’re all 24 hours, but this day had the most sunlight. There’ll be a little less each day until the winter solstice on December 21. Then it goes the other way. Like clockwork. Like some kind of plan.
To me, summer solstice always marks the middle of the blueberry season in south Alabama, which runs from about the first of May until the end of July. Nothing better than fresh blueberries on my Swiss granola and I eat them every morning in season. About six more weeks, before it’s back to the grocery store.
The first half of this season, I’ve gathered from one huge blueberry bush on the property here. But it’s not pampered and fertilized, and doesn’t get morning sun. So I’ll only get maybe one more quart of berries from it. Then I can buy them from either Weeks Bay Plantation, or from Lyrene’s Blueberry Farm, where both allow me to pick my own until the season runs out.
The blueberry solstice always happens on June 21, and, all over the world at exactly the same moment—whatever time that happens to be, day or night. On our clocks in the Central Daylight Time zone, it was at 10:54 this morning when the temperature was already rocking toward 90.
I was glad to sit inside under the air conditioner at my computer for a few minutes and read up on the summer solstice, get out of the still-stifling heat even as twilight was gathering over Waterhole Branch. The heat index hit somewhere around 105. I changed into dry clothes three times today.
And I was all the gladder to be done with tearing stuff off to throw away. I’ll unload the trailer of the demolition materials, and everything that comes off the boathouse now will be stacked and stored on the trailer until I pick my building site. I look forward to this next phase of deconstruction. Then, finally, I’ll start raising a house, and each board that comes off the trailer will be reused for building the new place.
It won’t look like the boathouse. I’ll make a new high-peaked roofline, maybe 12:12 pitch, which means the rafters rise a foot for each foot of run. In other words, if I build the house 14 feet wide, that’s a 7-foot run to the centerline, giving the rafters 7 feet of rise. That way I can have a loft with full standing headroom. I’ll also change the window placement, and use bigger ones. Plus, reposition the entry door. And add a front porch.
With more floor space, I’ll have room for a full size refrigerator. And I can fill up the freezer with fresh blueberries, enough to get me, maybe, to the short days of winter solstice. At least that’s my plan.