July 6, 2001 (Ira Pilgrim)


It never rains in California in the summer.

What never?

Well, hardly ever.

July 26, 2001

This winter was the heaviest snow fall that we have had since 1982, when my wife and I skied in to our little cabin on a base of five feet of snow, with 10+ foot drifts.

This year was the driest year that we have had since I have been keeping records, which has been for about 18 years. Today, at the end of June, after two completely dry months, it is raining. The rain is coming down at the rate of a tenth of an inch an hour. It is enough to change the fire danger from high to low. It has also filled my water tanks. I feel very thankful. The house is snug and warm and a pot of soup is on the stove. I would be delighted if we could have a few days like this every month during the summer, but that is not the norm for northern California. Usually the summers are dry.

I wasn't living here on my mountain top in 1982. I was living in the San Francisco Bay area and driving up here on weekends and holidays in order to build my house. My wife and I had built a small cabin and the lower story of the house had been completed and covered with plastic. This was the year when I was to put up the second and third story. I had meticulously checked the weather reports in order to find the time when it was least likely to rain. That was in July.

I had ordered all of the materials that I needed, cut and drilled the lumber to make 6 x 8 beams and readied them for assembly. All of the 2 x 6 lumber had been cut to size and was ready to assemble. I called my friends and asked if they were willing to come up for a few weeks to help to finish the house. Three of them, and two of my children, volunteered. Thank you Marshall, Carol, Eric, Kim and Michael. As I look at the pictures now, I feel truly blessed to have you as friends; and children.

Now I am remembering what it was like. I have just looked at the photo albums that document that July of 1982. How young my wife and I looked, and were.

With all of the help on site, we started. First we removed the plastic that covered the lower story of the house. Then we started framing the upper stories. The framing was about half done, when it started to rain. And it rained and rained and rained. We took the aluminum roofing that was going to cover the house and strung it from the downstairs ceiling. It was sloped so that the copious rain that leaked in drained into buckets.

When the rain stopped, we finished framing the house. When my friends left, my wife and I put the roof and the siding on. When I no longer had something to grab on to, I freaked out and hired a local carpenter Jeff Chilcote to put on the rest of the siding. Height didn't frighten him.

The house has been long completed and it is snug and warm. Rain or snow or wind or earthquake holds no terror for us. I can relish the unseasonable rain, secure in the knowledge that it is all good. I love the rain, especially when we have had a dry spell, as we have had this year. It is a true blessing.

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