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A man must build

Posted by joeabbott on June 14, 2015

imageOn any given day I bump into lots of images, videos, and posts on the Internet; little snippets containing someone’s opinion, commentary, or other impression they’re sharing with the world. I ran into one such image titled, A Man Must Build. In part, the included text says,

A man must build. If he does not, he will succumb to instant gratification in the form of … fantasy found in video games, and other foolish activities.

Many men go days, months, or even years without building anything because they’re waiting until they “feel” like it.

Great men put aside their feelings and start building, every day.

While I take some small umbrage at the notion that playing video games is a foolish activity, and the results of my efforts I like the best are those with deep feelings attached to the work, I do appreciate the overall sentiment here: build something! Get involved with your hands, your mind … create something!

And with that, let’s check in on how my build-a-project-a-month is going!

I can build that

I have a great many tools and we’ve dedicated a bay of our garage to my work area; and, now that my vehicle doesn’t easily fit into the space I normally park in, that has increasingly been a project area. The upshot to this resource-rich potential is that I’ve committed to building one thing a month this year. It doesn’t have to be grand, it doesn’t have to be a woodworking project (although those are preferred), but I do need to do more than something foolish, like play video games all day. <g>

So far this year, here’s what I’ve built:

  • January – laid in the hardscaping by the compost bin: wall, brick edging, crushed gravel; planter strip
  • February – built the storage unit for the chicken supplies; built the indoor brooder
  • March – built five little boxes; the outdoor temp brooder
  • April – quick one: the potato bin
  • May – rebuilt the south stairway to Chickenville; added rail to bridge
  • June – small temp coop

I’ve details the January through April projects in other posts but need to catch you up on the May work … I’ll detail the June effort in a later post.

Stairway to Chickenville

At the south side of our backyard, we have a small gate leading into the fenced area the chickens call home. It’s a busy spot. On the Chickenville side of the gate we have an arched bridge; on our side there’s a small sitting area with planter and stairway. Suzy’s also cultivated a nice selection of flowers and plants just above this. It’s a nice place. But, when I laid in the gravel, I used small. polished river rock and we didn’t keep the area up as well as we might.

The end result is that, when wet, the rock is slick and the breakdown of the material between the gate and the bridge made things mess … sometimes rocks and dirt would keep the gate from closing. Also, when I was putting in the stairway, curiously, on one step, I only used a single timber instead of the normal two. Time to rebuild.

While labor intensive, this was a simple job: remove the gravel and a bit of dirt, pull the single-stair, lay in a new stair, and dump fresh crushed gravel.


Notice the second step up from the bottom … it’s the single step. I think I’d just run out of material and used a single beam. It’s not really a problem, per se, but you can see how the dirt under it is starting be break down. In addition to having poor gravel, we’d neglected the weeding here, too!


In the picture on the right, you can see the dirt running directly from the arched bridge to the gate. There’s actually a two-step barrier in there but it’s been occluded with all the slough from the hillside.


The first step was just digging it out … unfortunately, I dumped all the dirt in another place in the yard that just created yet another project! More on that later.


And, when I had all the dirt up, it was time to pry up the single stair for fixin’!


This is a bit of “like magic”, but we don’t have a mid-project fill in. Mostly because, after the digging and the replacement of the step, it was pretty quick and easy!



While I like building things, it’s not a bad day when I can fix up an area in the yard and make it more enjoyable. This spot is cool in the evenings and has wonderful flowers and plants all around it, so it’s nice to have put a weekend into fixing it up. While a man’s gotta build, every now and then it seems he has to rebuild!!

Thanks for dropping by.


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