If you’ve never seen a barn raising, let me tell you it is a thrilling process–from nothing to something in five days. The Wilson Pole Barn Construction out of Wagoner, OK did the Ravenrock Barn.
The night before the barn was scheduled to arrive, I was very very blue, very alone, very unsupported. No one was going to be here from my world to celebrate, to cheer me on, to be excited with me. Of course, I had been keep this somewhat secret so how could I have had that support, but I guess I thought Ric should drop everything and fly out. Then I read this Hafiz poem: “Now it is the time to know that all you do is sacred.” I realized I was being childish and settled down, able to see that this project will be the source of great joy, peace, deepening, and beauty for years to come, for me and for others.
A battery of calls back and forth between me, the Wilson Company trucks, and Jamie, a neighboring cowboy who helped them up the mesa road in a tractor, was needed to coordinate the arrival. Wilson trucks were delayed in Tucumcari at the Weigh Station on the OK/NM border.
I had worried faintly for the past two weeks, despite plenty of vetting online and on the phone with their references, with the OK Attorney General, and with lawyer databases that Ric has access to, that they might not be real or might be funky. But I just loved talking to Alberta, who turns out to be the sister of Lloyd Wilson, the owner, on the phone. She always picked up. She answered all my questions no matter how dumb or redundant. And I liked their simple, direct website—nothing fancy, but informative enough. It felt the way a barn outfit ought to be putting itself forth.
I drive to the top of Apache Mesa Rd. to await the crew, ready to shoot video. A dark sky hung over us. Maybe rain. I held my breath that it would hold off until they got the massive trucks up the switchbacks and across the mesa to the barn site. Ric was on the phone with me. I kept eyeing the bottom of the road far far below. Did I see them? Vehicles went back and forth but I couldn’t tell if it was the barn crew. I had my truck parked and ready. Suddenly, puffing, grunting engines on the slope just below me! They were almost up.
A double cab pick-up dragged a 20’ trailer loaded with 26,000 pounds of pre-fab rafters, barn poles, and metal skin. At the top of the mesa, there was a general palaver about tow chains and now what? It was decided that Jamie should take them all the way to Ravenrock, an extremely wise decision as the large dark clouds menacing us on the horizon began to dump heavy rain and hail about halfway to the the property. The road turned to bacon grease. I followed up the rear of the caravan and got to see the vehicles fishtailing. What a mess! If not for the tractor we would have spent the night mired three miles from our destination. We got to my gate—a downward slope of dirt, now pure mud. Trucks careened this way and that.
Once at the site, the rain abated but the ground was now soft and the trucks were sinking their tire teeth into the grass, making ruts. The crew—Steve, Tim, and Juany—unloaded the trailer truck. Alberta and Rick departed with Jamie. The crew spent time in the fog and damp cold organizing the site, then pulled out the auger to dig the first post hole and see what lay in store. They needed to be able to dig down three feet. After a foot and a half of nice soft dirt they hit limestone shelf. This meant they would need a jackhammer to get deep enough. I texted my neighbor that the crew would need a jackhammer in the morning. At last, they headed down the muddy road to their hotel in Las Vegas.
We had gotten the materials to the land and were now ready for the next few days of barn raising. After everyone left, a second cold soaker dumped rain and hail. And then a huge, full double rainbow! The coyotes sang riotously. It was a rock concert! An opera!