While many of the projects here at the homestead (and blog posts) actually cover several weeks of work due to Tyler having a full-time teaching job; most projects don’t actually involve me. This is probably why you’ll notice some less interesting posts this winter (as it happens this time of year) to allow for enough time for projects to be complete before posting about them.
But this time? This time, dear reader, Tyler was not involved in any way with a special homestead project that was a work in progress for almost four months.
Tyler is a hard person to surprise. He loves gifts for Christmas and his birthday, and I’m still naive enough to want to avoid his wish list and try to surprise him with gifts. (My dad was this exact same way with my mom and I totally picked up this personality trait from him…for better or worse).
I tried to surprise Tyler with a very sentimental gift last year for Christmas, but that present fell through. I felt very defeated about it, because I wanted to give him something very special; since I feel like I don’t contribute to our life as much as he does. (Which is actually a fact, not a feeling. Tyler makes more money than me and is more handy…so I’m always trying to find ways to be a good team Pedersen member).
What I decided was I needed to get someone else involved that was reliable for his gift this year and make it something for the house that would eliminate some task he doesn’t want to do…while being done by someone he would trust.
That’s a tall order actually.
I decided I would commission a dear friend of Tyler’s (who has a wood shop) to make the sign that goes above the portico roof above the south entrance to the house.
Tyler’s friend was willing and able to take on the task! So in September, Ben (the woodworking friend) asked me to get measurements for the portico roof. And, as I was trying to do this all in secret, I had to wait until a day Tyler was at school.
I got out the mini-giant ladder and spent about thirty minutes trying to figure out how to open the damn ladder so make it taller. (Have I mentioned I have difficulty understanding how things work?)
Then I got up on the ladder and tried my best to measure each angle. I was worried I couldn’t read the tape well (because I see small things-like the measuring tape-better without my glasses, but I couldn’t get close enough to the tape while on the ladder to see), so I took photos of myself holding the tape to send to Ben so he might interpret my bad tape reading.
It was raining the day I got up on the ladder and my hands were aching…which caused me to ruin a pair of my compression gloves that are now permanently stained with mud. 🤷🏽♀️
I sent the measurements to Ben and he filled me in on his thoughts. He’d use a dark wood he recently had been working with to match the stained cedar shingles on the porch. It’s called Black Locust Wood and is the hardest wood found in North America. Then the writing that would be added to the sign would be done in white to keep with the white trim of the house.
I wasn’t sure on font for the writing. I looked at a bunch of signs and Ben looked at a bunch also. But then he had the brilliant idea of using the font of a local motorcycle manufacturer (Indian Motorcycles) to tie in with the area’s history.
Ben sent me a mock-up of what he thought the sign would look like in place; which was so realistic it got me very excited for the piece!
He also sent me some shots of the sign in progress and when he got it back from the person who did the lettering. And in that communication, we schemed about how to meet up for me to pick up the sign when he was next in town without raising Tyler’s suspicions.
This proved to be more difficult than anticipated, as the day of the drop off, we ended up getting a terrible blizzard. So we delayed rendezvous until Christmas Eve. While Tyler was at church singing to a crowd of people listening to the service from their cars, I met with Ben for the drop off.
The following afternoon, Tyler opened the gift (which I wrapped in two garbage bags). He was surprised for sure. And when I told him the kind of wood the sign is made out of, he immediately knew it was the wood used for ship’s masts and other harsh outdoor settings.
I hope I measured correctly. I hope Tyler does feel the sentiment and love it. And I hope we are able to hang it this spring.