Our wood dramas continue….
If you’ve been reading about the progress of our beach house construction you’ll see a repeated theme – we’ve been delayed by the local carpenter again and again. Now, the house is pretty much finished – concrete work is done, custom window bars are installed, floor is nice and colorful, etc. – but we’re still waiting on the wood for the floor for the second story.
The carpenter has had plenty of excuses. It rained, his wife was sick, his router blade was dull, etc. The biggest problem came when we realized that despite paying him over $400 for a bunch of wood (2″x6″s for the subfloor and 2″x4″s for the framing for the second floor rooms), he hadn’t bought the wood. He’d spent the money on beer and/or surgery for his wife, and now has no more money to buy the wood that we’ve already paid for. Not only is this a financial setback, but a timing issue. To start over finding a tree for sale, cut it, wait for it to dry, prepare the wood etc., will take at least a month. We’ve already been waiting several months and can’t handle waiting anymore. We had to take matters into our own hands!
A few months ago when the car broke down on the side of the road (it’s always something), Kim met a guy who said he can get wood. We called him up and he claimed he had dry wood for sale. Before trusting him, we wanted to see the wood. This led to an awesome and unexpected adventure very close to home but at the same time very far away.
We turned off the highway onto a dirt road, stopped briefly at our new friend’s house so he could trade out sandals for boots, then got back in the car and continued driving East. We began to climb towards mountains and passed through acres and acres of teak farms. He explained that his family used to own a huge chunk of the area but when his grandfather died, the heirs needed money and split up the finca into little pieces. He misses the forest and is worried that it’s not being protected.
The road was terrible, so we got out and started walking. We hiked and hiked along a river that used to have big shrimp until some local guys came in with poison to make the shrimping easier. Our friend who turned out to be an environmentalist (rare among locals in this area) couldn’t find any shrimp in the river to show us. He blamed the poisoners. He said there are often monkeys in the trees, but we didn’t see any of those either. We were lucky enough to see a wild cat – what our friend called a gato leoncillo that slunk across the road, paused to stare at us a moment, then scurried off. It was a burnt orange color, about the size of a big house cat but with a longer neck. We got home and googled it and realized we’d seen a Jaguarondi. I had my camera with me, but wasn’t quick enough to capture a shot, but this is what it looked like.
Finally we got to a big fallen tree. Our friend wouldn’t cut down any living trees for use as lumber. But, if a tree falls naturally (wind, lightening) or as a result of the actions of others (hunters will set fire to a tree to chase out iguanas, deer hunters are sometimes careless and start fires), then our friend will hike in with some buddies and a chainsaw and saw up the wood for sale. This worked out great for us since we felt good about using a fallen tree and since the tree has been down for about 2 years the wood should be dry enough to use immediately.
The tree is a cenicero which is very similar to guanacaste.
Our friend was stoked that we were so excited about the forest so he took us on a hike all the way to the top to get a view of the ocean. Cool guy. We are now eagerly awaiting his wood delivery. Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly…