I began my morning with my alarm at 4:45am, so that I could hit the road and make the 7:20am ferry from Anacortes to Orcas. Much of the year, most of this early drive would be conducted in darkness, but summer solstice time in the northwest is marked by deliciously lengthy twilights each day.
I felt much the way I do before any big journey when I got out of bed yesterday in the wee sma's: giddily alert after four hours of fitful sleep; bleary-eyed and red-cheeked; thirsty; mildly anxious; mildly nauseated.
Spackle and I had an easy, low-traffic drive, arriving at the terminal in perfect time as the boat was unloading. We had time when we arrived on Orcas to have a (much needed for me by this point) lie-flat, and then around 1:00 pm Burke the Builder and Bart the Excavator arrived, we chatted over first details, and Spackle and I participated in a photo shoot of Digging the First Shovel-Full From Our Front Door (Spackle observed: he only digs when I *don't* want him to). Bart then spent about 30 minutes on his giant machine--not so much digging our plot as scalping it and building a pile of sod to one side, and then Day 1 was done!
Spackle and I caught an evening ferry, drove home through the gloaming, and are quite happy to spend the day today sticking close to the Seattle house.
We're planning to set up a webcam, and maybe also a time-lapse camera, and a Picasa page for house pictures. Yes, we could've done this at any time prior to that first shovel-full of dirt that I dug yesterday, any time during the past few months when we were waiting for the county to issue our permit, but it just didn't seem real until yesterday. Fancy copper kitchen sink aside, until jumping on that shovel yesterday and chiseling out a laughably tiny bit of thickly thatched grass and roots, this whole process has been largely theoretical.
Not anymore! The choices we make now better be the ones we want to live out our lives with! No pressure there!
Looking east down the hill. That long stick is the "story pole", which delineates where the floors will be--not, I think, what the story of the house will be. That is my responsibility. The top of the story pole is the height of the roofline of the house. The perspective is misleading, however, because the pole is set up downhill from the home site, and so it's longer than it would be where the house actually is, if that makes sense.
Looking west up the hill toward where the house will be, which is pretty much exactly between the Dacha and that tiny orange tractor in the background.
This photo, and several other great ones, courtesy of Bart the Excavator (using my camera)
MUCH more effective way to clear the land than that shovel!
End of first day's digging--scalped!