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The AikiHomestead

Our Lifestyle Blog as We Create a Homestead in Northern Ontario


Things That Go Rumble, Rumble, CRASH! In The Night

Collapsed army tent in winter.Man shovelling off a tent collapsed by snow.Two men contemplating a tent buried under snow.Two men crouched by a collapsed tent in winter.Young boy smiling beside collapsed tent in winter.Bits and bobs under a tarp in the forest.Tent partially supported by a ladder in winter.Man jacking up a collapsed tent.Collapsed tent supported by a stump on a ladder.Tarp covering a collapsed tent in snow.View of rustic construction techniques.Two men jacking up a collapsed tent from within.Tent supported by a jack in blowing snow.Man repairing tent rafters.Post supporting army tent.Rustic rafters in an army tent.Last Wednesday I was fortunate enough to get an appointment at the local clinic for my very painful ankle. It appears now that I’m suffering from some tendonitis. I hope that it will get dealt with. I’m going to try a little physiotherapy, and also get a follow-up ultrasound to ensure that nothing more serious is happening.

At 2:30 on Thursday morning, as we were all snuggled in our beds Donna and I both were awakened by a deep and ominous rumbling that ended with a muffled crash.

“Did you hear that?”

“Mrmph…” (this means yeah in my sleepy language.)

“Don’t YOU want to go out and see what it was?” (emphasis mine.)

“Mrmph, I guess so, where’s my headlamp?”

My mind began to come up to speed. It sounded to me like it came from far in the bush, and I had visions of logs rolling down into the ravine. This wasn’t very realistic, the sound was much louder and longer than nature could normally present.

Next I began to think of the woodshed. We had a fair bit of snow again lately, and I knew that the load on the woodshed was very heavy.

Wandering out into the darkness, I was at once relieved, and then frightened to see that the woodshed still stood soundly. There was only one other structure on our property that was capable of making that sort of noise – and I had been eyeing it with suspicion late in the previous afternoon.

As I trudged through the snow towards the sawmill, I tried to catch a glimpse of the dojo tent. I could sort of make it out, but not clearly through the trees. As I rounded the bend I was… bemused… to see this sight by the light of my headlamp:

Smirking at my earlier self, I pointed out to him that he SAW the broken, rotted roof joist. I reminded him that both Grandpa and I had tried to shovel off some of the snow load from that corner, worried about the condition it was getting into.

He replied with some vague excuse about never imagining that the failure of one joist would bring down essentially the entire tent. I wasn’t buying it, but instead just admonished my past self to remember that proverb about ounces of prevention and thousands of pounds of cure.

I returned to the yurts and explained the situation to Donna.

After administering a half an ounce (give or take) of Alberta Premium to calm my nerves, I tried to empty my mind by watching a movie on the iPad. This didn’t really work, and I eventually drifted off around 4:30 or 5:00.

The next morning, Grandpa arrived to take stock of the damage. Donna had emailed Mummu in the middle of the night so that she was made aware of things as soon as she arose to check her email and the weather.

Grandpa took control of the situation and immediately began clearing out a tunnel to get deep into the wreckage. We were very fortunate, the walls remained standing for the most part, and it was a cave in of the roof essentially.

Also to our benefit – the stored tools and gear were all around the perimeter, so they seemed to escape the brunt of the falling snow, canvas and beams.

Over the course of the Easter weekend, Grandpa and I managed to jack up and prop up each joist individually, until they were back in their original locations (give or take ;)), and then fasten them anew.

Chainsaw carpentry came to our rescue when I was unable to get to my other saws.

I opted to totally replace the rotten joist with a new board, and then added extra stringers and supports throughout the entire structure.

The damage was far, far less than it could have been. My table saw is damaged beyond use as a table saw, as the top surface was cracked through and no longer can be considered true. But the stand is fine, and the saw will likely still cut, just without accuracy.

My mitre saw was hit hard, and was pushed at a large angle, but seems to not be suffering any permanent damage – I loosened the clamp and returned it to an upright position. Using it for the first time will really tell whether or not it is okay.

Many of my Ryobi 1+ tools ended up getting wet from the leaking roof. I am leaning towards replacing them with higher quality components as they pass on.

The tarp on the tent proved to be already on its way out. Shovelling the snow off, and simply pulling it to and fro, caused it to disintegrate. I will have to replace it as soon as I can next get to town.

There was no reason not to take time out for Easter traditions :).

On Tuesday, Grandpa and I were able to make quick work of positioning the final three rafters, and I have to give him full credit for the entire job. He always saw the best and quickest way to jack and prop up the wreckage, and didn’t let up on getting the job finished for anything.

I epecially liked the deliciousness of uncovering these two messages from N! and V! from my dojo, inscribed on the roof just where I took off my first shovelfuls of snow – “Good Luck, You’re going to need it!”


I'm still happy I was able to drop a literary reference (and Canadian to boot) onto your dojo tent.
  • Viktor (2013-04-03)

Susanna Moodie? Ever the optimist, wasn't she?
  • Stephen Garstin (2013-04-03)
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