web analytics

Hopi farging carp on a popsicle!

oldbeams

Today we had a surveyor in to look at our deathwatch beetles. We got his name from a local real estate agent who deals in ancient buildings. It’s no good sending out a green surveyor; he would take one look at an old pile like Badger House and pee his pantses.

Our guy tapped and frowned and frowned and tapped and took a little dust sample in a 35mm film can (luckily we had one to spare). And then declared the house whole and sound and (almost certainly) in no danger at all, tappingdancing beetles or not. He offered us the use of a stethoscope for the Summer: if you can identify exactly where the little bastards are hanging out, he told us, it might be worth opening the wall to kill them. But otherwise, the damage you’d do tearing the place apart to find the infestation would be far more than the insects will do.

They don’t do much harm. They don’t do any harm fast. Their life cycle is (up to) twenty years. And they won’t spread in the absence of damp.

“After all, they came in with the wood and they haven’t knocked the place down yet,” he said, klonking his fist against a great oak beam.

And I said (proudly), “haha…oh, yes. We have documentation on the house going back four hundred years.”

And he said, “oh, no! These beams are MUCH older than that. Some are probably a thousand years old.”

And Uncle Badger said, “!” And I said, “!!!!!!!eleventythousandholyshit!!!!”

He explained. Nearly all the wood in the house would have been reclaimed from some earlier use: another house, a barn, a horse-cart. Wood was scarce around here and hard to come by and EVER-so-hard to work with. We’re talking hand tools and OAK. When we were looking to buy, we seriously considered one house built in the 15th or 16th C from beach flotsam (very common) and they even knew the name of the French shipwreck it came from.

It’s clear that some beams (top picture) weathered outside for…oh, hundreds of years, maybe. And I spent months poring over mysterious pegs and slots and cut marks, trying to figure out the original shape and purpose, when these artifacts probably had nothing whatever to do with Badger House.

Whoa.

No, seriously. Whoa.

It’s probably just as well I’m psychic as a potato.

sock it to me

April 21, 2009 — 8:24 pm
Comments: 21