Oh I am The Cook of the Pizza Oven…

and fisherman bold,

and septic drudge of Sportsmen’s Camp,

an electrician bright and water system mite,

and carpenter with a plumbers gig.

First of all let me apologize up front for paraphrasing and butchering one of my favorite poems – The Yarn Of The Nancy Bell. Check it out you’ll love it! By and large I am disgusted by the bullshit romanticism exhibited by poetry but this one doesn’t go there and is a gem.

Fall is here and the invasive red maples are painting the boreal forest scarlet. Along with the colors the camp has a lull and I can attack some projects that require more than my cursory attention. This year’s project is the dreaded rip out the rotten floor and foundation, jack up the walls and rebuild the – wait for it – lodge kitchen! Ye Gads! What fun! Last year I had to lay a piece of plywood in front of the kitchen sink to prevent a mishap. The nice thing about that was that when ever you were working in the kitchen you had a nice bounce to your step! Yeah it was time. The back wall had dropped about and inch in the last year. Yes it was time. All the appliances were moved out and plugged in or piped in elsewhere. All the furniture and cupboards as well as cabinets were also removed. Next on the agenda – remove the floor as well as all it rotted substructure. I ended up with something like this –


There it is in all its glory two walls mysteriously suspended in air and several floor joists having given up the ghost. The good news is that the wall sill plates were all intact and in good shape. It worked sort of like the sacrificial anode on your outboard motor lower unit. The “foundation” timbers rotted away and air circulation was facilitated as the rotted wood collapsed. The walls having tough sheathing of plywood maintained rather rigid dimensions with miraculously little sag. This made warming the lodge last fall a little difficult as a north wind would blow into the under sink cupboards and nearly blow the doors open. The floor was hella cold! So I got my pin jack and bottle jacks and raised the walls until they groaned their discomfort. I then raised them about a 1/4 inch more. Treated timbers were then put under the walls and the missing joists replaced by same. I also notched in cross bracing to prevent any twisting of the new timbers.


That’s a pic before the cross bracing installation. The red cords are the safety fencing tp prevent Bart (blind) falling into the hole in the night. Minimalist yet completely effective! Everything was leveled to existing raises within reason and flooring was applied. As I was fastening the floor panels in place a local ground hog popped up and expressed his dissatisfaction with my workmanship! I told him to mind his business or he might have some future problems with lead poisoning.


The appliances were then moved back in. Of course as with all rebuilds changes are made to reflect the needs of the occupants – The Evil One dictates. She also decided to do away with the yellow color scheme! Actually The Evil one is very easily satisfied with things of this sort. Her overweening specification is that – it works. LOL Its a good thing too as we’ve lived with the yellow in the kitchen for more than 30 years. But hey I thought it was time to spoil her – she picked a nice light green for the new kitchen trim. she painted the window frame before I started on the counter and new sink installation. Here’s a pic of the present state of the kitchen.


Things are coming together nicely. I’ve reconstructed the drawer trunks as an integral box that should prevent mouse incursions completely (as long as the drawer is closed). Prior to the rebuild The Evil One selected one of the cavalcade of kitchen sinks procured from the dump. She wisely selected a nice high quality two basin stainless steel unit. New fixtures and salvaged plumbing connections then facilitated the installation. Get this! You know you’re a master plumber when your last three installations were leak free on the initial trial! Now I just have to spend a little more time on my baiting skills.

Ahead there are a few major obstacles to the project’s completion. The weather is turning warm (just as Chris Murphy warned us in an email – he runs the weather channel yaknow. He wanted to make sure we had enough liquor for evening happy hours on the beach.) and Mike and friends will be coming up for the fall fishing extravaganza. As you may have guessed this also entails some late nights and imbibage. We’ll see how things go but I think I should have the kitchen sort of like the state of the death star in the first Star Wars movie – that is (as the evil Emperor would say) “Fully operational.”

Before I go, here are some shots from recent fishing (dinner was delicious), Janet abusing Kevin, a really picturesque shot of gull rock and Bart lounging.





When it comes to producing a successful blog always end up with a picture of a happy boy enjoying doggies out all day, day.

2 thoughts on “Oh I am The Cook of the Pizza Oven…

  1. I found a reading of that poem in a video on YouTube. I had never heard of it before. Definitely the type of poem that you would like!

    Kitchen is looking good! You are definitely a “Jack” of all Trades. Can’t wait to see the finished product in person, and do dishes in the new sink (after a good fish dinner!). Post before and after photos when you are done!

    With that big a project, have you gotten any late season fishing in? Any pike of note lately?

  2. I simply marvel at you, good sir. My top choice for comrade, without a close second, if I had to survive a zombie apocalypse. . .

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