Adding a New Skill to My Resumé

So now I’m a roofer. A steel roofer!

Oh ya. It’s just another skill I’ve added and I’m pretty excited about it.

As usual it was a new skill that I was kind of forced to learn, kicking and screaming all the way. Such is life here off-the-grid, in the woods, running a CSA. We make up the rules as we go and learn the skills as we need them.

Our neighbor Alyce had provided us with a new building to use as a chicken coop. The price was right but it needed a bit of work. Then the rains began and it was obvious that the major thrust of the work needed to be directed at keeping the rain out. It leaked like a sieve. This was fine until the 12 new chickens arrived. It was kind of like Noah’s Ark, but with a little wooden building instead of an Ark, and 12 chickens instead of two of every species. Other that, pretty much identical to the Ark thing.

I asked my friend Don Fenwick, who is a builder and often does steel roofs if he had any scraps of mismatched steel that I could use and he said that he did. When I drove down to pick up the steel it turns out that it was all the same colour and he even had screws to match. Now when the drones fly over they’ll think our chicken coop is like something out of one of those designer chicken coop magazines. (Michelle’s comment – There is no chance of that happening. The roof is the nicest part of the coop so far.)

Since the coop seemed to leak everywhere I decided to let the roof overhang a bit rather than cutting it to fit, hoping this might stop some of the water getting in around the top seams. Once I got a few screws in place I got Michelle to hold the ladder so I could work from on top of the roof. It was one of those deals where I kind of jumped off the ladder and had no idea how I was going to get back on it after the job was done, but I did it anyway.

I was really impressed with how solid it feels once you get a few screws in it. And then once I got the whole bag in it I was quite happy with how sturdy it felt. Don said one screw every 24” was fine. I had enough screws to do one every 12” inches, so it’s not going anywhere.

steel roof installation

I did manage to choose one of the few hot sunny days we’ve had in ages so I got the full ‘roofer’ effect with the sun baking the steel and me working on it. Fun for an hour, but I’m sure it would be another thing for a full day.

And now the chickens have a dry coop with a totally awesome roof.

chickens love steel roofs small

On another unrelated but weird note, we did a blog a while ago about how we’re on Google Street View. We cannot imagine why the Google car would come down our road considering how few homes are on it. We also commented that when they blurred out our sign, which reads, “Sunflower Farm, Mather”, they managed to blur out the word “Farm.” Really? Shouldn’t they have blurred out our name? I’m thinking there’s some Google employee working in a veal fattening pen in some office tower who was out a little late the night before their day of face and sign blurring.

So one day a couple of weeks ago Michelle and I were sitting on the porch having our daily smoothie. Michelle has been making us these awesome smoothies with fruit and juice and this great vegan protein powder to help get me through my long days of planting and weeding etc. It was about 11 am and we heard a car driving by slowly on the road, and guess what? There it was. AGAIN! The Google Car! A second time. On one of the least populated roads … in Canada … North America … the Western Hemisphere… the World… the Solar System… the Milky Way… (Thank you Hugh Grant/Nick Hornby from the book/movie ‘About a Boy’ for this line).

The huge disappointment was that we were taken completely by surprise and didn’t get a chance to do anything inappropriate. So much potential. Even funnier would have been the fact that before Chelsea arrived I often took my soil-covered work pants off and spread them on the front sidewalk to dry before I headed for the house. Blur that Google Earth!

So, don’t say we don’t lead a wild life here at Sunflower Farm. And now, we’ve got the new Google Street View update to look forward to. I wonder if you’ll be able to look down the driveway 200 meters to our front porch and see the smoothies we’re drinking! How exciting is that. I don’t life could get much better than this.

6 Responses to “Adding a New Skill to My Resumé”

  • Glad to see the girls are drier now. Great skill, roofing.
    I was shocked to see my place on Google streetview. I kind of felt it was a bit of an invasion of privacy….. staring right into my property.

  • Louis, aka. uncle loulee:

    Good job on your chicken coop, Cam, you guys looking for the occasional people to drop in for a visit, I would suggest signing up with and set up a tupper ware container or bucket, or any type of container along with a log sheet at your driveway or on the property where the geocacher would come in to sign the log sheet having found it, you will meet some nice people, guarantee.

  • Madeline and Ken:

    Sorry we missed you yesterday Cam but Michelle gave us a really great tour of your gardens etc. Sorry on the timing of our visit but let us know when the next time you dry out your trousers and we will try and drop by. Just kidding. What a great job you and Michelle have done with the “old Place” We love to see what you have done!!
    Best wishes
    Ken and Madeline

  • Glee:

    It’s possible that the Google person has a cottage or a relative or something in your neighborhood. That’s a great way to get a company car and expenses for what is really a personal trip. I’m just guessing, of course.

  • Excellent, Cam! Now you can help with my steel roof when we get to that point!! ;-D

  • ellen:

    What? twice down your road and yet 8 years we have been here and we still don’t exist to Google – no street name, no street view! Most people can’t even get us on there GPS either!

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About Cam
Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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