HOUGIE HEAVEN HOUSE RAISING
Ever been part of an old fashioned HOUSE RAISING? Well, I was for Rendezvous friends Carolyn and Jon Houglum in Franklin, NC. They did it just as the old homesteaders of long ago would have. Carolyn very carefully documented all stages of it both pictorally and texually….even made a movie about it. This will take you to their site where you can follow a most remarkable story from when they bought the property and began cutting wood and taking it to the little portable sawmill to make the lumber all the way to the final product filled with the cabinets and furniture Jon built especially to the designs in the album Caroline had been filling with items and saving patiently for years. When Son Josh graduated, they sold their home in Florida, retired and moved lock stock and barrel to Franklin to continue this saga. Some folks came from all over the country for the original house raising that took about a week and saw the two stories and basement “dried in”. They camped out in their Rendezvous tents, trailers, etc. Carolyn made certain all had the greatest food and plenty of it. Of course, “libations” of ALL kinds were available also, but ONLY after all work was called off for the day…..as you will see, some of the work was dangerous enough to require a COMPLETELY clear head, LOL. I have noted the pages concerning myself, (I was able to go back a few times to help since I am only 3 hours away). But, my first job was crew chief for the huMONgous porch about 15 feet in the air. Thank the Lord I brought a trailerload of heavy duty scaffolding to leave with Jon for the entire project. Now remember, all wood for the house and furniture was cut by John and Carolyn themselves. Some pictures show the piles of it with “stickers” between each board to be sure it dried straight and true. So, treat this as a small book and take the time to read the different entries and look at the pictures…..it will take you back in time as it did us.
Aside from being the Crew Chief for the porch which turned out to be the most fun place to sit and survey the beautiful scenery through the following years, I went back to help Jon with other things. First, with Carolyn’s help, we put the trusses on the porch for the Tin Roof then put the tin on. Other times, Jon and I put the ceiling up in the basement, I wired the main and sub electrical panels, we hung some cabinets, and a large ceiling lamp, we put in the heavy front door for the porch, we did some duct work, and I think the cricket on the chimney, there were other things, but you can see them if you click on the page numbers I have marked. However, most of my friends have thought it more fun to just follow the whole saga and see where I pop up here and there. Here is the link to Caroline’s documentation. Know what a “hooter” is?…….you WILL after reading this, LOL. http://hougieheaven.homestead.com/Page01.html
Here is the “labor of love” a few years after finished. Next shows the first wall we put up, (you can see me in the bright pink shirt……..looks as if I alone am holding up the wall, (look closely, the braces are already nailed in, LOL)! Next is me securing one of the braces for the 16 foot 6x6s used for the Porch supports. I had a super “porch” crew. Had NO idea Jon’s sisters would be so helpful. Of course, Terry, Jon’s son, was just a little fellah when I first met him at Rendezvous. He was a big strapping lad here and a tremendous help to me. Miss you Terry!
Pages you can find me: 6 , 7 (yep that is me up there on the floor joists. Third pic on this page shows me standing up there in a white shirt., 9 shows the porch sans railings but all flooring laid and secured, 10 I am in aqua blue short sleeves sitting on ground next to Jon, 11 temporary banisters for porch before heading home. 22 Jon and I finish the porch roof. When I told Jon how we would cut the side boards off even for the rafter ledge, he didn’t like the idea of holding the skill saw sideways, pulling the guard back and sawing away….don’t blame him…….not the CORRECT way to use a skill saw….but I had done it many places for many years, so there is a picture of me doing that on this page…..main thing was to watch your step while doing it, LOL. 23 shows the porch finished and tells the Story of Charlie the Bear, (chain sawed by a friend of mine), and how I met Jon and Carolyn 19 years before then at one of Charlie Knight’s Dove Shoots. 31 shows the completed porch, (most of it), and beside the white door is a log stand with the little black bear we named Charlie. 40 shows Jon and me running the chimney pipe, Jon on that slippery roof with wet silicone on his shoes, and then showed Jon how to put up heavy OSB on the ceiling with two rather small people, (Jon and me), by building two “jacks”…..1×4 boards almost as high as the ceiling, with a 4 foot piece of 1×4 screw across the top……simple! Then, as always, time for a drink and a nice rest on the porch before one of Carolyn’s scrumptious meals. 52 I wired the panel and subpanel, and Jon and I hung the kitchen overhead lamp. I think that is the last I made it over there. Had a big job in town and couldn’t make it to the first Houseraising Reunion, DARN!
So, this is how you build a house when you start with just a piece of land, LOL! I had always wanted to do it that way, with the wall raisings, etc….but had never been able to. This was a blast and a half and then some! Don’t stop when the house is done….keep going and see how Jon used his red cedar lumber, the poplar, birch, oak, spruce, etc…….all made by…..well MADE by God, but prepared by Jon and Carolyn. Most of the furniture is built by Jon for that same lumber. They DID ORDER the old timey Stove which is really gas……not wood burning! He built Carolyn some very beautiful furniture! Oh, Jon is and has been for many years an excellent artist. His paintings now hang in a good many NC galleries and he gives art classes at his studio and on YouTube! Here is the link for his Art Site: www.houglumfineart.com
ENJOY, WE DID! KEITH