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  • It was early November 2003 when we reached the summit of our workshop
    The first snowstorm came before we finished sheathing the frame.
    We shoveled a foot of snow out and hurried, slowly.

    We got up early to start work at first light but the days were closing in.
    It was 20 degrees, getting dark and we were on the back roof stapling down tarpaper, and fighting.

    There was a point where we kept going only because we needed to finish the first phase, wrap it up for the winter.
    It had stopped being an adventure and was just hard work.

    The next spring we continued where we left off.
    We could not afford help then and when we ran out of money for materials we waited until we did a few jobs and then moved forward again.

    The neighbors were glad to see the old place getting fixed up.
    “Granville Dutton would have liked to see this,” one of his grandsons told us.
    He made a gesture to across the road, to the other hill where a pile of stones formed the outline of a foundation, still visible above the tall grass.
    “Your building it like they used to.”

    What is worth doing takes time.
    So I told myself.
    My husband built a wooden gantry to hold a chain hoist, to support the weight of the beams we lifted into place.
    We nicknamed the hoist, “10 strong sons”.
    I cried when we pulled the first beam into place and secured it with a brace.

    The building was a project and also a means to an end.
    We needed a place to make and restore furniture and a place to make art.
    When the burnout of construction wore off we came back to our life with a renewed sense of what we had achieved.

    All of the things I learned building the workshop can be applied to a marriage.
    Everything about building is a metaphor for life.

    Today is our anniversary, of when we got married 23 years ago.
    It has been 29 years that we have been together.

    Building a life.
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