When we first visited our Petersen Lake property, we were quick to decide that together with some general clean up and repairs, a small amount of new construction would be in order.
Perhaps a screened in porch or gazebo? Should we think about replacing the roof? Did the cabin foundation need reinforcing, and so on.
Then there were the logistics. How much of what would we need? How would we get the materials to the building site and most importantly, who could we get to do the work?
I am about as handy with carpentry tools as I would be at the controls of a F18 fighter jet. To be honest I would stand a better chance of getting the jet off the ground than the walls of a building.
After exchanging several emails with good friend Eric Lund, owner and operator of Esnagami Wilderness Lodge, I managed to solve many of the logistics problems. He provided me with a contact at Nakina Air Services, who had the aircraft needed to fly the building materials into the lake, and he also hooked me up with several local building centres that could not only supply the materials but would deliver them to the float base.
The next challenge was to find a builder and we really lucked out when we came across the WWF Construction Company, better known as the We Work for Food Construction Company. This new and rather hastily formed company is owned and operated by good friends Lou and Roman, otherwise known as Rocky and Bullwinkle.
They were quick to draw up plans and a materials list that would have done the builders of the Taj Mahal proud. Following a lengthy discussion about my budget and the need to concentrate on things I really needed as opposed to things the WWFCC insisted I really wanted – but didn’t know it yet – we finally agreed to confine our construction activities to several specific projects, including new siding on the cabin and a 12’x12’ screened in gazebo.
We arrived just after Labour Day and the weather could not have been better. Warm (but not too warm) days, clear cool nights and a northern builders dream, no bugs. Nakina Air Services had their planes in the air shortly after our arrival and managed to get all of the materials in that same day using one Cessna 185 flight for the 2x4’s and a Turbo Otter for the balance.
Throughout the week I did all of the cooking, much of the fetching and carrying and, under their watchful eyes, a little bit of basic carpentry. While I am no genius with a hammer and saw – I can hold my own with a frying pan so they ate well enough that by the end of the week the WWFCC considered their bill paid in full.
Every evening after a hard day’s work – and these guys put in a very full day each and every day – it was a dip in the lake to clean up, followed by dinner and then a campfire on the beach topped off with a glass or two of good brandy and some cigars under a canopy of a million bright stars.
The construction went off without a hitch, and as you can see from the attached image gallery their workmanship was first class. Our crew was so efficient we even had some time left over to do a little fishing.
Just before we were about to leave I was standing on the beach admiring our handiwork when I started to think about how nice it would be to add a little addition to the newly minted gazebo. “We” could build in a couple of extra bunks, install a small wood stove and perhaps a…
Let’s just say that before we hit Kapuskasing the tentative plans for phase two had already been drawn up. So stay tuned for more about our latest project this coming September.