Scratch one duck blind raising off my life’s bucket list.
And though I’ve slapped together my share of waterfowl hunting blinds in the past I’d never been a participant in what amounted to a major duck-hunting blind project. Nope, never. Not on this order anyway.
The blind extends for 14 feet and is six feet wide. It stands about eight feet at the highest point, sloping to close to six feet at the back wall. The front is 42 inches tall: a perfect height for swinging on any right-to-left or left-to-right, dodging mallard or honking Canada goose.
The affair sits atop a frame with floor joists that are supported by 8-by-8 inch pedestals, for lack of the proper carpentry terminology.
For the floor we used planking from a torn-down barn, all rustic looking and weathered dry.
Maybe I need to place a caveat on the “we” part. The landowner’s son was in charge of the project, being his idea, his equipment and his building material. The other five provided minimal supervisory skills but did the grunt work.
Okay, another caveat here is in order. Four others did the hammering and sawing and supervising.
My task was to remove nails from the planks; a safe enough, make-busy-work affair designed so that I could say I had a part in the project, protecting my ego while at the same time staying out of everyone’s hair.
My reputation as something much less than a master builder has become generally well known.
Besides, the landowner’s son knows that my bad back and doctor’s orders have placed limitations on the severity of physical labor.
“You can be our cameraman,” the landowner’s son said.
And so I was, safely at a distance, I hasten to add.
I hunt this farm pond a lot for waterfowl and built something of a two-person duck-hunting blind that now lies rotting several steps to the east of the one going up.
But the location practically begs for another blind. And so the landowner’s son vowed we’d have a duck-blind raising.
He wants a place where he can take and train his own young sons in the fine art of killing ducks and geese.
That I would have the opportunity to use the blind when the family wasn’t busy with it, well, that was my perk for staying out of harm’s way by keeping my hands off the hammer and saw.
The rest of the crew aren’t much in the way of waterfowlers but they are all good friends. Each is willing to drop whatever he is doing to help another member of the close-knit clan. That includes participating in a duck-blind raising and using material from a torn-down barn.
By nightfall the frame, floor and joists were in place, leaving the crew to decide how best assemble the sloping roof and siding. That’s a project for another day not too far in the distance.
And I hope to be able to participate in that project as well. Although I’m still thinking that they’ll wisely keep the tools far out of my reach and give me a job that protects not only them but keeps me occupied.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn