Yesterday I saw an ad on Craigslist for rough sawn cedar in agreeable dimensions for a great price, so of course I called. Today I went to pick it up. First of all, I would like to emphasize that I grew up in a rural place. Rural is comfortable and comforting to me. Where I went for these boards, was well past rural and extremely close to the Heart of Nowhere. It went something like this.
Rather than give me an address, the guy said just to call when I got to Somewhere and he would guide me. Apparently he reconsidered, because when I got there, I was told to meet him at the only fast food place in town (if I told you the name of this establishment, you might understand how far outside of an actual city we already were). From there I followed him down a pretty good sized road, a pretty good way, until we turned onto another smaller road. Coincidentally one of Dan's coworkers lives down this road, so I still didn't feel too adrift -- until we shot past his place and kept going and going and turned onto an even smaller road. Now would be a good time to mention that I had been listening to NPR. Specifically a story on meth addicts and meth labs and the rural environments where they are often found. And the super explosive Shake and Bake meth method. And all I could think as we drove deeper into the void, was "This dude is taking me to his meth lab." I tried to pay close attention to my surroundings and started working on an escape strategy should something go wrong. And then we turned again. Onto a one lane mud road, into dense forest. And at this point I almost stopped, but I had come so far...
So I cautiously rolled along, looking for places to turn around if I needed to and wondering how much control I would have over a pickup speeding backward over a bumpy mud road. And then I saw the sawmill. This was legit. He opened up his shop and that warm cedar smell flooded out, making me want the boards like the open door of a bakery makes me want to eat myself stupid on bread and cake. I left feeling bad that I had misjudged the guy who hand milled my new cedar planks and gave me a discount when he found out what they were for. That's not to say there wasn't something shady happening in that trailer, but nothing blew up while I was there. And I will go back when he has more milled and get another truckload.
Now I have enough planks for four deep raised beds (hello potatoes!) and they only cost 15 bucks per bed and a few gray hairs.