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After we moved up the mountains to our beautiful new location, we had to begin building our new house. While it was under construction, we stayed in my dad’s future office. All the supplies we’d helicoptered up from our old house had to be piled into the unfinished office. The office is only a 15-by-15-foot cabin—that’s only 225 square feet for six people and loads of supplies. Nothing had been built inside yet, but that week we built a small bed, shelves, table, sink, makeshift tarp shower, and a small loft where we boys bunked. All of this practically took up every bit of floor space. The word cozy took on a whole new meaning.
To begin building our new house in the jungle, we had to sink foundation pillars into the ground. There were 70 of these ironwood pillars, and we hoped that would really make everything solid. They all had to be sunk and re-sunk until they were all the same level. On top of these we had lots of crossing beams that tied everything together super solid. At this point, the structure resembled a waffle.
The flooring was the hardest part of the house. Each board was uneven and warped, so we put in hours of hand planing and fitting everything together as close as possible.
All the wood for our jungle house had to be manually carried on our shoulders up the mountain to the house. It was a ton of work! Our tribal buddies were always a huge help, and our best friend, Pu, was up working with us every day. The frames and walls went up pretty fast, but the roof was a feat. Eventually we got it done, and it was a cool job, building our own house. The new house is a cabin, different from the round house, but there are some similarities: a bigger loft, pull-up bar, handmade furniture, hanging chairs, cat door. We dug a cellar that we are converting into our insect “lab.” Building a jungle house was a ton of work, and we were glad to see it completed. We definitely could not have done it without our tribal buddies!
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