• Building a command post

    by  • April 12, 2011 • Design, Home Building

    2011-3 Command Post Table 1

    Redwood command post table today, 10 years old

    Alexander Selkirk was a Scot whose adventures on an uninhabited island were reputed to be the basis for Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. From ‘Verses Supposed to be Written by Alexander Selkirk’ by poet, William Cowper, are these lines:

    “I am monarch of all I survey,
    My right there is none to dispute.”

    2000-11 Command post table plan

    2000-11 Command post table plan

    When we first bought the property here in October 2000, I was inspired by a shady, cool area above where the house would be built to make for ourselves a spot. This spot is on a rise above where the house is now. There are three tall Ponderosa pines there and three or four oaks, with a line of small manzanitas in front. The mountain, which inspired us to choose this place to live, rises above all.

    For the first five years we had no electricity, no water and it was a few months before we even had a flat place to park our small trailer. We needed a living room,…a spot.

    2001-4 April New Table & Goat shed

    April 2001 New table and goat shed on the hill beyond

    2011-3 Table detail

    Table detail

    The very next visit, we built a redwood table, with hand tools, the posts set two feet into the ground, with no concrete like my grandfather told me one time. Every morning I was here, about once a month, I’d bring coffee in my carafe, a blanket for before the sun rose, a magazine which never got read and bird seed. As soon as I saw morning light separate the sky from the trees, I’d be up there.

    2001-5 Watching the Grading

    2001-5 Watching the grading "I am King of all I survey"

    From here at the command post, as the neighbors dubbed it, we watched all the activities needed to build a home here. From here, we watched our troops, I mean the bulldozer guys, carve out the pad for our house and we were filled with satisfaction and excitement.

    2001-5-15 Finished pad with home outline

    2001-5-15 Finished pad with home outline

    From my perch at the command post these words, “I am monarch of all I survey”, came to my mind as I watched my husband, arms folded, as he watched the bulldozers making their passes back and forth, moving dirt. It was also the coolest area so when the family was here during the sometimes over 100 degree heat, it would be where the kids would gather with their crafts and where we’d serve lunch and nap.

    2005-4 Daffodils bloom

    2005-4 Daffodils bloom, marked with rocks edges.

    I planted daffodils and hung bird feeders and troughs, taken from the goat shed. I made a brush out of pine needles and yarn, so I could brush away the leaf litter, each morning. I found an old wooden chainsaw box, already painted the color of the pine needles and set it between two pines to hold extra birdseed. I made myself at home.

    2005-2 House Framing

    2005-2 House Framing

    From here I watched our house framed from beginning to end during a week when Tractor Man was to have joined me, but ultimately couldn’t.  In February of 2005, the building had started. I was alone with this unexpected joy, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner here at the table, and at the end of three days the three workmen were finished and I shook each hand. We had never spoken, but I had left them to their job and the men, I’m sure, were amazed to have an avid audience.

    2011-3 Command Post Table 3

    2011-3 Command post overlooks the house. We have lived here for five 1/2 years now.

    It’s good to make a spot of your own in the garden, somewhere that is comfortable so you will look forward to settling down there. It will be a place to simply observe in peace.

    2011-3 Command Post Table 2

    Weve added some old iron swivel chairs, durable and they dont blow away, and a hammock

    2011-3 Command Post Table 1
    Command post table today
    2011-3 Command Post Table 1

    Redwood command post table today, 10 years old



    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.