The trusses are coming, the trusses are coming!

The trusses are here!

We woke up to four or five inches of snow and a two-hour school delay today. My first thought was I wonder if they’re going to get the trusses in this morning. After we shoveled our driveway and I warmed up with a hot cup of coffee, I pulled on my snow boots and a warm jacket, grabbed the camera, and headed out to the Desert Rain site at 9:00 a.m.

Trusses delivered on snowy morning

Desert Rain trusses make their way up the alley behind the home—but first, the truck driver chains up the wheels after getting stuck.

It was clear but cold, and it was quickly apparent that an overnight snow storm wasn’t going to halt progress on the house. I walked up the narrow and none-too-straight (and unpaved) alley to find the truck driver—with a load of trusses behind his truck—chaining up. He was stuck mid-alley, though the crane had already pulled in and was set up and ready. Once he chained up he was able to move forward and get the trusses back to the crane without a problem. As I watched the huge truck rumble by, framer Jason Bozovich laughed. Having just averted what could have been a day-changing setback he jokingly asked “What could possibly go wrong?” Happily, nothing did.

I know this is what builders deal with all the time?cranes and backhoes and big rigs and platforms and power tools that go “phwoosh-ch-ch” when you use them. But if you’re like me, and you don’t normally work around this stuff, then it’s pretty fun to watch. The framers traversed the tops of the walls and grabbed the trusses as they were lowered from above. With huge beams flying through the air and men walking 15 feet above the ground like it was nothing, I couldn’t help but to think of a high wire act.

The first truss is lowered.

The first truss was placed around 9:30, and the last ones were placed before lunch. It was a gorgeous day, especially with all of the fresh snow from the night before. At one point a Bald Eagle swooped down over the roof and headed on up river. What a sight. Scott Creson pointed it out and everyone took a minute to try to follow its path, but it was gone as quickly as it came. And, of course, I had just shoved my camera back into my pocket when the eagle made his brief appearance.

Everyone took a momentary pause at the eagle sighting, but went right back to work. The crane kept delivering the trusses, one by one, and they were quickly but carefully fastened into place. As with all new wood being used in Desert Rain, the trusses are made of FSC-certified lumber. The wood was purchased from Parr Lumber, and the trusses were fabricated in Redmond—18 miles north of Bend—by Quality Truss.

Placing the last few trusses on Desert Rain.

With the trusses now in place you can clearly see the angles of the roof. This design allows for the home to capture the maximum amount of precipitation. Rain and snow will drain from the roof and collect in specially designed gutters. That water will then flow through downspouts and into pipes that direct it to the home’s 35,000 gallon cistern, which will be located under the garage. From there the water is filtered at several points and pumped back to the home as potable.

Most of the trusses in place.

A view from the inside—it’s like being in the belly of a whale!

Walking on high beams, snow on the ground, cold temperatures biting and hands and noses—this was probably one of the harder days on the site for this crew. But besides that initial hick-up in the alley it all went off without a hitch. And we spotted that Bald Eagle to boot. Soon the boards will be placed on the trusses, the siding will go up, and it will continue to look more and more like a livable home. But for now, the view from the inside is still pretty remarkable.

Here are a few more photos from the day: