March 06, 2011

Beams for Passage Way

At center-left of this photo you can see a passageway that divides the large room (foreground) with the circular Kiva room (not visible). The stone and cob wall that divides the rooms is almost 3-feet thick.  In order to continue the wall above the passage-way I need to span the divide with 7-8 foot long & 8-10 inch diameter beams. 

The most plentiful local hardwood in the Arivaca area is Mesquite.  Mesquite is a very dense wood that make it ideal lintels over doors/windows and passage-ways (so hard it dulls saw blades fast!).  Note: Residents of Arivaca harvest the trees seed pods for milling when dried into a wonderful- nutty flavored flour rich in nutrients (link to info on Mesquite flour).

I have land in a canyon where a Mesquite Bosque is situated in a dry wash area. I was able to selectively harvest the 4 beams I need to span the opening. The hardest part was lifting the mesquite logs.  For example, the log lying flat in the photo is 8-foot long and 10" in diameter.  It weights over 250-lbs.  I could barely lift one end to position at the end of my truck's tailgate to slide it into the bed for transport.  Inches at a time, I finally loaded them all in.

The next step will be to strip the bark off to expose the beautiful texture of the wood (see other posts in this blog for photos showing the attraction of finished mesqite lintels.)

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