Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pratts Lumber

So why would someone blog about a lumber yard?
There are many reasons but the main reason is that LC and I are still busy working on the exterior of the house, which means we have had both little time and little money for exploring and adventures either small or large. 
Hopefully that will change soon, as a camping trip is in our near future.
The other reason is that Pratts Lumber is not your normal, every day, germane lumber yard.
With an arm that needed to rest, there was no painting happening by me on this day, and so we decided to pick up some 1x4s to build the frames for the windows and the uprights on the corners of the house.
Helpfully I searched the Internet, looking for phone numbers for Lowes and Home Depot, a lumber mill in Arco and a second one called Pratts in Blackfoot.
We were both physically tired from doing so much to the house so quickly, but we both also wanted to keep moving forward with improvements (suck it up and drive on) - eager to see each new piece of wood in place, each painted wall completed, as it improved the ugly appearance of the house.
Blackfoot is a town of only 10,000 people.
If you want to buy groceries there are a handful of options.
If you want to buy farming supplies there are a couple of options.
But aside from that, if you need to buy almost anything else it requires a trip to either Idaho Falls or Pocatello.
 And so it went with lumber.
There is a Lowes and a Home Depot in both of those cities.
We got the prices.
We called the place in Arco.  More expensive even for a lower grade of lumber.
Finally we called Pratts in Blackfoot.  Cheaper than Arco, more expensive than either Idaho Falls or Pocatello.
By the time we took gas into account, it would cost us about $25 more to buy in Blackfoot.
We could live with that.
Less time.  Less energy.  Less driving.  The wood quality was excellent.  And we were both pleased to support a local business as opposed to a chain store.
Pratts it was..................

LC had been to Pratts a couple of times over the past six months or so, but I had not been there in well over a year.
I had forgotten what an interesting and unique place it was.
Located in back of town, the entire place feels like some low key, welcoming, creative, gated compound.
The owners have both their home and their business on the same piece of property.
The land looks out over the hills that are in back of Blackfoot, and also contains large green spaces that are filled with trees.
As LC walked into the main office, I opened the back door of the Tahoe and made a quick grab for Korys' leash, trying to grab her before she bolted out of the vehicle in one smooth blur of motion.
LC would get wood, and we would wander............

Holding tight to my dog I looked around me, trying to get the lay of the land again.
The main office was a rustic log building, and standing outside in one corner was a Native American carved totem that towered over a two sided wooden bench.................
Walking beyond the totem I turned and looked back the way we had come.
There were small and functional structures to my left, directly in front of me lay the office and (further down the paved driveway) were all the expected covered structures that held various sizes and lengths of lumber.
As I stood there for a moment I realized that I had a good feeling about this place.
It wasn't frenetic Idaho Falls, and it wasn't frantic Pocatello, and it wasn't chain store Lowes or chain store Home Depot.
It was a quiet small business that had the feeling of an Old Towne as opposed to a place of commerce, and in my tired state that fit the bill.  It more than fit the bill.
It just..........worked.....................
Letting Kory follow her nose we wandered further and found this large wood statue of a lumber jack laying in front of endless logs.
They sawmill on-sight and me and my dog stood watching a guy moving logs, slowly building the pile higher in front of us....................
We headed back towards the main office.
With LC still nowhere in sight we wandered beyond the building and I stood for a moment looking at this owl.
It was crudely carved and whimsical, and it stood on its platform silently amusing me.
Walking beyond the owl I smiled at a middle aged man driving a Bobcat, and he stopped and spoke with me for a few minutes asking if I needed help.
(Well yes I do.  But not help with wood).........No thanks, we're waiting for someone.
We talked about the weather.  Yes it had been very warm recently.
And yes we would probably get nailed again soon.
I liked this place......................
On the opposite side of the property was a private home to the left and a series of interesting things to the right.
A windmill.  A log cabin.  An old wagon.
We headed towards these things, intrigued by the sight of the unexpected.................
Slowly we wandered back the way we had come.
As we turned the corner and again headed back towards to main building I saw LC.
The back of the truck was loaded with wood and he enthusiastically smiled at me.
Did you get the screws??
Got 'em!!
Do you want to eat a muffin before we head to the paint store?
We sat on the wooden bench beneath the Indian totem eating muffins and drinking coffee, and occasionally handing crumbs down to my happily watching dog.  
She's partial to blueberry..
So how much did you spend?  He told me.
With muffins quickly eaten and coffee quickly drunk, we grabbed a red plastic flag and stapled it to the longest piece of lumber.
It was time to head to the paint store and then get the hell out of Dodge................

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