Doing it yourself has certain rewards. You learn to do things you never thought you could do. So, if we wanted our own “real” restaurant, with no working capital and only our four hands, there was only one thing to do – build it ourselves.

The first thing we had to do was tackle Drake’s “front yard” – a very large grout bank on the shore of Sands Cove. The grout is left-over and not-wanted big chunks of granite from the Sands Quarry across the road. Well, the Old Man says, get your gloves on and start moving this grout around! We have to have a relatively flat surface to put a building on, so get busy.

Next we had to have a building. That meant going into our woods, cutting down trees, brushing them out and skidding them to the road. Trees the right size were down in the woods, some way from the road. The Old Man rigged up a block and tackle around big spruce at the edge of the road and ran an anchor rode down to the tree butts. Then he gave the signal to me – the skidder person – to take off down the road in our old truck. Eventually we had enough logs to build a restaurant. Back to our good friend with the portable sawmill and we soon a pile of lumber and logs.

Of course, there had to be a pile of paperwork too – building permits, loans, overboard discharge permits, licenses and inspections ad nauseum. I just waded through it all and got it done.

The Old Man started laying logs out on the grout. On top of them he nailed down the boards for the floor, covering a space 40 feet long and 20 feet wide.

The Old Man was no carpenter; all he had ever built were wooden traps in his shop, but he got out his chainsaw and maul, framed out the building, spiked the logs together for walls and we got the thing up and roofed over.

Every day “Old Ducka” Drake was out there giving us “Drake supervision,” which we translated as “droop-soop.” He would get mad, red in the face, throw his hat on the ground and wish he could hire us so he could fire us!

The Old Man took it in good part, laughing at him most of the time, and went his merry way. The dining room floor, listing to starboard, really drove Drake crazy. But the Old Man had a method to his madness. It had that list because he put scuppers in there so we could hose down the mess made by all those lobsters being smashed on rocks with oak knockers by our customers every night, on our tables. Sometimes that wasn’t all we hosed down – late lingerers beware!

We didn’t have room for a bathroom inside the building, so we did build another outhouse, except this time there was a real hopper, a sink and a door!

An old sink and grate became the steak pit. We filled it with charcoal briquettes, sprinkled wet hickory or maple wood chips on the coals, and it worked great – very tasty smoky steak. We needed a big-burner gas stove, for lobsters and clams in large kettles. For that, we found a big piece of iron fire-escape grid, which relic we found in the old school house debris. We got three heavy duty loop burners, took it all to the boatyard for welding and there was our stove. Yankee ingenuity, I believe this is called! The Old Man built counters, tables and cupboards, and we were in business, sort of.

For four hands’ worth (actually it was more like eight or ten hands’ worth, giving credit where it is due) and six weeks of work from standing trees to a building, it really wasn’t too shabby. Doing it ourselves turned out to be quite rewarding and exciting, if truth be told. We were on a roll and where that would lead us, you will see.