Sandcastles of the Ultimate Handy Man

Posted by Paul Parr on March 9th, 2009

Sandcastle from July 2004
Sandcastle from July 2004

The Siesta Key sand, as mentioned in previous posts, is ideal for making into forms and characters. Since Nann and I moved to Siesta Key and have been able to view the beach everyday and walk it regularly (not regularly enough) and we often see where someone has taken the time to form this incredible sand into a sandcastle, figure or character. Some of these are very simple and obviously built and designed by a young person, perhaps with some help from a parent, sibling or friend. Others are more detailed and show the efforts of someone who was having fun in forming the sand. Every now and then you will come across those incredible sand formations where someone went out and showed their talents in creating sand figures that stop the beach walkers and bring out the cameras of those fortuitous enough to have brought theirs along such as this sandcastle that I shot about 4 or 5 years ago before Sunset Royale in the background was completely redesigned and remodeled. Today was one of those days and I will share with you my findings of March 8th, 2009 on my walk on the beach. This is truly a busy time of the year and the beach parking lot is generally closed by noon with no room for more cars. The area of the public beach itself was also loaded with people enjoying the beach, surf and even the 62 degree water. I smile every time I think of myself finding this water temperature to be cold, when this was about as warm as it got back in Michigan where I lived for most of my life. We new it was summer when the water reached 60 degrees.

On this particular morning as I walked toward the shoreline I noticed a familiar scene. Our location on the north end of Siesta Key Public Beach gives Sunset Royale a rather unique view of life at the beach. The areas on Siesta Key Public beach that are in front of the concession stand and beach facilities along with the area between the four life guard stations are the most popular beach area for visitors to claim as “their piece of sand” for their day at the beach. This is where we look from the balcony of our 4th floor penthouse when we want to determine how busy the beach is today. Because we are past the last life guard station on Siesta Key Public Beach the sand in front of Sunset Royale is not as populated with beach goers and this is also the designated location for all Siesta Key beach weddings. In spirit, Nann and I probably attend more weddings each year than what would ever believe possible unless you were a person of the cloth or a wedding coordinator. This is also the location where you will sometime find a very serious sand castle builder and today was one of those days.

Sandcastle building 101
Sandcastle building 101

I walked over to the building site of today’s sandcastle and introduced myself. I recognized the tools of the trade along with the location of construction to be that of a person I had occasionally seen busily at work in the past, but had not stopped to talk or interrupt as he went about creating his magic in the sand. When I would later return, he was always gone, but left on the sand a show stopper that would cause even the most ardent fast pace beach walkers and runners to stop and admire his work. Today was different, I introduced myself to Jeff Bierman, castle builder. Jeff came to the beach prepared for a day of work. He brought buckets for water to form the sand, shovels to get the sand for the project and a generally good attitude. I have to believe that Jeff carries the good attitude with him where ever he goes. I asked Jeff what motivates him to come to the beach and build in the sand. He gave me an impish grin and said, “laying around the house today seemed too easy and un-fulfilling”. He needed some exercise and thought he would go to the beach and get his workout. The chore is challenging, the sand and water are heavy and of course the task, build a quality castle in one-day, does put some pressure on you. Jeff and I exchanged some more pleasantries and Interesting things on the beachexchanged cards, I took a picture and continued on along the shore to catch up with Nann and her high school friend Jan who had stayed with us for the weekend. While walking to catch up I kept my eyes open for other interesting things on the beach. Finally I caught up with the girls and we walked into the Village and noted some of the changes that had taken place, walked through the Siesta Key Farmers Market, checked out the wait at the Broken Egg and decided to eat at the Cafe Continental Patisserie where we had a good brunch, met the new owners and started on our walk back to the condo. I took the beach to check out the progress on the sandcastle while Jan and Nann took Beach Road so they could stop in a couple of open houses.

When I returned to Jeff’s sandcastle building site I found he had made some pretty good progress and a number of friends and family had gathered at his building site to see what the white sands would form for Jeff today. In the digging of the sand around the already started castle Jeff had found a dragon buried in the sand. The dragon had a certain similarity to “Puff the Magic Dragon” who we all know lived by the sea, but then again that might just had been wishful thinking on my part. I took another picture and continued across the street to Sunset Royale to finish Sunday’s paper. Jan and Nann appeared at the same time I returned and we discussed Jeff’s progress. Jan packed up for her return to Orlando, we said our goodbye’s and I finished the paper. I then picked up my camera and headed back across the street at about 4:00 PM to see the how the Sandcastle turned out. Jeff and his friends were all relaxing and I took some more pictures. Jeff mentioned he was just wiped out from the hard day of work and could never had completed it without his friend Darrel from Minnesota. You can judge for yourself Jeff’s ability and ironically you can find out for yourself about Jeff’s talents. Jeff would gladly build you a sandcastle on your beach and more importantly Jeff has his own Handy Man and Repair business. He does pressure cleaning, repair & paint, carpentry, custom woodworking, A/C & Appliances, maintenance, minor electric and minor plumbing. Jeff lives between Venice and Sarasota and obviously can be found on Siesta Key, his favorite beach, whenever needed mind and body exercise demand a workout. You can call Jeff at 941-928-9920. I can’t speak for Jeff’s handy work, but I can say this, “the concept of hiring a handy man who understands the importance of completing a task the day you start it is a pretty rare find”, just ask any wife who attempts to have her husband take care of a task that has been hanging around too long without being resolved. Jeff starts and finishes all of his castles in one day.

After taking my last pictures of the finished sandcastle I walked further down the public beach and entertained myself observing the many different people who were covering Siesta Key Public Beach. In the midst of a mass of people I spotted a rather large elephant being sculpted by Jim Unger who is not a young republican, but is one heck of a sculpter. It was lumbering over everyone around it in that area of the beach. I pulled out my trustee Sony Cybershot and walked over to get a better look and some pictures. You never really know when someone decides it is time to get exercise and come down to the beach to concentrate on their workout for the day. I take that back, there is one day you can guarantee this will happen. It is usually the first Saturday in May when Siesta Key Beach hosts the Siesta Key Sand Sculpture Contest which is May 9th this year. Come on down or bette