Our mountain cabin is coming along. I have not been there in a couple of months because, ummmm, it is COLD! Hopefully this time next year the windows will be in, siding on and smoke will be billowing from the wood stoves pipe.
Big Buckaroo and I went for a night away date when my mom was in town (more on that trip later) and we stopped by so he could show me what he and his dad had been working on while I was warm and toasty at the Park.
Looking good! The metal roof is on, a slippery job, but he got it done without falling off.
He even has some wood stacked on the porch! Um, the wood stove is in our barn at the park, so until it is up at the cabin and it is cold outside, I will not be spending a night at Rockwell. I have become a wimp in my old age.
Scaffolding has been built and work done on one of the end walls. It is high!
The inside still looks the same, I love it. Look at those hand hewn beams, my man rocks.
We have arranged to have our well drilled, caulked the old farm windows we re-did, and bought much of our siding. Just need some warmer weather. We can’t wait to spend next Christmas in our little cabin in the woods.
The 20 beautiful rock columns were complete, so it was time to get going. I need a roof over my head people.
I have grown tired of camping out, even though I now have a small, and I mean small, camper to sleep in. I complained so much that my sweet husband bought a 1970 something trailer from our good friends, gutted it and made a queen size bed on one side and a twin on the other, that is all that fits in there. I told you it was small.
No more sleeping on an air mattress on the ground that inevitably will lose the majority of its air during the night. They really don’t make those air mattresses tough enough for 2 little boys.
Big Buckaroo and his dad put the first board on and away we went. They even let me use the screw gun. Thankfully, the bits that go on those things are not that expensive because I kept stripping them.
By the end of three days (it drizzled rain the majority of the time) we had all the floor joists/girders complete and the two decks complete (this picture only shows one of the decks).
We are ready for sub-flooring which will be done this weekend by Big Buckaroo.
And, we have a barn raising, well cabin raising, planned for two weeks from now.
Everyone is invited, free food and campsite in the mountains. All you need is some muscle and cool power tools (generator provided, we are in the middle of nowhere without electricity).
Don’t worry, we are not Amish so failure to attend the barn (well, cabin) raising without the best of reasons will not lead to censure within our community or my blog community since my readership dwindled dramatically when I stopped posting during the Summer, I need all three readers to stick around.
While there are some nice showering facilities, the toilet part is between you and mother nature……
Armed with Skin So Soft, poison ivy wash and a portable DVD player (kid sitter when it gets very hot), we headed back to the mountains to work on our cabin. This time, fortunately, I did not have to dig massive holes in the ground, Big Buckaroo took it easy on me.
Prior to being at the historical park where we reside, we were at a mountain park that the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) helped build. History lesson: The CCC was a public work relief program for unemployed men, focused on natural resource conservation from 1933 to 1942. As part of the New Deal legislation proposed by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), the CCC was designed to aid relief of high unemployment stemming from the Great Depression while carrying out a broad natural resource conservation program on national, state and municipal lands.
They constructed rustic, rock-and-timber buildings and massive lodges, they were highly skilled artisans. So, when some of these rock structures need to be replaced or new ones added to look as if they were built back in CCC time, who do they call? Mr. F.
And, when it was time to build a firm foundation for our cabin, we called Mr. F who is definitely an artisan.
Welcome to the Rock (say that with your best Sean Connery voice, I love that movie!) I was in awe of how it was like a puzzle that he was putting together.
Here, one of his apprentices (which is also one of his nephews) works on the mortar. It made me think about how many of these types of things are a lost art as kids grow up only wanting to be doctors and lawyers and make a ton of money.
Mr. F shared his expertise with the Buckaroos, I hope they find a skill they are passionate about and are as skilled at as Mr. F.
He showed Littlest Buckaroo how to choose a rock and place it.
He is very proud of his work.
A few of the front pillars are quiet tall and level. It’s amazing, I can’t even get a cake to look level.
Not to be out done by Littlest Buckaroo, Little Buckaroo works on a pillar. Yep, they talked Mr. F’s ear off, so he had to put them to work. But, what a wonderful thing for them to watch and learn. Maybe they can take over the show Rock Solid, well, after they decide to not be pirates anymore.
Isn’t that beautiful? The picture makes it look lopsided, but it is straight, it is me that is a little crooked. That is not the first time that I have been a little off kilter.
Twenty (20) of them later (this picture does not show all 20, they were not done when I took my chigger-bitten children home), we are ready to start putting some sticks on these babies.
I look forward to sharing with you what we have decided to name our place in the woods and the progress on the cabin. Come back and visit The Park Wife, I have missed you guys! (hey a comment here and there is appreciated, sorry to beg.)
Well, our dreams are not impossible, just time-consuming and not as fast as my “I want everything perfect and NOW personality” calls for.
Many people pack up for trips to state parks to vacation, but The Park Wife and family pack up and leave the park to get away from it all. Work on our land and cabin is coming along, with many chigger bites and cases of poison ivy later, we have progress!
Last year at this time, this piece of land was covered with trees, now, it is cleared and designated as our cabin site. Ooh, I love me some big trees that provide shade.
The special event/public relations gal in me took over and said we had to have a proper ground-breaking ceremony. Thankfully, after 10 years of blissfulness, Big Buckaroo has learned to just give in to my quirkiness and waited for me to get the camera. After praying over the site, the guys all got their shovels ready and we broke ground on our dream cabin.
Twenty, yep 20 holes were dug for footers by Big Buckaroo and myself, yes, I said 20 holes dug in the heat and over a 2 day period no less. Did I mention there were 20 of those babies. My nails were a wreck after this weekend.
See, The Park Wife was actually there working. Since I am always behind the camera it looks like I don’t do any work, but oh mercy, I am there and I am working.
The rebar was placed in and then we cemented our decisions for the cabin!
A cement truck traveling 3/4 of a mile back into the woods, over hilly terrain was thought to be impossible, but now, didn’t I say earlier that this is not an impossible dream?
One big heavy truck, one adventurous driver and some dry weather later, we now have footers poured. Thank goodness because the thought of hand mixing 200, yep 200 bags of bagged cement does not top The Park Wife’s Fun Things to Do list. Imagine my nails after that. Oh mercy, get me back to civilization!
The cement truck was the highlight of the weekend for the Buckaroos. They went through about a day of wanting to be a cement truck driver. Hey, Peter Pan, Bob the Builder, Indian, President, army man, cement driver, whatever they want to do as long as they give it all they got. This week, after watching Treasure Island, they want to be pirates. They go around singing “yo ho ho and a bottle of rum”. I am sure that would be a big hit at church, a little Amazing Grace and bottle of rum.
Big Buckaroo was on hand to aim the little metal army thingy (I bet it has another name, but I like my descriptive name better) in each hole. Big Buckaroo just told me it is called it a “shute”. Well, shoot, I prefer little metal army thingy.
The cement has set and ready for the next step. And, mercy me, we braved the heat and chiggers again recently to complete the next step in cabin building 101.
A little teaser: Jesus said,”A wise man builds his house upon a rock”.
Although hurricane season has really dampened (sorry for the pun) my spirits about our land, progress was made. Due to a very wet August (in the South, “wet August” is an oxymoron) we have not been able to have the bulldozer guy work on our road. That means that we have to ride the 4-wheeler in the mile from our road to cabin/campsite. That does not sound too bad, right? Well, don’t forget that we have to take in all our bags, camping equipment, oh, and let’s not forget the kids. Plus, my in-laws along with a nephew who tagged along for this trip. We were glad they went with us and so were the chiggers who had a wide variety to choose from with our guests there. Needless to say, my MIL who is more of the spa kind of lady will not be going back until the cabin is built. You were quiet the trooper MiMi.
Big Buckaroo and my FIL were able to get everything ready for hunting season and we put stakes in the ground for the cabin. We staked out 2 locations that are very close to each other, but there are many factors that have to be addressed before we make the final decision, like which oak tree provides the maximum amount of shade in the summer, which place will face the old homesite best (where we will build an outdoor patio/kitchen where the fireplace remnants are), where the road will go (in front of or behind the cabin) etc.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. It is a bit overwhelming at times because I am one of those Norman Rockwell minded people. I want all our holidays to look like one of his paintings on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. So, every decision about the cabin has to fit into this mindset. Now, Big Buckaroo has much different, um, logical reasons for the actual decisions, but hey, I have to put in my Rockwell two cents here and there. Does it really matter where the solar panels are going or is it more important that where the table goes makes Thanksgiving Dinner evoke those old time feel good feelings? Well, alright, I am willing to compromise a little bit as long as we have power.
The Little Buckaroos amaze me at what troopers they are, they never complained about the bugs or riding in and out or the bugs, did I mention the bugs? It was a wonderful trip, but I was happy to be home in my own clean, bugless bed!
I have been pressured, I mean asked politely by a few of you to continue Big Buckaroo and my love story. So, watch over the next couple of days and you will get a brand new installment of The Park Wife and The Ranger. Get up to date if you are new around these parts here.
As I have said, we took our 15-year-old nephew with us up to our land, can I hear a hooray for child labor! Oh, now we did not make him work too hard, he did not almost have a heat stroke or get eaten up by chiggers, oh wait, that is me.
We are going to have to move our campsite at our land soon to be closer to our building site. So, I told Tyler we needed a fire ring, he has experience building these so I gave him free reign. Rock is not hard to come by on our land so he started digging a circular hole and for some reason his old aunt (um, yea The Park Wife) got charged with moving all the HEAVY rocks to where we were going to build the fire ring.
It was hot, we sweated, and thankfully, we got to stay in a hotel instead of camp out in 900 degree heat. I am not going back until it cools off, really, well, O.K. if Big Buckaroo REALLY wants to go, but, I am checking into Bed & Breakfast’s. It is HOT outside people! We live in the South.
This was the second layer of rocks. Do you see the huge center ones? Yes, The Park Wife carried, well drug them. I need a massage! Well, at least some chigger medication.
Tyler’s Fire Ring. The boy did good! I am very proud of him, he is a great kid!
Our trip was nice, we topped it off with a visit to an extraordinarily beautiful State Park Lodge. Stay tuned I will post photos soon, really, I will.
Sorry for not posting as much, I have been busy with kiddos, family visiting, church commitments, solving world trade problems, the U.S. deficit, and on and on.
We spent an extraordinary extended weekend at our land, camping out, clearing our cabin site, and itching. Alright, I have pretty much kept the poison ivy at bay this time but the chiggers and ticks did me in. Is this what I signed up for people? Well, I guess I did when I married a park ranger.
When we got there, this little piece of the property was covered in cedar trees, poison ivy, vines, and other stuff that made it impossible to even walk through it. With a lot of blood (from vines), sweat (from the heat and brush fire) and tears (are we done yet? I am itching), we have it cleared a bit. This is the area where we will build our sustainable cabin in the woods.
A special surprise! Big Buckaroo’s dad along with his two sisters came to visit and got suckered into helping out. The Buckaroo’s wanted to be like their Pops and have a bandanna on to keep the sweat out of their eyes. They then turned into David headbands and they played David and Goliath most of the day. Hey, whatever keeps them busy. They were troopers, they did not whine or complain about being outside watching the adults work for 3 days, plus, we forgot to bring toys along and the DVD battery was dead. So, they had to make their own fun, and they DID!
This is a spring fed creek that we go through to get to the building site.
If our home or cabin ever burns down, there is no need to investigate, I would be a horrible arsonist. It took work to get the brush to burn, thank goodness Pops was there to start and man the fire or the piles would still be sitting there.
And, here is our big creek. We had a great time cooling off in the COLD water and the Buckaroo’s had plenty of rocks to throw in the water.
This will be our back yard area, the picture does not do it justice. I will try to do better next time!
We returned to the creek to wash off and cool off before heading home. It was a wonderful weekend filled with what is important to us ~ our family, our land, hard work and most of all, working on our dream!
We just returned from visiting our land and we had a blast, well except for the ticks and poison ivy. We did a lot of clearing around the old homestead to try and decide where we want to build our cabin.
Big Buckaroo worked on the well we found just to see what we had there.
Here is what it looked like when we found it.
Isn’t this amazing! We pumped out the majority of the water. Can you imagine digging this 100 years ago, no modern technology, just a shovel, pick ax, and muscles?
Speaking of muscles (hehe, I love to embarass Big Buckaroo), we mucked out about a foot off the bottom. There was not a treasure chest, but I am sure we will find some cool stuff when we get a little more out….when my poison ivy rash heals.
Postscript: After we finished this, Big Buckaroo built a cover for the well. So, all of you worried about the LIttle Buckaroo’s falling in, rest assured, we took care of it.
One part of owning our land that we love is exploring on it. The last time we were there, we crossed a stream and saw jonquils in bloom. We remembered a good friend of ours, who is an old park naturalist, say when he was out walking our land with us that if you see jonquils it is an old homesite. Jonquils are not native so someone had to have planted them.
Well, we saw jonquils and then found this!!!!!!
If you look close, you will see an old fireplace in the distance and right at the bottom, center of the picture are rocks that were used as footings for a home. All four footing rock piles are still there.
Here is the back of the fireplace, pretty cool stuff.
This is the front of the fireplace. Right in front of it you will see a huge cedar tree that is estimated at 80 -85 years old. So, the home has been gone at least this long.
When we walked a few feet from the old homestead site, we found the hand dug well! People, this is some awesome stuff.
My mind just goes crazy thinking of the people who lived here a hundred years ago ~ what their life was like, what the kids did way out in the middle of nowhere, how they had to work hard all day just to put food on the table and wake up the next day and do it all over again.
Big Buckaroo has found a few more wells on the property and we have more exploring to do. We are going to have to borrow a metal detector, can you imagine what we will find!
The Park Wife’s Life/Love story will continue this week, stick around,