Friday, July 17, 2009

Progress Update #3, Building the Cabin

We're back, and what a week it has been! In spite of some minor setbacks, common to most building projects (and some not so common), we made incredible progress building our cabin.

Upon arrival, we found the camper was free of wasps, which had been our plague last year. However, the bed had been taken over by garder snakes. They made a home under the camper's water tank, which was stored under the bed. To get them out, it meant cutting out the water tank. However, we now have a water tank for future installation in the cabin. Eddie pulled a total of seven snakes out of the bed, patched the holes, and duct-taped over the patches and the entire under-bed storage area. Lots of duct tape- no more snakes.

Our second setback was with our initial attempt to pick up the lumber. Apparently, there is a spending limit on my debit card, and with the purchase of gas for the trip, and a stop at Cabela's for a solar shower, the total purchase price for the lumber was over my daily spending limit. This set us back a day building, but we cleaned up around the camper, cutting down all the tall grasses around and under it. We also put down some black plastic sheets underneath before returning home to prevent regrowth. Hopefully, this will cut down on invading critters.

Our friend, Jimmy, arrived during the night and slept in his truck. He brought up a bunch of power tools, ladders, etc. After some much needed coffee, we all headed out to the lumber yard. Between Jimmy's truck and our utility trailer, we were able to take everything in one trip. We spent the better part of the morning clearing the tall grass from the most level area, setting up the generator, and unloading tools and lumber. Construction got underway about noon, and by the end of the day, the floor was laid and insulated, and four posts were up.

The floor needed some levelling, and we set up the solar shower shelter. We needed some materials, but since the local place was closed, we had a long drive to the nearest Home Depot. However, we stopped at a sporting goods store and picked up a water filter/purifier to safely use the water we have on site. Jimmy had to leave as he had work in the morning, but we were joined by a new friend, Leif. How lucky are we to have met an architect who lives only a few miles away? Progress picked up quickly under a professional's guidance, and the south and west walls were framed and raised.

It was just us on Monday, with Eddie and his oldest son doing most of the work. Jimmy had left his power tools and ladders, which was a huge help. The remaining walls were framed and raised, and the outer walls on two sides went up.

The rest of the outer walls went up and openings for windows and doors were cut. Our new friend dropped by again to help us out with the second floor and roof. There was a slight mistake made with the window framing, that would be easily corrected the next day. We also ended up choosing to go with longer boards for the roof to give us more headroom in the second floor. By day's end, we had the floor for the second floor mostly done. My camera battery ran out of charge today.

It rained on and off all day. Work did get done, even through most of the rain. We exchanged the lumber for the higher roof, the window frames were adjusted, and the rest of the floor for the second floor was installed. We decided to stay an additional day.

Rain was predicted for the later half of the day. We took advantage of the morning to get a few more cuts done (for the roofing boards), clean up around the building site, and to pack up.

As soon as my camera is charged, I will post pictures. Even though it ran out of charge before we left, it doesn't look much different than the last few pictures I took. We still have the roof to put up, and the interior to finish, but it's starting to look like a cabin. We're also planning on putting in a wrap-around porch on the east and south sides.
Another couple weeks' worth of work, and the cabin will be complete. Now, back to raising funds for the next trip!


  1. Howdy! Vedis here.

    Is this cabin going to be a live year round cabin or a getaway cabin?

    It's wonderfully small for a live year round cabin and I would be interested in how you plan on organizing it if that is the case.

    Heck, I would be interested in how you plan on organizing it if it's a Getaway cabin too. (I'm interested in organizing, can you tell?)

    Looks like a great start!

    All the best!

  2. This cabin serves several purposes. It gives us experience and a place to stay while we build our house. We're planning on doubling it's size lengthwise, and adding a full second floor, with a third floor loft.

    After the house is built, the cabin can serve as a seperate building for homeschooling, or maybe a place to move all of my crafting stuff. And, it can always be used as a guest house. It is also our current bug-out location, or BOL. If there were to be an emergency, we could retreat to this location for the duration. Though, when we move, we will have to secure another location to serve as a BOL.

    The cabin is insulated, so we could stay in it during the winter. However, we do not have running water. We will eventually drill a well, but for now we're hauling it from a local stream and filtering it, or purchasing it. We are also going to install a composting toilet, we just haven't decided on the system yet.

    As far as the floor plan for this cabin, walking in from the font door, there will be a small table and two chairs for the dining area on the left. On the right, we'll have a sink that will drain out to a grey water filtering area (mostly gravel and plants), and a wood stove. The stove will heat the cabin, and let me heat water, cook stews, etc.

    The far left corner will be the living room with a large futon, and in the right hand corner, we'll have the toilet and a counter/cabinets for storage and to hold a pitcher & basin which will serve as the bathroom sink. The loft will be the bedroom.