Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to the Cabin

Larry had good reasons to stop work on the cabin: a--too hot; b--too much garden; c--too high a chance to encounter snakes; d--lots of storytelling (he's my roadie!); e--too much grass to cut, and f--lots of company this summer.

Now the garden is pretty much fried in this unrelenting heat, the company, grass and traveling have slowed down and the evenings are cooler. The snakes are still a possibility, of course.

Sunday morning we were there bright and early, trying to beat the heat. The cabin looked just as we had left it. Since Larry and Aaron removed the tin roof in May, the logs have been exposed to the weather all summer. That's actually a good thing. A lot of the dirt, bugs, dust and unidentifiable stuff washed away in the rain so it looks better than it did before.

We still have a lot of work to do. Our goal is to have it ready to disassemble the weekend of September 18 and 19, when we hope to have several of our sons available to help. To get there, we needed to get the roof rafters down, take off all the bits and pieces of lumber that have been tacked to the logs over the years in an attempt to stop the drafts between the logs, and remove all the one-inch oak boards from the inside of the log walls.

Roof rafters coming down!

Larry and I got the rafters down Sunday by hooking a rope around them and pulling them down with the truck. It worked beautifully. He's been working on the oak boards inside and has the second floor almost completely finished.

It's funny and an eyeopener to see what the people who lived in the cabin used in between the logs to stop drafts. The logs were chinked with red clay mud at first, apparently, and as time passed different residents filled in gaps with whatever they had at hand. Newspapers, burlap, old clothes, corncobs, duct tape, Prince Albert tobacco cans, chunks of wood all found their way into the cracks and were then covered over by boards nailed over the cracks. I can't imagine this worked very well and I'm sure it created a haven for mice, snakes and other creatures, as this photo attests:

Another interesting part of taking a cabin apart is to see the construction methods. This cabin was originally pegged together with wooden pegs. Can you imagine patiently whittling a bit of wood into a round shape to use as a super-sized nail? I'm saving some of the pegs just because they remind me to be patient, take time and things will come together. We're saving the roof rafters that are still in good condition too. These poplar poles were carefully hewed flat on one side to allow for the roof boards to lay flat. I believe the original roof was probably shake shingles, or perhaps boards that were lapped over each other. The last owner put a new tin roof on it about 20 years ago and the tin is still in excellent condition--so of course he wanted to keep it to re-roof his barn. Darn it.

Tonight we worked at the cabin again. I drove straight from work, meeting Larry there. Nothing like a sandwich and iced tea carefully prepared by my hubby (what a guy) after my 50+mile drive. A quick change of clothes in the front seat of my car (yeah, you should try that sometime!) and I was ready to go.

We finished up working and I got the camera out for a few photos for tonight's blog. I laid my camera on the front of my car and it rested down in the well where the windshield wipers hide and I thought, "I'll remember to get that before we leave." Did I remember? As those of you who follow me on Facebook know, I did NOT remember. My camera rode about 15 miles over rough bumpy roads and up and down hills, snuggled down beside the passenger-side wiper. I would have been sick to have lost or damaged this camera because I just bought it this spring and like it very much. The things we do when we're tired and preoccupied!

We hauled off a full truckload of scrap wood, old wire and one huge bag of trash. I wonder sometimes if we will ever finish hauling off trash, but the end is now a faint glimmer at the end of the tunnel. A few more evenings like tonight and I think we'll make our deadline.


Nance said...

oh man. (oh Sue!) wish I were there to help.

Country Whispers said...

Lots of work but it will be so worth it.
Cabins are so neat, they paint a picture in my mind of an older day and really make you think of how things were done back then, how people lived and so forth. Lots of history within those walls!

Mamabug said...

What an awesome project! Hope we keep hearing more about this cabin.

Granny Sue said...

Nance, I wish you could come and see it. Maybe one day, after it's finished!

I have always loved log houses, Jessica. Our first home started life as a cabin in the 1940's. I guess I'm piecing one together, one room at a time :)

Granny Sue said...

There will be a lot more cabin news as the project progresses, Mamabug. I wrote a post a couple years ago about the first cabin room we built. Here's a link to it:


Jai Joshi said...

You guys are incredible with how dedicated you are. I'd hire someone or wait for my sons to come and do it all!


Granny Sue said...

Jai, we're just cheap :) And so used to doing things for ourselves, it never occurs to us to hire someone to do it. This part is just dirty grunt work, and we are filthy when we're done. But it's slowly getting there. One hour at a time.

Nance said...

Sue, did you open all the PA tins? One of my family found a couple of hundred dollars in a Prince Albert tin once.

Nance said...

Sue, did you open all the PA tins? One of my family found a couple of hundred dollars in a Prince Albert tin once.

Susan at Stony River said...

It sounds like you've got the makings of an Old House Museum LOL

Amazing how well built it was, that it stood so long. I love your idea for reusing the logs; what a lovely history for the new room.

Anna said...

What an incredible project. So much history there. Great post!

Anna said...

What an incredible project. So much history there. Great post!

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