Monthly Archives: October 2013

much fun at the Log and Timber Home Show

In the midst of a lull in activity at the coleman cabin, we were very happy to drive up to Chantilly, VA to check out the Log and Timber Home Show.  Once there, we were pleased to find exhibits by two of the vendors that we plan to use.  PermaChink stains, whom we plan on purchasing our stain from, not only had an exhibit set up but also a short workshop on staining technique as well.  What did we learn from them?  Mostly that we hope our budget will allow for someone else to do the staining for us!!! We were, however, able to narrow down what type of stain we will be using, as well as the color, at least for the exterior. We’re leaning towards the Cedar for the exterior and though still up in the air about the color choice for the interior, we are leaning towards the Light Natural

Also present was Don Jensen of Wood Doors by Don, who we would like to purchase our interior doors from. We had planned on taking the four hour drive to Wytheville, Virginia to check out the doors in person so were thrilled to have been saved from having to make that trip.  After talking with him in length, we were able to decide which door we will be using …you know, if we can ever get the building crew down to actually build our cabin. (New date for their arrival is Nov 11.)

There were also vendors selling handmade wooden tables and various other pieces of furniture, as well as plenty of wood carvings, antler chandeliers, animal skin chairs and benches.  We plan on making our own table out of logs from our property and I am now completely psyched about trying to do a chainsaw carving of a bear.  Max is sure I won’t be able to, silly boy. Challenge accepted…it’s on. 🙂

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potato canons, hobo pies and pumpkins

A few years back, when we were up visiting my brother and his family, Dave and Jason decided they needed to build a couple of potato canons.  They spent the morning viewing how-to videos, as well as examples of various different potato canon models, on YouTube then headed over to Home Depot to buy their supplies.  By late afternoon each family had their own potato canon and we all went out onto their back deck to test them out. None of us had anticipated just how loud or how far they would shoot! Fortunately, we didn’t take out any windows on the other side of the neighborhood.  As far as we know.

We were hooked from that point on and the firing-of-the-potato-canon has become a tradition at all important family events forever after.  Somehow however, we’ve continuously forgotten to bring it with us every time we’ve gone down to the lake… until this past weekend that is.

Somehow it doesn’t sound nearly as loud when you shoot it in a wide open space as when we have shot it at home!

Photos from Oct 20, 2013

Our fun was cut short when one of the neighbors came out to go fishing. No worries though, we had all had a few chances to see how far across the lake we could shoot, so we packed up the potato canon and ammo and headed up to Waffles Ridge to make Hobo Pies.

Having sufficiently stuffed ourselves, it was time for a little target practice…

After everyone had had their fill of shooting targets, we went back over to the lake for bit.

Having had several hours of fun, it was now time to pack up and head out.  Although we had to say goodbye to the Clarke family, Laura and Jared decided to join us for a late lunch on our way out at our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Caporal.


I handed the camera over to Max to take a quick photo of Jared, Laura, Dave and I as we share a toast

One more stop before heading home. We had yet to buy our fall pumpkins and the farmers market just happened to be right next to El Caporal….


After finding three practically perfect pumpkins, we headed back home, having had another fun-filled day and created many more lasting memories of perfect days spent at the coleman cabin.  Okay, so technically we don’t actually have the completed cabin yet, but still….

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bringing in the electric

Still no new date for the arrival of our construction crew! In the meantime, however, there are other things that still need to be decided upon, such as, where exactly our power line will run.  There is an existing power line that runs parallel to Colemans Lake Rd, on the opposite site of the road from the lake, which supplies all of the neighboring houses.  Our line will be pulled from this existing line, to a pole that will be placed somewhere on our property on that side of the road, then run across Colemans Lake Rd to a second pole, and from there will run underground to the cabin.  We had our initial meeting with Lacey Palmore, of Southside Electric Cooperative, a few weeks back and had discussed tentatively where that line would run.  As a result of that discussion, we had Todd Hawkes clear the necessary 40′ wide path so it would be ready for the power line as soon as possible.  We were thus a little concerned yesterday, at our second meeting, when Lacey suggested a different path, which would require clearing a completely different section of our woods.  Thankfully, Todd was very adamant about placing the first pole exactly where we had previously discussed and Lacey agreed that she would make it work.  We are finding that, just as we are so fortunate to have George Lewis working with us on the home site prep and excavation, we are just as fortunate to have Todd Hawkes handling things for us from this point forward! AND come to find out, they used to be brother-in-laws. Have I mentioned how small Dinwiddie County is?!

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hurry up and wait

From the day clearing of the cabin site began, up to the delivery of the logs and other materials last week, our schedule had been pretty tight. We needed to be sure that everything was ready when the construction crew from Battle Creek Log Homes was scheduled to arrive early this week. Had anything at all not gone according to plan, we wouldn’t have been ready to start construction of the log portion of the cabin on time.  With this in mind, George, Eric, Todd and Kris all worked very diligently to keep on schedule. We were thus very relieved when Monday arrived and we were good to go…even the tropical storm ended up not being an issue as it only brought with it a weeks worth of dreary rain.  Unfortunately, however, the week has come and gone and we’re still awaiting the arrival of the construction crew. Apparently they’ve been held up at their last job site and we’ve had no word as to when they might be finished.  Boo!

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Tropical Storm Karen

Tropical Storm Karen

uh oh

The team from Battle Creek Log Homes is due to arrive at the beginning of next week to start construction on the cabin. But wait a minute, tropical storm Karen is also due to arrive in our area at the beginning of next week. Hmmmm…… you think that might pose a problem?

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lincoln logs, lumber, and windows, oh my!

October 1

We arrived at the lake around 7:30am to find George already there, waiting with his 6000lb all terrain fork-lift, ready to unload the logs once the trucks arrived. The three trucks were due around 8:00am, having driven down from Tennessee, carrying all the supplies from Battle Creek Log Homes that would be needed to construct our log cabin.


Having some time to kill before their arrival, we walked down to the dock to enjoy the view of the lake for a bit.

We heard the loud sound of diesel engines in the distance and headed up the drive just as the trucks pulled into sight.

It didn’t take much to realize that there was no way the heavy trucks could make it up the driveway. So, as George had somewhat anticipated, the trucks would have to remain in the road and he would have to use the fork-lift to carry all 52 pallets of supplies from there, up the steep driveway to the top of hill, and scatter them around the building site.

Though time consuming, the unloading went smoothly till George picked up a giant pallet containing the heavy timbers for the roof, that didn’t quite fit between the trees that line the driveway.  No worries though- it seems that there is no difficulty that George can’t surmount!

Without a word, he lowered the pallet, jumped out of the fork-lift cab and onto his bulldozer. In no time, he had widened the driveway and was able to successfully bring the large pallet to the top of the hill.

The rest of the unloading went smoothly and seven hours later, they were done.

And me? I had three jobs:  taking photos, checking the pallet numbers off the list as they were unloaded, and bringing lunch back to the boys while they worked.  Two went well, the other, not so much…

Waffles faired much better. She had a big day chasing after Dave, supervising the work and swimming in the lake.  She slept soundly all the way home!

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the pouring of the concrete…

Enter Kris Cutler, the other half of C & L Excavation.  

We had met Kris, what seems like forever ago, when we first met with George Lewis and Eric Riley, and walked the property with the three of them, discussing our proposed homesite, well and septic field, and getting their ideas for the driveway and what would be involved in clearing the land and laying the foundation.  Eric was already on site when we pulled up that morning, his pick up truck parked near the shed.  We introduced ourselves to him and were making small talk when we heard the distinct sound of a motorcycle approaching. We were all three somewhat surprised when a Harley Davidson pulled into the parking area and off jumped Kris Cutler.  Not the usual means of transport for a contractor!

As George Lewis handles the excavation side of the business, and Kris the construction end, once excavation began we didn’t see him again until it was time for the concrete slab to be poured.  When we arrived Thursday morning, the process was well underway and we found Kris on site along with the concrete team from Cowling Bros Building Supplies who had driven up from Waverly, Va to pour our basement slab. They were just finishing pouring the second truckload of concrete when we pulled up. A third arrived shortly there after to finish the job.

Meanwhile, Todd Hawkes had arrived, as well as Lacey Palmore from Southside Electric Cooperative.  They were meeting to discuss how and where the electric line would be brought in.  We had initially intended to have temporary power brought in for the log crew to use during construction, but after finding out that it was no longer a minimal fee, we decided it would be cheaper just to by a generator for them to use.  Probably not a bad thing to have around when you live in the woods anyway so not a huge deal to have to spend the extra money on one.

After the slab was poured, the crew unloaded a piece of equipment that looked somewhat like a cross between a giant fan and a hovercraft, and began to run it across the mostly dry slab.

While a few of the crew continued to smooth out the slab, the others began to work on the post supports for the deck.

Once the deck supports were done, the truck pulled around to the front to pour the front porch supports.

By the time the last post support was poured, the slab had mostly dried.  We decided at the last minute that it would be fun to leave our handprints in our future basement floor and were happy to find a shaded area that was still just wet enough.


yep, another successful day at the coleman cabin

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