Monthly Archives: December 2013

closing in the deck…

Though our original plan was to have stairs coming off of the back deck on either side, after giving that idea more consideration, we decided we’d feel more secure having the entire deck closed in. Given that our bedroom opens out onto the deck, and the fact that there are bears and bobcats in the area, we thought we’d feel more more comfortable sleeping there knowing that no unwanted visitors would be coming up onto the deck at night. However, as our blue prints showed an opening where the stairs were meant to be, our supply kit didn’t contain enough rails to close the deck in and the building crew had to leave the deck open on each end. Fortunately, there was enough lumber remaining after they finished up, as well as plenty of extra posts, that Dave was able to make the rails himself and we were able to close in the deck with no problem.

We were also very happy this week to receive a message from Todd Hawkes that his plumber had made it out to the cabin and began roughing in the plumbing.  Hooray, we’re that much closer to having indoor plumbing!!!

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putting on the door knobs during the ice storm…good times….

And what did we do during the ice storm last Sunday? Drove down to the lake to put door knobs and locks on our cabin doors.  Yep, freezing rain, 29 degrees inside and out,  and only a puny little heater, hooked up to the generator, that barely put out any heat. Not sure how Dave managed to work with no gloves or coat as I was bundled up in my heavy parka with snow gloves on, standing in front of the little heater, and had numb fingers and toes within the first hour. We were met with one issue after another- having to re-drill holes to match the knobs and bolts, losing the teeny, tiny screw that held the handle to the rest of the fixture for the front door, and finding that the downstairs french doors weren’t hung straight so the predrilled holes for the door handles and strike plates were so far off that they couldn’t be adjusted to fit. It was a rather frustrating day but we were at least able to successfully get the locks and knobs on the upstairs doors and the side door in the basement.

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christening the cabin…

27 years ago, while living in Zimbabwe, my dad took the old French tradition of Sabrage and altered it by using a large Ethiopian Danakil knife to open a bottle of champagne, rather than a saber.  It has become a family tradition ever since, although, since we don’t all own Danakil knives, we have found that a machete works just as well!  We never miss an opportunity to carry on the tradition, so in true form, we all drove down to the cabin the day after Thanksgiving to give our new place a true Richardson style christening! My brother Jason generally gets the honor of opening the bottle when we’re all together, mostly because he’s had the most practice. 😉

“There are many stories about this tradition. One of the more spirited tales is that of Madame Cliquot, who had inherited her husband’s small Champagne house at the age of 27. She used to entertain Napoleon’s officers in her vineyard, and as they rode off in the early morning with their complimentary bottle of Champagne, they would open it with their sabre to impress the rich young widow.” (

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day 26-29….and they’re done…

Day 26

It was not even remotely a surprise to Dave and I when, at the end of the day last Monday, the crew was still not finished. However, they had completed the stairs to the second second floor (excellent job José!), attached the front porch rails, put in the fixed widows in the great room, as well as the heavy detail on the roof trim. Dave stayed long after the sun had set and they were still working on laying the last layer of roof felt, in the dark, using their iPhones for light!  Heavy rain was due to set in the following day so it was imperative that they get the felt down before they quit for the night.

Day 27

I drove down Tuesday morning, expecting the crew to be finishing up and leaving that afternoon, and I wanted the opportunity to say goodbye and to thank everyone for all their hard work.  The rain had already begun and there was a bustle of activity inside and outside when I arrived. It seemed clear to me as soon as I arrived that there was still way too much left undone for them to really be leaving that afternoon. However, I knew that even if José and his crew didn’t leave, Mr. Lipham still needed to leave by the end of the day in order to get home to his family in Tennessee in time for Thanksgiving. Shortly after I arrived, it was discovered that they were 150′ short of roof flashing and asked if I’d run up to Home Depot to pick some up.  Not a huge deal, but the closest Home Depot is thirty minutes back in the direction I’d just driven from. By the time I drove up there, bought the flashing and drove back to the work sight, I knew I’d have to turn around and leave as I had to get home to start prepping for our own Thanksgiving festivities. So much for my thoughts of hanging out to get a group shot of the guys and to say a formal farewell before they wrapped things up and pulled away. There was such a storm of activity inside when I got back, as the crew worked to get things finished, that I felt I was in the way, so, I just snapped a couple of photos, expressed my thanks to Mr. Lipham, wished him a Happy Thanksgiving and off I went in the rain.

Dave went down later that afternoon, after I left, and was able to get the guys to pause for a moment to snap a group shot of the guys on the front porch with his iPhone shortly after he arrived. (You can see in the photo that the rain was pretty heavy at this point.) Regrettably, I had chosen not to leave my camera down there for him to use when I left, so the photo was not the great shot I had hoped for. Still, I’m glad he took it as it was better that not having taken one at all.


The Coleman Cabin building crew! From left to right- Mateo, Raymond, Mr. Lipham, José, Talon, Carlos, Nelson and Miguel

As he left Tuesday evening, they were still working on putting up the railing on the deck, again in the dark, this time using a flashlight that he had happened to bring along. Mr. Lipham did go ahead and take off so he could get home in time for the holiday leaving José and his J. M. Log Craftsman crew behind to finish.

Day 28-29

Dave went back down for a short time Wednesday to find them working away diligently in the heavy, cold rain, pausing every now and then to try and dry their coats by the fire.  They worked through the day Wednesday and finally finished on Thanksgiving day.  Needless to say we were not there to witness them wrap things up and to wish them well as they drove away. Such an anticlimactic ending to the dry in phase of this building process.  Mr. Lipham and Andy will be back in a few weeks to finish up the wiring and staining and to put in the basement windows that had to be reordered as the ones that had been sent did not fit properly.

We went down after Thanksgiving to check things out and, as we walked through the place taking in all of the details, we couldn’t have been more pleased.  It was such a great experience dealing with Mr. Lipham, José and the rest of the J. M. Log Craftsman team ( ) and we can’t even begin to express our gratitude and appreciation for all of the effort that they put in to building our home.

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