As a child growing up in Africa, my family and I spent many a vacation roughing it, while out on safari, with no bathroom facilities aside from the great out doors. If not camping, we were traveling to other destinations in the third world where toilets were not quite the modern facilities we were accustomed to at home. As a result, I can pretty much use anything available to me when necessary, but I gotta tell you, I am completely thrilled to finally have a working, indoor toilet at the cabin!
our restroom facilities for the first six months coudln’t get any more primitive!
moving up in the world…Max helps put up the potty tent
after having had the potty tent for a few weeks, Dave, ever the idea man, fashions a toilet out of a bottomless drywall bucket to which he has glued a toilet seat
me, checking out our awesome new toilet
with construction about to start, we are required to have a Port-a-John delivered
Dave steps in to help level the Port-a-John
much tired of putting up and taking down the potty tent every time we visit, I’m super excited about this step up in our toilet facilities!
with the outside construction complete, we move to the inside of the cabin…first on the agenda is to put in a working bathroom
tongue and groove walls begin to go up
two walls done!
both inner and outer walls are up, with a layer of Safe and Sound insulation between
Dave begins constructing a vanity top for the sink
legs are fashioned out of logs from our property
next, the faucet is put in place
for the sink, Dave drills a hole in the bottom of a galvanized bucket and applies a bead of caulk to the underside for added waterproofing
the completed sink and vanity are ready to be installed
next, Dave puts in the overhead light
toilet and sink are connected to the existing plumbing
we have running water!!!!
our new deer antler light and working toilet and sink!
and for privacy, a temporary ply wood door
And for your viewing pleasure, so that you can get the full effect…
With the outside staining finally complete, we have now moved our attention to the inside of the cabin. First on the agenda was to have insulation sprayed on all the outer walls of the second floor and any other areas that may be in need of protection against drafts. After getting a few quotes, Dave ended up choosing to go with the team from Creative Conservation as they were reasonably priced and were completely upfront about what they thought we would need without over selling. We were very happy with the choice and would definitely use them again should we ever need to.
The crew arrived to find the work sight covered in a giant bed of sticky red mud. It had been raining the evening before and on into the morning so, in an effort to prevent tracking the mud into the cabin, they laid down a path of plastic from the truck to the front door. A hose was then lain on top of the plastic path, and on into the cabin. Tanks inside the truck contained two different chemical solutions that were mixed together and then transported through the hose and into guns that the men used to shoot the liquid insulation onto the walls. The solution, once it has left the gun, immediatly expands and begins to harden, creating a solid layer of insulation as well as an air tight seal.
the team from Creative Conservation arrives
a path of plastic is lain from the truck to the cabin in an effort to keep the red mud from being tracked into the cabin
the inside is covered in plastic
everything is covered…
plastic on the stairs….
plastic on the stair-rails and guest bath
even the ceiling gets a sheet of plastic
and now the spraying begins
okay, this just looks fun…I want this job!
Max’s bedroom, done
it looks so much lighter in here with insulation on the walls
we are now ready for the tongue and groove walls!
Our two pallets of tongue and groove arrived the same day and, thankfully, Todd Hawkes was on hand to pull them off the truck for us. The task of figuring out how much we will need to finish off all the walls in the cabin had been left to me…I’m a little nervous about that and really hope my calculations were correct because that’s alot of tongue and groove!
Outer first floor logs, dormers and deck rails all stained, we could no longer put off staining the upper portions of the cabin. After giving it much thought, Dave finally decided that the best way to tackle this daunting task was to rent a Skyjack lift with an articulating arm that would enable him to reach the higher areas of the cabin. We arranged for one to be delivered by Reliable Rentals in Dinwiddie over Memorial Day weekend and drove down early that Saturday to get started. Dave’s goal was to have the outside work done by the end of the weekend so that as the weather begins to get hotter, we can move our attentions to the inside. When we arrived Saturday morning, we found the lift had been delivered as promised and Dave went about trying to figure out how to use it. It all started out fairly well but, unfortunately, the day did not quite go as planned…
looks like a fun toy, right?
hmmmm….there are ALOT of buttons on this panel
okay, so far so good, but what’s with all the crazy beeping?!
Because of the position of the septic tank, the Skyjack had to be driven farther out away from the house (so as not to crush the tanks), where the side of the property slopes downward. The newly regraded soil is still relatively soft here and as a result, as soon as the arm swung out far enough to reach the house, the right front wheel sunk into the loose dirt, throwing the vehicle off balance and left rear wheel began to raise off the ground, tipping the Skyjack to the right. (Ah-ha, that’s what all that extra beeping was about!) Once it’s off balance, Dave discovered, the wheels won’t move forward or backward and it took some effort to figure out how to rebalance the basket inorder to release the wheels so that he could drive it back up onto flat ground. After much frustration, Dave realized that there was no way he could get the vehicle base on a flat area close enough to the cabin that would enable him to lift the basket into a position that would allow him to stain that side of the cabin. Much discouraged, he gave up, thinking we’d just thrown $900 down the drain and would have to hire someone else to finish the staining after all.
Unable to do the staining as planned, but not wanting the day to be a total waste, we moved inside and began to put up wall in the kitchen.
putting up the tongue and groove wall between the kitchen and laundry room
Dave cuts out and area in the t & g for the electrical outlet
Dave taps the end board to set it inplace before hitting it with the nail gun
moving right along…
it’s starting to look like a cozy room here!
stripping down a narrow piece of t & g to fill the gap between the ceiling and wall
Dave uses a chisel to remove the upper grooves so the narrow board will slip in place
in goes the last strip of board
After finishing the kitchen wall, we called it a day and drove back home.
We returned Sunday morning, and, as Dave had reconsidered his decision to call someone else to finish the staining, he went ahead and gave the Skyjack another shot. I had suggested, the previous day, that he try driving it around to the other side of the cabin, via Colemans Lake Rd, and up the old road where the ground would be harder and more level. Apparently he had mulled the idea over the evening before and decided to give it a try.
okay, let’s try this again….
okay, forward…that’s a good start
after a brief stall in the middle of the road, Dave is back in business
now to avoid ending up in the lake
so far, so good
I think he’s getting the hang of it
now to avoid hitting the cabin…
yes, he made it!
It took awhile, and other than a brief stall in the middle of Colemans Lake Road where he caused a slight traffic hold up, he was able to successfully make it around to the back of the cabin and on to firmer ground. (Yay, Dave, we believed in you all along!!!) And, thanks to the video feature on my new camera, I have it all on video. I’ve tried to cut it down to a reasonable viewing length…
Successfully making around to the other side of the property, Dave dons his Amish hat and goes about staining the cabin. Nice look Jebediah, but at least your neck and face won’t get burned I guess. 😛
all done except for the deck posts
surely Charlotte is happy with her newly stained web
c’est finis (except for the stone which will eventually cover the foundation, but that will be waaaay down the road)
and last but not least, the front stairs
staining finally done, it’s time to drive back around to the front
the daylight is just starting to fade as we drive the Skyjack back around to the front of the cabin
successfully making it past the lake and dam, Dave hands over the controls …yep it IS kinda fun!
the drive around to the front was a breeze since Dave is now a Skyjack pro 😉
awesome view of the cabin from up here!
a little grubby after the long day but hugely relieved to FINALLY have the staining done!
Slowly but surely we’re knocking things off the list. We’re trying to get the outside buttoned up before the weather gets too stinkin’ hot so if we can get just a couple more weekend of spring weather before that happens, we’ll be happy. We’ve been working on finishing the staining on the outside while Todd Hawkes has been working to get the septic system wrapped up so we can move forward with the inside.
Dave, Max and myself, have spent the past couple of weekends sanding, washing and staining the front porch and back deck. Unfortunately, we ran out of stain before completely finishing so will need to order a bit more before finishing with the deck and the staining of the log siding around the wall of windows in back.
Dave shows Max how to use the electric sander
good job Max!
Dave and Max sanding away with the electric sanders (I was hand sanding the spindles)
Max and I pooped out, leaving Dave to finish up with the sanding
Dave wets the wood while Max stands by ready to spray on the log wash
Dave supervises Max as he washes the deck rails
once again, Dave takes over so we can get it done faster!
the stain has been sitting awhile so needs to be strained
mixing the stain
yep, Dave has a tool for everything!
next, he primes the sprayer
the new nozzle for the spraying puts out way less stain so we discovered we didn’t really need to go over it with the brush unless in dripped
moving right along…
halfway done with the porch rails
prepping the windows so we can put another coat on the window frames
on to the stairs
front porch done!
back deck mostly done…will need more stain to finish it
Meanwhile, the septic system has been going in. Heavy rains these past couple of weeks have slowed down the process but it should be completed this week!
looking down from the side of the front porch at the partially burried septic tanks… the propane tank in the back will go in this week as well
unfortunately, because of the placement of the septic tanks, we will no longer be able to drive from the front driveway around to the old road in back of the house as we had been doing
giant dirt pile in front of the cabin from the hole that was dug for the septic tanks
After such crazy weather this spring, we were thrilled to have sunshine and 70 degree temps for Easter Sunday, which, of course, is perfect weather for hanging out at Colemans Lake with the fam! My eldest sister’s two kids, Maharlika and Zarek, as well as my middle sis’s twin girls, Emily and Erin, had all spent Saturday night with us. Easter morning the kids all piled into Maharlika’s car, while Dave, Mom, the three pups and I, all loaded into the van and headed down to the cabin for a full day of fun.
We started the day with an Easter egg hunt, because, even though the “kids” range from age 13 to 20, you’re never too old for that, right? I had stuffed 92 plastic eggs with candy the night before, and, once we arrived at the cabin, hid them randomly around the outside. (We forgot to recount the eggs once the kids were done to see if they’d found them all…. yep, still finding eggs there every time we’ve been down this week.)
Maharlika, Emily and Max, head for the propane tank to see what might be hiding there
Max takes a minute to text his new girlfriend, Isabelle, while simultaneously gathering eggs around the scaffolding
Emily discovers a few eggs hidden under the pile of left over roofing
Zarek follows suit
hey look, there’s more under this pine tree
Maharlika ducks under the front porch to see what she can find
Zarek hits the jackpot under the porch
Max, still texting Isabelle…
Grandma Ginger watches as the kids continue their hunt
Emily finds more up on the porch
Erin discovers more eggs around back
Dave, the hounds and Grandma Ginger hang out on the porch while Emily dips into her stash
Next on the agenda- we head over to the picnic area on Waffles Ridge for a cookout.
before heading up to the picnic area, we take a minute to give the pups a little water from our newly working well
Dave tests out our water to see how it tastes…
not bad for well water!
Dave gets ready to throw the burgers on the grill
Max, Emily and Erin grab drinks while Zarek and Maharlika hang out at the picnic table
Waffles stands by, ready to help Dave, while Ginger and Erin pull stuff out of the cooler
waiting ever so patiently to be fed….
Jill, Erin, Emily, Max, Zarek, Maharlika & Dave
Grandma Ginger works on her latest project as the kids work on the eggs….she never leaves home without her knitting…or needlework…or quilting….
Pancake wants to know why he’s the only one tied up
looking back up at the picnic area from below
not wanting to leave anyone out, we have the kids all try the fresh squeezed water… Erin first
and Maharlika…the conclusion…it tastes like water 🙂
Pancake’s too busy rolling in the cool moss to try out our new well water
After lunch, it’s time for our annual deviled egg eating contest…
first, we have to make the deviled eggs
Maharlika, Emily and Erin get busy peeling eggs
Zarek joins in while Max supervises
Emily cuts the eggs in half and removes the yolks
Grandma Ginger works on her latest project as the kids work on the eggs….she never leaves home without her knitting…or needlework…or quilting….
the rest of the bunch bow out of the contest early, leaving Zarek to beat Dave’s record of twelve deviled eggs in a row
come on Zarek, just one more and you’ll hold the new record
Dave laughs as Zarek struggles to swallow his thirteen egg…
Zarek, regretting eating that thirteenth egg….remember, it doesn’t count if you throw it up
As Zarek struggles to keep down his thirteenth deviled eggs, we here a splash, followed by much giggling from the girls down on the dock. Uh oh. Surely someone’s phone didn’t just go in the lake?!
Erin jumps in the lake to try and retrieve Emily’s phone
after locating the phone, Erin grabs Emily’s foot and pulls herself back up onto the dock
Emily continues to laugh while holding her water logged phone
somebody get that girl a towel!
do you think it still works?
still laughing, Erin wraps the towel around herself while Emily tries to dry her phone off a bit
Zarek (still feeling pukey) and Max join us on the dock to see whats going on
Dave and I leave them to hang out on the dock while we head back up and rejoin Grandma Ginger at the picnic table
back up on Waffles Ridge, we look down and see the kids all happily hanging out together…we smile and think, yes, this is what this place is all about….creating memories to last a lifetime….
After the kids hung out on the dock for awhile, and Zarek’s wave of nausea passed, we pulled out the toys….
Zarek takes his first spin on the ATV
yep, I think he liked it
Emily tries out the ATV while Max follows behind on his dirtbike
Grandma Ginger snaps a view photos of Max and Emily
Daisy says, wait for meeeeee
Maharlika eyes the ATV but decides to take out the kayak instead
um excuse me people, I’m still tied up here at the picnic table
Max takes Pancake down to the spot where we first found him a year ago….this is his first visit back to the lake since then, which is why he remains on a leash
the pups all follow while Dave and Maharlika take the kayaks up to the lake
Dave helps Maharlika onto the kayak
off she goes…
Emily and Erin follow Maharlika out in the two man kayak
Grandma Ginger watches from Waffles Ridge
Dave gets the fishing poles ready for Max and Zarek
Zarek stands by, holding a hotdog for fishing bait…Waffles hopes he’s holding it for her
Maharlika tries to bring the kayak in while Erin and Emily try to push her back out 🙂
Erin decides to sun herself on the dock, so Maharlika jumps into the kayak with Emily
Dave sets up Zarek and Emily ontop the dam with fishing poles
time to put the toys away and pack up guys!
the kids bring in the kayaks from the lake
the sun is starting to sink lower in the sky as we pack up…
After a full day of fun we pack up and head for home. As we drive off, I think about the summer ahead and look forward to spending lazy days watching the kids hang out together, bonfires at night, waking up in the mornings and looking out at the lake ….
Another eventful weekend at the cabin! Now that we have power coming in to the place, we were ready to test out the well, but never having had one before, we weren’t quite sure how it works. After a brief conversation with our trusty contractor, Todd Hawkes, we realized all we had to do was hook a hose to the small water tank in the basement and then flip a switch in the circuit box to turn on the pump to the well….lo and behold, it worked!
first, flip the switch that powers the well pump
next, hook the hose to the water tank
aaahhhhh, we have WATER!
ooooh, I hope it doesn’t stay this color!
whew, it does run clear
Next on the agenda was to finally tackle removing, and then replacing, the log siding along the right side of the great room window so that it lines up with the siding on the left. When the builders originally placed the siding, they ended up with a one + inch gap between two pieces on the right side and rather than fixing it, just cut a thin strip of siding to fill in the gap… unfortunately, we didn’t notice it till they were gone. Although we briefly considered leaving it, we knew it would always bug us if we didn’t go ahead and make it right. In order to correct the mistake, we figured out that if we just spaced out the siding pieces about an 1/8 of an inch more than they had been, it would make up the difference and line the two sides up properly. Thankfully, it all went as planned and, aside from the precariousness of having to work from the third level of the very wobbly scaffolding (which was much higher than in looks on camera!) it worked out perfectly and now we can move on to finishing the stain on the outside.
Dave begins the tedious job of removing the siding
as expected, the pieces rip apart as he removes them so we’ll have to cut new pieces
this shows the thin strip of siding that had been used to fill in the gap
from inside the cabin…
he’s much higher than he looks in the photo and this was before adding the third level of scaffolding!
moving right allong..
Dave, cutting the new siding pieces
prepping for the first new piece to go up
now, let’s see if our plan will work!
up goes the first new piece, spaced out a little more than before
nailing it the first piece….
so far so good!
ready to put up the third level of scaffolding
careful Dave, don’t put it through that window!!
a little nervous about the unsteadiness of the scaffolding, Dave begins to remove the last of the siding
having removed the last of the old siding he moves on to replacing it
excellent, the last piece fits in perfectly!
nailing in the last piece
Dave is much relieved at this point that he will soon be able to come down to stable ground 😉
and, it’s done
SO much better and you can’t even tell that it’s been spaced apart on the right!
Our other tasks of the day were to finish connecting bathroom the vent pipes, wiring the outlets in the basement and to begin sanding the deck rails.
while Dave was tackling the siding issue, I began the tedious task of sanding the deck rails…taking many breaks to photograph Dave’s progress, I only got as far as this one section
Although we did spend the first part of the day Sunday working, we decided to break early to get in some ATV action, and then ended the beautiful spring day with a little fishing as well.
First on the day’s agenda was to put up scaffolding on the back deck. We have discovered that the log siding on either side of the great room windows does not match up and that the builders have put in a 1-2 inch strip between two of the siding pieces on the left in order to make up the difference. In order to make it look right, we’re now going to have to strip off the log siding on that side and replace it before we finish staining the outside. Our intent was to go ahead and tackle that project but after getting the scaffolding up, decided to put it off for another day and work on a few simpler projects instead.
Our dumpster was removed last week but we still have a ton of scrap wood to get rid of so decided to go ahead and build a fire in order to burn some of it. Max and I were put in charge of cutting down wood pallets and tending to the bonfire.
Dave uses a torch to start the fire
Max gets a lesson in splitting wood for kindling
good work, Max
burning nicely now!
Max tends the fire as Dave works under the deck, drilling holes for the bathroom vents
um, Max, you’re supposed to be tending the fire, not playing your DS
After starting the fire, Dave went to work drilling into the basement wall, under the front deck and through to the inside, in order to make openings for the bathroom vents.
the pipes come down from the bathrooms above and run along the basement ceiling
the drill is too long to fit between the deck support and foundation wall
Dave switches to a smaller drill to get the hole started
once in part way, he can switch back to the larger, more powerful drill
as he makes his way through the eight inches of wood, he chisels out the sections that have been drilled
and he’s made it through!
the end of the vent and cover, ready to go into the hole
excellent work, Dave
from the inside, the vent end is ready to be connected to the existing pipe
Bathroom vents taken care of, Dave moves inside to do some framing in the laundry room.
rather than dropping the entire ceiling to hide the HVAC, we opt instead to box it in
view of the new box framing from inside the laundry room
look, we have a working electrical outlet in the laundry room!!!
These two tasks crossed off the list, it’s now time for our first trail ride of the year!
thankfully, the ATVs all started right up after being stored all winter
time to helmet up
and we’re off to the other side of the property
a little marshy back here in the woods
hmmmm, this is not what we were expecting the trails to look like!
Max pulls up beside me…yep a little muddy
Max decides to take his dirt bike for a quick spin as well…he’s way out grown it since last year!
somehow, Dave didn’t get nearly as muddy as Max
after much fun slipping and sliding in the mud, it’s time to put the vehicles away
About an hour of sunlight left, we decide to get in a bit of fishing before packing up.
Dave picks out lures for all of us from his tackle box
Max heads off to find a good spot for his first cast
patience, Max, patience
Dave and Max both ignore the “no walking on the dam” sign and head on top of the dam to fish
Dave and Max, from the front of the dam
Max catches the first fish of the day!
still new to fishing, Max gets a lesson in removing the hook
after succesfully removing the hook, we threw it back into the lake
not to be outdone, I catch the first bass!
as the sun sinks lower in the sky, it illuminates the lovely moss along Waffles Ridge
looking back up at the cabin from the old road to the dam
the view of the cabin from down near our dock
After a full day, we packed up and headed for home…
Dave’s folks were down visiting from Pittsburgh this weekend. Fortunately, after a week of rain, it finally let up and they were able to go down to check things out at the cabin.
Dave’s parent’s, Frank and Betty, possibly our number one blog followers ;-), check out our progress in person!
Two poles were placed by Southside Electric on our property this past week, one on either side of Colemans Lake Road, and lines run from the existing power pole to each of these. Power lines will be run from the second pole, underground and to the house, in the next week or so. We’re pretty excited about this because once we have power, we can start spending the night. Woo Hoo!
pole number one, located on the far side of Colemans Lake Rd
pole number two… power lines will run underground from here to the cabin
Shower pans were also placed this week…we’re getting there slowly but surely!
After redoing about two thirds of the wiring ourselves (okay, by ourselves I mean Dave, with a tiny weeny bit of help from me), we finally were able to get an electrician in who was willing to complete the work. The main thing still needing to be done being to wire the meter box on the outside of the house, as this was one thing Dave has not done before and he was a little uncertain about doing himself. With that finally being taken care of, along with the rest of the rewiring, we were able to have our rough in inspection.
wasted wire that had to be pulled out and replaced!
our new meter box and outlet…they are set out from the foundation wall to allow room for the stone that will eventually cover the wall
our trusty Dinwiddie County inspectors
the inspectors hand over their report
Dave and Todd Hawkes take a look at the recommendations the inspectors have made
we passed with only a few minor suggestions!
After looking over the framing, HVAC, plumbing and wiring, the inspectors had a few minor suggestions as to what we should change but gave us the thumbs up! One of the suggestions they had was either to replace our circuit box from a 30 panel to a 40 panel box or to add mini breakers to the current panel box in order to allow for more circuits should we need them in the future. In the end we decided it was best to go ahead and replace the entire thing and put the larger one in. So much for all my work rewiring and organizing the incoming wires a few weeks ago.
Dave begins by loosening the wires to the current panel box
he’s smiling now, thinking this is only going to take a couple of hours
once the old box is loosened, he props it up on a board and begins to remove the wire main coming in from the outside
the larger panel box rests on the floor waiting to be installed
Dave installs the larger panel box further to the right so that the incoming wire main is centered directly above
inserting the wire main proved more difficult than he realized as it was so thick and hard to move
the main is finally in the box and ready to be connected
Gina and Anders arrive to check out the place….this is Anders first visit to the cabin
Anders stands by, hoping for an opportunity to lend a hand
once finished connecting the main wire, Dave disconnects the remaining wires from the smaller panel…Anders seizes the opportunity to help pull through a particularly long wire
Dave opens the holes on top of the panel so he can pull the wires through
reorganizing as he rewires ends up to be more time consuming that he realized
finally, Dave pulls the last wire into the box
in goes the last wire
and Ta-Da…our new panel box is in place and looks much tidier and way more organized that the previous one!
The couple of hours we thought it would take to replace the panels ended up taking the entire day, but it was time well spent and we are now ready to have power brought into the house!
Meanwhile, Todd Hawkes has been busy taking care of several other things that still need to be done. He had the propane tank delivered and brought over a few of his man sized Tonka Toys to bury it and to clean up the front of the house, which at this point was beginning to look like a junk yard. Next on his agenda is to have the septic system installed.