Celebrating Independence Day!

Isn't this just awesome!

Man made fireworks competing with Mother Nature's fireworks! This is the rodeo and fireworks celebration we have over the 4th of July in our little town every year….but with a little extra kick this particular evening. I wanted to be sure and share this wonderful photo since we're not too far out from the 4th. We do have some extremely talented folks that live in our town, and I borrowed this from Facebook to share with you all.

Here are a few more shots I took myself while just moseying around close to home, over the last couple months. Since it'll be Christmas in just a few weeks, guess I'd better share the few warm weather photos I've taken (kidding!…….but not really :-/ )

 

 

The park geese with their new broods, in varying stages – some have newer fluffy yellow babies, some are 1/2 way to looking like their parents.

 

This is the Crazy mountain range.

This is about 7 miles from the cabin. Such a pretty day it was!

About 4 miles from the cabin as you top a hill and look southerly, this is the Absaroka mountain range.

 

A golden eagle in a field near the road.

And a bald eagle on a telephone pole just above the golden.

 

 

 

Hope you all are having a nice summer, and are making the most of it!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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Journaling the Cabin Progress

This is going to be a dry post. I'm putting up a ton of pre-renovation cabin pics just for documentation. Mr. Bruce has been up there the last 6 weekends working like a fiend. He also struck a deal with a too busy contractor. It is so wild in this area presently, with people buying property as quickly as it hits the market, then fixing it to flip, or live in themselves, that it is next to impossible to find a decent contractor worth his salt. All the good contractors/carpenters are lined up with work for months to come. I'm sure there are plenty of shysters out there, because when it's popping like this, those shady types are drawn in like rats to grain. But Bruce has known this fellow for years, and the man is a local that has lived here all his life. He has a good reputation, and is therefore busier than the dickens. But, after a bit of skillful finagling and bartering on my Mister's part πŸ™‚ , the contractor said if Bruce will have everything lined out, and every bit of the lumber, cement, screws, nails, basically every and all supplies needed (including all the new Windows, and all the new flooring) sitting at the cabin ready to go, he and his crews will pop up there between their other big jobs as time allows. Anytime there is slack on the big jobs they're working on, or if there is inclement weather that they can sneak away from their outdoor projects and come up to work on indoor things for us, they'll shoot up to the cabin and try to bang out one project at a time. That's about as good as it gets right now for folks like us that have comparatively smaller projects. When it's chaotic like it is presently, in demand contractors don't want small jobs. Especially when they have to trek clear up into the mountains to do them.

Oh, good gosh, I hope this works out!! We've been burned by carpenters before, but we've also been lucky enough to have some excellent ones do big jobs for us at our house. I just want to get the big basics done on the cabin, then Bruce and I can tackle the smaller, more manageable ones. Bruce doesn't have the time, or number of men available that are needed to get windows and doors installed, the wood flooring laid, or the walls put in. He will still be doing the majority of plumbing and electrical himself, as well as all the trim and finish work; and together we can install the wood “tongue and groove” panels on the walls, sheet rock where needed (if we decide to use sheet rock in the bedroom and bathroom), building and rocking the new hearth for the wood stove, and installing whatever we decide to use for kitchen cabinetry. I can paint, wallpaper, tile, stain, make curtains, and decorate to beat sixty without any help. But for the big, heavy duty stuff, we need a crew of men to come in and hit it hard to get it done in short order.

Once the new windows are in place, we can contact the company that will sandblast the logs on the exterior (the company we looked into uses ground walnut shells to blast, then the shell dust and log dust can be left on the ground to naturally decompose). The blasting will basically sand away the discoloration and weathering, and leave a nice even tone on the logs to then stain and seal, making the exterior look brand new, hopefully.

The odd shaped windows on the top right will be eliminated. Then, all along the top, left to right under the pitch, will be framed in and probably covered with shakes, so it will be symmetrical.

 

This bay window is being replaced with a picture window. Same width and height, but flat in the wall.

 

The circular vent to the left of the window will come out as the furnace is moving to the hallway, resulting in dreaded log patching.

 

A larger window will replace the bathroom window, shown center, which will require log cutting and patching.

 

The kitchen window, left of door, has to be raised 1 1/2 logs higher, and the porch window, far left, will be eliminated. More log cutting, and filling. Not fun.

 

 

Porch floor must be laid, and an end wall built, since there will only be stairs to the front now.

 

 

This is the enclosed portion of the front porch. The 2 windows shown will be eliminated, and a big walk-in storage closet will be built, floor to ceiling across this whole end of the porch. There isn't much room for storage in the living area of the cabin, so we want to be smart with this space and squeeze every square inch to make it useful for hanging, boxing, shelving, leaning, and stacking. The window on the floor to the left came out of our kitchen at home when we remodeled and put in the giant picture window. This will be installed to the right of the front door entering the porch. We bought a nice, solid wood door with glass upper from Craigslist, saving probably $300 vs buying a brand new one. We got bids from 3 different companies on the window package we need. Only 6 windows have to be purchased, and I was shocked at the $5,500 price tag from the first company. The second company came in at $4,200. These bids were for aluminum clad wooden windows. We got a bid for vinyl windows next, which was much more reasonable (less than a third of the first bid), albeit not quite the quality we were hoping for – but we have to remind ourselves that this is just a cabin, not a full time residence. And we need to be careful not to dump in more money than we would ever be able to recoup on the little place. Having to build the new foundation, and crane the cabin to it, put a major dent in the budget right off the bat. We have to be very careful with our spending, being mindful to get the most bang for our buck. There is a very long list of things yet to do, and after the shock of the windows bids, we will have to be extra diligent in searching out the best buys. That shouldn't be hard with the decorating/furnishings (since I'm the queen of rummage saling ;-0) but building materials are a different kettle of fish.

As for the inside…..

We do have a plan roughed out. Bruce is wrangling in the plumbing right now. We're having a heck of a time trying to find the best options for hot water. We don't particularly want to go the heater tank route because, unless you plan to keep the propane furnace at 48 degrees all winter (which would be very costly) to prevent water in the tank and pipes from freezing, you must drain and winterize the tank each autumn. That means no hot water if you hope to snowmobile in for weekends in the winter. There are many tankless, hot water on demand options available, but high altitude, extreme temps, and not being there daily, really complicate the decision. I know there must be a good option because I've seen tv shows about hunting camps in Alaska where guides bring folks to a shut down cabin, walk in, flip a few switches, and they're fully functional for a week or so. They leave after minimal winterizing, basically in suspension til next trip in, which they do often, all winter long. We've researched on the internet; I even got a year subscription to Cabin Living magazine to look into that and other things, hoping to make the most informed and correct choices. We surely don't want to dump a bunch of $$ into things, just to have them be dysfunctional and have to be replaced for even more $$. Bruce has checked with other folks in our cabin community, and it seems bottom line up there is water heater tank – bite the bullet and leave the heat running; or rough it – winterize and do without hot water in the winter months. I'm sure there has to be a better, more practical option. We'll keep after it…if nothing else, Mr. Bruce is the prize winner in persistence.

 

The blue tape lines are wall placement markers for bedroom and bathroom. Bigger bed and bath than what was there before, but still mighty tight!

 

Such a dreadful mess - makes me want to pull my hair! Doesn't bother Bruce in the least.

All I know is summer is fleeting, and boy, do we have a lot on our plate! Between work schedules, my folks moving, trying to get as much as possible done at the cabin in the short season we have to do it, and regular old house chores and maintenance, we could all stand a few more hours in the day to be sure!

Anyhoo, not whining….even if it does sound like it! All these things are very good “problems” to have! And not problems at all! We just need to stay organized, and step it up as best we can.

Meanwhile, Pinterest is my friend – it gives me so much to aspire to!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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A Quick Trip Up The Mountain

We made a quick trip up to the cabin to make sure all was well. This has been a really busy winter for Mr. Bruce at work. That, coupled with the wacky weather, made it difficult to spend any time at the cabin. And who would really want to at this point anyway; it is a disaster up there (insert stressed out shudder here).

The last trip I made was in November when we emptied out the storage unit and brought everything, all boxed up, back to the cabin so we wouldn't have to pay the $40 per month storage fee. Bruce went up for the big New Years Eve party that many in the cabin neighborhood attend. He has no problem camping in the hovel. Me, not so much. He had a blast at the party, where they snow machined progressively to 4 separate cabins (in the dark no less), and ate, drank, gabbed, made merry, and rang in the new year. They had about 50 folks attend this year.

The cabin neighborhood webmaster made this nice photo collage of the party for website we all can access for updates. Note the lovely cabins - that is our inspiration!

But, with 2 months having passed, we thought it would be a good idea to make a trip up to check the pump, and make sure everything else was doing OK.

So we hooked up the trailer with the snow machines, loaded up the poochies, lots of warm hats, gloves, and other snow clothes, and we were off and running.

Once we got off the paved road, the rest (which is normally a dirt road) was mixed stretches of snow pack, then muddy slushy, but it was pretty manageable for this time of year. We were able to drive up to about a mile or so away from the cabin before having to park. The snow got too deep for driving, and it was time to unload the snow machines.

We've had the dogs on the 4 wheeler before, but not the snow machines. They most definitely knew where we were going, and didn't fuss one little bit when each of them got tucked into our bibs/coats, and we putt – putted down the road to the cabin. Snow machines are so loud, I thought it might scare them, but they loved every minute!

This is the new back door and porch deck that Bruce put in before it got too wintery. There was only one door in the cabin before, and that didn't feel safe to me. So we worked a back door and small deck into the new layout. The door replaces the window where the bedroom was before.

You can see where we taped off the potential new floor plan. It looked pretty good on paper – it looks pretty small when you actually see it on the floor. I don't know how those tiny house planners do it! We don't need GOBBS of room. It is just a cabin after all. But I don't want the new layout to be so horribly tight like the way it was set up before. The bathroom before was just ridiculous. But at least there is a bathroom there! I am more than happy about that! We just want to be able to maneuver in the space.

 

 

 

It is a heck of a mess right now, and will most likely get worse before it gets better. I'm having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. If we could work on it full time, or hire it done, it wouldn't seem so gargantuan. But this is something we have to do in our spare time, and there doesn't seem to be an over abundance of that lately. I guess it's always like that with remodeling, tho. We've been going thru it with our house for years and years! I hate the process, but LOVE the results! I'm sure we'll get there…….just don't want to have to add handicap accessibility so we can get in with wheel chairs and canes because it's taken so long to get to the finish line!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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COLLECTING!

Many of the things I have collected for the cabin I have posted about already. I'm afraid to get too far ahead of myself because our little cabin is fairly small (about 580 square feet + about 126 usable square feet in the loft; and the porch is about 192 sf, 1/2 enclosed, 1/2 open). The size of that little log house tends to grow quite a bit in my head when I'm away from it for awhile, and I seem to think a lot more can fit in the space than really can. So, I'm sharing some photos of things I've picked up over the last several months, and am hoping mightily that all this loot can fit!

These are antique metal “baker's cabinets”. I have never seen one as large as the bottom one before. They both have several shelves inside and hopefully will make good hanging upper cabinets in the limited space available with the cabin kitchen being somewhat re-formatted. Luckily, both of these were priced well below what I have seen even the smaller of the 2 of these antiques go for in my travels. The metal is fairly decorative, sort of like the old pressed tin ceiling tiles. Cleaned up, I think they will make unique cabinetry for the kitchen.

I've had some changes at work, and I feel like the luckiest person on the planet right now….they've decided to close on Saturdays, and boy, am I ever making hay while the sun shines! I don't know how long it will last (for good and ever, I hope) but while I have weekends free I have been hitting every rummage sale, flea market, estate sale, and antique show I can drive to within a semi-reasonable distance. I've been lucky enough to happen upon some excellent finds which has saved us a bundle off retail price.

This light fixture will be perfect for the bathroom at the cabin. It came from a rummage sale a builder was having, to get rid of excess surplus so he wouldn't have to store it. He got this fixture from a custom lighting company that was going out of business, and said he still paid way too much for it, but didn't want it to get broken in storage. So he said he'd take it in the shorts and give it to us for $20 bucks! That made me one happy girl!

It is awesome! That is real leather strapping wrapped around the metal “twigs”.

Then, of course, I couldn't resist a few do-dads!

This is not something I ever remember having seen before, even tho I have been thru bazillions of antique stores! It's like a powder box of sorts. Take the lid off and there is a well inside. It stands on 3 little metal legs. Love the picture of the Indian, and that's why I bought it. It came from my favorite antique/junk store in Big Timber.

I found 2 babies for the Skookum doll my Mom got me a while back. I am obsessed with Skookums right now, and look high and low for them, but they are super expensive. I feel extremely lucky to have found these babies in my itty-bitty budget bracket.

I'm not sure if they call these small figures Skookum or not, but she is blanket wrapped and cute as the dickens, and had to come home with me. Like a custom fit, she tucks right into the birch bark canoe I already had from a rummage sale.

This picture is my anniversary present from Bruce this year. I am enthralled with tee-pee anything.

And this beautiful Indian maiden picture was my Christmas present from my thoughtful husband. If I end up having enough wall space, I think they will both look terrific at the cabin.

I'm not sure if my bear collection will end up at the cabin, even if there does happen to be enough room. But, I may play “swap” on occasion, and they can spend part of the time up on the mountain. This big bear I found at the same time I got the Indian head powder box thingy.

 

Then I found this one at the “Little Bear Antique Sale”. They have a phenomenal sale every fall, over the hill. It never disappoints.

He is a Black Forest style mantle clock, and is about 14 inches tall. A lady was getting rid of the tail end of her personal bear collection, and added them to the rest of her inventory. Sure wish I could have gotten in on the rest of her collection! Her stuff was very reasonably priced.

I don't know if I've come right out before and said where I work, but it's at the Transfer Station for our town. There is no landfill here any longer, so all refuse is trucked out by a company to a huge landfill in northern Montana. I'm the lucky girl who gets to run the Scale House! I really love my job, BUT do have a few problems with it – I am a horrendous penny pincher. It is one of the priorities in my life not to be wasteful. I've come to the conclusion that I am in a tremendous minority. Oh my gosh people are wasteful! I put a lot of effort toward trying to redirect folks to our local charities if they have useful items, rather than having it go to a landfill. A few times I have been presented with golden opportunities to rescue things from loads destined to be dumped – let me show you a few of the things! These aren't good pics because most of this stuff is shoved in storage, or squished in the back of the garage, but you'll get the idea.

These awesome lodgepole pine benches were my first rescue. They came from a dude ranch nearby that has a long, long history. They decided to clean up and modernize a bit I guess, and came in with a big truck and huge trailer FULL of stuff. I could see these benches on the top and nearly fainted! I told the guy I wanted them and he said I was welcome to them! One has a seat so old it is stuffed with metal springs and horse hair for padding. I cringe when I think of the things I couldn't see on that load that went into the refuse trailers. There is also a solid wood, 6 foot tall cabinet, and a lodge pole pine lamp/table combo that didn't make it into the picture that I scavenged. A few weeks ago, I pulled an antique, quarter sawn oak rocking chair off a load. It has arms, and a padded seat and back. It was so full of mouse poop that Bruce pulled all the material off and shook it out, and it will stay in storage til I get the time to re-upholster it. I have some great, high end upholstery material I got at a rummage sale, that came from an interior design store. Or maybe I'll use one of my Hudson Bay blankets for the upholstery.

K – so I almost fainted again when I saw this. I said incredulously “You're not dumping that are you?” And the guy looked at me like I'd lost my marbles and said “Well, yeah…, it's just an old door.” I told him immediately that I wanted it. He didn't think it would fit in my car trunk so even volunteered to drop it at my house! I think at this point he was a little scared of me, and offered to drop it off so he could get gone from there πŸ™‚ I was so darn excited! I'm not sure just where it will go yet, but someplace it will look awesome will pop up I'm sure.

OK, and for the grand finale I saved the best for last! This was the best Christmas present! And FREE to boot!

A genuine, cast iron, claw foot tub!! Oh Joy! I had been scouring loads for months looking for one. Most contractors just bust them up with a sledge hammer and pack them out in pieces because they are so heavy to drag out of a house and load whole, just to trash them anyway.

This most wonderful young man came in with a truck and topper and told me he just had a load for the metal recycling bin. I couldn't see what he had since it was in the topper, so just gave him the OK to go ahead. Fortunately for me he said “You don't know anybody that could use an old claw foot tub, do you?” I nearly jumped for joy and said “ME!!” This kind fella helped me load the whole works into my truck, faucets and all! And the cherry on the top was when he said “How about sinks – need any of those?”

Good Lord, it felt like I'd won the lottery! A high backed, cast iron kitchen sink…..with faucets!! And…

This awesome little cast iron bathroom sink!

He had painstakingly packed all of these out of the UPSTAIRS of an old house, hoping that someone could use and appreciate them. Well, needless to say, he found the right person!

So, stay tuned! I hope I'll be having a bit of the luck o' the Irish, and will be able to make all of this stack of goods work. Otherwise, I may end up having the rummage sale of the century!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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We Made It!!

So the big day finally arrived! The massive equipment had no trouble navigating the twisty mountain road, thank goodness.

 

 

This is Leroy, the crane operator's dog. He really gave wild Miss Piper a run for her money! He was twice her size and they ran laps! Then stuff started moving along fairly quickly, so everyone was rounded up and we (Declan, Piper, and I) stayed in the truck and out of everyone's way.

It was down to serious business now.

All braced, sturdied, and strapped up. It was a very interesting, but stress inducing process. After seeing the miserable lack of craftsmanship while demo-ing, we (but especially Bruce) were so afraid that the cabin might not hold together when lifted.

And here we go – about 4 feet up at this point.

Amazingly, so gentle, and smooth. No swaying, or jerking. No cracking, popping, creaking, or groaning. It was so graceful….and quiet!

 

 

 

 

 

And down. A total of 6 minutes aloft. Believe me, it felt like 60 minutes while it was dangling in mid-air!

 

Safe and sound, Thank you Lord!

 

 

 

 

What a relief!

I climbed up the ladder to take a look inside.

 

What a difference. Because it is tucked more in the trees now, the light inside feels completely different. It is up so much higher it feels very tree-house-ish!

Then we took a look at the mess that was left behind.

 

 

 

It is plain to see how badly the north side is sunk down. And even with no building to hold it in, the smell was still horrific while standing on the abandoned floor. This whole mess will be broken up with a backhoe, and hauled in a dump truck to the dump.

Since it was a weekday, there were only about 4 neighborhood folks there to watch the move. They all gave a good round of applause when “the eagle had landed” πŸ™‚ . Bruce came over to talk to everyone, and I jokingly told him “Now the work really begins!” and boy, those folks didn't miss a beat and said “Give the poor guy a break!”. I really was just kidding! I am so proud of all he has done to get this huge project accomplished, and almost completely singlehandedly. It was no small feat, and clearly shows how dedicated he is to this little mountain house.

There are several more projects in the works over the next few weeks……running new electrical to the cabin; having closed cell insulation blown onto the underside of the floor; securing the cabin to the new flooring system; cleaning up all the mess left behind; cutting in and installing a new back door so the wood stove can be moved back in (just so we will be able to use the cabin this winter – it would be near impossible without the stove), and too many smaller things to list. Now we are in a race with the weather. You never know what to expect in Montana, and I thank the Lord the weather held to move the cabin. Big equipment can't make it up the road if it's wet or snowy. So, cross fingers it will be a lovely, long, mild Indian Summer, and we will be able to get everything buttoned up before winter.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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The Last Rush

Well, Mr. Bruce is, again, fighting with Apple. So, instead of showing you the wonderful little video of the cabin move, you get plain old pictures – dagnabbit. I'll give you a few pics of the low down in getting ready for the move. A few posts back I showed you the floor system on the pier foundation that Bruce finished up without a ton of time to spare. Just soon enough that we had a couple of weekends to basically gut the inside, cut the body of the cabin away from the foundation, and get all the electrical capped off and a temporary source placed outside the cabin. Here are a few pics of the process –

The kitchen in pieces.

 

The bathroom and bedroom walls gone.

 

 

The floor, oh the floor. It slopes, rolls, dips, and bucks so badly, the only way they could lay tile on it was to cut the 12 x 12's into pieces in order to get them down the hills and dales. I was not sorry to see that wretched mess left behind.

There was a lot of water damage on the bathroom floor.

The wood underlayment in the bathroom was just rotted, and slivered off at the slightest rub. The whole floor bounced mightily when you walked on it. Probably lucky no one fell thru.

Here it is with each and every mess of a wall gone. It was insane how badly it was all cobbled together.

 

 

 

From the time we got the cabin, there was always a yucky, musty smell inside. You'd get used to it after a bit, but as soon as we'd get home, that horrible smell was so obvious on clothing, jackets, even your hair. It just reeked when we pulled the cabinetry out of the kitchen and bathroom. I'm sure it was from all the water damage that had occurred over the years.

Take a look at this bay window's damage, caused from snow and water, and from being improperly installed. And the logs beyond, from those decks holding snow up against them for so many winters.

 

 

 

All of the windows are garbage and will be replaced next Spring; and we plan to have the logs sand blasted (with ground walnut shell) then we will stain and reseal the logs inside and out. Resealing should eliminate any lingering gross odors.

Here is the sum total of all our ripping and tearing –

One giant pile to take to the dump

One giant pile to burn

We salvaged all we could, but there wasn't much worth saving.

We slept in Bruce's little camper trailer, and it was cozy and nice. We were all so exhausted (including the 2 vole hunters) we slept like rocks.

The iPad is out of juice, and it's near midnight and I have to work tomorrow, so I will plug this obnoxious little machine in to charge up, and be back tomorrow to finish up this chapter of our continuing saga!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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It’s Gonna Be Worth It!

 

The countdown has started – only a few more days until the big crane comes up the mountain to pick up our cabin and move it to it's new resting place on the pier foundation and new floor system that Bruce built. So I will share a few pics of some of the steps leading up to this gigantic, nerve wracking occasion.

To the left of the cabin are the cement piers that Bruce built last fall. This summer he worked building the new floor system. My big little son has a full time job in the town where he goes to college, but he came down 2 or 3 times on his days off to help his poor, tired Dad. We are also very fortunate to have a wonderful neighbor in our cabin community who generously jumped in of his own free will and worked like a horse helping Bruce out. We will now address this wonderful neighbor as “Saint John”! πŸ™‚

 

 

The massive beams, all framed up and attached to the piers. Next step was attaching the decking, shown below, when finished

The cabin will be quite a bit further off the ground when on the new foundation. My big little son is over 6 feet tall, so this gives you an idea how far up the floor will be, with him standing next to it.

The porch floor will be where his elbow is. No new decks will be built after the move. The previous decks were responsible for a large part of the problems this poor cabin has suffered, because they held the massive amounts of snow up and against the logs and windows all winter, winter after winter. The weight of the snow broke the glass in several of the windows, and that is why you see blue tarps on them.

Just before the rest of the decks were torn off.

Bruce tore the deck off (where the wagon is sitting) several weeks ago to assess the damage to the base logs.

It's a rough looking mess, to say the least.

Here is an intermission shot of a vole hanging out of Declan's mouth. Super gross!! Bruce takes them away from her and throws them far and away. This last weekend she caught one and was so proud of herself; Bruce went over to take it away and she ran. He had to crawl on his hands and knees under the new foundation after her. She thought it was a game I guess, and kept backing up with her tail wagging the whole time. When Bruce finally got up to her, she looked him straight in the eye and took one big GULP! Oh my gosh, I could have barfed right there on the spot! It was not an extra small vole, and she just swallowed the thing whole :~[

Now, onto the inside. These next few pics are after we had moved most everything to storage, but hadn't started ripping yet.

The room below originally was a 2nd bedroom. The last owner tore the wall out to make it part of the living area. We kept a bookshelf and a small kitchen table and chairs there.

 

The tiny, tiny bathroom. Shower in the left corner, cabinet and short hot water heater facing the shower.

 

Potty and sink, and there is a strange, angled corner medicine cabinet above and to the right of the sink. Notice the 2×4 holding up the front of the sink. O brother! We really hope to be able to make this room a bit larger. It is so tiny you can barely turn around in there.

Looking in at the bedroom (which is to the right of the bathroom). It is only 9' x 9'.

Looking out of the bedroom, out to the wood stove, which is beyond the ladder to the loft.

The kitchen, just before we started ripping. The only things I was able to salvage were the cabinet doors, and the stainless steel sink. Everything else was so cobbled together it all fell to pieces or had to be smashed, in order to get it out. I am not a waster, and would have saved anything possible, but it was a lost cause.

The cupboards were put in over this green shag carpet, then they tiled right up to the cabinets.

The more we uncover, the happier we are we are moving forward with this huge project. There are so many things that are literally life threatening for anyone staying there, as it stands. The electrical is a complete terror – Bruce said it is pure luck this cabin didn't burn down it's so bad. He had to crawl into the space under the cabin and was appalled at what he found. They had filled 5 gallon oil cans with cement and used them as part of what was holding the whole cabin up!! He found live wires dangling, with no caps, coming from crazy junction boxes. Who builds something like that??!! Someone just wanting to make a fast buck, I guess. And, to think, it has stood nearly 45 years that way – good grief! As soon as he saw what a mess the electrical was, he got an electrician up there and they installed a temporary set up until the cabin gets moved.

 

 

The whole cabin is completely empty now, just a box. He has to finish cutting around the base of the cabin with a sawzall to free it from the existing floor and foundation (if you can call it that!). Then, bracing timbers must be placed inside the cabin to keep it sturdy, and keep it from wracking when they strap it up and crane it over to the new foundation.

Hopefully, this will all definitely be the right thing to do. They don't make anymore land, and we are sure lucky to have a little piece of some of the good Lord's finest work! A cozy little cabin in the mountains is the stuff dreams are made of, at least in my book!

Cross fingers that all goes well!!

 

 

 

 

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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A Crazy Ride

Here are a few photos of a nice afternoon ride we took around the cabin on the 4 wheeler this summer. The Crazy Mountains are a beautiful place to be. This was a sort of last hurrah knowing that the work on the cabin was going to get very real, very shortly. So we dedicated the whole weekend to goofing off.

 

 

A lot of the mountain wild flowers were starting to peek out. It was cool, and beautiful, and the flies were not tormenting us.

 

 

 

We caught this gal taking a nap not far off the trail.

I was sorry we had disturbed her, but she didn't seem to be too bothered by Us.

I had taken Declan on short rides on the scooter and 4 wheeler, but this ride was a couple of hours, and she loved every minute! Since we've gotten Piper, she has gone on a few not quite as long jaunts, and is also quite the mountain girl. I just tuck one under each arm, ride on the back while Bruce drives, and off we go!

We came across this old abandoned cabin, which was quite large. I wonder if it was a family homestead back in the day, which many people often left for “proper houses” closer to town eventually. I wouldn't think someone would go to the trouble of building a weekend cabin just to let it fall to such ruin.

Since there were so many flowers coming out, there was an abundance of butterflies nectar hunting. I was able to catch a few shots of this one.

 

 

A lot of the old pine trees at higher elevations were covered with this moss. They looked a little spooky.

 

There are some pretty spectacular views to be had in the Crazies. I cannot tell you how blessed we feel to have a little piece of this paradise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Such a wonderful day!

Now back to reality, and the labor of love that lies in front of us! YIKES! A humongous labor of love!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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PROGRESS

Here are a few shots of the progress on the new foundation for the cabin.

These are the drilled holes, but pre-pour of the cement piers. There was a good deal of surveying, angle calculation, time, and effort just to get these dozen holes put in the ground. And the majority of this Bruce did all by himself. God bless his heart.

 

 

 

He had to frame everything up, and set the sonotubes and rebar cages (which he wired together himself). Nine of the twelve holes drilled that will hold the pier posts ended up taking on water from the underground springs on the property. That did not make Mr. Bruce happy at all. He had to rent a pump and make other modifications to make sure everything was ready for the concrete pour. It took him the better part of the week to have everything ready. He had the concrete delivery scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday. Then, here came the cement truck, approximately 2 and 1/2 hours late. Just enough time for the ground in the yard to thaw out and be good and soft. I had to work the day they poured, and I am glad I wasn't there to watch, because it was a very stressful, torturous day. The cement truck got stuck on the property because of the boggy ground and excess weight of the loaded truck. And it was stuck a goodly distance from where the cement needed to be poured. A very good hearted man, who just happened to be stopped and chatting with Bruce in passing, gave up his Saturday on the spur of the moment when he saw the terrible picture unfold with the truck, and knew what a horrible pinch Bruce was in. He helped him get that concrete from the truck to the foundation holes, which was no small feat. Another cabin neighbor had a bobcat (a small tractor like piece of equipment) he let them use, and they would fill the bucket then drive from the truck over to the holes and dump in the concrete a scoop at a time. Not good. Once the cement was unloaded from the truck, which was a long while later, they were able to get it unstuck, and the truck driver got out of the yard and back to the road. This is a very condensed version of what transpired. There were lots of other exciting things that happened in the process, but this would turn into a book if I elaborated.

I haven't been up since the pour. Bruce said the road in the yard to the cabin is a torn up mess, and the piers are not pretty by a long shot, but thank The Lord they are done. And he beat the snow to boot. Needless to say, he decided to skip going up there this weekend. He needed a break away from that turmoil for a bit. Now, we wait til next Spring, then starts the process of getting everything ready to lift the cabin from the present foundation and move it over about 35 feet to the new foundation. Oy Vey, I don't even want to think about that…too scary.

So, on a happier note, here are some pictures I took on the way up to give Bruce moral support during the earlier part of this ordeal. I was a worthless helper, but that stuff was way beyond my capabilities.

This was one of my travel partners. The princess Declan, in her little pink blankey.

Glee rode in the back seat so she could hang her nose out the window. This little gal just snoozed the whole way up.

There was an impressive storm rolling in as I drove up.

It rained a little, slushed a little, and patches of blue sky shone thru all the while. Made for a very pretty spectacle.

It was pretty nice for the few hours I was up at the cabin. Bruce said I left just in the knick of time as it rained cats and dogs shortly after I headed back to town.

The trees in the cabin yard were putting on a pretty show of colors. Most of the leaves in town have blown off already. The wind just doesn't stop in this little town.

Anyway, steady by jerks. We just need to keep the faith that all will go well with this little mountain house, and it will be so wonderful when everything is completed and sturdy and snug when we finish.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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One Thing Down, A Thousand More To Go

 

August is fire season in Montana. This year is no exception. We've gotten smoke here even from fires as far away as Canada, and more recently, the Missoula area, which is about 230 miles from here. Everything takes on an orangish hue, it gets very hazy, and distant views are very limited. Sometimes it smells very smoky out, at other times you barely notice. Montana is plagued with a pine bore beetle infestation. That makes for lots of standing dead pine trees in our forests, which is certainly fire fodder. That's why I was so happy the forest service came in last winter to the area where our cabin is, and did some clearing to hopefully reduce fire risk.

There was a huge standing dead pine, and a few smaller ones, on our property at the cabin.

Definitely not an asset. Too much big wind, lightning, heavy snow, etc., around here, and it needed to come down – with help, not on it's own, as it could possibly squash our little outhouse, or worse, if left to it's own devices, fall to where the cabin will be placed on it's new location (that'd be great, wouldn't it, to just get the cabin moved over, then have a huge tree fall on the roof?) Time to get gone, tree.

This tree was particularly bad as the top branched out in 3 different directions, which makes them even more dangerous. A pine tree with a single trunk and a split, multi branched out top is called a “school marm” by loggers. It also already had a bad crack down the side of the trunk, which considerably weakens the stability.

Bruce knows a fellow who formerly logged for a living, and asked him if he could come knock it down since he had the experience. He said he'd be happy to, and would enjoy it since he doesn't often have the opportunity to do that since he's changed professions. Very lucky for us. It took him no more than a few minutes, and he had that giant dead tree laying on the ground in just the right direction.

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce earlier took down the few other smaller trees himself, but this huge one was just too dangerous and really needed someone with the proper expertise to take it down. (Thanks Brian!!)

We had gotten a firewood permit last month from the forest service, and my big little son and I had made one trip up and gotten about a cord plus that we loaded up and brought to the cabin. That is only about a third of what probably will be needed for the winter up there. We knew we'd have to make at least a few more forays out amongst the giant, man eating horse flies (they are horrible up there this time of year, and bite like the dickens) to get a couple more cords, but now with these dead trees felled right here on our own property, there should be more than plenty to last the winter and spring.

Lucky Bruce now gets to cut all the logs to length with the beautiful, new chain saw I asked for for my birthday last year! One of the best, most useful presents I've ever gotten, and comes complete with a fella to run it πŸ™‚ .

There was a full moon when we stayed this last weekend.

We had a campfire and roasted marshmallows, and watched the big, bright moon rise over the mountains. Doesn't get much better than that.

The next morning, this doe was standing right outside the kitchen window as I made coffee.

You can see the wild raspberry bushes growing in front of and under the deck. Glee loves raspberries, so we picked all the ripe ones we could find and she ate them for a snack.

So, at least one more thing checked off the massive to-do list at Moose Springs. Gotta love that!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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