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 🙂 , 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 🙂

 

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Spring Time in the Rockies

This is a pretty time of year around these parts. The snow is just starting to come off the mountains because it's a bit warmer during the day, but there is still plenty of it to shine against our big blue skies on these early spring days. So, here's a little mountain photo overkill for you –

 

 

 

 

 

Big Spring storm rolling in

 

A hint of a rainbow

 

A meandering Yellowstone River, before the Spring run off

 

Everything greening up

 

 

 

Plenty of snow up there yet

 

There are lots of new baby calves on the ground, magpies building nests with zeal, bunnies chasing each other with abandon, robins feasting on big fat worms that are emerging, and shoots, blooms, and tiny green leaves unfolding at every turn. Yup, it's Spring time in the Rockies for sure!

TTFN,

Teresa 🙂

 

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Corners In My House

 

Living room

 

Living room

 

Family room

 

Living room

 

Cottage bedroom

 

Family room

 

Entry way

 

Upstairs bathroom

 

Kitchen

 

Master bedroom

 

Master bedroom

 

Kitchen

 

Laundry/Utility room

 

Laundry/Utility room

 

Cowboy/Indian bedroom

 

Cowboy/Indian bedroom

 

Family room

 

Living room

 

Dining room

 

Family room

Just a few pics of random corners throughout my house. Guess I better make myself useful and start dusting some of them…. 😉

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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A Bright Spot in a Dreary Winter

This has been the craziest winter. The weather has been so cold and stormy, it seems like one day just blends into the next. Where usually that makes things feel like they are dragging, this year it is zipping by. I kind of feel like I'm sleep walking thru this season!

Anyway, one of the oldest projects on the honey-do list at my house has finally been completed, so thought I'd share! We remodeled the family room and kitchen about a year after we moved in here. That was a long time ago! For all the years since we finished, there has been no hearth mantle around the wood stove in our family room. I've begged, whined, and belly-ached for so long! I even shopped around trying to find something ready-made that I could slap up there on my own, but had no luck finding anything that would fit in the space. I do know how to use power tools, and I did take wood shop in high school, but I'm not brave enough to tackle a project that is a really prominent, and permanent fixture in the house. Something like that needs to not be done by an amateur, but by someone who is a craftsman. Bruce is more than capable of building a mantle, but it's that darn time thing again, and there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything he needs to do done. So, I told Mr. Bruce I was going to start searching for a carpenter to get the dang thing built and installed! As it turns out, we were lucky enough to have the perfect fellow agree to do the project. Mr. Z was a shop teacher when I was in high school. When school was out during the summers, he and a few other teachers would do carpentry projects, even house building. When Bruce moved here from Nebraska, he was fortunately hired by Mr. Z to be on their summer crew! They became great friends. Bruce worked for him off and on over many years, until finishing college and finally giving up carpentering for full time engineering.

Mr. Z is an extremely talented wood worker, but has all but given up the craft because he struggles with severe rheumatoid arthritis now. But Bruce pleaded, and thankfully Mr. Z consented! I would have settled for a simple 3 board, faux beam looking mantle just to have the project done, and not have that ugly, unfinished space showing anymore! But he came over to measure, and see what all it would entail, and he asked me what I would truly like to see up there. I showed him a quick sketch of the super simple 3 board method. He said “Now, if I'm going to take the time to do this, I want you to have what you really want!” Well, with a green light like that, I proceeded to pour my heart out! I told him how much I like arts&crafts/mission style, showed him a few pictures in some of my American Bungalow magazines, then drug out my stash ……

Several years ago I took an Adult Education pottery class our local high school was offering; 5 weeks, one evening per week. My Mom, my “other mother” Roxy, and myself, all signed up and were excited to go. Unfortunately, we had a “teacher” that was not interested in teaching. She said she was turning us loose to do whatever we felt was creative, and she would mentor us if we felt it was needed. :-/ Maybe some of the others in the class were familiar with pottery, but the 3 of us had never worked with clay before! So, we did the best we could with what we had – It wasn't too difficult for my Mom or Roxy because they are both extremely artistic, but I'm another story! Back to my good old American Bungalow for reference, and I managed to churn out 10 tiles, and several long faux branch tiles for a border. Our “teacher” did not take good care when she fired our clay works, and we ended up with all manner of round bottom rather than flat tiles, and other deformities on Mom and Roxy's projects. But it cost $100 to take that class, and I hoped I would someday be able to use my finished products, given that terrific cost.

So I pulled out my box of tiles, and worked with Mr. Z on incorporating them into the design. I chose 6 tiles to use, not wanting to overwhelm the woodworking, and he left with a plan.

A few weeks later, he came back with a beautiful, artfully done mantle; solid oak, stained a rich golden brown, and in the mission style that I love so much. He and Bruce carefully installed it. I could have jumped with joy! It was my job to place the tiles in the spaces he had designed to hold them. I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge since they were round bottomed and out of square from the firing mishap, and I was terrified of messing up that phenomenal mantle. I got some epoxy glue, and a tube of grout and went to town! I'm very happy with the finished product because of the wonderful woodworking, and it is such a relief to finally have it done! It's also nice to have a little offering from me built into the house, because this house sure owns a big chunk of my heart!

 

 

 

 

 

Now I just need to re-black the stove pipe, add a fresh coat of satin sealer to both the rocks and slate hearth, and it will all be fresh and finished! Makes me so happy when something can be checked off the mighty to-do list!

TTFN,

Teresa. 🙂

 

 

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Full of Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Now we jump into the thick of the holiday season, and as hectic and wonderful as it all is, it's done in a flash, so enjoy and appreciate every minute of it!

Thought I'd toss in a quick cabin update. We did make some progress this Summer – big ticket items, so although it doesn't add much curb appeal, it is a big step toward getting to the finished product. First, a brand new septic system was plotted, permitted, and installed. This is “part one” in getting the much needed plumbing in place to facilitate kitchen water and a nice little indoor potty once again at the cabin.

This is the septic drain field, and lids to the underground holding tanks

The horrible, smelly, rotten old floor and foundation were demolished and hauled away. The old septic system, which had been inactive for years, was opened up and filled with dirt. Then, the whole area was somewhat smoothed out and left to fill in with native plants.

 

Even though it is still torn up, it looks 100% better than before. We have 1 burning pile left to take care of, and I'm sure Bruce will do that on New Year's Eve (prior to the big, annual New Year's celebration), when the fire risk is very low with the cold and snow.

This is all that is left to burn.

He rented a trenching machine to prepare for electrical and propane lines to be run over to the new cabin site. It was hard going as it is very rocky ground, and required much hand digging to remove rocks when the trencher couldn't get past them.

There was a bit of winterization that needed to be done, so Bruce took the time last weekend to go up and tie up as many loose ends as he could.

I had Election Day off work, and was having such an awful, anxiety ridden day from this horrendous election, that I decided to toss my poochies in the truck, shut the darn radio off, and take a “back roads” road trip up to the cabin.

This is up Brackett Creek.

 

 

 

This is the old Sedan Church, refurbished, and all decked out with Christmas lights, ready for the Holidays.

Such a pretty drive went a long way in soothing the senses. When we got to the cabin, I sat on the deck in the sunshine, read some cabin decorating magazines til about dark, then went in and popped some popcorn. I put in a DVD, sat in the middle of that gosh awful mess of a cabin with Declan and Piper, covered us up with a fuzzy blanket, and proceeded to watch a crazy sci-fi movie. Then we locked up, loaded up in the dark, and hit the trail for home. I felt lucky to have a nice escape day with no TV or computers.

I only put a dab of Thanksgiving decorations out this year. Trying to conserve energy to really get after the “Christmas Extravaganza”!

 

 

 

Already had my Native Americans out. I just love these Skookum dolls.

My big little son is at his new job 200 miles away and can't come home for just one day, so Mr. Bruce and I have been invited to the farm for dinner. My good Mom is cooking, and I will bring a salad and a pie. My Dad is going to BBQ steaks for he and Bruce. It's supposed to start storming tonight, so hope the roads won't be “slickery” for all the Holiday travelers.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Happy 4th! Summer Fun!

How did it get to be the Independence Day holiday already?! Sure snuck up on me! This is when our little town really hops. There are lots of activities over the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Back in the olden days, I used to partake in all of it. Nowadays, I find it much nicer to stay in my little house on the hill, far and away from the thronging crowds. I do cave a little and go to the “Art in the Park” sale they have at the railroad park. They have a ton of juried exhibitors, and it is an adventure to see all the talent brought to this event. I will post separate pics of that, since all that I took are on Mr. Bruce's phone camera, and he is presently sawing logs (ZZZzzzz… 🙂 ).

So I borrowed a bunch of pics from Facebook to share with you, taken by folks who are far more adventurous than I.

First on the agenda is the big, whopping parade on the 2nd. It's gotten so popular that a few new rules had to be imposed on the process this year. No more throwing candy to the spectators. Too many kids run into the street to fetch the candy, and many folks were concerned for the kiddles safety with all the moving vehicles and livestock in the parade. Also, it is pretty tricky to get a choice viewing spot with the grand amounts of folks that amass throughout the parade route, so some people were cheating a bit and setting up folding chairs as early as the evening before the parade to “hold” their favorite spots (the parade isn't until 3 o'clock on the 2nd). Well, that was causing a bit of discontent among a goodly majority of the locals. So, the City made it official and put their foot down on the aforementioned practices. Nonetheless, there was still lots of fun to be had, apparently, judging from the many pics that were snapped during the procession –

 

 

This is an old retired Yellowstone Park touring bus.

 

 

A mule pack string brought in by a guide service.

 

 

 

 

Get a load of the driver's beautiful cowboy boots!

 

This is just a small sampling of the many delights in the parade, which takes nearly 2 hours to complete. Then, many of the folks stick around after the parade and eat dinner, and mosey around for a few hours, waiting for the infamous rodeo that starts at 8pm. Here are a few shots from the first of three nights of wild rodeo action.

 

 

 

 

 

At the close of the rodeo, they dim all the arena lights, and start the massive fireworks display. The fireworks are ignited on the golf course grounds which are directly behind the fairgrounds. It makes for a pretty spectacular show with them all bursting directly overhead. It's not too shabby taking in the show from our great vantage point here on the hill, either. Mine didn't turn out, so here are a few more from Facebook.

It's been really nice having a few days off to enjoy this lovely summer that is slipping by entirely too quickly!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Sweet Spring

Spring is inching it's way in! I haven't posted in awhile because it's been pretty ordinary around here, which is good! I'm certainly not complaining…..I love the slow, comfortable pace of the consistent, simple, everydayness we have in our little town. But not much to pass along in a post that would be of interest to folks.

So, I will just share a few photos I've taken close to home in the last few weeks, and a few pretty shots from Facebook that some of our locals have taken. There really is no rhyme or theme to them, but each is pretty in it's own right, so hope you enjoy.

My garden is coming to life! That always makes me happy, and gives me something to look forward to.

The leaves are unfurling,

bright little shoots are appearing,

a few blooms have popped out,

and the promise of a few more present themselves if the wicked frost stays away.

 

Since I had the day off, and it was such beautiful weather, Declan, Piper, and I decided to forgo all the house chores and take a short car ride. We started off going a few miles South of town.

 

 

 

 

 

My friend Delores, that I used to work with at the clinic, owns this little school house. It sits just behind me as I took the pictures above. Many years ago it was on the front cover of Life Magazine. It hasn't been in use for a long, long time, but they try to to keep it preserved since it is a piece of our local history.

 

Then we went northwest of town and took a few shots of the Crazy Mountains before the snow is all melted off.

 

The photo below is the tail end of the Crazies. If it were a panoramic shot, this would be shown attached to the photos above on the left side.

The tall mound (to the left) is Goat Mountain. The road to our cabin passes to the right of this mountain, and heads several miles deeper into the Crazies.

I took the following on the way back to my house. Since I live on the “hill”, it offers a pretty good overall view of our town.

I like that it catches the back view of the pretty, old train depot. When I was 5, my Grandma took my brother, my 2 girl cousins, and I, on a train trip. Twenty four whole miles to Bozeman, just so we could all experience a ride on a passenger train. I can remember the terrific anticipation, waiting in the train depot, for them to announce our time to board. To me, it was a magical trip. That old depot has always held a special place in my heart since that day.

 

A night shot (by Erik Petersen) of our town I borrowed from Facebook.

Everybody's favorite burger spot in town, only open in the Summertime. Just opened last Wednesday for their 62nd season! (Facebook photo)

When Mr. Bruce got home from work, we took the dogs for a walk down at the dog park next to the river. It was a beautiful, balmy evening.

Luckily, he had his phone with him, so I borrowed it to catch the lovely evening light on the railroad bridge and far off Crazy Mountains.

Ah, sweet Spring!

TTFN,

Teresa 🙂

 

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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 🙂

 

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Community Rally – A Teslow Update

A few posts ago I told about the impending demolition of the antique Teslow granary in our town. I mentioned how sad a lot of folks were about losing this icon…..boy, I was not exaggerating! Even tho it was really down to the wire, a bunch of concerned citizens jumped right on it.

There were folks popping out of the woodwork at the very last minute, rallying to save the Teslow.

With cooperation from the owner, and some very generous people, they were able to purchase the building and stop the demolition.

Even a TV actor who owns a home locally stepped in to help the cause.

Actor James Denton

The effort made papers and news stations around the state.

How awesome! I'm so glad it gets to stay. Because once they're gone, they're gone.

The big question now – What are they gonna do with it? It's, as yet, a mystery!

Stay tuned…………… 🙂

TTFN,

Teresa

(all the pics are from Facebook)

 

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River Art

These photos were in our local newspaper this week. Apparently, the staff photographer found them by chance. They are on the river bank just a couple miles out of town.

 

Aren't they awesome?! Think of the time it must have taken collecting so many of each of all the different colored stones. Nice to know there are still folks out there that have enough ambition to get away from all the electronic stuff, and innovation to find pleasure in the wonderful things nature has to offer if you just put your mind to it…..and maybe use your imagination a smidge.

The last few days the weather has been wonderful; high 50's, low 60's. Then, today, it snowed to beat the band, and the wind blew something fierce. But, it is just February, and it is Montana, so none of it really should be a surprise! But…….I did see a sweet little red-breasted robin today, so Spring can't be too far around the bend 🙂

Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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