lazing on a sunday afternoon 

Just kidding. We don’t “laze”. But if cabin one is done by thanksgiving as we’re shooting for, we’re sooo taking a whole week off.

Since our last post we got the entire South wall down to studs.

We repaired this nonsense where they had removed supports to run the old stove pipe through the wall.

Paul was so quick with that, coupled with the impending rain, I didn’t have time to get any interim photos.

The entire new wall went up with 2000+ nails hand pounded (here’s the inside view). I need to buy him a freaking nail gun and air compressor! I helped, but he did 90% of the pounding. I’m weak sauce in comparison and he goes twice as fast as I do.

And the whole thing was covered in black plastic because we had a half day notice of the freaky storm and no time to get tyvek. This was all Wednesday. Fourteen hours of butt kicking work. We planned to do the top/attic area too but didn’t get that far with the extra amount of support beans and framing pieces that needed to be replaced.

But there’s no more stuff like this in the walls. Or at least that wall. We’ll be starting in on the next wall tomorrow. 

Thursday was stormy and super windy, impossible to do much outside so we picked up our cute wood stove and ran errands. Friday was a guy trip to Portland for concrete supplies, banking and New Season’s Market goodies so not much accomplished around here, except I made an awesome pot roast while they were gone.

We ended up starting in on the new roof yesterday after all. Our amazing friend Brandon, who is the roofer, came down from Portland to help and our neighbor came to help as well. So much of the sheathing was rotten and needed to be replaced but the whole thing got fixed and felted before being covered in a tarp. We will be finishing it next weekend (and probably the weekend after) along with the roof of the main part of the cabin. Yay!!

I should have taken pictures of the backside because it was 98% rotten and got fully replaced.

If anyone wants any Greater Saint John’s Wort in the spring, let me know (a bit different than common St John’s Wort but still medicinal in a slightly different ratio). I dug up about ten square feet this week and have at least a hundred more. I’d like to keep one smaller patch and replace the rest. It looks stunning in the autumn when the flowers change, but we have just too much.

Today, the new range arrived!! We put it in cabin five so we can start using it immediately but as soon as cabin one is done it will live over there until cabin five is done late next year, then it will come back. The main house will have all the pretty black and stainless stuff and the first cabin will get the cute white stove and fridge that came with the property. The 1970s puke yellow stove goes in the workshop for animal glue (bow making) and wax melting/candle making and such.

Going from a camp stove to one functional and one semi functional burner was kind of awesome, but going from that 1970s junker stove with no oven to this is going to be pure bliss! I need to go shopping tomorrow to get all of the ingredients to make our neighbors chocolate chip cookies. And brownies. Look at all those burners! And it has a freaking convection oven! It’s like pure cooking paradise around here (it’s only been here for about 17 minutes so I haven’t actually gotten to use it yet, but I’ll be cooking something tasty within the next hour). We seriously lucked out because it was a $1000 stove that we got for almost half price because Lowe’s offers price matching and Best Buy was having a massive Columbus sale (or “Columb-ass” as our brilliant child says).

It’s still pretty rainy here although we’ve had about a 10-minute pocket of sun this afternoon in which I danced around in the mud and rays. I’m still making the husb take the rest of the day off. Hauling out the old stove, cleaning behind and under it, rewiring everything for the new stove and getting all of that hooked up is plenty for one day after such a crazy week. He forgets to take time off, nutty Virgo guy. I’m great at reminding him to relax and enjoy this stunning beauty that surrounds us and just “be”.

It’s been lovely to watch the waters rise and the creek swell into the river it will become in winter.

This little tributary off the main creek is the same place as the photo above it (though a few feet farther back), taken about seven weeks apart.

I’ve been meaning to take a photo in the same place every couple of weeks to watch the color changes and finally remembered to do so today. I’ll keep it up and share the transition with you. So pretty!!

Happy Sunday! I’m off to cook. ♡

a potential delay, paw prints and progress

Whoops! Mother Nature changed her mind and we may be having a stormy, windy weekend with heavy rains, which isn’t ideal roofing weather. As such, the roof may need to wait another weekend but as of today, we have all of the supplies so that’s a huge plus.

The cabin is partially down to studs on the south side (Sunday progress) and all of the carpenter ant damage is nearly replaced, including the sill plate which was finished yesterday. That was a feat the husb did single-handedly (because he’s a rockstar!). I certainly wouldn’t know how to replace the wood that holds the entire wall and framing up so he wins mega points in that one! I wasn’t much help… I fed him and killed ants with a hammer. (I actually did a lot more than that but it’s mostly miniscule in comparison.)

Here’s an example of some of what was removed and replaced.

I kind of want to make something out of this wood now that it’s no longer inhabited but we shall see. At least some of the smoother textured parts can be used for our wood stove pad which will be wood textured concrete. (If you haven’t seen that before, Google it — I thought it was my own unique idea but apparently I’m a late bloomer in the textured concrete creativity department as it’s been done.)

We’ve received a bit of feline assistance along the way. 

Speaking of felines, we have bobcats here. And maybe a cougar but I’m hoping just bobcats. We’d seen their scat and just discovered evidence of claw scratches on trees.

We also have giant three toed sloth*. Lady hand for size reference. 😉

And cute raccoons. I think that must have been what was sitting on the back of the car staring at me the other night (unless it was a bobcat). 

And deer. And elk. (And bunnies and turkey but I haven’t any photos of those, yet.)

We took a couple hours off on Sunday to wander higher up the creek than we’d been before and it’s just as stunning and beautiful as the parts we’ve traversed already. Gorgeous water, beautiful rocks, sweet bitty baby salmon, crawfish everywhere. It was so lovely. 

The waters are rising and the “pot holes” are starting to fill up.

THIS was Sunday’s sky! It’s been so clear, warm and amazing the past few days which has been a blessing because we have a metric ton of stuff to paint outside (OSB for temporary siding, though it’ll be wrapped). 

We have a few too many projects going on in unison so this week will rock with checking things off. Attic will be 100% done. The rest of the kitchen drywall and insulation will be 100% removed. All new electric will be started if not fully wired. Sunny days mean needing to focus on the outside stuff so inside items were back-burnered a minute. 

I painted a handful of the exterior wood since siding can’t happen yet. This stuff absorbs paint like a sponge so I only got five done before the gallon was gone.

And Paul got a huge amount more done in the process. (I cut the foamy bits off when they dried, he did the rest.)

Remember the Saturn sans keys we inherited with the purchase of the estate? Well, apparently I should have been a car thief. I had that door unlocked and open in no time with a wire coat hanger. I was positive the missing keys must be inside but I was wrong. One day this week we’ll push it out of the garage so we can replace the flat tire on the riding lawnmower and test her out. Woohoo! That’ll be fun (as long as we don’t discover any more underground wasp nests!).

*We don’t really have giant three toed sloth here, but the first black bear paw print I saw was a partial print with three visible toes so I opted to think of cute sloth instead of bears. I’d really seriously rather see a bear than a cougar in person though.

ugh… and pretty stuff

Well, “the final” march was far from accurate. Let’s rephrase (regarding our previous post)… yesterday’s march of the carpenter ants was just beginning. 

Fortunately or unfortunately, the husb and boy didn’t get a photo of the writhing, watermelon sized mass of huge carpenter ants discovered today. I didn’t see them either, just the aftermath. 

One whole (extra) area is jacked up. Munch, munch, go the ants. Spray, spray go the fellas… and we discover our otherwise amazing organic cedar pest spray doesn’t actually kill them as I was told it would. We used a whole $25 bottle today for nothing. Dang it. (Wondercide is an AWESOME alternative to poison for pets/fleas/ticks, mosquitoes, little house ants, etc. though). Super soapy water with essential oils of rosemary, oregano and lemon worked better, and we’ll be ordering a metric ton of good grade diatomacious earth post haste. And replacement wood.

That is/was our feat for Wednesday. And grocery shopping. And pulling out another few tons of drywall and insulation. And the creation and enjoyment of three huge meals, followed by three huge loads of dishes (still no hot water, but soon). And finishing the deep cleaning of cabin five’s bedroom because nights in the 30 degree range are cold in a tent*. And that cabin doesn’t have any pests or vermin. Or I should say that cabin doesn’t have any *visible* pests or vermin.

*The childman has taken to sleeping inside as of three nights ago. (Internet and privacy. Not warmth. He’s always warm.)

Even after the massive spray downs, they continue their march. Little fuckers.

Much has been accomplished though! This is peering in the front door. Huge progress. Just a little bit of the living room remains, plus the kitchen. 

In more lovely news, we spent about three hours on Sunday forging a new path to a place in the forest that was otherwise only accessible via water. 

Love the new land access! The husb found the majestic secret spot during one of our first days here while walking (and swimming) up the center of the creek and surprised me with it. Go down the path above about fifty feet, turn right to the path below, and you’re more than halfway there.

More trail clearing. (I’ll share the actually spot soon)

In the meantime I’ll say this place is magic! There are arched vines and twigs overhead, about seven feet tall, and a blanket of soft moss, leaves and sand covering the forest floor making it cozy. Along either side of the paths there you can stop to eat blackberries and wild raspberries, then settle in for a wee afternoon nap.

Two fallen trees along the creek make it almost invisible to others, not that “others” traverse this part of our creek. The water sounds are peaceful and mesmerizing. 

If you lay in this area on your back and look up, this is what you see.

And this is the view to the left.

This is where we are going to build our late spring to early autumn “love hut,” which is just a glorified fort for adults. (We’ll have a second one for the rest of the year too, of course.)

There are curved magic wands all over this area, tumbled smooth by the high winter waters. There are butterflies there too, and moths, deer, newts, faeries, elves, a thousand birds… and not a single carpenter ant. It’s perfection.

the final march of the carpenter ants 

My husb and his many voices are so funny. Here we have a vlog from him, entitled “the final march of the carpenter ants”. There are three parts but you get the picture with part one. He didn’t do his voices in parts 2 or 3 so they aren’t as fun anyway. Too bad he didn’t get a video of the mouse using him as a human highway yesterday…

all kinds of discoveries

I’ve fallen a bit behind in blogging because our progress has exceeded my ability to write fast (and I scheduled some of them to be published in the future which threw things off a wee bit). So, all of this is a huge long update covering last Thursday to present. 

In his deconstruction, Paul discovered a multitude of mouse-chewed electrical wires, saving us from a potential future fiery demise. He’s an electrical genius and planned on replacing everything already and I’m glad for that.

This is the old bathroom sink location. Remember the wonky cabinets, blue sink and medicine cabinet? Now look a little closer and what do you see? Copper pipes. The realtor told us there were lead pipes going from the well to each cabin. Nope, they are iron. He told us that both cabins 1 and 5 had all lead pipes. Nope, cabin 1 has copper. Cabin 5 has a crazy mishmash of copper, PVC, iron and PEX with a possible lead bit that is in the parts after the house and before the septic. I should have Paul write about the construction stuff since he actually uses proper lingo. Anyway, cabin 1 will not be replumbed but cabin 5 will and we already have the supplies. Yay!

Then we discovered this (Paul discovered!)… rotten ceiling boards. Did I already share this picture? Moldy, water damaged and rotten enough to poke a broom handle through. So, we don’t have to do the plumbing we thought we did but we do have to replace a roof we didn’t think we had to. I’m going to research custom metal roofs for both cabins, but it’s probably out of the budget. I’d love them for clean water catchment! 

Thursday afternoon was hot and we went adventuring and swimming and found a fourth apple tree we hadn’t previously seen. So much abundance grows here and we haven’t planted any edibles yet!

We found a hobbit tunnel through the trees that looks like a crescent moon in our avoidance of the huge subterranean wasp nest. 

And of course spent a bunch of time at the creek.

A million rocks stacks surround the swimming hole. Well, more like ten, but still. They’re huge and beautiful. 

The rains came Friday and a new leak sprung in the roof of the bedroom addition of cabin 1.

Drip. Drip. Oops! But the water heater was drained and removed and is ready to be moved to cabin 5 so we can have hot water and a functional laundry space. Cabin 1 will soon have a brand new on-demand water heater.

I had actually never entered the laundry room until Saturday. This is peering in over our new washer and dryer through the “office” (or school room) of cabin 5. The flow is: cabin 5, laundry addition, cabin 4 “apartment” addition. Cabin 4 is the worst and half the floor is on the ground below the dwelling (4 and 5 are on post and peer and having some issues due to a pipe that broke and was probably spraying everywhere under the house, rotting and ruining everything for a year and a half or so).

Because of this, that addition has some floor and foundation issues but nothing some new pressure treated 6×6 posts, concrete piers, some bottle jacks, and a genius man can’t can’t fix. He wouldn’t let me help so I made a hefty pot of beef stew to nourish him with, and cleaned out the rest of cabin 5’s bedroom. It looks like thunderstorms are coming so we may need to sleep inside 5 awhile as 1 gets completed. Kevin 5 is clean and rodent free, no mold or mildew and perfectly adequate to dwell in. It just has the aforementioned Foundation the issues and oddly sloped floors in a couple places. And a couple cruddy windows that need to be replaced but whatever. We’ll get there.

Yeah, it’s a laundry room project and a half as it was never finished…

But we found a cool old piece of furniture (under a funky slab of wood). It kind of matches my grandma’s old buffet that I have and that makes me smile. 

We’ll have these pretty ladies (thanks, mama!!) set up and functional AND hot water in cabin 5 in no time. No bathroom in this cabin until spring though. (Don’t fret for us — we’ll have a full and complete new bathroom in cabin 1 by the end of October.)

This is not functional or pretty, and not a place I’d enjoy hanging out naked. Cabin 1’s shower. There’s a hole in the ceiling quite close to where Paul found a snake living in the wall. Dead snake by the time he found it, but still. I’ll be bathing with no snakes.

I know it seems we’re jumping all over the place but there’s logic to our seeming madness. All of cabin 1 bedroom addition and bathroom are 100% ready to realign the walls, close all rodent/snake/bug entry points, rewire, reroof, insulate, drywall, etc. 

The rest of cabin one is almost ready to start deconstruction on. This is looking out from the bedroom, through the bathroom and into the living room of cabin 1. (I should do a cabin explanation post!) The door on the left is to the deck.

This is the awesome view from the deck. It will be surrounded with fairy lights so we can sit there at night and watch the deer go by, from the forest through the lower field. There’s a family of 5 deer that like to spy on me when I pee in the night. It was a little disconcerting at first seeing their sets of eyes and not knowing what they were but I quickly realized it was just sweet, sweet deer. Phew. Made me jump a little. (Hopefully I don’t ever see eyes and discover they are connected to a cougar. There are apparently a lot around here.)

It’s been an on and off rainy weekend and I found myself suddenly grateful for the plastic bags left behind. I need to get myself some insulated Muck Boots ASAP! We all do!!

We’ve discovered we have lots of newts, salamanders and crawdads. Plus two woodpeckers and a bunny, three stellar jays, geese and wild turkey. 

An abundance of lichen covers everything, indicating we even have some of the best air on earth.

I hadn’t previously thought about it but another discovery is the lack of recycling here. We are HUGE recyclers and tiny garbage accumulators. This means a weekly trip to the recycling center, or at least a couple of times a month (which requires old school separation of all things). And, plastic bags are a thing here. Portland outlawed them forever ago and I thought it was a statewide thing. Nope! We forgot our reusable bags and paper wasn’t even an option. We’ll certainly not forget our cloth bags again. 

dreams, tidy kitchens and tearing down walls

I dreamed of this place before we found it, about four or five times. I even drew a map, which is almost identical to the reality of the property, with a couple of things mirrored. In my dreams though, there was a barn and a shop, plus four cabins and three septic systems. Funny that there are five cabins and we’ve considered turning cabin three into a shop. And three septic systems.

I told our neighbors of my dream and the barn. One of them looked at me weird and asked where it was in my dreams. I told him and he laughed. That barn in my dream, I told him, was actually fallen down and more like a pile of barn wood with a roof. I “That’s right where the barn was, and it collapsed several years ago.”

I smiled.

This week was abundant with company. Our friend Jake came, as previously mentioned, then my mom came yesterday (no tent living for her, she stayed at a cute vintage hotel in Cottage Grove, missing our gorgeous cool misty morning).

Moms brought foods for the cupboard (and some kick ass shredded chicken with peppers and a whole taco making spread because we moms are awesome at feeding people), and helped me get cabin five’s kitchen in order so we can use it whilst remodeling cabin one.

She didn’t bring all of that, but the good stuff like cookies, cereal, oatmeal, tortilla chips and beef jerky (for the guys).

We even set up the little temporary indoor dining area with the previous owner’s belongings. This will be handy with the return of the rains… when the nights are anticipated to be in the 30s and we may have to sleep inside (no mice in this one!).

Paul started in on the demolition of cabin one’s bedroom. No wonder this place was so infested!! Gaps everywhere…

It was a freaking mouse highway in the walls. Open holes to outside and 2×4 beams on a 4×6 sill.

Nothing is aligned, either. Look at the gap between the closet door frame and the corner at the floor and follow it up. (And then take a moment to admire his handy tool storage wall.)

This is that wall from the outside. Everything is slanted.

The first closet is gone (and more things totally misaligned). Closet number two will be gone tomorrow. The configuration was dumb so we’ll rebuild them, or it, more logically.

Insulation here and there all willy nilly, none elsewhere. Paul pointed out a spot of ceiling water damage to be repaired. And roof repair round two. (He repaired the whole room of cabin one already, just not the bedroom addition yet.)

A mishmash of crazy. And another place the light shines through (and point of entry for creatures you don’t want living in your home).

More cheap to add to the dump pile. We so need a truck!

Off the bedroom, there’s a cute deck that also needs to be repaired but it is surrounded by western red cedar, doug fir, oak and hawthorn trees, and overlooks the NE edge of the lower field and the forest beyond.

I’ll remember to take a photo of the view from there next time.

We’re beat. ♡ Dinner and creek time!