Farm Life

Farm Life

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cabin In The Woods PART I : Log Cabin Dreams

 For as long as I can remember, I have had log cabin dreams. I grew up in a log cabin on a farm, and I love the woods. I've ran wild through the woods as a child and have had favorite camp sites deep within her safe confines. A love for the woods is what has fueled this passion I have for living in it's midst, in a dwelling that blends seamlessly into the forest landscape.
I love the sounds of the woodland creatures when I am still. I listen quietly and hear the birds in a flutter. The squirrels scold me as I stroll through their homeland. At night, the peepers sing me to sleep. I love to take in the chorus of the crickets, and the shrill answer from one owl to another. I love the moss captured rocks and  the pine needle carpets. I appreciate how the sun filters through any unguarded sky and casts it's beams upon tender vegetation.
I could sit by a babbling brook and lose track of time and reality, only to be lulled into a dreamy state.

Autumn brings a beauty and a feeling that warms my soul while it cools my surroundings. A crispness fills the air and a vivid display follows. The forest floor hides beneath a scattering of color.
Snow brings peaceful protection to my oasis. Heavily laden branches hang low bearing beauty. But, most of all, I love the protection I feel amongst my sky high green guardians. Their arms reach out and envelope my surroundings in a lush beauty, hiding me from existence.
If I didn't have my beautiful family (I'm SO very glad that I do), I could easily become a hermit. I would be happy that way. Alone. Quiet. Free. I know, I am not the norm, but I like it that way. I'm different, and I like that about me. I enjoy that about the forest. No people. Don't get me wrong. I love people and certain people I could not live without, but I love time with no people. It re-energizes me. It clears my mind and affords me the patience to enter the civilized world again. I need to live here among nature and it's occupants. Animals are my neighbors and how peaceful that notion is to me. So, I will live within my passion.
    I started with a dream, and then picked out the piece of forest that would lend it's arms to my log habitat. On 175 acres, I searched for the perfect spot. I found a little opening at the edge of a field. A place my dad had cut and yarded logs with our Belgian work horse team. An opening big enough for a cabin to hide itself from the world. Perfect. My goal was to build a small log cabin for myself and my two boys mortgage free. This was when I was a single mom with two young boys. As the dream has progressed through the years it has now become the future home for myself, my husband, and my four boys. We had to plan for a few extra bedrooms, but the plan is still on a very small scale. The home is only 20'x24', but in the future we hope for an addition. The porch will add a lot of much needed living space too.
    My next course of action was to start collecting salvaged building supplies, and anything free that I could find. I came upon a chimney being torn down in town and stopped by to see if the bricks could be purchased. I bought the entire chimney for $40. I had to load them, but with good deals usually comes labor. Just recently, I added to our brick supply with bricks that I purchased for ten cents a piece! I have hauled many a window with the help of my dad, from the land fill pile. I combed the many "free for the taking" ads and came home with a truck load of old farmhouse doors! My big doors that will find their new home on the south end of my home, used to be sliding glass doors. They were on the trash pile at the dump. I will paint the wood, add unique wrought iron hinges, and door knobs. My old claw foot tub was a great find at $40. I found a $3 buffet at a yard sale and with some elbow grease turned it into a beautiful bar for my kitchen. My cabinets are all thrifty purchases and some were made by my great-grandfather. A friend sold me some beautiful interior doors and all my light fixtures are handmade by me. I am still on the search for more supplies, but this has kept my cost down considerably!
($3 buffet before...)
(...after. Kitchen bar.)

(Hutch. Free beside the road. Before...)

   Next, I rented an excavator to do my land work. I dug my well all by myself! I must say, I am proud of that accomplishment. This is one of the perks of being brought up on a farm. You are taught at an early age to run a myriad of equipment. My dad dug the footing for the cabin as I am not quite that good. My dad is an expert after a lifetime of farming. I then rented a stump grinder and got quite a harsh workout. That was a long day! Then came big brush piles and many nights of burning. I am all about saving every penny on this project so, bringing in rock to fill the footings and cover the inside of the cabin floor only made sense to save on cement costs. For two whole summers I used the skid steer to load rock from old rock walls and then emptied the contents for the base of my cabin. This was back breaking work, but I kept reminding myself  how much money I was saving. I didn't have the money to spend and I had to do what I had to do! After this was completed, it was time for the cement work. My dad and I worked up the cement with our old green cement mixer. We then stuck rebar into the footings to attach our first layer of logs to. I was so proud of our job as we left that evening. My dream was in the works and I could see progress......but, when you live on a farm things do not always go as planned. We have cows.
If you have ever had cows then you know how cows can be. Nosey. Very nosey. They cannot mind their own business and so neither could they in this case. When I entered my work area to inspect our work from the previous evening, I was horrified! My rebar was all cockeyed and sideways. The cement had set and so had the rebar. Cow patties in my work place were the only sign as to who the destruction belonged. It was then that I declared that the cows were heading for the freezer, and I was going to be a flower farmer! We still have the cows.
    Now my dream was beginning to take shape and I could see the outline of what would be my cabin. Now it was time for the logs. This next step was so exciting to me and I began to plan out every aspect over the long winter months. I decided to purchase a load of logs rather than cut them ourselves to save time and save the trouble for my dad. When warmer weather arrived we would begin on the walls! I could not wait for that spring to arrive......



  1. Oh how wonderful! What a great story. I really like it.. Your writing is so good. Have you written a book? Poetry. Your life is a book

  2. You are amazing girl ! Your cabin is going to be marvelous ! I love hearing about the building process .My brother is building a home completely from salvage .It is so fascinating to watch it all take shape .Love your description of time in the woods .I too am in love with trees and nature and long to live in the forest .Time in the woods can calm my soul like nothing else .I realize that I need this time like a medicine for my spirit .I do not live near the woods ,but try to go whenever possible . Your writing is always a breath of fresh air .Thank you so much for sharing !

    1. Hannah, the woods IS like a medicine for your spirit isn't it? Good description!

  3. You are truly inspirational! I'm so impressed with all you've accomplished, and the pictures on this post are just gorgeous! The trees are such a nice change for this prairie girl!