Archive for March, 2016

Garage Side Door

Posted: March 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

We waited until the summer of 2015 to cut out a side door on the garage.  We could have IMG_5179IMG_5181cut our windows as well but decided to wait until we had better security (i.e. camera surveillance).  We simply marked our lines using an 8′ level and cranked up the 18″ Stihl chainsaw.  Pretty cool to use a chainsaw to do ‘finish work’.  I had found a solid wood door without a casing at a garage sale for $1 so I asked my go-to guy, Rob, to do the rest.


I bought this door for $1 at a garage sale and Rob turned it into a beautiful side door.

Have you ever had a guy on a job site that could do just IMG_5189about anything…well, that is Rob for us.  Thank you Rob from the bottom of our hearts.  Anyway, he not only built a wood casing for my door but also spent some time sanding the defects out and giving it a nice finish.   Wow!

2016 Cabin Model

Posted: March 26, 2016 in Uncategorized







Jack and Sharon of the Onalaska Building School have always taught to build a scale model before you build.  Smart.  Trust them, they have over 60 years of combined knowledge.  So I did…and not only did it show me how my cabin would fit together but it showed me what ‘I didn’t want’.  By building it and looking at it I could tell thumb_IMG_5872_1024thumb_IMG_5883_1024it was not what






I wanted.  So I changed it…and changed it…until we came up with a desired plan.  I had designed our cabin from my head so it took some visualization before it all came together.  I don’t know about you…but I am a visual learner.  Something that also helped me was some design software called Home Designer($99).   It will do everything…exterior walls, roof, interior layout and give you all the measurements automatically.   thumb_IMG_5882_1024Very thumb_IMG_5876_1024helpful for the placement of my staircase, wiring plan, windows and doors as well as hardware and cabinets like sinks, toilets, appliances and furniture.  The cool part is it has a 3D feature that allows you to see every side of your project by using the X, Y and Z access.  $99 well spent.  Short learning curve.  Make that model…it will save you lots of $ and grief.

BIG Cedar Center Post

Posted: March 19, 2016 in Cabin

In this photo you can see a lot. The big cedar center post we will be using in our cabin. Our gravity fed septic tank. The forms of our cabin foundation and in the background our pop-up trailer and car port we lived in for two years.

I ran across this 18′ Red Cedar log at a local Port Orchard mill.  It was ‘love at first sight’!  All the gnarly knots where the branchesIMG_5283 had been…the way the bottom part folded in and out the way Red Cedars do.  I had to have it!  Instead of mill it down to a table top I decided to use it for my center post in our cabin.  It will be the center post that holds up our ridge pole.  Smack dab in the middle or our cabin!  I decided to use a Tong Oil on it to bring out its natural color.  I spent some time peeling off all the bark I could reach.  At the end of the summer of 2015 I pulled it myself…with the help of my jeep and winch…over to the garage and stored it inside the garage over the winter.  IMG_5288had to IMG_0932hook up a snatch block on the far side of the garage to pull it in.  Thank goodness for winches and block ‘n tackle.



SOLAR POWER.  Got your attention?  We purchased this piece of land knowing it had power lines literally crossing our land at one end.  So naturally we thought we had power.  What we didn’t consider was the cost of getting that power up the hill 1500′ to our build site.  Later we found that cost to be 37k!  If I was to tell you one thing that may save you the most money, it would be…consider and research your UTILITIES!  Power, water and septic.  With that said we still love our purchase of land and its ‘curveballs’.  We actually are appreciating our ‘off the grid’ situation with power.  We do have a wonderful well and now have a gravity fed septic tank.  So power will be dealt with in three ways…solar, generator and propane.  I will wire the cabin with grid power in mind, mostly for resale value but also for using a generator when needed.


Here are the four golf cart 6volt batteries we use. Connected to create one 12volt battery.


Our two 160watt solar panels. Enough to feed our batteries and power our trailers evening lights, router, converter and charge our devices.

For the first two years we have used two 160watt solar panels with four 6volt batteries, a 7000w generator and a handful of small propane tanks.  This summer I am hoping to add solar panels, a better converter and possibly more batteries.  Also we will invest in a more permanent generator and a large propane tank.