Archive for the ‘Camp’ Category

Camp Setup2

Posted: April 10, 2014 in Camp

IMG_8164The process of building our ‘camp’ lasted most all of the first summer.  We started with just our pop-up and a tarp.  Then added the 10×20 container for tool storage then added the 10×20′ carport for shelter.  We were able to use the internet because of our satellite dish and solar panels to provide power.


IMG_1947Bonnie had to keep her business running over the net and I had to watch the NBA playoffs.  

Seriously, it was valuable for the property development issues we ran into on a daily basis.  Part of the fun for me was that every day was about SOLUTIONS.  How to solve different problems and issues.  The same conveniences you enjoyed ‘at home’ were not present ‘off the grid’.
Couple that with the fact that I had never acted as my own GC(general contractor) and it sure made life interesting.  I loved it!

If any of you know the Pacific NW at all you will know that it rains…a lot.  This first summer I was on site by the middle of April to fall trees.  Bonnie was still in Florida taking care of business and ‘missing’ the beautiful wet weather.  The following clips show me documenting what she is missing.  Enjoy.  I think I’m funny so please don’t tell me otherwise…it will crush me.

IMG_1927Bonnie and I LOVE visitors!  In fact we hope to use this property as a sort of ‘retreat center’.  A place where people can come to ‘get away’, relax, recharge and just plain enjoy nature and the beauty God has created.  Family visits were our favorite.  Briana brought our two grandkids out several times.  What a cool place.
I guess it goes without saying that there are all kinds of animals on the property.  Some we love to watch and photograph.  This herd of elk are in this pasture all year long.  I have seen up to 95 head of elk at one time.  Wow…

This snag is only 100 feet from our cabin. Eagles and other wildlife frequent the property.

This snag is only 100 feet from our cabin. Eagles and other wildlife frequent the property.


Camp Setup1

Posted: April 1, 2014 in Camp

Grand Tetons by kayak.

Early in 2014 we closed on our 28 acre paradise.  I began working on details from our home in florida.  I built a timeline according to how I thought the summer would flow.  Most of my friends warned me that it would take twice as long as I expected.  “No way” I thought…I got this.  Well, they were mostly right.  We fell logs in May and hoped to stack logs in July after the foundation was poured.  It was September 15th before we laid our fist log.  Long story.  Let me say a few words to help those of you who are NOT GCs(general contractors) like myself.
Read all your county building departments docs well.  Ask questions.  Over-plan your project.  Leave no detail unturned.  Even if you are ‘sure’ you will NOT need a building permit…my advice is to talk with your building department and share your plans anyway.  Start a good relationship now.  Shake out any issues NOW…not AFTER you’ve started.  OK…enough ‘mothering’.  My story:  I knew that I could build a structure of 800 sq ft maximum WITHOUT a building permit.  I also knew that it was only for an ACCESSORY building.  OK fine I thought…this will be my garage(accessory) and next year will by my cabin.  Quite by accident I walked into the building department and was proud of my progress (I had my forms up for my foundation).  Until I found out that I needed a permit because my cabin was not built yet.  There was nothing on our property for our garage to be an accessory TO!  Sheesh….  OK…hence all the careful words above before beginning your project.  You guys probably are not like me…shoot then aim…so you won’t have any problems.  Good luck!

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I’ve built many ‘elk camps’ in my time…but the camp we put together beats them all!  If you can picture our pop-up trailer parallel to a 10×20′ Walmart carport parallel to a 10×20 container.  Space to live and space to store tools and equipment.  Nice.  To make a room ‘add on’ all I had to do was put up another tarp.  Early on we also shipped our niece’s tiny house onto the property.  We used that as our cottage.  You’ll notice in the cottage photo a satellite dish.  I told ya we didn’t rough it too much! 🙂  Our router and converter ran off our two solar panels.  We also found enough power (stored in four 6volt IMG_2054golf cart batteries…wired as one 12v) to run our lights at night and battery charging.

While we’re on the subject of power.  The county gave us the quote of $37k to run power up to our cabin even though power lines ran across our property at the bottom of the hill(remember when I said “do your research and pay attention to detail”).  OK…forget ’em!  Let’s do this ‘off grid’…better yet!  So far it has worked with a generator(mostly for running the well pump and power tools), small propane tanks for shower, stove, BBQ and trailer and our two solar panels.  In the future we will add a large propane tank,  enlarge our solar footprint and add a larger/quieter generator for the cabin.

Our toilet had a fan running 24/7 by this small solar panel and a 12volt deep cycle battery.

Our toilet had a fan running 24/7 by this small solar panel and a 12volt deep cycle battery.

Our composting toilet.

Our composting toilet.


Even a bark-o-lounger for comfort!

Property Search

Posted: June 1, 2013 in Camp

builders' blissI grew up loving wood and building many things from entertainment centers to bunk beds to bathroom vanities.
It seemed that making sawdust was therapy for me.   I even helped with the building of my first home and worked along side one of my best friends, Bob Manning, as a carpenter.  I loved the ‘look’ of wood…I loved the challenge and I loved the satisfaction I felt after a build.  But never in my wildest dreams did I picture myself where I am now!  Building a log cabin…from scratch!  And to make things even better my wonderful wife Bonnie was eager to share it with me.  This blog is to share with you our experiences.  Enjoy!


It started in 2012 when my wife(Bonnie) and Kim(niece) attended the Onalaska Log Cabin School in Onalaska WA taught by Jack and Sharron Tipping.  It was an intensive day of ‘hands-on’ learning.  The most encouraging ‘take-away’ for me was that I could do this without any prior log cabin building knowledge.

The summer of 2013 was spent looking for property.










We live in the Melbourne Beach area in Central Florida during the winters but want to spend the summers in the NW.  I am from the NW and my kids all live on the west coast.   After looking at over 100 properties between the Pacific Ocean and Montana we eventually choose to stay in Western WA and found 28 acres north of Montesano on the West Satsop river.

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We have over a half mile of riverfront and a nice high spot overlooking the river and the Olympic Mts.  We choose the high spot on the property to build our cabin.  In the photo you can see the area we eventually cleared for our garage and cabin.  The small white top is our pop-up trailer.  Soon we added a 10’x20′ steel framed car port to protect us from the rain and the sun.  Under that we had our kitchen area complete with stove, coolers, water and a food prep area.

Clear view of our building site from across the road. Notice the white pop-up trailer and the driveway up to it. The rest of the knoll are young Douglas Fir.








We even added a 50 gallon water retaining barrel to store water for our dish-cleaning station.  I thought it may have worked for our shower but I found out that our shower needed at least 25 psi to operate.  In case you thought we were really ‘roughing it’…you should know that we have a very hot shower…outdoors of course.  Our 5 gallon propane tank lasts for over half the summer.  Our water pump on our well is run so far by our generator…so the generator must be running for the water to flow for our shower.  Small price to pay for a hot shower.  In 2015(our second summer) I added a roof to the shower…actually a sky light roof.