You can jump for joy because we have a floor to jump on!

Oh my goodness we made a floor.  It took about 10 hours to Tyvek the underneath, insulate, then cover it with plywood.  We had some help moving the plywood around which saved us some time and energy and overall, we did not come home feeling the most exhausted we have ever been.  Because the weather called for rain through the night, we decided to make it a day trip, which ended up working out perfectly. We left the site with a solid floor, covered in a big tarp, secured with bungee cords. a2007f02-e37d-4ad5-9080-86df5ad4ac0b

Taking a weekend to recreate in Louisville with my sister, we will be back the following week to frame it up. Hopefully, we will be able to get it roofed and framed over the weekend so we will  have the rest of the following week to tinker around the site and the cabin.

Since we are now on this stage of the build, it has allowed us to start speculating on the interior and exterior finishing plans.  This has had my mind spinning with excitement, thinking of all of the custom things that we can do to make our cabin comfy, efficient, and unique.  

Interior plan ideas:

Dead space: This is an a-frame, so with this style of home comes 14 feet of dead space on each of the sides where the roof is.  I have been dreaming about the best ways to maximize that space (actually, i have been dreaming about oceans swallowing me up and tornadoes, but I digress)so here are a few of my thoughts on this:

Veggie bin for potatoes, onion, etc., cooler bin for drinks. We plan on getting a mini fridge for the barn to store any refrigerated items that we need, so a cooler should work out in the house.   We can also use it as storage bins for dishes, pots and pans. Feel free to share any ideas or thoughts about these things. We love ideas!

Thinking about cooling solutions, we  found a great solar fan that we can install on the loft level to vent out some hot air that will surely collect near the ceiling once the weather warms up.  The amazing thoughts about installing one of these is the fact that we will know exactly where to attach the solar panel onto the roof because we are installing that as well!  If I sound excited about that, you heard me correctly. It may even be a bit of an understatement.

Exterior plan ideas:

We ordered the frame of a hoop house which will be covered in some sort of screen or mosquito netting and fashioned into a screened in porch/catio.  We have quite a slope around the cabin, but i am confident that we can adjust for that with some pallet wood in order to make it level. The current plan is to connect that to the house with some sort of tunnel that the cats can help themselves to when they are ready for some outside time.  If the hoop house doesn’t work for the cats, it will work for the ducks somehow, so no loss there!

Homework

Daydream!  Let your mind wander.  I know I will not actualize everything that I daydream about but if it is half as nice as I imagine, we will be enjoying quite an oasis.  I think that sometimes, people are afraid to get excited about things because they don’t want to be disappointed when something doesn’t work out the way they planned.  As the saying goes, you only have one life so let’s go for it. Don’t hold yourself back and adjust your expectations of the results to either be happy with what has resulted, or try again to make it better.

Howard

It is just a big puzzle.

Except for the fancy cuts on the ends of all of the roof rafters, we have prepped all of the framing lumber and have it organized for “Barn Raising” day.  Overall,everything came out exactly as planned. There are a couple of small things that we will be re-cutting, which we decided to do after sitting on it for a minute at the city house.  

The 5 foot pieces of the sill plate actually need to be 5 foot and ¼ and the door header came out ½ inch too short so we will try that one more time as well.  We ended up with enough 2x6x8s left over to redo them. Everything else is beautiful.  It is all separated out into sections and just needs to be put together like a gigantic puzzle.  

We stopped at Lowes on the way out and got a business account set up with them. They were so awesome about the whole thing and even suggested it to begin with.  It saves about 40 dollars per truck delivery and they are always willing to help you find ways to save some more money where they can. The women at the counter really made us feel special. I don’t care if they got a commission on our account. I hope they did.  It kind of felt like a women helping women moment. While we were there, we looked at windows and bought enough hardware to tie our floor tight enough to the beams to withstand a hurricane (ok, some people call them hurricane straps, hence the reference, but it still better do the job).  We will put those on next weekend.

The family who lives on the property was out of town for the night so Perriee and I were the only people there.  While working in the barn during the rainstorm because it was raining in the tipi Perriee noticed someone was pulling up the driveway. It was an interesting situation.  I walked out while Perriee sort of hung back behind the barn door. She is black, I am white. We are married. As I walked out, I quickly came to find out that it was one of the neighbors, who explained that she came up to make sure the chickens were cared for since the weather was getting bad and she knew our friends were out of town.   We know that the other family who lives there knows the neighbors. They have told us repeatedly how friendly the neighbors are. I took the opportunity to introduce myself and called out that it was Perriee who was in the barn. I did not force her to come out and say hello, nor did I introduce her as my spouse. We still live in the shadows. We are careful.  

Speaking of feeling awkward in the world, last weekend, we helped hang signs up for our friends’ dog who ran off and did not come back.   Wilbur lives there at the farm and he is old and needed to be back home at the farm to lay in his old-man- chair.  He was thankfully returned to home, a couple of days later.  We wanted to help bring him back, but to do so safely, Perriee stayed in the car, while I jumped out to hang up the signs in the surrounding area.  It was all an avoidance act, but it works.  We do whatever possible to fly under the radar.  

We want to believe everyone is cool.  We want to believe everyone is accepting.  We don’t let our reservations prevent us from interacting with the wonderful people we have met out there up until now, but we are still careful.  We operate from a unique perspective in the country and I think that is the best way to go. In spite of all of our optimism, we are also realistic and know that some people are not so open and accepting, and you feel extra vulnerable where the population is a bit thinner and there are less people around.  We would think carefully about taking the ride up a neighbor’s driveway, unannounced, and I could bet that Perriee would likely never do it alone, could she help it at all.

In the city, we are comfortable.  We know our neighbors and have a family-like relationship with many of them.  The trust on the city street is reciprocal and comfortable. I will remain hopeful that we can have that in the country too, but if it does not happen we know what we can fall back on what we have at our city house.  

Homework

Be kind to one another. Try to remember that everyone does not navigate through the world like you do.  Believe people when they tell you that there are places that they are, “not allowed” to go.  They know.  If they are alive telling you, their acts of self-preservation are working well.  Be willing to experience people and places that are unfamiliar to you. That is the only way to normalize the unknown and break down our differences among one another.  

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P.S.  Our cover photo was taken on the side of the tipi on Saturday.

Rejoist! We have a floor!

Cabin Corner

There is a visible floor and it is flawed and beautiful, just like everything that is good in life. The floor joists themselves are nestled within a perfect square, but as we have already mourned and now rejoist, I mean, rejoice, the support beams are slightly outside of the perimeter. It is just one of those things that we now understand and would never do incorrectly again.

For all of you rookie framers, Perriee and I had a great lesson regarding our measurements of the floor joists. Some of you might say, “DUH”, and some of you will think, “Huh, I’ve never thought about that!” Although the plans called for 14 ft lumber to construct the joists, we ultimately realized that to make a 14 foot square, those joists are actually required to be 13 feet and 9 inches long. You know why? To make a square. Why wouldn’t they be 13 feet and 8 inches long, since the boards we used are called 2x8x14s? I’ll tell you why! Because when someone tells you lumber is 2 inches wide, it is probably 1.5 inches wide. Sneaky contractors want to keep us armatures out of their lane!

Carriage bolts: We ended up stopping for 9 more and put two bolts per post. We took two lag bolts out of one side and used those holes for the carriage bolts and left the lag bolts on the other side, where they were originally. It feels good and solid.

Since this weekend has passed, I have been looking deep into our plans, calculating lumber for the loft and bathroom on the INSIDE of the cabin. We had another consult with neighbor Mark to iron out and clarify our framing steps and we are committing to a save the date weekend and have extended the invitation to a couple of people who have expressed interest in helping with the “Barn Raising”.

Floor joists

A year ago when we looked at the plans for this, I seriously did not know if we could hack it. Now we surprise ourselves about the things we understand.

Life in the City

On the city home front we have started some seeds in the house and planted some things outside in our new raised beds. Spring is coming. The earth is getting ready to exhale a big warm breath of new life. Bring it on.

Homework

Don’t stop asking questions.

I am quite sure that I am a slow learner. In order for me to retain something, I often need things explained to me several times. I like to write things down.  Sometimes I like to watch someone demonstrate something, then have them direct me to do it, step-by-step.  One thing is for certain though, once I learn something, I know it.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you feel like you are being bothersome (who cares?). This might be due to my cisgender, female brain, and I will try to fight it, every step of the way. A quick Google search returned the following link, so no, I don’t think I’m making this up: Women Ask Fewer Questions Than Men