A Cabin in the Woods

When my dad was about 12 years old his family built a cabin. As in, they purchased an acre of land, poured their own foundation and built every wall themselves kind of built-a-cabin. The process took them about a year a half and it's been enjoyed by my grandparents, my 4 aunts and uncles and their families, our family and many, many friends for the last 40 years. Despite going up to "the cabin" ALL THE TIME when I was little, I haven't been up there in about 15 years. Yes, I know, downright crazy. Chris is a wilderness boy, so I've always bragged about how my family had a cabin in the wilderness, but I never took him to it (despite us being together for almost 8 years now). Finally, a few months ago I told my dad we had to make the trip up so Chris could finally see it and I could finally enjoy it again. And in a simple twist of fate when my cousin was up there a couple months ago there was a small fire, so we made the pilgrimage to survey and repair the damage this past weekend.

Now, I love our cabin, but it's not a mansion and it's not nearly as beautiful as I'm sure you're imagining. Sure, the river that runs about 50 yards away is beautiful...

...but the cabin is 40 years old, hasn't been updated, and unfortunately doesn't get visited much anymore, so it's in need of some loving

But I still love it anyway.

We've already got plans to head up again sometime this year and take a power washer to it and repaint (it hasn't been painted in about 15 years and gets a beating by the cold winters and very hot summers). Plus, it'll be awesome to bring Cashew up when she's a wee little baby just like my parents did with me and my brother and all my aunts and uncles did with all of their kids.

Me, Chris, my dad and Wendy had a lot of fun this past weekend. It brought back a lot of fun memories for me as a kid and I know my dad loves to reminisce about all the fun and trouble he used to get into when his family would head up and stay for a large portion of the summer when he was a kid and for lots of skiing when he was a teenager. I always love hearing the stories. It doesn't matter how many times I've heard them, I still love hearing about all the fun they had and the adventures they went on.

Our visit this time was centered around making sure we repaired the small amount of fire damage, but we made time for some games

An attempt at a bonfire

We also made it up to the snow for some pregnant saucer-ing :)

Where I conveniently ripped a hole in the butt of my pants after Chris and I bailed out on our sled because we didn't want to take out some idiot lady at the knees who kept standing RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of the sled run despite us constantly telling her to move (stop being a weenie and take the sled from the top of the hill!)

And the cabin gave us a super big treat when it snowed the last night we were there (we don't get much snow at the cabin because it's not too high up)

The river was even more beautiful in the snow

And I even made a teeny, tiny snowman

On the drive home through "town" (there are about 80 people who live there and my uncle jokes that you have to drive through with your window rolled down holding a beer to fit in) about 5-10 minutes from the cabin was pretty picturesque with the light dusting of snow

But higher up in altitude we stopped off on the side of the road to play in a nice field of light, fluffy, fresh snow

But of course, the whole point of going up there was to repair the fire damage that happened when my cousin was up a couple months ago, so of course we got some work in. It wouldn't be a weekend for us without a little bit of work, right? We were a little nervous about how bad the damage was because we didn't really know too many details, but it wasn't too bad

We figured that what most likely happened was that over time the grout behind the potbelly stove failed, once the grout failed the cement backerboard became charred, this allowed the wooden frame members to be exposed to heat and basically become charcoal and my cousin was just the unlucky family member that had the interior of the wall light on fire when he had a fire lit in the stove

(like Chris' ear protection? Pink fuzzy ear warmers have to do when you forget to bring personal safety equipment)

Like how you can see into the cabin through the "grout line?"

We decided that because the paint was failing in so many other parts of the siding that the exterior needed more work in the future than just this small patch, so for the time being we'd just do something temporary. We added a new stud (the other one got burned out)

Put in some insulation

Put up new tar paper

We added a z-bar at the seam between the old siding and the new siding to help keep water from seeping in

Then we cut down the siding and nailed it up

Then we caulked the sides and gave it a good coat of primer to help protect it from the rest of the winter elements

We would have liked to have gotten a second coat on, but it had snowed the next morning, so that obviously wasn't happening. For a small patch over the weekend though, I think we did a good job

I'm already looking forward to our next trip up: give the cabin some more well deserved love and introduce Cashew to some great family memories.


Deb said...

We had a lake house on Lake Oscawana in NY that has a similar history to your cabin and had been in the family for decades. Unfortunately I never truly appreciated it until I was an adult and now, sadly, it's gone. My grandparents grew old, passed away, and none of their children could afford the upkeep nor wanted the headache of owning a property 5 hours away that was only accessible 6 months of the year. I was too young to be able to do anything at all. I wish my children had been able to spend time up there over the summer as I always did.

Don't let that happen to your cabin :)

meryl rose said...

Your comment makes my heart hurt and hopeful at the same time. I don't think I appreciated how wonderful having the cabin in our family was until we made the trip this past weekend. It's so wonderful to have a place to go to as a family and enjoy together. I'll make sure to always love it!

Anonymous said...

What, no house tour of the cabin?!

meryl rose said...

I didn't even think about taking pics of the rest of the cabin, duh! I'll have to take more the next time we go up for a "tour"

Bunny @ 86n It said...

What a great place to have! To more good times in the future.

meryl rose said...

Yes! My family is already trying to plan a time in July for us all to head up for a work and meet Cashew party

Vincent P said...

Along with holding your beer while you drive thru town, be sure to drive around the dogs who sleep in the middle of the road. No joke!

RocksTech said...

Sounds like a great place to make some new memories. What are you long term plans for the exterior siding? Pete

meryl rose said...

I have no idea, ha! We're planning a large family work weekend in July where we'll give the cabin some well deserved love and I think my dad and aunts and uncle will start deciding what to do with the siding specifically. It clearly needs some love too though.