Monday, November 30, 2009

Dry wall mixer goes to dinner

So, even though we are not done, and not moved in, we decided we were close enough to host Thanksgiving dinner at the lodge. We tidyed up a bit, moving tools upstairs and sweeping/dusting everything. It really looked quite homey.
The way we designed our floor plan is very open, so that the south end of the house is open from end to end(36'). This is for the single reason of hospitality. We set up two very long tables for thanksgiving and seated 25. There was floor space for another table, which we should have provided, since we were all very close quarters during dinner. The picinic table Brian and I worked on this last summer for the porch, were made the same heighth and width as our dining set, so when hosting a crowd, (besides our own family:-)) the two tables flow togehter seemlessly.

Well, the dinner prep was going well until the time came for mashing the potatoes. The hand mixer was not deep enough for the huge batch of taters we cooked, so Brian disappeared upstairs and came down with the dry wall mixer and a smile. After washing it really well, it did a "smashing" job, and we were ready for the feast!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Character Wood and Helpful Characters

During the log selection, waaaayyy back when we were starting this project, we measured butt and top ends, cataloging the logs along with various markings or bows they may have. Then, when we raised the support columns, we checked our inventory of logs, and selected several logs that had curious character. A few "Cat Faced" logs went in the living areas horizontally, but the rest we kept for the vertical columns.

We are pleased with the results. Everyone's favorite being the double topped tree which became a forked column in the living room. I think it needs a bobcat perching in it (hint hint, John).

We will use more character wood on the stairs railings and stiles. Our theory is that, by having just a few prominatly featured oddities throughout the living areas, they would stand out more than if we had chosen mostly character wood in both our horizontal log walls and the verticle supports.

Also, this seemed like a good place to include some friendly faces that have contributed alot to the building project. Thanks for your help guys!!!

Where Logs and Sheetrock Meet

When we framed up the walls inside the lodge we were a bit puzzled as to how we would make a nice looking transition from the log walls to the dry wall. Scribing the dry wall around all the logs seemed pretty time consuming, but fortunately, a great alternative showed up on our door step. A family down the road about an hour is building the same house as ours, on the exterior, anyway. They came over to see how we did our chinking, and invited us to come and see thier house. They have a relative who is a builder doing most of their house, and he has a fabulous saw that is just for making cutbacks into log walls. And, since they love Jesus too, they graciously allowed us to use thier saw. It is a cut back saw and this is how it works:

The saw evenly slides along the framed wall to make a groove in the log wall just big enough to allow the dry wall. Once it is cut, it is very easy to chisel out the groove.

As you can see, the finished product looks great, with much less effort than scribing would have taken.

You can do this in a very similar fashion with a chain saw carving bar which is available at Bailey's online store. The short more pointed bar makes cuting grooves and trimming easier.

As you can see from the pics, things are looking very homey. Once Thanksgiving is over, we will address finishing the floor, then pick up work on the second and third floors.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Outdoor Living

When we first started building our 12x36ft. porch, folks have quizziczlly asked why so BIG?! So now that summer is here, and the inside of the house is a mess of building materials and sheet rock dust, we are camped on the front porch. This has worked out marvelously. One side is our "dining room", with the table and benches Brian and I made, the other side is the "living room." Here we have our camp chairs and the very important Johnny-jump-up that keeps baby Gabe happy and, most importantly, immobile. It is a wonderful sizaed porch and we are glad it is not any smaller. It has truly been an outdoor room for us all the summer long, nice and shady, and able to take in the cooling breezes.

Over the summer we enjoyed many suppers around the campfire ring on the back side of the house. We had so much fun with this that we decided to make the campfire ring a permanent part of the landscape, incorporating it into the patio. (Next Year?)

Meanwhile, Brian is building interior walls, wiring, plumbing, and occasonally snatching a loving kiss from his adoring wife.

Almost There

We have been steadily working away at the finishing of the interior of the lodge. The first floor is nearly complete. Over the fall, we drilled our third and fourth wells. The 4th finally produced water @ 240 ft, with 10 gallons (of pure, clean water) per minute. PRAISE THE LORD!!! This has been our biggest obstacle over the past 5 years. Now, just to get it piped up to the house and we will be pretty capable of living there.
Rose and I textured the sheetrock the last two days, while Anna kept the little ones and the home fires burning. Brian has been working on the gas lines to a small heating stove in the kitchenett, the cooking range, and a fireplace in the Master bedroom.

We have had lots of help from friends in getting the plumbing, sheetrock, and other details done.
God is so Faithful to provide help and funds to keep our project going.
We picked up some closet doors at Habitat for Humanity, our favorite building supplier. They are solid wood panel doors that the girls and Julianne stained and finished. Like our bathroom door, we were able to buy it at a fraction of the retail cost because of defects, which have been easily delt with.

Rose and I didn't really have any idea what we were doing, but like so many aspects of building this home, we just dug in and did it anyway. I think it turned out pretty good too. There have been so many times that we did not know how to do something, and we just prayed for wisdom, and God answered. The kitchen is a good example of this. Having bought cabinets that were second hand, we had to figure out how to make them work in our space, with our needs. After much thought and prayer, we were able to make all the cabinets fit by using some of them for an island which our very wonderfully helpful friend Bill created for us. We topped off the island with stainless steel to match the other appliances, and be a clean surface for processing the wild game that we harvest each year.
A friend from church is painting the walls today, with the hopes of having Thanksgiving dinner there next week. We are going with Navaho White, except for the stairs wall, which we are doing in a sage green since it is a high traffic area. Even though we hoped to be all moved and settled by now, we remain extremely thankful for the abundance of incredible circumstances that have allowed us to build this dream come true home for our family.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Children, particularly our children,
never cease to amaze me.
They provide us with abundant laughter, humor,
"character development opportunities,"
and enduring memories.
Some things are terribly important in a child's life, 
like showing daddy the amazing frog they caught, 
even though daddy is in the middle of plumbing the bathroom. 

They delight us with their enthusiasm for watermelon and chocolate chip cookies.

They grace us with beautiful smiles, and bestow on us slobbery kisses.

Our children give us continual joy in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Truly, I am having a hard time believing that grandchildren are going to be better. :-)

We just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.
We bought ourselves an anniversary gift that now graces our dining room wall.
It reads:
"Live so that when your children hear these words they think of you...fairness, caring, integrity, honesty, love, trust."
Don't ya just love that?
We have so much to be thankful for!
Top of the list is our family, they are an imense blessing.

All this because two people fell in love.

The Faithful Provision

We have been working on building the interior walls, wiring the first floor, installing the kitchen cabinets and countertop, and plumbing. Most of the first floor is finished. We had to go to town for supplies, so we stopped by Habitat, and lo and behold, there was a like new tub/shower unit perfect for the children's bathroom. Not only that, but also a large shower unit perfect for the master bathroom. Add two toilets for $10 e and we were fully outfitted for our bathrooms at a 70% savings! To top that all off, a good friend with a two ton flat bed was also in town and he drove over and picked up our goods for us!

Well, our building fund was nearly dry, and we were praying," God, this is your house and your project, please supply the funds to be able to keep work progressing." Saturday, a man walked up to Brian and stuffed a check in Brian's pocket and walked away. Thanks so much D.D you are such a blessing to us!
Meanwhile, Rose and Julianne tackled refinishing a yard sale table for porch dining. Brian and Julianne made some benches from scrap lumber, and all were stained and then enjoyed with a romantic dinner on the porch.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Father of Lights

One advantage of taking several years to build your home is the ability to bargain shop.
Every time we are in town, we stop by Habitat for Humanity. We have found all but one of our light fixtures this way, and haven't paid more than $15 for any fixture. Most were under $7. Basically, if we liked the form we bought it, and to keep a consistency in style, we spray painted everything black. Missing globes have also been discovered via thrift shopping, usually $1 each verses $6-$10 e. retail. The most amazing thing is, that of our porch lights. Now I always pray on my way to town, asking that the Almighty God and Father provide our needs in an affordable way. About 3 yrs. ago we found these porch lights for $10.

I knew that we would need a third light for next to the door, but we had plenty of time to find it. Low and behold, a few months ago we were at Habitat for Humanity and look what was there:

A matching porch light! I contribute this small miracle to the Heavenly Father who knows and cares about the details of our lives. Now isn't that cool!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Time To Get To Work… Again!!!

With the possibility that it may stop snowing soon (Oh Lord… please?), we are gearing up for work at the lodge this week. By the grace of God everything but our storage tent made it through the 4 feet of snow that we had at the lodge. The solar panels have kept the batteries that made through last winter in tip top shape. Hopefully by end of the week we will have the electrical service in to the house from the generator/battery shed. It will be nice to get rid of the long heavy extension cords we've been using for three years. We should also have one functional toilet by the end of the week. A real plus with a family of ten and often times some friends out working!! Yes… it's time to get to work at Providence Lodge again!

"Lord, thank you for your faithfulness to us. Thank you for providing exactly what we need, when we need it, to build this, Your home. May this home be a beacon of hope to many and a refuge to those who need it! May Your name be extolled. Amen!"

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