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~Living at our log cabin~
August 2006
Cabin Home Starting Out Log Walls Roof  & Windows Winter Cabin Stairs

Cabinets & Porch

Log  Cabin  Living  2006

Return to Alaska 2008

JULY 28, 2006.....Well our cabin has become our home for awhile. We moved out of Anchorage and have been living here for most of the summer! It is heaven. Our days are spent glassing the mountains and bench country around the cabin in the morning and evening, with odd cabin jobs keeping us busy most of the day. Aaron is doing his antler carving and scrimshaw and I am able to use my phone as a modem to continue to do web design. I think our dogs are in heaven here as well. Nothing better than sitting at my desk in the corner with huge views to both my right and left. We've seen groups of bull caribou on the hills, four brown bears now, two wolves, a handful of moose, and thousands of bunnies. The thing I miss the most now is showering. Without running water it is hard to shower as often as I like. So far we are working it out to be an actual shower once a week. Keeping food cold has also been a chore, but dry ice has helped immensely. We feast on A LOT of canned goods right now. It is a big adventure for us right now trying to figure out how to live simply, but comfortably. We will try and keep a picture journal of our summer cabin jobs and adventures.
 

     
 

July 28, 2006

 

The very rough life of our dogs. Tundra has really grown up, but still has some room to grow. She is full of life and keeps Kodi young.  Not very often that Kodi lets her sleep so close to him....must of been playing hard.

     

One of the first projects Aaron started for me was a desk. I have my lap top so we didn't need anything elaborate.  We built a little corner shelf for the computer, then came the chair. Aaron built it very sturdy as usual...(don't know if he is trying to tell me something) It works well, but we are going to shave the back down a bit since it is a little much.

     

Learning to wash clothes was a chore, but a friend gave us this little contraption to do small bits of laundry. "The Wonderwash"... Nothing like washing clothes and hanging them to dry in the outdoors.  They smell so much better this way!

We had to bring our mounts and cool antler stuff up with us to the cabin.  It is very rustic and outdoorsy in here now.

 

August 9th-13th, 2006

Aaron and planned a weekend scout trip to our moose hunting area. We were a bit foiled by weather in the beginning; so we took advantage of a drive.  We saw this nice sow black bear and two cubs right along side the road.

 

We saw this cow and calf as well on the drive.  Mostly saw cows and a couple calves.  Looks like most of the bull moose this time of year are up a bit higher and tend to stay hidden in the alder thickets.  We did see a coyote cross the road as well.

We ended up hiking in a day later than we had planned and the weather was beautiful, but hot. We hiked 10 miles; the first three miles were on an old animal trail, and the rest was brush thrashing and hit and miss animal trails.  Luckily the bugs weren't so bad.  We hiked to where we thought we'd be moose hunting from and realized how totally unrealistic it was since the moose would still be at least two miles away - two miles of alders and thick spruce.  It was frustrating, but I guess at least we figured that out before we went in with intentions of hunting.

 

The evening was spent making a small shelter to sleep in and glassing the hills around us. We saw the biggest grizzly/brown bear we've seen since we've been in Alaska on the far hills.  We also saw a number of caribou bulls; and a couple of cow moose in the lake.  The trail in had some whopper piles of bear scat; and on the way out we found some good rubbing trees with bear hair all over them.

 

August 17, 2006

The rockwork we've been doing for our walkway. We've been carrying rock a couple times a week on our pack frames to help get in shape for hunting season, and to make our walkway.  We have a lot further to go though.

August 18, 2006

The big project began. We knew we needed to extended out the roof on both the front and back of the cabin since our logs had been getting beaten by more weather than necessary.  It would have been easier to build it longer in the beginning; but apparently we weren't thinking.  It was a challenge to figure how the extensions would be sturdy enough to stand the wind gusts. We have been putting this project off for good weather, but that doesn't exist up here in Alaska this summer. We've gotten A LOT of rain and stormy conditions.  So we decided to start the process today.  We framed the three foot extensions out on the ground and awkwardly slid them up the roof and somehow together balanced them and placed them in the brackets we'd attached to the old 2x8. 

 

The weather was probably the worst it has been since we've been at the cabin this summer. Somehow we built our cabin at the edge of converging weather systems. To the south it was gray and rainy with strong winds and to the north there was blue sky.  The winds were so strong they were warping the front windows with their strong gusts.  With the wind came horizontal rain from the storm to the south!  A couple times Aaron almost lost his balance when sitting on the roof from the gusts; and the steal wanted to catch the wind and lift a couple times. 

 
We managed to get steel up on one side of the new roof extension; but then it started raining too hard to safely complete the other side. The south facing side of the cabin will be a real trick; one for a day that there is no wind or rain since we don't have the loft to assist with putting the extensions up.  So with our new almost complete extension; the deck stays completely dry and most of the stairs do too!
 

August 19-20, 2006

We had visitors!!! Yeah. Aaron and I are always excited to have visitors, especially good friends from town.  Luke and Rochelle have been to our cabin before, but that was nearly two years ago when we put them to work.  This time we didn't put them to work; they put themselves to work fixing some of the best grub that Aaron and I have had in awhile. Aaron was so excited....he didn't have to grill a thing for two whole days.

 

Kodi and Tundra looking their best behaved; this after jumping all over Luke and Rochelle at the initial meeting.  We were all pretty much socked in the cabin with the strong winds and rain showers we were getting.  Glad we extended our roof the day before since we got 5 inches of rain in 24 hours; and the next night we got 3 inches.  (Lucky we built our cabin on a hill)

 
A break from the rain, but not from the wind.  The Delta River is normally a bunch of little rivers winding and twisting about.  With all the rain the river significantly widened. The Parks Highway, from Anchorage to Fairbanks by way of Denali, closed due to flooding from the rain.  About 20 miles south of our cabin, water was running over the road from streams overflowing.  All Aaron and I could think about was our friend out in the Tok Management area hunting for Dall sheep; probably stuck in snow at 5000 feet. 

Thinking we would find blueberries at an area we frequently see people stopped and picking; we were surprised to find wild raspberries.  Just past their prime, but still tasty.

Rochelle picking some blueberries near our cabin.

We all set out to pick some blueberries for Rochelle to take home.  Somehow Aaron and I stuck out the wind and rain with cold fingers to pick them nearly a gallon, while they cheated and snuck back to the cabin with maybe half a gallon...:)

 

 

Back inside to warm ourselves while Rochelle cooks up some blackened salmon and Kalbie.  It was a feast of a meal.  We were stuffed, and the dogs had their fill too.  Tundra and Kodi were in dog heaven with visitors providing handouts.  After dinner we relaxed with wine.  Nice to be inside a warm cabin when the weather is wild outside!


The family....Kodi, Tundra, Aaron, and I inside the cabin.  Nice to get a family photo every once and awhile.  Tundra is nearly a year old now, and Kodi is six and a half.

After a couple glasses of wine things started getting really interesting.  We played some cards, but when that proved to be a little challenging with the wine on board, we opted for Cranium.  It was a hoot. We played until 3am and I could have kept playing. Needless to say we didn't get out of bed until 10:00 the next morning!

So we had a feast for brunch....sausage and blueberry pancakes.  I'd made blueberry syrup a day before so we used that and put fresh berries on the cakes as well. We were all stuffed.  Thanks for the pictures Rochelle...

We didn't see the thermometer get any higher than 39 the day Rochelle and Luke left.  Rochelle took this picture of Aaron's perfect wood pile.


Rochelle modeling a big smile from the loft. 

View from the top of the stairs outside. Still have to lay a lot more rock, but haven't been able to find time yet.

 

The haul of berries we made from the day before.  Three bags of raspberries, and a number of blueberries.  We gave them all to Rochelle to take home and can since we figured we could go pick as many more as we could find.

 

 

Packing up and packing out.  Typically carry packs and coolers on our backs. A wet morning walk, but at least it wasn't nearly as windy as when they arrived. 

 

August 21, 2006

Aaron and I spent the morning finishing the ceiling boards inside the house with the nail gun Luke loaned us.  We couldn't stand it when the sun started peaking out. We had been cooped inside for days in the rain; nothing like some blue sky and fresh snow on the mountains.

 

The snowline was at 3500 feet; pretty early for August 21. I felt pretty bad for all those sheep hunters, but at least maybe they were warming themselves in the sun somewhere.  Aaron and I went on a jog near our cabin enjoying the sun.

 

Aaron sitting at my corner desk glassing for animals on the hills.  Saw many groups of caribou. Haven't seen any bears in awhile.

We spoiled ourselves by picking berries in the sun! Much better than when it is raining and windy. We picked a gallon; I'm sure Tundra did as well, but we don't benefit much from her berry eating.

Always packing pistols...especially in a bear cafeteria.  Ever since we had that bear come up to the cabin the other day, I've been a little more cautious. I feel really safe with Kodi though, he is always at attention. Occasionally he gets to woofing when we are out picking; makes me a little nervous, but I figure at least if any bears are near they will know we are too.

 

August 22, 2006

A day to start the outside ceiling boards. Aaron and I bought 160 1x3s since 1x4s were nearly twice as much.  I couldn't wait to get our outside boards on to make it a little harder for bugs to come and visit us inside the cabin.

Aaron used Luke's nail gun to put the boards up and I was the official cutter! Finally I'm using power tools. I won't say I can cut a straight line; but my value just increased. Now Aaron can sit on his ladder and give me measurements and I cut and run the board to him.  :)


We are very excited about how this is looking; much better than the plywood look.  Hard to make boards fit when they are butting up against logs and the purlins and ridgepole.  We found out midway through that we definitely didn't have enough boards for our roof.  Figured we'd be short some 75 boards.  Luckily Fairbanks isn't that far away.

Tundra keeps herself busy digging unneeded holes under the cabin.  We've had to put rocks in a number of the holes she started digging next to our concrete posts.
A rather windy day. Hard to catch some of the gusts on film, but you get the idea

These pictures are dedicated to Rochelle.  This is what you were looking for...We picked a gallon without taking one step once we found these berry patches. We have a couple gallons of blueberries now; not sure what we are doing with them yet. Hope to find some information about canning since we purchased some canning supplies in Delta today.

 

Kodi gets in on the berry eating. He is pretty cute when he eats them though; he wrinkles up his nose and acts like they are very sour.  I don't think they settled very well with his stomach since we had to let him out every two hours last night!

 


Kodi on guard, or just acting handsome.  We love this dog. 

 
 

August 23, 2006

Aaron and I were thrilled when we awoke this morning to find that there was no wind and that it wasn't raining. We enjoyed our morning coffee then set out to haul the rest of our roofing supplies. We were a little concerned when it started getting a little breezy around noon, but fortunately that died down shortly.

 

The front was going to be a process since we didn't have the loft to use to build. We did use 2x8s and our ladder on top of our window covers to make a temporary walkway just high enough to reach the ridgepole.  We were concerned about making the front extension strong since the front of our cabin gets pounded by wind.

Wow, I'm using power tools again. We had to make a v-shaped piece to go inside the top area where the two 2x8s meet so we could attach them and increase the strength of the overall structure. 

Nice golden logs...Look at that taper.

Not often we get a view from near the ridgepole...Aaron suggested that we should have made our ground floor that high. Wouldn't want to be up here in an earthquake.   Snowline is slowly getting higher as the warm temps and sun play their part.

 

I'm caulking the front logs that have spaces from twisting over the last year. Most of the caulking we put on last year is good, just a few touchups needed.

The cabin looks so much better with an extended roof. It looks a lot stronger now and I'm sure that our logs on the front will thanks us when the wind and rain start up again.

 

Once Aaron had one side of the steel on, we had to take the steps off the plywood for him to put the other piece of steel on. We decided to hang our ladder over the roof so he could access the steel safely.  It took a few tries to throw the rope over. 

I don't know how safe this was since we tied the ladder down with a weathered old rope; but it lasted.  I just made sure I wasn't below the ladder very often. Aaron has a habit of sliding off our roof, and I didn't want him sliding, ladder and all, into me.

 

 

A parting shot of the cabin!  Probably the hardest thing about leaving Alaska for a bit, is leaving the cabin!  The roof extension sure turned out great and has helped keep a lot of water off the logs on the front!  We'll see how she fairs this year!

 
Cabin Home Starting Out Log Walls Roof  & Windows Winter Cabin Stairs

Cabinets & Porch

Log  Cabin  Living  2006

Return to Alaska 2008

     
 
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