Tag Archives: Events

Cabin Fever 2: The Conclusion

Alright, to continue my story. I know you were on pins and needles and just couldn’t leave your computer for fear you might miss the ending, well fear not!! Now, where was I…oh yeah…we had just placed the foundation of our cabin and had the appropriate logs in place. Much celebrating took place then, back slapping, hand shaking, Lord you’d have thought we reconstructed the Biltmore Estate the way we were carrying on! When we all regained our senses our cabin was still only four logs on the ground. Looking around at one another, the thought must have occurred to us all at once, “we’re gonna need more logs.”

Trucks, tractors, four-wheelers, and a-foot, we searched, felled, and drug logs from afar. Big ones, small ones, short ones and tall ones (better be careful I’m falling into rhyme)-we piled our stock and began selecting the most worthy logs for our project. After measuring for length, we hoisted the logs into place and notched them to fit the matching logs. Notching the logs was actually the most difficult because they had to fit perfectly to get a good seal between the logs.

Needless to say we didn’t finish our cabin that day. Rather, a series of days and a couple hundred hours found our cabin taking shape. We moved from using whatever logs were available, even rotten ones, to making sure the logs were rot free and had minimal gaps. After all the effort we want it to last a long time.

I have to say during the whole process I couldn’t help but think of IMG_0020those pioneers whose cabins were built for living. I mean they had to build their homes quickly to beat the winter, make sure their belongings were situated and weatherproof it to some extent. The drive and perseverance those folks had to have.

When it came to cutting the door out we had some interesting discussions! I thought it should be fair sized because we all hate squeezing through tiny doors. But Grant, he thought it should be fairly small, his reason being so when the ole grizzly bear chased you into your cabin you had a small enough door he couldn’t quite get in… haha he should be so lucky! We had a similar discussion when we cut out the window, only this time it had to big for when that old grizzly slithered through that small door you so carefully cut out you had enough room to jump through the window, slam the shutters, and run around your cabin and lock that old grizzly inside! 

WINNER! Take that you ole’ grizzly! Then…while you’re congratulating yourself, you hear the bear settle in for a long winters nap and then the snow begins to fall….hmmmm….now what?

Probably the most unique feature of the cabin is the half round roof. The original plan was to put a straight roof on it. But, we were able to shape five cottonwood branches, that already had a slight bend in them, to fit almost perfectly, and I do mean perfectly in place!


Rafters installed and all the logs tied down it was time to move our cabin to its new home about a mile up the river. Using the four-wheel drive John Deere tractor, we hitched up our cabin and prepared for take-off. The John Deere pulled tight the chains and gave a mighty groan and the cabin moved an inch then stopped! It soon became apparent that our cabin was much heavier than we expected. In order to move it we resorted to pulling it with the John Deere while pushing it from behind with the backhoe, what sight it was. 

An hour later, after a lengthy pull across the prairie, the cabin came to its resting place along the Cheyenne. It was quite a process but the end result was well worth it. The best part was seeing it put to use by all the artists imagination during the 2013 Artist Ride. So now you know…the rest of the story! 


Cabin Fever: A Building Story

I was trying to figure out what I was going to write about today while I was doing chores. This winter has been relentless, not so much as in Wiscabin consin and the Northeast, but it is nevertheless beginning to get old. As much as we hate to admit it we do need the winter and we do need the snow but this years freezing temperatures have herded most folks indoors and has caused no shortage of cabin fever.

When I thought of the term “cabin fever” I remembered this book I read years ago about a frontier family being snowed in for nearly a week and how slowly everyone began to go mad. Then I remembered the cabin we had built last summer for the Artist Ride. It’s small, probably 10×12, the same size as the one in the book so I can only imagine how one would go crazy!

I wanted to share a little bit about our little cabin by the river. Cute little thing it is. Built entirely of cottonwood logs, it was quite a process, but well worth it. We started with the idea that it was going to be put together rough, whatever logs we could find that were long enough we’d use. After all, beggars can’t be choosers!

So, on a spring day in March my uncle and cousins and some friends cut down a few cottonwoods for the “foundation.” We used a set of construction I-beams as a template for dimensions and a way to move it once we had it finished. Chainsaws buzzing, sawdust flying, we notched the logs to fit together like Lincoln Logs. The notches were perfect, only….they were on the bottom instead of the top…oops! Aw well, we’ll just roll ’em.  About five of us grabbed the log and gave a mighty shove… nothing…again, with gusto!….nothing! So… we might have underestimated the weight of our logs a bit! Enter the backhoe, thank the Lord for the backhoe!

Several hours pass while we determine which end goes where. You see you have to alternate small logs with big logs otherwise one wall rises faster than another and it looks like a Frank Lloyd Wright experiment.  After several hours of chainsawing and more sawdust and with some help from the backhoe we had the foundation. It was maybe a foot and a half tall….hmmm…we’re going to need more logs, quite a few more. Find out the conclusion in Cabin Fever pt. 2!