For those of you that do not know us personally, I should tell you why what you see here is so sporadic.
While we are building our cabin, we are living in our motorhome.... totally off grid. There was a well already on the property, we installed a 'simple pump' that allows us to hand pump water. So we are able to haul water for cooking, drinking, bathing, etc. I think it takes 17 strokes to pump a gallon of water...
The motorhome has a generator that works when it wants to (and we have a portable generator as a back up) that we run when we need to use our electric heater. For safety reasons we do not run it while sleeping. We also have a propane heater and lantern that help tremendously to take the chill off of the really cold mornings!
Our 55 pound standard poodle, Mollie; makes a great foot warmer at the bottom of the bed!
Suffice it to say without electricity we have no access to high speed internet! We have some access via our cell phones but it is inconsistent. Anything requiring wifi waits for a trip to our county library which has been a HUGE blessing!
So now you know why it is soooo long between postings!
We have all of the logs up now and are ready for the roof, YAAAAYYYY!!!
I hope you enjoy the pictures, thank you for visiting!
Once the sill logs are in place the job of stacking the wall logs begins. Simple, right? Not so much. As with all projects, especially our it seems, there are lots of roadblocks? That's what keeps life interesting, does it not? What kind of world would it be if everything always went perfectly according to plan?? BORING? Well, we will never know!
We had nearly a month delay while the tractor was away for repairs to the front end loader... no way to drag logs over 100' up the ridge and out of the forest without it! A week without the chainsaw didn't help.
But we kept working on what we could and it finally started to come together! The peeling was back breaking, but we discovered that the goats LOVE pine bark when we had to set up an additional log lot in one of their pastures!
We also discovered that what might look like a straight tree while standing could turn out to be very different after felled and peeled! Then the challenge of making the logs 'fit' together came into play.. sometimes trying the same log on all 4 walls before finding a place for it...
It is good and encouraging to see the 'walls' begin to take shape though and we are grateful that we are still healthy and making progress!
We finally got the drive up the side of the mountain! Took a lot of breaking rock with a trackhoe. We built six foundation pier forms out of plywood, hand dug the holes down past the frost line for the corners, then dug holes with my posthole auger for the sono tube piers in the mid walls.
We borrowed a cement mixer from a friend, bought a LOT of sackcrete, and started mixing and pouring. Took about a week.
The rebar you see sticking out of the piers is to fasten the sill logs down with. We had to measure precisely, and drill holes through the log, then set it down over the pins. When the log was in place, we bent the rebar over to lock them down.
Couldn't have done any of this without my trusty John Deere and front end loader. A very heartfelt thanks to my friend Billy for making the forks for the loader!
After years and years of talking about it... always saying "we could do that"... and "we were just born 200 years too late".. practically drooling while we watched Mountain Men and Alaska the Last Frontier.... We took the leap!
Almost exactly 1 year ago, we put our 3200 SF NC home on the market and bought 54 acres in the mountains of Tennessee. Amazingly our house sold in 5 months.. we thought we would have a year or two to work on the new property. Thinking by the time it sold we would have a cabin at least started... uh, nope!
So now we have actually been living on our mountain, OFF the grid, in our RV while we build our cabin. We, being myself and Donnie.. just the 2 of us... I'm not sure our friends believed us, or maybe they just thought we were crazy! But here we are! Living our dream and we would like to share our journey with you!
Our last three days were spent roaming around the Isle of Skye. The weather was awesome, it went from mid 60's during the day while we were hiking, to the mid 40's and snowing off and on the last three days! We really didn't want it to end!
After finishing our hike on the West Highland Way, we had a few days left before having to return home. On April 24, We hooked up with Stewart of Rock Hopper Kayak tours. Stewart took the two of us about an hour away, to the coast. We put in at a remote spot on the Bay of Arisaig. Out in the bat were what is known there as "skelegs". They are rock outcroppings that are protruding above high tide. Lots of them. We paddled approximately 25 kilometers that day around the skelegs in the bay. The sea life was amazing! We saw Otters playing on three different occasions that day. Common seals were all over everywhere! All kinds of waterfowl! Had a most relaxing day!
This is sadly the last day of the hike! I am kinda bummed out. Actually wished we could have added the Great Glen way on. It is another 75 miles. Anyway, we have 16 miles to go today. Kinlochleven to Fort William. Steep climb, then down hill again.
Day seven on the West Highland Way found us getting up early. We walked about a mile and a half to Kings House for breakfast. Another awesome full Scottish breakfast (fried egg, link sausage, potato scone, grilled tomato, Scottish bacon, and black pudding!)
This is the day we climb the Devils Staircase. The highest point on the Way (1800 ft). That was a switchback nightmare! Total distance to Kinlichleven is nine brutal miles. First half is a steep ascent, then it's all downhill on old military roads that are surfaced with stones that average baseball and softball size. Very uneven footing!
This blog is written by Debbie Hailey. This is quite a journey that Donnie and I have begun.