Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Barn is Finally Stained and Painted

Posted by: Rick

A little over a year ago, we had a preconstructed barn delivered to the cabin site. You can read about that adventure here. You can see from the photos in that old post that the barn was unstained and unpainted.

When we had the cabin restained this summer, we had the barn stained at the same time.

The barn. Stained but not painted, yet.

I'm happy to say that we have finally got the trim painted and now the barn is looking good!

The trim is now painted!

Another summer project complete.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Before and After (and In-Between)

Posted by: Rick

Picture of the cabin exterior "before". Note the dark stain and how it covers the chinking?

About a month ago we started the process of doing some rennovations on the cabin. A few years ago we hired someone to apply a coat of stain to the exterior of the cabin. We were in New Jersey at the time, so he did the work unsupervised. Our hearts dropped when we first saw it. He had used a very dark non-transparent stain and applied it in a way that it covered the chinking. The beauty of a rustic log cabin was lost to this big brown blob.

The "back" of the cabin. Note the hail damage to some of the lower logs. We were able to get our insurance company to pay for part of the restoration because of the damage.

In addition to rejuvinating the cabin exterior, we also wanted to enlarge the entry deck on the "back" of the cabin and add a fenced-in area for the dogs.

Now when I say "back" of the cabin, that is somewhat ambiguous and others call it the "front". It is the side of the cabin where we have parking and access to the outbuildings, but it is also technically (according to the cabin plans) the back. The front--to me--is the north-facing side with the screened-in porch. Anyway, this ambiguity causes lots of communications problems.

A few years ago, our entry gate blew down. It was two large posts with a cross-piece at the top. The posts rotted at the bottom and the wind blew it over. So, while doing the fencing, we also wanted to create a new and appealing entry.

Here are the "after" photos. Read on for the "in-between" story:

The cabin restored to its original beauty.

Note the new larger deck as well as a fenced-in yard where the dogs can play unsupervised.

The cabin restoration was about a three week process. The crew arrived on May 12th and worked through the 17th. During that time they were able to sand-blast the exterior of the cabin, getting rid of the old stain and then sand the logs down in preparation for three new coats of stain.

You can see the contrast between the old and the new in this photo.

However, the weather forecast was for a huge snowstorm. And, while the crew is accustomed to working in harsh conditions, there would be no way for them to shuttle to town and back each day. And, we could not host a crew of five workers for several days. So, on Wednesday the 17th, they took off for their own homes (most live in the mountains of central Colorado). 

And, sure enough we got snow.

In total, we got about 3 feet of snow over two days.

The crew returned on Tuesday the 23rd and started back to work. There was still some snow on the ground, but they were able to work around that.

Ready for new stain and chinking.

On the same day the crew came back to work on the cabin, another crew showed up to build the deck, put up the fencing and gates, and also build a new entry feature for the driveway. While the snow had melted rapidly over the weekend, there was still some snow that had to be moved in order to do the entry and fencing. Luckily, the crew had a skid steer with a bucket as well as augers to make easy work of that.

A 24" auger was used to drill a huge hole for the two vertical posts at the entry.

Up go the entry gate posts.

An early morning shot of the fenced in yard. It is kind of hard to see in this light, but we'll post additional photos soon.

Since we had a crew of pro stainers on site, we had them stain the barn, too. Now we just need to paint the trim. It will be the same dark green color as trim elsewhere around the cabin.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

One Step Forward, Three Steps Back

Posted by: Lynne

Sigh.

Two weeks ago while on a drive we came across these beautiful harbingers of spring: pasque flowers blooming a tad bit early. How exciting! However since then Spring has been playing a game of hide and seek with us. After we saw the pasque flowers, this came along.

A sticky, wet Spring snow that coated everything in white cotton candy. It was only about three inches or so.

That melted, then along came this slighlty more significant storm that dropped somewhere between 8-10 inches on us.

In between the snow melted and we could see patches of ground again in spots. And lo and behold on our very own land, we saw lots of pasque flowers struggling to bloom and also buttercups.

And just when we were getting used to walking around without putting on boots, a storm predicted to bring 1-3 inches of snow instead dropped a foot on us.

But the good thing about spring snows like this — they don't stick around for very long.. They pack a lot of moisture too. This snow did pretty much close up the roads for a couple of days and we had to take the Ranger down to H's house to pick up Lex when we FINALLY went to pick up our new travel trailer. While we were gone the logging company that is bringing out logs from further up the county road plowed the road, so coming home we certainly did not need the Ranger.

Here we are at the dealership ready to roll on home!

The trip home was uneventful and we both really liked the way it felt while towing, very solid. We picked a wonderful day with no wind (thank goodness). Lex handled the load extremely well considering the drive home is all uphill! Our lovely little home on wheels is now at its new home at the storage facility in Laramie. We've spent the last two days in town outfitting her for our upcoming trip. We still have a few things on our list that are needed, but we made great progress getting things put away. We are excited for the maiden voyage! It still does not have a name. Rocky and Woody have been thrown out there (because it's a RockWood model) but RIck did not like the connotation of Woody and I didn't care for Rocky. Maybe Roxie? We're hoping that spending more time in and around it will lead us to the right name.

In our weaving endeavors, I have finished my second scarf:

and Rick has mug rugs (aka coasters) on the loom. When finished they will be cut apart and the yarn intbetween each coaster will become fringe. So far he has five completed and he will just keep on until the warp gives out. We are loving the pattern this yarn is making! Can't wait to start using them.

So, I think that about catches you up on the month of April so far. So many fun and exciting things coming this Spring! Our trip to Albuquerque to see the family, Destin's debut in the show ring, the renovation of the outside of the cabin, Rick's Mom's visit in June .... all that is ahead of us in the coming months.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Untitled Late February Post

Posted by: Lynne

Thoughts from Sunday:

There is no title for this entry, no real subject matter, so no title either. For two days we've been basically trapped inside these fours walls due to high wind, blowing snow and frigid temperatures. S'no fun folks. We had about 10 inches of fresh new snow on Thursday and a smidge on Friday. Since then the wind has been blowing pretty much non-stop. Not even the dogs want to to stay outside longer than to do their doggie business. 

However ... I have to admit there is a different feel to the air, even though we've had frigid temps in the single and low double digits. What makes me say that given that I've just said the temps are frigid and the windchill is nil and below? Well, just things. I can't explain it really. Maybe it's the birds. We've started seeing different birds and they are singing when their feathers aren't being blown off their bodies. We now have pine siskins and juncos on a daily basis, and on a walk the other day (before the wind) we saw this little Horned Lark. We had to look him up as we didn't know what it was and it's behavior flying and on the ground was odd. He had Destin intrigued.

Maybe it's that scent of spring way off in the distance. Lord knows there is no scent of spring right now as we are still covered in a foot of snow + around the cabin. It was beginning to feel like all this winteriness was shaking loose just last week. But it's coming, I can feel it. Like I said, it's just a feeling in my bones and in the land around me. Winter just does not seem to have the icy grip it had back in January. Maybe it's just wishful thinking. Then again, maybe not.

Does this look like Spring to you? 

The wind is not so bad if the temperatures are not in the single digits and teens. Last week we managed to take several nice long walks with the dogs even though the wind was pretty bad. Here Bella is an example of how hard the wind was blowing. Just look at her hair and the feathers on her legs, all being blown in the opposite direction! But, it was warm and therefore not all that bad to be out in. This is also an example of how much melting had occurred before this last storm. 

But now the roads are closed once again and we can't get through unless we use the Ranger. At least we can get out but it makes trips into town so difficult by adding another 45 mintues to the trip, when just last week we were making the trip into town in 45 mintues total. Rick and our neighbor might be able to clear a path through "the trap" but when we took the Ranger out yesterday on a reconnaissance mission it did not look good. The wind really packs the snow down hard so it won't be easy to blow. Maybe they can move it with the tractor. Don't know. 

We've had a Hairy Woodpecker pecking at our logs outside! From inside the cabin it sounds very strange. We keep chasing him away but he keeps coming back. So far no damage that we can see except some caulking between a couple of logs up close to the roof. Cheeky bird.

Thoughts on Tuesday:

Well....yesterday we had more snow. About six inches or so. Sigh. And to think that just last week we were able to sit out on the porch several times with a nice glass of wine with just a sweater on and the space heater running. It was wonderful!

Our driveway is blown in again too despite the snow fencing that Rick put up last week. It would have drifted worse if not for the fencing, but the wind came from a strange and not normal direction. Rick was not able to blow it out as soon as it fell because of the nasty wind. So it's packed in again and we aren't going to try and move it this time around since the winds are supposed to pick up again over the next few days to about 20 to 30mph. Mother Nature will move the snow for us, but not in any of the places we'd like her to put it. He would just be spinning the snowblower's wheels and wasting gas since it would just fill back in again. After all, our main goal was to get Lex out and he is, safe and sound at H's house. 

At least Destin thinks the new snow is cool.

Rick and I have taken up a new hobby: weaving! We bought a rigid heddle Cricket Loom in town at Cowgirl Yarn and we've both finished a project scarf. Well, Rick has actually made two scarfs to my one. Here are pics of both scarves.

Rick's second scarf.

My scarf.

You can see we went for different patterns. Rick did stripes and I used a variegated yarn and didn't set the loom (warp actually) up for stripes. I want to make another scarf now just for practice as I need to work on getting my selvedges in better shape. It's easy and relaxing to do. There are so many possibilities with different yarns, textures and patterns. Rick wants to try making placemats for the new RV. When Spring finally does arrive we'll probably both take a few weaving classes in town. Cowgirl Yarn is heavily into weaving, lucky for us.

Looking outside right now at the snow covered trees and even deeper snow levels and drifts in places we've never had drifts before, I am now wondering where in the world I ever got the notion that Spring was headed our way.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Ironic, Right?

Posted by: Rick

I guess it is pretty ironic that after working so hard to get the Expedition away from the cabin, see this post and this one too, that we recently spent a couple of days getting it back in. As you'll recall, we got past all the different segments of the trip down the hill except a few hundred yards of Hidden Meadows Lane which were plugged with several feet of hard-packed snow and ice. But, a few hours of work with a tractor, and we got that open.

Lynne, who has always wanted to drive heavy equipment, is doing a superb job of clearing the snow.

A pretty good load!

Making a snow fence of snow. These piles should help prevent the driveway from filling up during the next snow and blow.

So, now the Expedition is parked at the cabin site again, and we can go directly from the back door to the truck to check mail or get into town. All sections of the road are open, even those that we usually have to bypass with a route on back roads.

The road is open!

And, the Expedition is now parked at the cabin.

The forecast is for us to get snow and wind starting again next week. So, on Monday or Tuesday, we'll exchange the Expedition for the Suburban, parked at Mr. H's, and we'll park the Suburban at the top of the hill on our neighbor's property.

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