You can jump for joy because we have a floor to jump on!

Oh my goodness we made a floor.  It took about 10 hours to Tyvek the underneath, insulate, then cover it with plywood.  We had some help moving the plywood around which saved us some time and energy and overall, we did not come home feeling the most exhausted we have ever been.  Because the weather called for rain through the night, we decided to make it a day trip, which ended up working out perfectly. We left the site with a solid floor, covered in a big tarp, secured with bungee cords. a2007f02-e37d-4ad5-9080-86df5ad4ac0b

Taking a weekend to recreate in Louisville with my sister, we will be back the following week to frame it up. Hopefully, we will be able to get it roofed and framed over the weekend so we will  have the rest of the following week to tinker around the site and the cabin.

Since we are now on this stage of the build, it has allowed us to start speculating on the interior and exterior finishing plans.  This has had my mind spinning with excitement, thinking of all of the custom things that we can do to make our cabin comfy, efficient, and unique.  

Interior plan ideas:

Dead space: This is an a-frame, so with this style of home comes 14 feet of dead space on each of the sides where the roof is.  I have been dreaming about the best ways to maximize that space (actually, i have been dreaming about oceans swallowing me up and tornadoes, but I digress)so here are a few of my thoughts on this:

Veggie bin for potatoes, onion, etc., cooler bin for drinks. We plan on getting a mini fridge for the barn to store any refrigerated items that we need, so a cooler should work out in the house.   We can also use it as storage bins for dishes, pots and pans. Feel free to share any ideas or thoughts about these things. We love ideas!

Thinking about cooling solutions, we  found a great solar fan that we can install on the loft level to vent out some hot air that will surely collect near the ceiling once the weather warms up.  The amazing thoughts about installing one of these is the fact that we will know exactly where to attach the solar panel onto the roof because we are installing that as well!  If I sound excited about that, you heard me correctly. It may even be a bit of an understatement.

Exterior plan ideas:

We ordered the frame of a hoop house which will be covered in some sort of screen or mosquito netting and fashioned into a screened in porch/catio.  We have quite a slope around the cabin, but i am confident that we can adjust for that with some pallet wood in order to make it level. The current plan is to connect that to the house with some sort of tunnel that the cats can help themselves to when they are ready for some outside time.  If the hoop house doesn’t work for the cats, it will work for the ducks somehow, so no loss there!


Daydream!  Let your mind wander.  I know I will not actualize everything that I daydream about but if it is half as nice as I imagine, we will be enjoying quite an oasis.  I think that sometimes, people are afraid to get excited about things because they don’t want to be disappointed when something doesn’t work out the way they planned.  As the saying goes, you only have one life so let’s go for it. Don’t hold yourself back and adjust your expectations of the results to either be happy with what has resulted, or try again to make it better.


Prepping for the Sub-floor

The past few weeks have been busy but we have still been able to carve out some time to work on the cabin.  At this point, all of the beams and posts are bolted into place. We have an extra 6×6 which we may cut into fourths and wedge in between the beams for some extra support since the sub-floor may or may not sit perfectly on them.  Ok- it won’t sit on it perfectly, we already figured that out, so why not add some extra support on the front end if it is easy enough and we have the materials? The next step is to place an order for the sub-floor materials and some bungee cords to hold a tarp on it when we are done with it.  We already have the 16×20 tarp waiting in the tipi to be put to use.

The Lowe’s cart is loaded up with enough materials to get the frame up, almost through the roof.  We need to decide whether or not to order all of it now, or split it up into sub-floor vs frame which might give us some more time to get the framing order together.

Here is what is in the current cart:

13, 2x8x16’s for the floor frame and joists.  We will cut those to 14 feet.

4, 2x6x14’s and 7, 4×8 pieces of tongue and groove sub-floor for the sub-floor

4 corner braces for our perfect 14×14 floor frame that we will construct on top of the beams

Hopefully, 17 pieces of metal is enough roof.  The roof is still in the “researching materials” phase.  

28, 2x6x8’s for the frame

30, 2x6x16’s for the roof rafters

7 packs of  R-30 Rock Wool Batt insulation for the floor

A few more bolts for the beams so we can attach the extra 6×6 within the outside beams (both sizes #69527 (bigger ones?) and #63357).

Here are the things I know we need:

Tyvek wrap for under the floor and maybe for the outer walls

Bungee cords

Tyvek tape

Screws for the sub-floor.  We are getting nails for the rest of the frame. We think we are renting a nail gun at this point.

Staples (we can borrow the stapler from Milton (well, Mike, but who can’t get into an Office Space reference?).

Ice and Water something or other for under the metal roof.

Safety harness

Liquid nail for under the sub-floor

Here are things I think we need:

Flashing for the roof

Some kind of screws for the roof

Other things…

We are heading to our neighbor-consultant’s house this week to go over the list and shore it up a bit.  This sub-floor project is going to be fun!


Make your list and check it twice!  It will be so nice to have another set of eyes to look at our materials list.  Of course we will have to take another trip to the store for something. Don’t you always?  To ensure, however,  that everything that must be delivered by truck is included will be key since our Honda Fit can only hold so much.   We have pushed that poor car enough.  

Here…enjoy an amazing glass of Perriee’s pineapple-mango home-brewed kombucha.  That carbonation is beautiful.img_3586

Soggy and Successful Saturday!

Cabin Corner

Water in the hole!
Water in the hole!

It is January and it should be cold.  It has not been cold and we knew we needed to take advantage of the weather to get the piers for the a-frame poured before it turned.  Even though it was warm, it has rained a lot and there was a significant amount of water in those holes, which if frozen, would prevent us from putting concrete into them until a thaw.


The morning Perriee and I were getting ready to go to pour the piers, before we left the city house, I declared that I did not think we would be able to complete it.  There was still so much prep work to complete and I was sure we were going to run out of time. We had to dip the water out of the holes, re-cut the new concrete tubes, cut the wire to fit into the holes and get the concrete bags to the site- all before one drop of concrete went into a hole.  

I could not have been more wrong.  My brother met us there in the morning and we got rolling.  I love it when he comes out for so many reasons, but a big one is because when he says he is coming in the morning, it forces us to get up and moving in order to be ready when he is.  When you have help, you don’t make them wait! By the time he left the cabin site that evening, we had poured 6 of the 9 piers. Perriee hauled over 2000 pounds of concrete down to our spot between the two days, 1600 at least on the one day.  Elaine popped in to haul a couple of loads of concrete and gravel with her during the day and I was able to tag team a couple of trips, but I honestly don’t know how she did it. The mud was thick, the path was long, and the cart had two wheels.  The bags were 80 pounds a piece. She is amazing.


While Perriee moved the concrete and gravel, my brother worked the piers.  We had to first mix concrete in the holes where there was still some remaining water.  We carefully dumped the dry mix into the holes and churned it like butter with a piece of wood.  After the holes were filled, we leveled the tube on top of it, packed gravel around the base, and filled the tubes with mixed concrete after fitting the rebar and wire inside of them. He lifted and shoveled and mixed and scooped and leveled all of the heavy stuff.   By the time we finished our last pier for the night we were exhausted. Perriee and I made some delicious wraps in the tipi and went to bed. It was a solid 12 hour day and despite our fatigue, we were pretty darn proud of ourselves.


The next morning, Perriee and I finished the last two piers.  To be efficient, we hauled the rest of the concrete bags down before we started and ended up with three left over. We then had the privilege of hauling  them back up the hill.  We got our money back for those bags that very day. If I know anything about concrete, it is how they get heavier when they soak up a bunch of moisture from sitting around doing nothing.  I was not going to risk that. It was evening before we we made it home to the city, but again, we were tired yet accomplished. It was exactly one of those weekends where we felt we were living life to the fullest.  

So tired!
We poured the 7th pier by Biolite!

Next steps?

The next steps will be to cut the 6 x 6 posts which will serve as the connecting points for the beams and attach the 2 x 8’s to them.   I feel good about it and am looking forward to putting the next supply order together.  We pretty much have enough to attach the 2 x 8’s except for the hardware needed to attach them.  The next order is going to be composed of the sub-floor materials.  


Thank you brother!  Thank you so very much for rocking out this foundation project with us. We.  Did. It. Concrete. Bags. Are. Heavy.


Ride the wave of victory.  I want to hang on to this moment for as long as possible.  It will be a couple of weeks until we get back out there to work on the next steps.  In the meantime we will bask in our win and you should bask in your wins too!  

Tipi entryway
We threw down some gravel and mulch to help with the doorway. She sure is looking green these days!

Share the Knowledge

Most of the projects that we have done as a couple have been “first time” kind of projects.  Our first big endeavor was tiling our kitchen floor. It was a mess of peel and stick tile which we pulled up ourselves.  Before we got the tile down the whole floor was like human fly-paper! Our friend Joe would stop by with a tool, give us a quick demo of what we needed to do, then, jet out to get back to his family.  He showed us how to install the backer board. Another day, he showed us how to cut the tile, etc. We had at least one other guy on deck to ask questions of, so we would not wear out any one person because we had a lot of questions!  

Since then, we have remodeled a bathroom, put up a tipi, and we have built a catio and a duck compound, basically using the same method.  We have developed an excellent group of advisers whom we consult on a regular basis, not to mention YouTube and the internet, in general. I think we just might be able to do this cabin thing.  I can guarantee we will need some physical labor along the way, but for the most part, Perriee and I will be able to kick this thing off with our virtual team.

Just this past week, we were rewarded with some amazing advice about how to both clear and get the foundation in place.  I am calling January 1, 2019, to finish this by, right here and now. I feel like if we can get the sill in place (trying out a new term there, how’d I do?) by January, we can get it framed and roofed in mid-winter.  Then we can work on the interior in early spring.

Here is what we learned:  

Exhibit A: Neighbor, Requested Text Message Consultationimg_2547

He recommended the size auger we will need (24 inches) and how deep to drill them with a Bobcat (at least 3 feet). Bam! That was exactly what we needed to get going!  Now we need to clear out a spot. Thanks man!

Exhibit B: Coworker and Her Husband, Over Drinks, at the Deep Roots Farm Festival

Talking about cutting up wood and clearing our spot, my coworker’s husband brought up the Ryobi 10” battery powered chainsaw.  We have Ryobi tools and two batteries already.  Because of, said neighbor, actually. He dropped the Ryobi drill off of our roof onto the sidewalk when he was fixing a gutter of ours, and it did not break.  I knew we needed one. We have been wanting a smaller chainsaw for safety reasons and know we likely won’t be cutting trees down. This was life changing! My coworker offered to loan it to us to try out before we buy it.  Had Perriee remembered exactly which one they were referring to, I think she would’ve bought it the very next day! In the meantime, we will also make sure to get the Ryobi reciprocating saw ready to go with the right blade.  Yes, this was another amazing tip from our friends.  

We have since roughly measured the area and began clearing it out.  The spot is about 10 feet away from the tipi. It will overlook the hollow behind us, which we currently do not get the pleasure of looking out on due to the fact that there are no windows in a tipi.  Don’t get me wrong, the natural lighting is amazing in there, which i hope might serve as an unheated hoop house in addition to our guest house. We have been growing mint in there all summer. Mint, may I mind you that was often only watered by the drips in the roof for weeks at a time during the height of summer.  I digress.

Check out the website we are currently consulting about our build: .  Lamar Alexander is the designer. We purchased the plans for the 14×14 A-Frame and determined it will be as large as our living room with a loft.  


f you have daughters, be sure to expose them to things traditionally thought of as “things that men do”.  Lets change this way of thinking to just, “things people do”. I understand that physically, women might not be able to lift as much as a guy or handle a large chainsaw like a guy can.  That is ok! I am notorious for my lack of upper body strength, but I bet I can fix a broken chainsaw, even if I should not necessarily cut down a tree with it. I can hammer nails while someone else sets a beam in the ceiling.  Come to think of it, I could bet that this is what the upswing of getting more girls in on the Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs is about.  I just gave myself homework, to look into this more!  I am tricky.

Materials at the Restore During an October Visit