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!

Leveling Out

Cabin Corner

The progress we made in the last week was a tad bit of two steps forward and one step back, but the next step forward will not take as long as the last ones.  Does that make sense? My brother came out and helped us level out our concrete form tubes, and the satisfaction of completing that task was beyond exciting.   It took a bit of time getting going, but once we found a rhythm, the three of us knocked it out.  It was amazing to see the 2 x 8 x 16s laying level across the tops of them all. If looked like the site of a home. It looked like we knew what we were doing. 


Another victory that arose was having the first round of materials delivered to the farm. The order was perfectly complete and I only ordered one item that needed to be exchanged. It was pretty exciting.  

The step back?  We made the decision to cover or concrete tubes with 2 x 8s across the tops with the tarp over it all. The tarp did not quite cover the tubes to the ground and it has rained since then…a lot.   I think we need some new tubes. The ones there are looking a little soggy. The plan is to fill those tubes up this weekend. We. Can. Do. It. The. Concrete. Bags. Are. Heavy.

Perriee cutting threaded rod with the angle grinder.


Keep practicing the art of maintaining a level head.  I often get my mind-set on reaching a benchmark goal and then get frustrated when I don’t get that far.  Then, I lose sight of the progress that was accomplished through it all. Then, I feel silly when I see all that has really gotten done and realize I did not appreciate it.  It’s practice. I will keep practicing. I did pretty good this week.


Decisions, Decisions

***Be sure to check out our new page when you are done: Philanthropy Corner ***

This cabin is going to essentially be our dream home.  It will be a 14×14 dream home. You could also potentially refer to it as a 14×14 dream bedroom. Because of this, we really do want it to be done right.  Right?

We made it to our spot on Sunday for a few hours in order to mark out the perimeter of the cabin.  Simple, right? Our goal was to mark it out with the square corners measured out so we stopped at our favorite Lowes in Lawrenceburg , Indiana to get some bright pink twine and a couple of more pieces of rebar to temporarily use as corner markers.  

The 3-4-5 method is what we found to be the easiest way to do this, so we began.  And we continued. And then, Matt came down to say, “hi”, at the very moment that we were slipping down into the abyss of frustration.  He so graciously helped us mark our corners and our 14ft perimeter. It looks amazing.

Our neighbor will be looking after #lotsaflocka for the next three weekends and the plan is  to have the foundation piers poured by the weekend of the 14th, my birthday weekend.  I may have mentioned this before, but we hauled a load of gravel for Perriee’s birthday two years ago, so fair is fair that we embark on some other crazy project for mine.

How crazy could this get though?  Let me help you with that answer. Pretty crazy. In advance, I ask you to see this revaluation of this project as a near miss, as opposed to a preemptive surrender. In a few days, Perriee and I can celebrate having met ten years ago.  We have seen some things together and by now, have a pretty good idea of the things we can accomplish together. We also know what our limitations are.  Can we drill and pour this foundation? Absolutely. Should we? Not sure. If we could just give it a go and see how it goes, it would be amazing. What we will be doing is getting the foundation of our home together for the rest of our lives.  

What if we rent the auger and don’t get it done in time?  What if we order concrete already mixed and don’t get the holes drilled in time (see, previous what if).  If we don’t get the concrete pre-mixed, we need to mix it and take it down one wheelbarrow at a time to our spot.  You could say this is making me nervous.  It is making us both nervous.

Here is a quick estimate of the costs we are looking at:

Bobcat rental (auger): $800.00

Sono tubes (3, 24”x 12 ft): $400.00

Concrete that will need to be mixed: $500.00

Rebar: $50.00

Braces for the beams: $100.00

Our current total is already pushing about $2000.  I already know that we will either struggle with the machinery and not finish in time OR get it done so quickly that we will be sad we rented it for the amount that we paid.  The concrete? Heavy.  Let’s see who does this for a living and get an estimate.  We decided to at least see what we are missing out on here. This route might save us some emotions and help the economy at the same time.  We aren’t going to finance it, so we think that it is fair to put food on someone else’s table in the process.

We have called a few places and received a couple of, “I’m sorry, we don’t do that”s already.  I will be sure to report back on any updates. In the meantime, I have found myself rethinking the cabin altogether and looking at tiny house trailers (around $4,000 for one specifically made for a home) or even yurts.  I was quickly reminded that a nice yurt costs about 10k AND you have to build the deck to put it on.  Sigh.


Tell yourself it is going to be OK and try to believe it.  That is what I am going to do anyhow.

Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

Life is Heavy

Foot check time!Crushed rock, pea gravel, pavers, paver sand, tipi poles, mulch in wheelbarrows, mulch in bags, mulch in buckets, lumber, logs, trees, cinder blocks, duck feet, new jobs, marriage, physical health, mental health, politics, the environment.  Life is heavy.

Since our journey began with one another, Perriee and I have had some heavy moments.  We have moved tons of those items (literally, at least two tons) listed above from the top of the trail to the tipi spot.  We have probably walked miles doing it too. Duck feet and new jobs don’t weigh a lot, but those are some things that can weigh heavy on the mind.  Those things, although not tangible, can be the most exhausting to carry around with us.

When I am moving a bag of mulch, I can stop and take a breath, contract my abs, and slowly bend at the knees to pick it up.  Then I take it to its destination, always focusing on my core, I bend at the knees again and gently lay it down. I know exactly what steps to take to accomplish my goal and I feel stronger for having done it when I am done.  


On the other hand, when we have things weighing on our minds, it can be so difficult to trust ourselves with the steps we need to take to deliver those items to their destination.  Myself, at least, I can second guess myself. I panic when I don’t know the steps I need to take to fix the problem. I wear out my “mental back” by carelessly lugging these things around.  I must learn how to pick them up carefully to put them down when they become too heavy to bear.

When I am carrying something super heavy from one place to the next, like a bag of gravel, for example, and I need a break, I will stop, put it down, and take a breath.  When I am ready to resume, I pick it back up and keep going. I never feel guilty for needing to do that. I should allow myself to play by those rules in all aspects of my life.  


Try to put down one heavy item that has been weighing on your mind.  Tell yourself, it is ok to take a break. You can revisit it in a week and see if you are ready to pick it back up.  Maybe you will find it isn’t even worth it.

About the duck feet, I am so uber paranoid about the ducks getting bumblefoot and noticed a tiny spot or two on the girls’ feet.  I really beat myself up about it and we did take a lot of action. We threw down some pine needle straw in the yard, took out most of the pavers that were out there, and brought in a walnut branch from the walnut tree.  In their pen, Perriee hung a rain barrier (shower curtain), and we added pea gravel to the spot where we will put their drinking water in their run. On top of it all, a friend did a little research and said they might need more pool time.  

Enter….the waterbed! We went to Meijer on our way home from Cleveland (hence the pic of Lake Erie) on Saturday night and dreamed up the design.  Complete with the pieces from the hardware store, we crafted a pretty neat pool that their feet don’t touch the bottom of, and they get to keep it all day long.  They really enjoy it too. Thanks for the inspiration E!