Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Time to Finish

The next few days will be busy ones, so I've decided to finish up this meme and be done with it. :) More on the busy stuff after the meme questions!

What would you do if you got pregnant (or got someone pregnant) right now?

Well... I'd start looking for Wise Men coming from the East, 'cause I was "fixed" about 11 years ago. LOL! Honestly, while pregnancy isn't exactly what I want to be doing at 40 years old, if it happened, I'd consider it a gift and go with the flow. I'm eating healthier now than I have in years, I'm losing weight, looking good, feeling good... I can't see why I wouldn't just enjoy it.

Something you hope to change about yourself

I want to gain some more self-discipline. I worship at random moments, often forgetting major events even when I've sent myself umpteen reminders. I want to be more reliable to myself!

A letter to yourself

Dear Me,
     I'm almost 40, and I really think we need to get a move-on with the fixing up of this ol' body. I know we're losing weight at a healthy, steady pace right now, but let's not get complacent. Nose to the grind-stone! Great call on working on the cabin, by the way. I know we hate exercising, but working on the cabin doesn't feel much like exercise, and is GREAT as both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Splitting wood works on the upper arms. Hauling stuff is good for the whole upper body, the core muscles, the abs. Shovelling is just good all over. Walking up and down the hill with tools and wood and such is perfect for getting the heart rate up. Just an over-all great idea. *back pat*
     We need to work on that eating thing though. M'kay? Eat when hungry is a good guide, but being hungry is still not an excuse for pouring a half cup of butter our popcorn. Yeah.
Love, Me.

Alright, what else is going on? Well, I've decided to build a little cabin. I had been thinking originally of doing a hobbit hole type of structure, but it's actually much more work than it's worth for me, and not large enough or comfy enough to live in. What I really want is a log cabin, and while a full log cabin is currently beyond my abilities and means, I can put together a shack. And that's just what I'm going to do!

I've been working on sketching out what I want, but I don't have it scanned or created online yet, so I have no pic for you. I'll try and describe it in words, though. I paint my best pictures with words, anyhow! I can't leave you with no visual at all, though, and so I've included a pic that is similar to what I'm creating.

This is a basic image similar to what I am creating. The building itself will be tiny, being only 8' x 8' for a total of 64 sq. ft. This doesn't give me much living space, so I'm creating a slanted roof like this, so that I can add a small loft (about 4' x 8', open to the room below) to sleep in, thereby leaving the main floor for living in. The slant will go from east (high end) to west (low end), with the western wall being about 8' tall. The door will be on the south side, and will be a full-sized wood door. 

The east wall will have two windows in it. One will be a medium sized window, about 3.5' wide and 2' tall. This window will be on the ground floor, and should allow me to pick up the morning sun. It will also let me look out and see the glorious woods all around me! The other window will be tiny, only about 2' by 1', and it will be up in the loft, so that there's some natural light available up there. Against the main floor window will be a fold-down table (this allows me to create space if I need it) and a couple of folding chairs. It will be an eating area, and a studying area. 

The north wall will have a small wall cabinet attached to it, to store a couple of plates, some cutlery, and perhaps some salt and pepper. What I want to get is a small wooden box which I can then attach to the wall with screws. There is a possibility that I will also have a set of metal lockers there, holding up one end of the loft, as there were some very cheap ones at a building recycling place we visit on occasion, which would allow me to store valuables and lock them up (the lockers take padlocks).

In the north-west corner of the room will be my tiny little woodstove. It will look rather like this one, although it's a bit smaller and not quite so shiny. This is one piece I already have, although Gray needs to weld a new leg onto it so it stands upright. I'll need to have both walls and the floor around the stove covered with firebrick or one of the special heat-reflecting back-boards. Since the cabin is so tiny, heating with this stove will probably mean that I spend winters with the windows open to let in some cool air. It's supposed to be good for about 300 sq. ft. of space, and my li'l cabin will only be 64 sq. ft.! But honestly, it's better to be too warm than too cold, after all. I'll have a straight chimney coming off the stove, straight up through the roof to avoid build-up of dangerous creosote.

I hope to put a window on the west wall similar to the one on the east wall, but it will depend what I find on freecycle and craigslist. This is not a cabin I'm buying things for. It's all being done by trade and recycling (or "upcycling" as some people call it). The south wall will have my door, a lovely thick wood one with tiny rectangular glass windows set into it. 

The loft will have a ladder that can be pulled up or pushed to one side to get it out of the way. We may have to cut a notch in the floor of the loft in order to have enough room for an adult to crawl up into it, due to the slant of the roof. That's okay, though. The loft itself will only be big enough for a small bed and perhaps a little storage space at one end of it. It's not meant for entertaining, after all.

My building will be started by having four poles placed at the corners. I already have the trees I need to provide the full height of all four corner poles, though it still needs to be cut to size and holes need to be drilled to accommodate the poles. They'll be sunk about 5 feet deep, with a gravel bottom and gravel poured in around the pole, then dirt filled in on top. Then I have to put in the floor...

The floor is my current obsession. I have had several ideas, but most include a bunch of lumber I don't have. Trees I have aplenty, but not cut lumber. I will need to level my house on the corner poles, as the ground under it isn't entirely even. On top of that leveled edge I will need to put beams and cross beams. Again, I don't have the 4x4s that most people use for creating these things. I have been wondering if I can rig four of the pallets we have as a sub-floor. If I bolt the four pallets together to make a sturdy 8' x 8' grid, I should be able to put the barn-board flooring in that I want, right on top of it. The question is just how I'm going to get it onto the leveling beams. I'm still working on the plan at this point. I might have to take the pallets apart and just use them as flooring or for beams. Regardless, after the grid is down, I have a bunch of barn floor boards that we pulled out of Gray's barn. These will get a quick run through the planer, then laid down and screwed or nailed into place up at my cabin.

It's a fairly complex building, when I sit down and figure it all out. It's changing day by day as I work on it in my head. I'm very excited about it! With four stout walls of cut logs, a locking door to keep human animals at bay, and a wood stove cranking out heat, I should be set to stay there any time of the year I want to. 

I even have an idea for how to pull water to the cabin so I don't have to haul it up from the stream: run a hose from the cabin to the stream and into a fairly deep pool that is close by. On the cabin end, I will install one of the inexpensive hand water pumps. When I want to draw water, all I need to do is hand pump for the few minutes it takes to pull it up from the stream. Since I've done similar with the tools we already have, I'm aware of how much work it is... and how it's a lot nicer than going out and digging a hole in snow to get at the running water beneath, using a bucket on a slippery stream bank. Gray thinks he could automate this with a solar pump later on, which would mean running water anytime.

I'm sure you're wondering what I'll be doing for a potty. While outdoors is fine in good weather (spring and fall, for instance), it's not so great in deep snow or in the middle of black fly season. I really have no interest in exposing my tender tuchus to frost bite OR mosquitoes. Therefore, I intend to make something akin to a Loveable Loo. I would make a hinged lid that was raised, meaning we could use it as a stool in the house when it wasn't being used in any other way. No sense giving up even a square foot of space to something that only gets used a few times a day. 

So... hopefully my verbal images are adequate to show you what I mean. I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of my place-to-be! I'll probably put up a lot of images as I clean up and then build the cabin. The next rain-free day we have, I'll be up there again, raking and making it ready for corner poles and flooring!
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