Friday, December 12, 2008

Cabin Building Volume Three

By the end of September 1995, we had the cabin walls up and our season in Yellowstone had come to an end. Earlier, we had rented the house we owned in Bozeman, thinking we might just come up with Park Service jobs for the winter. We were not that lucky, so we lived in the tipi for the rest of the fall. We took showers at friend’s houses and at the truck stop in Livingston. We worked on the cabin each day, that is, with the exception of the days we’d make a jaunt into town to do laundry, buy food and get building materials. And things went along okay until it snowed. More about that later.

The cabin itself began to look like something with the roof framing starting to take form. In the first picture you can see that I have installed the floor joist for the loft. I put up some temporary sheets of OSB (oriented strand board) to walk on and began framing the roof. At this point two things happened. First, building with dimension lumber instead of logs, and working five or six days a week, made it seem as if the process was going in ulta-high speed. Secondly, our expenditures skyrocketed. All summer they were practically nil, except for food and gas. The logs were free. Suddenly we were buying lots of lumber. The second picture is the south side roof framing, looking out a window opening at the north end of the Absaroka mountains and the Yellowstone valley.
Framing the roof was very exciting. Nancy was my gopher (gofer this, gofer that) and laborer. Each day I could stand back and look at the cabin and it would seem like we had gotten lots done. Compared to the slow going stacking logs for a wall, the framing was going at lighting speed, and therefore, very gratifying.

During the summer, sometimes it was difficult to stay cool, now it was difficult to stay warm. We were toasty at night in the tipi with the barrel stove blazing, but it was impossibly cold in the mornings. It would warm up in the afternoon and we would be able to work without gloves.

The forth picture shows the roof framing substantially finished. We had one delivery of lumber to the end of the county road and we hauled it the rest of the way up the hill in our pickup. For the most part the weather was pretty good for a Montana fall. However, November brought snow and it presented a huge problem. It meant we no longer would be assured that we could drive up and down the road in the 4WD pickup. At times we walked in and out with our dirty laundry and back with clean clothes and food. Drudgery. We had enough snow to block the road in places, but not enough snow to snowmobile. And we didn’t have one anyway.

In the fifth picture, you can see winter had arrived. We broke down and purchased a used snowmachine. We got a sled/trailer that we pulled behind the snowmobile and that hauled our tools, water, food, and building materials. O’Malley loved snowmobiling. He ran alongside the snowmobile or behind it depending on how deep the snow was. You can see in the picture that we were able to put sheathing on the roof and beadboard insulation on the gable walls. I would have liked to get roofing felt up before winter set in. But after the first snow, I could not safely get up on the roof again. Just after this last picture was taken, we had some really cold weather and we decided it would be a good idea to head south for the winter. And we did for awhile. We visited friends in New Mexico and Arizona, took a backpacking trip in Utah, stayed three weeks with my sister Amy in Houston, Texas, housesat for friends in Marysville, Tennessee, visited Nancy’s family in Indiana and then headed back to Montana. It was still February so we didn’t stay long and we didn’t get much done. We had an offer from friends to do some work on a summer cottage on a lake in Saskatchewan so we spent three weeks in Lake Q’appelle. We stopped to see friends outside Glacier Park on our way to Washington State. We then spent a month building a guest cottage for my sister, Leslie. Spring arrived and we headed back to Montana. Nancy took a new job in Yellowstone and I went back to work on the cabin.


Anonymous said...

I remain in awe of your talent and determination!


Anonymous said...

I don't think I have ever seen all your pictures of the construction, either that or I was drunk at that slide show. It is fun to see the stages, to try and place myself there at various stages and once again to be so amazed at your determination and ingenuity. And to remember the fun we had there. We are having a cold snap here in the Pacific Northwest, a real one for us, in the twenties and lower, oooooh. It is actually snowing here right now, a real treat for Vashon Island.

Linda said...

Your description of winter in the tipi and during construction is particularly relevant right now. At noon today it has warmed up to -23 degrees F. We are snug and warm in the cabin you built with both woodstoves blazing. As I was lying in my nice warm bed this morning, I thought of your blog and felt very grateful for what you went through to create the finished cabin we bought from you. With this nice warm home to look out at winter from, I am not even remotely tempted to leave for warmer climates. Instead, I'll spend the day baking Christmas cookies in the wood cook stove which is heating the kitchen right now.