cabin

Reluctant Pioneer

The day trip to the Cabin was a bit of a disappointment … because I hated to have to leave after only a couple of hours!  The walk in was slushy with dangerously slick mud hiding under the slush.  Whole chunks of trail slid out from under me in places, so I finally gave up and walked through the brushy kinnikinnick at the side of the trail.  The lake is still frozen, but doesn’t look solid anymore.  As the snow melts on the lake and above it, water builds up on the surface of the ice.  So to my eye it looked like open water all along the “ice road” that my neighbors use, and although I was assured that it was still plenty solid for a vehicle, I’m a chicken.  The trail worked just fine!  

My footprints!  Going back I took the slightly firmer high ground to the right of the trail

My footprints! Going back I took the slightly firmer high ground to the right of the trail

Doesn't look great for walking to me!  The ice should be completely out in another few weeks

Doesn’t look great for walking to me! The ice should be completely out in another few weeks

On my way out I stopped in to accept a dinner invitation with my friends, Susie and her husband, who live up there year round.  They had a real treat for me.  They had come across a book written by a woman who had come to Alaska in the 1940’s with her husband and two small children.  Amid the trials and tribulations of pioneer life in Anchorage, this woman found the money, time, strength and courage to build a remote cabin.  My cabin as it turns out!  I am so excited about reading and sharing this book that I’ve decided to relax my strict policy of not disclosing personal details that could give away my location.  But in order to learn more, you’ll have to read the book!  “Reluctant Pioneer” by Cecile Betts.

reluctant pioneer book

As we had suspected, the cabin is built from a kit.  Cecile had recently divorced her first husband and acquired the property on the lake after a round of court battles over child support.  The ruins of the tiny log cabin that I have long referred to as the “trapper’s cabin” on the property is actually the original dwelling that her family used when staying up there.  She reported that it was too small and the roof leaked which prompted her to find the Quik Log cabin kit which she purchased for $900.  She then enlisted a local man to haul it from Anchorage for her for $50.  She and her children carried the logs up the hill to her building site.  Over the July 4th weekend of that year a military friend helped her build the Cabin, which likely explains the military bunks that were in use there until just two years ago.

 Cecile unfortunately passed away just 3 years ago in California.  I hope to make contact with some of her family and already have a letter on its way to a young lady whom I believe is her grand-daughter.  As I read the book, I am finding more and more names of folks that I recognize from stories my parents have told about their early lives in Alaska.  One gentleman that Cecile worked with was not only the father of my dad’s best friend but he took out my tonsils when I was 11 years old! 

 I am so excited to have come into this bit of history of a place that I hold so dear to my heart.  I promise to share more as I learn more.

Categories: cabin, nostalgia | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Where is that lottery ticket?

I have given some thought to the total cost of this mid-life crisis (aka “retirement dream”) of mine.  For those who have built cabins, feel free to comment on my unrealistic projections!  For those who haven’t, understand that this is VERY rough…I’m sure that I’m in for some expensive surprises along the way.

If you visit Friesen’s website, you will see that the Plan 5 in a 20×24 with T-111 siding starts at $20,120.00.  If I’m reading the specs correctly, this includes the pilings, the floor, basic framing of outer walls, door(s), windows, and a metal roof. 

A sample of a plan 5 cabin built by Jay Friesen's crew.  Mine will be slightly larger and will have a deck and an extended roof over the front door

A sample of a plan 5 cabin built by Jay Friesen’s crew. Mine will be slightly larger and will have a deck and an extended roof over the front door

It does not include: insulation under the floors (approx $1368), one extra 4×4’ window ($368), 8×24’ deck ($3409), and a 4’ extended overhang at one end of the roof ($855).  It also doesn’t include installation of a chimney (no cost given) or the added costs due to the remote off-road location (I assume a number in the $1000’s). 

All told, I’m looking at right around $30,000 for the shell of a cabin.  Other expenses I will have to manage piecemeal (doing most of the work myself) will include: interior insulation, drywall and paint, the new woodstove, flooring, appliances, cupboards and fixtures for kitchen and bath, and lastly, furniture.    

For plumbing, I am researching eco-friendly grey-water disposal systems that won’t necessitate a septic tank.  This will be another Do-It-Yourself project.  The composting toilet is – so far – working out just fine which will save the need for a “black water” disposal system.  (For an amusing review of the Nature’s Head toilet that I currently use, visit the Good Luck Duck.   They use theirs in a big RV and have enjoyed not having to deal with the icky splish splash dumping of black water!)

Research is on-going as to feasibility and costs for electric but it will also be eco-friendly as far as I’m able.  Solar panels (iffy in winter with 4 hours per day of daylight!) and possibly a thermo-electric generator are possibilities, supplemented by my propane generator.  (The Kimberly Woodstove that I want supposedly has an optional thermo-electric accessory.)  Off-grid living isn’t a matter of choice on my property!

As I review and edit this post I realize that I’m going to be sitting at a desk for a few years yet to pay for all of this stuff…but as with any pleasant destination, planning the journey is often half of the fun!

Categories: cabin | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

I got the power!

Here’s hoping everyone had a marvelous Thanksgiving!  I know I did!  I threw all thoughts of dieting aside and stuffed myself in the great American tradition.

On Saturday we had Christmas because my snow bird parents will head south (health permitting) sometime in December.  They didn’t get out at all last winter due to health issues and they are missing their little home in Moab.  I already have plans to visit them there next spring.

The Cabin has been on my mind a lot lately.  Holiday and birthday get-togethers have kept me in town since September and I left things undone up there that I will undoubtedly regret.  I especially don’t look forward to having to thaw the composting toilet inside by the fire in order to be able to dump it…blech!

What I do look forward to, however, is being able to use my new toy…my family got together, with the help and instigation of my roommate, and got me a new generator for Christmas!

Ain’t she a beauty! 1000 watts all mine…

I think Dad is as excited as I am.  It won’t power anything very big, but I’ll be able to recharge electronics like power tools and my Kindle as well as possibly run a little electric cooler.  It would be nice to have real groceries like meat and dairy products for my longer stays. 

We had several good talks about my plans for a future cabin up there.  I showed him a floor plan from my builder’s website along with a price sheet of extras that I am including in my estimated costs.  (If you’re interested check out the website at www.friesenscustomcabins.com  I’m going with Plan 5 in a 20×24′ size.)

Dad had several good ideas for things like the plumbing and electrical and wants to get up there to help me bring down some of the bigger dead trees on the property this winter. 

After we were done oohing and aahing over the generator, he turned to me and said “The next thing you need is a four-wheeler right?”  Whew.  Things are really starting to come together for this project fast!  With a little bit of spending self-control and luck, I could be handing Jay Friesen my down payment next winter!

Categories: cabin | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Friesen's Cabin Journal

Stories of A Little Cabin in the Woods

The Good Luck Duck

Stories of A Little Cabin in the Woods

Off the Beaten Path: Hikes, Backpacks, and Travels

"For heaven's sake (and for the Earth's), let's get it together. Get out there! Listen! The wild places will fill you up. Let them." Walkin' Jim Stoltz, 1953 - 2010

offgridcabin

an experiment in off-grid living

notsofancynancy

How the hell did I get here?

Kurt's Quest

WELCOME!! Please take a few minutes to look around, make some comments, and enjoy!!!

The Blog of Otis

Join...CLICK...Treat

Spotted Dog Ranch

Stories of A Little Cabin in the Woods

Travel With The Bayfield Bunch:))

Stories of A Little Cabin in the Woods

rvsue and her canine crew

Living on less and enjoying life more

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging