Cabin Work

Discussion in 'Home Improvement' started by Ken Anderson, May 6, 2016.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    Sometime soon, I'll be going up north to continue work on the camp we have on a hundred acres of land near the Canadian border. I haven't done much with it in the past couple of years because health and money problems, but I'd like to finish it up this summer, at least to the point where we could spend some time there. So I thought I'd begin this thread to post photos and such of the work I do there.

    So far, I've done a lot of work on various parts of the land itself, but have only laid a floor in the cabin. We bought it from the Amish, who completed the shell of the building, including a metal roof and windows. Here's a photo of it as it was being delivered.

    [​IMG]

    I found a few photos that I took of the floor as I was just starting on it, but it's been completed for over a year now.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I don't feel like searching for them tonight, but I do have photos of the completed floor, as I think I did a pretty good job on it.

    This summer, I need to insulate and complete the interior. Nothing fancy, since it's a camp. Probably wainscoting and drywall. I don't know if we'll be able to do it this summer but I'd love to be able to get a stove in as well. I still haven't decided for sure whether I want to get a wood cooking stove that will double as a heating stove, which is expensive but perfect, or if I want to build an outdoor kitchen, in which case we wouldn't need anything quite so fancy on the inside, where a heating stove with a cooking surface would suffice.
     
    #1
  2. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,826
    Likes Received:
    6,955
    You can do quite a bit of cooking if you have a flat topped wood stove, like a Fisher, especially if you are making slow cooking foods like soups and stews, or a pot of beans. Plus, it will hold heat overnight on chilly evenings. A cook stove would have an oven, which is nice; but not absolutely necessary, and they do not have a very large firebox since they are designed for smaller pieces of wood and being able to control the heat better.
    I like the idea of an outside kitchen, which would be perfect for any cooking that needed to be done in the warm/hot weather, and then you could use the inside wood stove for cooking during the cold weather when you wanted heat inside anyway.
    Do you have power and/or water, or are you having to carry in your water ? I think you have mentioned this before; but I don't remember what you told us about that part.
     
    #2
    Joe Riley likes this.
  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    The cook stove I have in mind is made to be a combination cooking and heating stove, capable of putting more than enough BTUs to heat our cabin, and of holding enough heat to work for heating purposes.

    Yes, if our only cooking options were the inside stove in the summer, we'd be afraid to use it because the temperatures would get too high. Even in Maine, we sometimes have temperatures above a hundred, although rarely. There have been some years when our temperatures never got above eighty degrees, but more often it gets hot in July and early August. So an outdoor kitchen, with partial walls and a roof would be ideal.

    No power, but a well is one of the things we want to have dug this summer or early fall. The ATV club has a small piece of land and a well just past ours and they said they had no problem striking water. Given that we're in a valley-type depression with mountains on three sides, that's what I thought. Actually, we have mountains on all four sides but the mountain on one side is called Flat Mountain for just that reason; although elevated, the top of it consist of a lot of flat space so it doesn't really feel like you're on a mountain when you're on Flat Mountain.
     
    #3
    Joe Riley likes this.
  4. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Messages:
    4,590
    Likes Received:
    4,020
    How exciting, I enjoy seeing pictures of people's projects. The cabin looks nice, and since it's Amish made, I'm sure it will endure pretty much anything the weather up there can dish out. The land looks nice, as well. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress as you move through the process. I'm not familiar with wood stoves that you can cook on. My sister has always had one, but she doesn't use it for cooking. I wasn't aware they made some with ovens, that's probably what I'd want, since I enjoy baking, as well as cooking.
     
    #4
  5. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,826
    Likes Received:
    6,955
    We used to have a wood cook stove, but it was one of the older ones, so it was not designed to hold heat all night. It had a small burn-box so that you could feed the fire just enough to get the oven to the temp that you wanted it. It takes some practice to get the hang of putting in jut the right fuel to reach the temperature you need for baking, and not have it get too hot once it gets there.
    If I was baking something, I pretty much had to be right there and paying attention to it and watching the litle oven thermometer to make sure it stayed at 350.
    I had a small stack of small pieces of wood and even pine cones worked great for doing that, since we just added a piece or two at a time in order to keep the temperature steady.
    The Fisher, on the other hand, had those spinners for air control, and you could fill it up at night, slose the draft down, and know it would keep the house warm all night. In the morning, we jut opened up the draft controls again, and had a hot bed of coals ready to add more wood and perk our morning coffee on.
     
    #5
    Diane Lane and Joe Riley like this.
  6. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    Yeah, I can remember when my mom had a wood cooking stove and oven. I think she pretty much had it figured out but, at the same time, she was happy to trade it in for an electric one. I was a kid so I took it pretty much for granted but what I remember of our heating stove was that it was an oil stove but there was no electric regulation involved in it. It looked like the oil was fed to the stove by gravity, the amount controlled by a valve. I know that, to increase the heat, there was a valve that would be turned, and you could see the oil dripping into the burning section. It looked like a modified steel barrel, with a glass viewing area added. As I recall it, it looked like something that was homemade, although it had a company emblem on it. I don't remember what it was, but I am quite sure that it was low tech. Then again, that house did burn to the ground while I was away at college.
     
    #6
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
    Diane Lane likes this.
  7. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,826
    Likes Received:
    6,955
    Oh, my gosh !
    How I hated those old oil stoves ! ! We had one when I was growing up, too, and I think it operated about the same as the one you are describing, except that ours had a brown kind of enamel case around the burner part.
    It would operate fine on low, and it barely dripped into the burner barrel on low.
    When it was really, really cold (below zero), sometimes my dad would turn it up just a tiny bit. If he turned it up a hair too much, then it would start rumbling and the barrel would bulge out like it was trying to explode because the exhaust gases couldn't get up the chimney fast enough.
    Mom would grab me and run out in the far part of the yard, leaving my dad in the house to deal with the stove as best as he could. He would have shut the oil valve off by then, of course, but it still took a while for the inferno in the oil drum to burn out and subside.
    In the mean time, it would soot up the house, and we had all of the doors open to try and air it back out so that we could breathe inside the house.
    Eventually, my dad could start the fire again, and then we would just leave it on low, and we closed the doors and bundled up while the house got warmer again.
    No wonder we all spent most of our winters huddled around that stove......... It was the only part of the house that was warm !
     
    #7
    Last edited: May 7, 2016
    Diane Lane and Ken Anderson like this.
  8. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    That would probably be it. We weren't supposed to touch the oil stove controls but if no one else was home, I would turn it up sometimes. There were a couple of scary situations, not to the point you describe, but a sudden flareup of flame in the boiler. We also spent a lot of time huddled around the stove. As for the wood cooking stove, I think mom would have preferred to have both a wood stove and an electric one but there wasn't enough room for both. I don't know if there were things she preferred to cook on the wood stove or if it was the fact that the wood stove also provided some heat. Probably the latter.
     
    #8
    Diane Lane likes this.
  9. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Messages:
    4,590
    Likes Received:
    4,020
    Wow, the oil stoves sound scary and dangerous. I think my mom said my grandmother had one that used wood, but I don't recall that, so she'd probably replaced it by the time I was old enough to notice such things. We always had gas stoves at our house, and I loved the wonderful aromas that would emanate from them, so I stuck somewhat close to the kitchen. My mom did most of the cooking when we were younger, but once my dad partially retired, he took over some of that, and they started cooking together and got into a routine.

    The Fisher stoves sound nice. Is that the same Fisher of Fisher & Paykel? If so, the ones I've seen look amazing, although I think the ones mentioned here are probably a separate line. I've heard of Fisher & Paykel on cooking shoes, especially Cook's Country. http://www.dcsappliances.com/company/sponsorship-and-events/cooks-country/
     
    #9
  10. K E Gordon

    K E Gordon Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2016
    Messages:
    1,443
    Likes Received:
    1,374
    One hundred acres is a lot. I guess you could do a great deal of hunting, fishing, camping there. I suspect you could also sell some of the trees if you so desired. I haven't been too far North in Maine, but I know in Quebec, not so far away as the crow flies..there was woods, woods and more woods all the way to Montreal. I think probably many mosquitoes as well. Maybe you could use a wood stove. You certainly have enough of it around!
     
    #10
  11. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    Tomorrow, I'll be going up north to do some work on the camp. First, I have to drive the other direction for an appointment with my urologist to take care of the six-month prostate cancer check. Then we will be driving up north, spending the night in a hotel near there. Saturday morning, I'll go do some work on the camp, mostly just clearing my trails, mowing the lawn, and that sort of thing. Maybe I'll plant some lupines. I won't be spending the night in the camp though, as my wife and I will be in the hotel for a couple of nights.
     
    #11
    Diane Lane likes this.
  12. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Messages:
    4,590
    Likes Received:
    4,020
    I hope the appointment goes well, @Ken Anderson, please keep us posted. I love the sound of having that much land. For one thing, I'd love to be able to just go out back and go target shooting, rather than having to go to the range. What do you use to mow the lawn up there? If I had any more lawn than I have here, I'd definitely want a ride on mower. I don't even have a push mower here, I tend to use the trimmer, and if things get too crazy, i borrow the neighbor's mower, but it hasn't been as bad since I've been working on the weeds. Lupine is pretty, do you have beds you'd plant it in, or along a fence?
     
    #12
  13. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    I keep a lawn mower under a tarp there. I don't mow a large area, as I use a machete on the trails. I started the lupines in a garden space but they have spilled over into the surrounding area.
     
    #13
    Diane Lane likes this.
  14. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Messages:
    4,590
    Likes Received:
    4,020
    I wish I still had the machete I used to own. I've considered ordering a ditch blade for the ditch out front, since the grade is a bit steep for a lawn mower, and even though my trimmer/weeder is lighter weight than some, it's still difficult for me to hold for any length of time. I also like the idea of no cord and no need for fuel, just a simple manual tool and no annoying droning noise. I've looked at scythes for the same reason, although I'd probably use that in the actual yards, and at the edge of the driveway.
     
    #14
  15. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2015
    Messages:
    3,178
    Likes Received:
    1,749
    I have a suggestion @Diane Lane that I made to my neighbor. Her home is perched on a hill and she has fallen a couple of times trying to cut her lawn. I suggested she purchase some shoes with cleats like those worn in some sports, soccer, field hockey are examples. She liked the idea but now has someone with one of those riding lawn mower where they stand up. I like watching him zipping along up and down that hill.
     
    #15
    Diane Lane likes this.
  16. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Messages:
    4,590
    Likes Received:
    4,020
    That's a good idea @Von Jones. I had actually considered buying some of those before, when I was walking on the nature trails more, because any time it would even mist, the trail would become very slippery, and I had fallen a few times. I'll have to look around and see if I can find a cheap pair, thanks.
     
    #16
    Von Jones likes this.
  17. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,826
    Likes Received:
    6,955
    We don't have an actual ditch out front; but the lawn slopes down to the road and it is difficult to either mow or weed eater that part. What we are doing is planting it with flowers and shrubs that will grow and spread each year. So far, we have irises, the sunchokes, Mexican petunias, and a few daffodils growing out there.
    I have some hollyhocks growing in the Aerogarden, and once they get large enough to transplant, I will pot them up for the summer, and then set them out along the slope when it cools off this fall for next year.
    Eventually, the whole area should be filled in with different flowering plants, and some that are also tall enough to give us a privacy screen out there, and we should not have to either mow or weedeat once it all fills in better.
    That probably isn't a fast option though.
     
    #17
    Last edited: May 14, 2016
    Von Jones likes this.
  18. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2015
    Messages:
    3,178
    Likes Received:
    1,749
    I've seen this method a lot in the surrounding neighborhood. Some folks even add solar lamps and garden features like birdbaths, houses, feeders or other garden decor. Very seldom do I see any one maintaining the areas.

    About 3/4 of the homes built on the north side of our street are on a hill and get hit in the front with the morning sun and we get it in our backyard. Their grass and bushes grow much faster and have to mow often.
     
    #18
    Yvonne Smith likes this.
  19. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    Okay, I got lost in my woods. Not hopelessly lost or anything but I came out way past where I had intended to come out. I could have turned back at any time and found my path again but, being a guy, I didn't want to go back the way I had come. I didn't; rather, I came out about a mile and a half from where I had gone in.

    The grass didn't need mowing yet because winter didn't want to go away in Maine, and very little is growing yet. I did retrieve the disks from my cameras and changed the batteries. The batteries in two of the five cameras had died at some point during the winter but the others had kept running since I put them there in November.

    In the next few days, I'll post some photos from the camera if there's anything interesting.

    The woods was very wet from the spring thaw and the fact that it had rained all night last night, so I got pretty wet walking through the woods.

    I saw a bear, which was only the third time that I have actually seen one with my eyes out there, although they turn up on camera all the time. I didn't get a picture because he moved to the trees before I even thought of reaching for my camera.

    It was a young bear, probably in its second year. It was on top of one of the agricultural tractors that was left in the potato field. At first, I thought it was a potato grower, then I could see that it was bear. Either it was curious, as bears are or, more probably, someone had left a lunch behind.

    He backed off of the tractor very slowly, like a cat that had been caught rummaging through a dresser drawer, and then ran for the trees.

    This is a hard time of the year for bears. They have come out from hibernation skinny but there isn't much for them to eat. Despite their ferocious reputation, 85% of what they eat is vegetation and very little is growing yet. A significant part of the other 15% of their diet consists of ants and other bugs, and there aren't even very many of them out yet.

    This is the time of year that they are the most dangerous, since they are hungry. Even then, black bears are unlikely to attack a person for food.

    I left a few bags of apples and some chicken that was on sale.
     
    #19
    Last edited: May 14, 2016
    Yvonne Smith and Von Jones like this.
  20. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    camp-floor-done.jpg
    Here's a photo of the camp floor after it was completed.
     
    #20
    Von Jones likes this.
  21. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2016
    Messages:
    5,414
    Likes Received:
    6,885
    Do you ever feel like a pioneer when you are out on those 100 acres Ken? Could you and your wife live of the land over there if y'all wanted too?
    There was a time my five sisters and a couple of my brothers talked about going in together and buying acreage where we all would build houses and have own own family "commune"...and I think about that now days for my children and grandchildren. But they are much to "worldly" and wouldn't know what to do without all their modern conveniences, etc. With all that is happening here in America I think it would be good to have a place like you have though. I look forward to seeing your work on your cabin, etc.
     
    #21
    Yvonne Smith likes this.
  22. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    I wish I'd started earlier in my life, but my goal is to get it so that we could live off the land there if we needed to. There are no utilities available within a couple of miles from the land, but we hope to have a well drilled before too long, and some solar panels, but I don't want to depend too much on electricity. There's no point in living in the woods if I'm just going to be sitting behind a computer.

    Our land includes a 5 acre potato field, which we currently lease to a potato grower, and half of another 5-acre field. We have a brook with a beaver dam on one end of the property. The beavers have that part of the land pretty wet but it's great for wildlife. We have at least four moose that are on the property pretty regularly, and others that pass through since the land abuts a very large area of undeveloped forest. We have one bear that seems to make our land his base of operations, and others that come in, particularly during mating season. So far, I have seen only one white-tailed deer, but the northern part of Maine is pretty much the northern boundaries of the white-tailed deer habitat. I don't hunt, but I've never had to, so I suppose I could if it were necessary. I can shoot fairly well.

    One thing I want to do is to set up a forest garden, that being a concentration on edible perennials, fruit trees and nut trees, so that there is food in the area that doesn't require a garden. Although the wildlife will help themselves to much of that, it brings the wildlife in. As it is, we have wild blueberries, raspberries, and some chokecherry trees, so I know that those things will grow there. I planted a few other species of blueberries that are hardy to the zone but, while the plants are doing well, it's been four years now and they have never flowered or bore fruit. I'm still not sure what's going on there.

    The other end of the property includes a cedar swamp, a portion of which is on our land. The word "swamp" is misleading there because, although it's known as a cedar swamp, it's not particularly wet. It's a thick stand of cedar trees with a canopy that doesn't allow a lot of snow to reach the ground during the winter. Moose winter there because they can walk around without being in deep snow, and it's near enough to other parts of the woodland that includes vegetation that they can eat during the winter.

    The rest of the land, from what I was told, was potato fields up until about thirty years ago when it was allowed to grow up into a woodland, so it's a new woods, and it still includes several small clearings where saplings grow, and that is what makes up a large part of a moose's diet, as well as the deer. These are also clearings where I can plant fruit trees and the like, although I would have to protect the trees with a fence until they are large enough to avoid being eaten. I wouldn't mind if they ate the fruit, but not the whole tree.

    I would love to be able to plant currants but they are illegal in Maine because of a belief that they can carry a disease that can spread to to white pine trees.

    Saturday while I was there, I got lost a couple of times. Not hopelessly lost, as in needing anyone to come find me, but after I collected the disks and changed the batteries in the camera at one clearing, I wasn't paying much attention while I was walking back, as I was daydreaming about one thing or another, and I realized that I wasn't where I was supposed to be. Not wanting to go back the way I came (it's a guy thing, I think), I just walked in a direction that seemed like it should take me back to the road. I found a much larger clearing than the one my camera was in, a clearing that I hadn't yet come across in my wanderings through my land. If I can find it again, I'll set some cameras up there too.

    After leaving that clearing, I walked back into the woods, following an animal trail. Given a choice of trails, I chose one where I could see another clearing up ahead. When I got near there, I could see a camera in a tree. It was the one that I had started out from, and I had walked in a circle. So I think I can find it again.

    Another camera, I had set up along an animal trail in a wetter part of the woods. Everything was wet Saturday, because of the snow melt and the rain we had on Friday, but this was a fairly wet area when I set the camera out last September. I had marked the trail to the camera, having once spent many hours trying to find a camera, so I followed the marked trees to my camera. I didn't want to go back that way because it was very wet, so I thought I'd look for a drier route.

    I followed what appeared to have been a trail made by farm equipment many years ago, as I could see two wide-set tracks. The tracks themselves had turned into a stream, with flowing water, but the area in between the tracks was fairly dry, so I followed that. After walking quite a long ways, I realized that it wasn't going in the direction I had intended to go in but since it was an easy path to follow, I knew that I could always go back the way I came if I needed to. Eventually, it came out to the road, but a mile and a half or two miles away, on neighboring property.

    I still haven't explored all of my property. The trees and the underbrush are so thick that it's hard walk through much of it and the end of the property with the beaver dam, the beavers change the landscape so much from one year to another, that it's hard for me to get my bearings.
     
    #22
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
    Diane Lane and Babs Hunt like this.
  23. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    When our daughter brought our grandchildren up here, as it turned out, less than two weeks before she died, I would have thought they'd have been fascinated by Maine, having grown up in Fayetteville, North Carolina and Baltimore, Maryland. Yet, during the drive up north, despite the mountains, rivers, and even a couple of moose, they barely lifted their heads from their cellphones or video games. Once we got to the land, our nephew did enjoy walking through the woods with me while I set out my cameras, but our niece went back to the car and waited.
     
    #23
    Diane Lane and Babs Hunt like this.
  24. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Messages:
    4,590
    Likes Received:
    4,020
    I don't like asking for directions. I choose to wander and find my own way, as long as I'm not on a schedule and late for something. That's the best way to learn new places, in my opinion, and get the lay of the land. It sounds as if your land isn't fenced in. Do you have any problem with trespassers messing up the land or disturbing the wildlife? I watch some of the shows on Nat Geo and other channels that show law enforcement in Colorado, Maine, etc., and in some cases, it seems punks make a mess of the land with snowmobiles and poach the animals off season/at night.
     
    #24
  25. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,454
    Likes Received:
    9,813
    A few years ago, one of my cameras caught a photo of someone hunting on my land, although it's posted. I put the photo up on Facebook asking if anyone knew who he was. No one told me, but I've never had a problem with that again. Another time, one of my cameras captured a couple of people on ATVs on my land. It's posted "no hunting" rather than "no trespassing," although under Maine law, someone is still trespassing if they don't have expressed permission to be on the land, and the state could confiscate their ATVs. That seemed kind of mean though, and could only lead to bad relations, so I let that go. I just put up a "no trespassing" sign along the trail that they were on.
     
    #25

Share This Page