Friday, January 1, 2010

Off to the Woods - finally!

Our daughter flew out of town to visit relatives this week, so we put our dog, Sammie, in the car and headed to the Woods. 

There we all were - on our way!  Finally!  We hadn't seen the woods in over a month!  It was cold out (relatively speaking, I know) so we had the heater cranking, and then WOW!

We tried to figure out what the smell was, and realized it was Sammie's breath.  What on earth could smell like that?

It was a tie between cat butt and road kill.  Not that either of us know what cat butt smells like, but it just seemed right.

We briefly considered dropping him off at the next Truck Stop, but we love our Sammie.  So we traveled down the road with the windows down and the heat blasting, and that worked.

On the way, we stopped by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' old homestead in Central Florida.  Her book, Cross Creek, is one of my favorites.  I happened onto her web site, and found that her barn looks exactly like the kind of barn we like. 

We measured just about every aspect of that barn, despite odd looks from the proprietor.  It is a little small, but with a some modification, it should work out just right.

The barn needs to hold:
  1. A tractor
  2. Farm equipment/tools
  3. The All Terrain Wheelchair (ATW) on a trailer (A Polaris Ranger)
  4. A future ratrod
  5. A work bench
  6. A place to sleep, since the pop-up camper will probably not make it another 10 5 years.
  7. A bathroom/shower/washer/dryer

The plan is to build the shelter this year and put the very old camper under it.  This should do for a couple of years.  Then we want to build the barn, which will be the next step toward actually having a real cabin to sleep in.

We liked the benches that were under the barn overhang.  These would be nice around the fire pit, which will be located about 50 feet in front of the shelter.

After an hour or so we kept going to the Woods.  The picnic table was still there and looked great!  Sammie was feeling better and made himself right at home.

Sammie wears a cone because he has a habit of biting himself, especially when he is nervous.  As much as he loves car rides, they make him nervous.

Here's what he looks like without it.

He is a 15 year old Schipperke, and still acts like a puppy.  I will tell the story of how we came to own him another time.

He and my husband went for a walk in the woods.

And then we focused on our main job for the day - trying to determine the slope of the land around the place we want to put the shelter so we could level it properly.

We put stakes in the ground, and, using our newly acquired level, figured out that one corner was about 6 inches higher than the other.  Hmmmmm.  It seemed like more than that with the naked eyeball - like maybe a foot and a half.  

It could be that our surveyor's skills need some work. 

While we were double-checking our figures amidst much yelling, our friend Ron stopped by.

He pointed to the logs we were drying.......


..... and said "I don't mean to burst your bubble, but you weren't going to use those logs to build with were you?".  

Um, well yes, we were.   He said they "wouldn't last but 6 months in the ground".  

But the man at the hardware store told us all we had to do is paint some copper on the ends that would go into the ground.

"No, you need to get yourself some pressure treated poles."  

So that's what we'll do.  Everything Ron has told us has always turned out to be right.  He has lived there for 30 years or so, after all.

He left before we remembered to ask him where in the world we were going to find 11 and 13 foot pressure treated poles, but that will have to be another day.     

My husband was very disappointed that we couldn't use the trees off our land to build the pavillion.  Me?  Well, I wasn't so sad, since we had such trouble picking out trees to actually cut down.

Meanwhile, we took our level, our dog, and went back to our house in the city to think about how in the world we were going to get 13' poles to the property once we found them.

And before I forget, Happy New Year.  2009 was not a bad year for us compared to many.  I hope that 2010 will be even better.


  1. I just found your blog by checking the Feedjit stats. Someone was visiting my site and was referred to it by the link on your bloglist. Thank you for linking. It's always good to find a fellow Floridian blogger. You have a beautiful dog. I've never heard of that breed before. Good luck with your future barn building. It sounds like a daunting project, but you seem to be taking it on in small increments, which is probably the wisest plan. Happy New Year!

  2. I love your blog! I really enjoy reading about your adventures setting up your land.
    Those creosote poles are expensive and stink in the summer so you might want to do more checking before you invest. I'm pretty sure there are several things you can treat your timber with that are more cost effective.

  3. When I visited Rawlings' home, I was inspired by a lot of things, but it never occurred to me to try to rebuild her barn by hand! (Not to mention a shelter and a cabin to go with it...) I'm impressed by your initiative.

    Good luck with your projects--I'm looking forward to watching them progress.

  4. I just love reading about your adventures! Starting from scratch is so exciting...I will definitely be back to check on your progress. Kim

  5. Love the old barn-and enjoyed reading about part of your journey too : ) Nice blog!