Tag Archives: Cabin

The Dacha

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I got the roof on my dacha finally! It’s taken me two summers to get it finished enough to use when it rains, and I absolutely love it!

I started the dacha, my little summer cabin, last year when a neighbor offered a pile of 2×6 planks to me. The floor was easy to figure out, but was a lot of hard work. I used cinder blocks as a foundation and I leveled them all before putting the floor frame on them. I forgot to square the four planks I used as the basis for the floor though. Oops!

After cleaning up the planks-I had to remove some hardware and nails from the ends-I screwed the planks to the frame that was on the cinder blocks. I put the screen tent up and then decided I wanted a more permanent structure. I have this old Atco on my place (the last remnant from the last boyfriend), so I started tearing it apart. I couldn’t sell the damned thing, couldn’t even give it away!
I framed the walls in the now air-conditioned Atco, then added visqueen and mosquito netting before moving them to the floor and screwing them down. That was as far as I got before the summer was over, because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for a roof.

This summer I decided to rearrange the walls before starting on the roof. Once that was taken care of, I bought some vinyl window material for the roof. It’s perfectly clear and would make an awesome cloud-watching cover! The roof isn’t the greatest; it’s not going to hold up under much of a snow load, but it’s adequate for rain and leaves. The clear vinyl didn’t work out; it’s too stiff and difficult to work with by myself. So the roof is visqueen over 2×4’s and 1×4’s, held down with lath lightly tacked down with big-headed roofing nails. I’m anticipating needing to replace the roof next year with corrugated plastic roofing that’s used on greenhouses.

I still have some finish work to do on the dacha; I’m using more lath to firmly tack down the visqueen and mosquito netting walls, and the door is pretty awkward. It’s a piece of mosquito netting that flies around in the wind and doesn’t do a very good job of keeping mosquitoes and other flying insects out. And sometimes Harpo can’t figure out how to get in! I also have to cover the triangles on the wall that support the roof and the header boards that support the roof above the door. But I can sleep out here and enjoy watching clouds, tree shadows, and rain!

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Playing catch up…

My sewing room

My sewing room

That I haven’t posted much this summer is kind of an understatement. I was busy in June with the NICOP field trip, and in July it rained and rained and rained. August was the fair, and then it dried up, and it’s been too nice to be inside. Those could be my excuses, but the real reason I haven’t posted is that I have been wrestling with what to do about the cabin?

I live in a less-than-400 square foot dry cabin. It is Too Small. I have Too Much Stuff. So should I build a sewing room? And should it be an addition to the cabin, or a separate building? Or should I buy another house? And rent the cabin out? Or sell it? Will I be able to sell it, since it needs a new foundation and it’s seven miles from town? Can I get a loan? Or should I fix up the cabin, keep it until the gas pipeline gets going, and then sell it during the boom years? What do I do? Who can I trust to predict the future for me?

I looked at cabin after cabin. Too small, too close to the neighbors, the yard’s too small, it’s too dark, it’s too expensive. I finally found a cabin I really liked; it was only four miles to work, on five acres, double the square footage of my current cabin. But the taxes were double what I pay now, and the heating bill made me choke. And the house payment… no more sewing goodies for me if I bought that cabin! And what if I can’t sell mine, or I can’t keep it rented? How do I make the house payment? Could I even get a loan?

So I sweated and wrestled with the numbers, and decided against that cabin. I started looking again. Talked to a realtor. Put the cabin up for sale. Changed my mind. And finally came to the conclusion that I just did not want to spend the money or assume the risk of buying another cabin right now. To the library for books on storage solutions. Lots of ideas, little drawings, measure, measure, measure. Paint; gotta paint before I put up new bookshelves.

I’ve emptied out the cabin and put almost all my sewing stuff into the shed. There are several paint splotches on the wall so I can choose between pale green and pale pink. And I like the empty cabin! It’s much more peaceful, so I am back to my original thought of a separate building for my sewing stuff, at least for the coming winter. And I can get by with the shelf units I already have, and build shelves in the shed instead. Less expensive. Easier.

My garden in four foot square boxes

My garden in four foot square boxes

Now it’s time to move things around, wash a wall, let it dry, paint it. Play tiddlywinks with the stuff pushed to one side and start all over again. I’ll do a few more things to make the cabin liveable for one more winter, and keep thinking about the different options. I would like to move closer to work, shorten the commute, depend less on the car, and spend less money on transportation. But I have a beautiful big yard with lots of room for Mr. Dog to run after tennis balls and frisbees. Neighbors that stop by and say hi when I’m in the yard. Plenty of room outdoors for painting/dyeing/printing on fabric and playing with the woodburning tool and all kinds of art projects. My own little bit of woods out back, and places to walk without a leash.

Lots of reasons to stay, and I will still think about moving. Someday.