Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Guest Cabin

The guest cabin is only yards from the main house. A short trek from the end of the front porch, across the yard and around the corner of the building,,under some small trees and there are the steep steps to the snug little building.  Its a longer way round to go out through the garage and down the gravel drive that borders the pond.
The cabin is built on the foundations of an earlier building which we dismantled when we bought the property in the spring of 2006.
We salvaged the vintage metal sink cabinet and a tall metal cupboard which sits to the right. I scrubbed both units and used a white enamel spray paint to freshen them. Although we chose to have the cabin very simple as a temporary residence while we built the main house, it could be gussied up with modern cabinetry and a fancier floor covering.  It could also be used as a home office or [lovely thought] a "studio."
The cabin has a main room with the kitchen and living area, a small bedroom and a tiny bath with shower.
A friend of ours owned the property in the 1950's when the old house here was fit for family quarters.  In the old barn we found several photo albums from the time of the next owners.  The acreage became the repository of items saved by a man who owned a salvage business. 
I first saw the property after a week in bed with flu, during which time J. learned it was for sale.  It was a daunting sight: I sat shivering in the truck gazing at rows of rusting appliances, old cars, upended bathtubs, a barn, sheds and two "bunkhouses" all tipsy and toppling. The roof of the old house had leaked in places, and we picked our way in through piles of sodden abandoned household plunder, hoping that the floor wouldn't give way beneath our feet.
J. was not intimidated by the scope of the clean up needed before the land could be sub-divided  and turned into the site of attractive log homes.  He and his crew worked at the clearing up for nearly two months. A scrap metal dealer came  to haul away old vehicles and the assortment of stoves, ancient washing machines and rusted bedsprings.  There was a huge pit on the property into which J. bulldozed burnable scraps, including the weathered remains of several tumbledown buildings.
Two elderly men stopped by to recall when the property had been decently kept during their boyhood years.  Several neighbors expressed pleasure that a long-standing eye-sore was being tidied.
With the worst of the mess cleared, and having sold ourselves out of two houses in two months, we moved over in a 5th wheel camper in the first snowy days of April, 2006.  In less than two weeks it became clear that the camper was going to be very claustrophobic during the several months it would take to build a house.  J. had the bright idea that we could build a small, simple cabin on the now bare spot where the original house had been. By early May the cabin was up and liveable. 

The cats delighted in the large beams which formed the supports for the roof.  They soon learned they could leap from the sink to a shelf and from the shelf onto the main beam.  It became a feline game to walk the beams, especially at night when part of the fun was to leap heavily from the beams onto our sleeping forms.  Raisin carried the process one step farther and would suddenly appear over the bathroom partition when I was in the shower.
Our daughter and her family took over the cabin, squeezing a family of four into the small confines while we built their house on an adjoining lot. 
The cabin has provided comfortable quarters for visiting friends and family.  Twice it has been rented.
Our buyers have graciously agreed that we may use it until we have purchased a place in Kentucky.  This will provide a cozy and safe place for the cats while we are away and a temporary habitation during the few weeks before a closing will be possible in Kentucky.
It will seem that we have come full circle.


  1. Phew. I had visions of the worst kind of you and all the cats roughing it in the motorhome until the deal was done! I think you will be snug in the guest cabin, but at least the cats will be on home ground and you can "pop up the road" (hah!!!) to view a few properties . . .

    It's nice to know that it's where a homestead of some kind has been for many long years, so it's history repeating itself.

  2. Feliway is a brilliant product to calm cats when moving and getting used to a new home. It comes in plug in form and spray. We used it as a couple of ours get stressed by change which brings on other ills ... it worked so well.

    Good luck with every thing long do you think it will be before you are on your way?

  3. I thought the same as BB. At least you know what to expect.

    Are daughter and family moving to Kentucky too?


  4. What an interesting story, I do love the cabin. Sorry, I laughed out loud at the thought of cats launching themselves from the beams onto your poor, unsuspecting, sleeping bodies!

  5. You have certainly lived an adventurous life. I like the idea of a guest cabin. I'm all for snug places.

  6. I love the guest cabin! Just tack another one onto the back side of it for a sewing studio and i would completely be in heaven! Very interesting story about the land and the good changes that you made to it. Sounds from this and other tales that J is one of those remarkable capable men who can make things happen with machinery, will power, patience, and vision. I really like the idea that you'll be able to use the cabin as a pied a terre until you settle on a place in Kentucky...would be less than pleasant for you two and the cats to have to make do in the fifth wheel.