Last blog post I pulled a project from the “favorites of the past.” This time I’m completely taken with a current/future project, but what brought me here is a love from very long ago.   It started for me as it does for most kids, boy and girl alike – a blanket and something tall, a chair, sofa, or the dining room table. The more wood involved the better.  When you are younger than reasonable understanding, more imaginative than John and Paul while writing Sargent Pepper’s, and – no cable TV (almost no TV at all), no video games, no internet (no problem – no computer!), cell phone..?.come on…!.., you can create wonderful adventures out of the abundance of “nothing” that you do have.  So, began my love of cabins.

Photo Credit: Voula Paraskevi/Cabin Porn

A quick draping of a blanket or two over an anything, and you have the makings of hours and hours of fun.  Quick side note:  today I saw a clever Nashville mom make one out of a tree and outdoor furniture cushions…awesome!   After a quick “topping out celebration” it was steady on to making this wonder-cabin a home, which I would plan to be “my home” within “our home” until….forever, or at least ‘til someone with no appetite for persuasion would make it come down.  Sleeping bag, flashlight, radio (I was county when county wasn’t cool – no before that one too), mess kit, fishing supplies, a knife (if I could get by with it), canteen, (my Grandpa owned a hardware store so we had everything I could imagine needing) all collected and placed just so – to turn a rough and empty cabin into a home.

As time passed I out grew my indoor cabin construction materials.  Lucky for me by the time that happened we moved to a farm in southern Indiana, which meant woods, fields, ponds, caves, barns, rolling hills, and rivers…..”paradise!”  First, using hatchets and baler twine, and later saws and nails, but always with aid of rope we would build cabin after cabin.  With differing locations, modified expectations and designs they all had one common thread – a place all our own.  Conjured in our minds, built with our hands over days or weeks a mismatch of boards and logs and sticks and dirt and leaves and metal.  They were never perfect, usually far from it, but the fulfillment derived from these hovels was priceless.  Our most challenging endeavor was to be a multi-room, underground cabin with a fire pit, of course vented through the roof.

After several drawings and planning sessions and revisions and re-revisions we literally broke ground and started digging.  The first couple of days were strange – it seemed almost too much like work, but a night of re-dreaming and maybe some rest made the morning more hopeful.  About a week in things were getting quite exciting.  The tunnel back into the hill had held, and even more amazing the main room hadn’t collapsed.  Emboldened by our achievements we quickly hollowed out a fire pit, and readied to make fire.  Now understand, we were pros at building fires nothing frightful was going to happen, and for the most part it went to plan.  A bit smoky yes, but that was expected, and would be easily remedied with the ceiling vent.  While standing up digging into the ceiling with slightly watery eyes something happened, and I am to this day puzzled by the sensation of one instant being inside of the earth and the next being outside in a pile of dirt.  The collapse of our underground fortress revealed that we had not tunneled down far enough, and well, what ceiling we had above us was having nothing to do with a hole for venting smoke.

Photo Credit: Voula Paraskevi/Cabin Porn

Crazy as it may seem that wasn’t the biggest surprise we gleaned from this cabin.  Within minutes it was clear the underground cabin finished. The real unforeseen bit arrived five or six days later when I developed a very unusual rash of sorts on my side, and not so strangely so did my cohorts.  A quick trip to the doctor and problem solved – ringworm!  That’s when we received our greatest surprise.  It turned out the hill we had been digging our most prized get-a-way into was a very large pile of old hog manure.  As I remember my only response – “it looked like dirt to me.”

Photo Credit: David Hugo Cabo/ Cabin Porn

I have simply always been a nut for a cabin.  Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge – a cabin, Yellowstone Lodge – a cabin, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – a cabin, Dick Proenneke’s cabin on Twin Lakes – maybe my favorite, and “The Log” as is called, home to our dear friends and feels like my home away from home – – be they grand or of the most basic structure each has warmth, and character, uniqueness, and history, personality, and a lineage back in time to pioneers or even old word Europe.

Photo Credit: Jennefer Guthrie/McMinnville Cabin Progress

What began as a need to retreat to a space away from the everyday, and just see what could be achieved, has mushroomed into a community both in the woods and nestled nicely into the internet.   Cabinporn.com the website is updated daily by cabin dwellers from every corner of the globe.  The book is a snapshot of the website, rather than a greatest hits of sorts, due to the fact that so many people continue to share their interpretation of “cabin.”  Just over 200 pages worth!

By luck of the draw I was assigned Dec. blog, and season permitting, I’ll use this as a “recommended gift” item plug.  Cabin Porn by Zach Klein and Steven Leckart – find it online, or better still at your favorite local bookstore.   Also, continue to follow us to see more developments on the cabin to come.

 

To you all – a very blessed season of holiday.