|I. Have. Made. Fire.
This was kind of how I felt yesterday when I got to use my wood stove* for the first time in my cabin. I've been gathering parts and scheming how things are going to work for what seems like a very long time. But it turns out that the installation process for a salvaged-from-the-woods stove isn't as easy as 1) carry heavy stove into place 2) light fire. But with persistence, I've got an almost standardly installed not-even-close-to-standard wood stove, and, it turns out, it runs great!
I won't know how well it heats the space, how efficiently it burns the wood, or how easy it is to maintain until the cold weather sets in and I have lots of occasion to use it. But this initial burn was very promising. Smoke flowed where it should, heat was emitted as I expected, and starting and stoking it were straight forward.
While the stove was cooking away, I spent a little time on a few other projects including plumbing in the drain for the sink, building a frame for the last uncovered window, and finishing up the siding on the outside. Yep, my little stone hobbit hole is coming along. I can't wait for the coming winter to enjoy the cabin as it should be enjoyed--reading a book by the wood stove with a cup of hot cocoa watching the snow fall outside the windows.
|Wednesday October 8 2014||File under: quarry, cabin|
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|I've recently been spending some time up at the Lookout Arts Quarry. Besides summer being a perfect time for hanging out with the artsy folks there just for the season, for some of the best swimming around, and for spending time at/working on my cabin*, it is also a great time for working on all sorts of projects out there. I wanted to share a couple of my latest.
The first is a welcome sign to go along with my license plate-roofed info kiosk (covered here). I got the idea from a housesitting house. I'm super pleased with how it turned out. And with the remnants of the project, I can make oodles more signs! If I just had more things to say....
The second project was one that I worked on over the spring but finally came to fruition recently. Up near my cabin, there's a gorgeous viewpoint lookout out over the whole quarry. But like most viewpoints, it was paired with a dangerous cliff. To keep it at least a little safe, we had DANGER tape strung up haphazardly which totally ruined the pristiness of the place. Well, I built what I call a highway viewpoint style guardrail to keep people safe but not ruin the beauty of the place, maybe even enhance it! I'm excited for a few trees to get removed and have it really be a place people can enjoy!
There are so many projects deserving of attention up there. It's nice to have the great weather to get up there and get some of them done. If you're ever in the area, make sure you allot some time to swing on by. I love giving tours! And maybe we'll even get you to chip in on a project or two.
|Friday July 25 2014||File under: quarry|
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|Almost 3 years ago, over a dozen dudes well versed in concrete work* got together to pour the floor for the warehouse out at the quarry. It was quite an event (covered here) with much fanfare. Well, last week, a considerably fewer number of fellas with considerably less concrete pouring knowledge poured the floor for the quarry warehouse expansion. The experience was both nostalgia and back-breaking*.
The expansion of the warehouse has been long in the works and when completed, it will include more dwelling units, a proper kitchen, showers, and FLUSH TOILETS! After much preparation of plumbing, insulation, radiant heating tubes, forms, and more, 20 yards of concrete arrived. The 5 or so of us did the best we could, and it turned out pretty nice. There was a blowout or two of forms and everything set up quicker than we wished leading to not the smoothest finish, but throw a rug on it and we're good to go.
In reading back over the last post, I laughed at the ever so naive last line: "Hopefully I'll have a post about putting up the warehouse in just a couple weeks!" Three months later was a post about putting up some of the first beams and 8 months later was a post about insulating the place. This time around, I understand that anything that resembles a building is still a long way off. But that doesn't mean it will be any less cool when it is complete! Yeehaw for progress!
|Thursday October 17 2013||File under: quarry|
Sh'bang, the annual festival of awesomeness out at the Lookout Arts Quarry, again went off without a hitch. Well, more specifically, there were lots and lots of hitches, just like usual that included but were not limited to running out of toilet paper, oodles of mud*, high ticket prices, blown sound system, and a super frazzled organization staff. But, despite all that, it was a pretty dang neat festival.
The highlights of the weekend seem to fall into a few categories: stage fun, racing fun, and swimming fun.
The passing of Sh'Bang ushers in the close of Quarry Season, as it were. I'll still try to pop up there a time or two to work on my cabin (or have a rustic getaway weekend from gritty city life.) But I doubt there's many more runs in the zip line for me this year. It's all good though. It's that much more to look forward to next season that, again, will all build up to Sh.......BANG!
|Tuesday September 17 2013||File under: quarry|
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|My cabin has now officially been used...like a cabin...for sleeping in*! Della and I spent our first night up there this past weekend, and despite there still being no door, a few critter-sized gaps in the walls, and nothing but temporary furniture, it was awesome.
As the cabin turns more from a place to work to a place for just being, I'm starting to get an idea of how it might be as a living space. I've had people over to chat, I'm starting to figure out the logistics of where stuff can get stored, and I'm starting to feel comfortable in knowing that this is my space, a concept that hasn't been in my world much lately.
My hope is that in the next couple weeks, I'll get the door in, fix those critter-sized holes, and maybe even get the wood stove in or roofing on. Then it will really start to feel like a real thing, rather than a pile of rocks and plywood out in the woods. And when it is starting to really be a real thing, I'm sure I'll do a big post, have a nice cabin-warming party, and more. Until then, it's one night at a time, wake up, and onto the next improvement.
|Wednesday August 28 2013||File under: quarry|
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Between my time working on the cabin out at the quarry*, I spend a bit of time working on various other projects, some for fun and some for function. Above are a few of the latest endeavors.
The first picture is of the info booth I built to house a donation box*, notices about upcoming events, a "private property" sign*, and more. With summer in full swing, we get lots of visitors, many of whom barely know anything about the quarry except that it is the best swimming hole around*. The second picture is a close-up of the roof, my first experiment in license plate shingling. I'm super excited about how it turned out!*
Project #2 is, well, aptly named. With the number of residents climbing for the summer, we were filling up the port-a-potties faster than was preferable. The solution? A good old fashion pit toilet. The pit part was easy. The throne took some doing. But it was fun. And how often can I say "look at my shitter!"?
With the cabin getting so close to being inhabitable, I've turned my thoughts toward furnishing it. The above stool was my first attempt at rough cut furniture. I think it turned out pretty dang good. Now all I need is a counter to sit at with it.
All the projects above are at least partially made from raw wood, i.e. never milled, from the stump to the workshop. It's been great fun splitting large logs when a beam is called for, etc. It's a bit of a pity that I'm not so details oriented so the stuff actually comes out nice. But I'm function oriented so the stuff always comes out functional...and that counts for something.
|Saturday July 6 2013||File under: quarry|
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|With my world adventures* out of the way for the year, it's time to settle into life in the northwest for a while. With the weather [mostly] warmed up, it's a beautiful time to be here and a beautiful time to get some outdoor work done. And while the tarped plywood roof on my cabin keeps the rain out, I still very much consider any word there to be outdoor work.
First on the agenda of projects is getting the floor finished up. In the deep of winter, I poured a concrete slab in preparation for a fancy stone floor. This week, I started on said fanciness with some gorgeous blue stone flag stone (not from the quarry, although the occasional split Alger green stone is peppered in). It is quick work and looks great. Hopefully I'll have it all finished up this week and can move on to the next project.
My goals (at the beginning is as good a time as any to state them) are to finish the floor, shingle the roof, sheet the walls, and hang the windows all before Chautauqua this year. I think it's doable and with it all done, it will practically be livable. Maybe not quite ready for a cabin-warming party, but livable nonetheless.
|Tuesday May 28 2013||File under: quarry|
|One of the questions I know I will want to know the answer to when this cabin building project is all done is how much did it cost? So far, I haven't done a good job of tracking this. But as the build-with-stuff-I-find-lying-around-the-quarry phase is coming to an end and the oh-jeez-another-expensive-trip-to-the-hardware-store phase is starting, I wanted to attempt to start tracking costs.
As I remember it, so far:
Speaking of the time coming, I am making some good progress. As you can see from the picture, I've got the last wall built (to hold up the bed platform). This weekend, I just poured the concrete floor, which will be the basis for a flagstone floor. But more importantly, it means I can install the wood stove so I can keep working even when the weather ain't great. Here's to progress!!
|Wednesday January 2 2013||File under: quarry|
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|Another building season at the quarry has come to an end, at least for me*. And it is really amazing to see how far I've come on the cabin this year from its meager beginnings last year. All the stonework is complete and I've got the frame of walls and a roof in place. Next year (or whenever I can find time and proper weather to dive back in) it's going to be all gravy, putting in windows, doors, walls, a floor, and all the touches that make a place a home.
Until then, I wanted to share where it is now. Below are some schematics I put together (long after they probably should have been done.) It looks so professional on graph paper! And below that are some pictures!*
Uncheck checkboxes to peel back the layers. It's fun!
Note: While the drawings are attempted to be to scale, they are probably off by an inch or two here and there.
|Friday October 5 2012||File under: quarry|
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Last summer, just before Sh'Bang at the quarry, a few of us armed with nothing more than blackberry loppers, a shovel, a few scraps of carpet, a 50 ft. piece of visqueen, and an indomitable spirit set out to make a water slide. While the result gave us all a rush*, it was hardly safe for the public (or fit to last through a winter for that matter), so it was filed away under the Once Upon a Quarry list. Since then, we've been on a the lookout for something a little more sturdy to replace it. As so often happens, when you put the message out into the universe, the universe responds.
As with so many stories, it starts with a motivated young boy. Miles* learned that a junk store in Mt. Vernon came into possession of a real water slide via some auction or another. It wasn't 24 hours later that Stefan and I were on the scene to scope it out. A little wheeling and dealing and, boom!, done deal.
Now to the tricky part. Needless to say, none of us had experience installing a commercial water slide. And although it was supposed to be a bolt-together-and-go type operation, it proved slightly more difficult. But after a dozen or more volunteer man hours*, we had a slide that we guessed wouldn't slide off the hill into the water and, maybe more importantly, wouldn't tear your suit off as you careened over one of the seams*.
Only thing left to do: test it. SUCCESS! And, knock on wood, the success continues. I personally witnessed many gleeful sliders at Sh'bang without injury*.
Here's to many years of safe, fun sliding!!
|Monday September 17 2012||File under: quarry|
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