Saturday, December 26, 2009

Looking Back at 2009

2009 sure didn't seem to like a whole year to me...  It went by way too fast.  2009 was a good year though, progress was made at the Yonderosa, comfort and convenience improved, adventures were enjoyed.  Each visit was eagerly anticipated and our enthusiasm remains high.  When we aren't there, we're thinking about there. 

Our first visit in 2009 was in February.  The snow as knee deep.  The landscape was peaceful and the quiet amazing.  

I was back in early April to put down the porch deck, pickup and deliver windows, siding and soffit materials.

In May the siding got underway. 

A Moose visit was a highlight in June

In July the focus switched to the interior.  We added a window, insulated, back sheeted (to serve as the nailing substrate for the interior wall finish - Rough Sawn Fir - a goal for 2010) and soffited the porch.


The Place is really starting to come together.

A few days after our July visit our excellent neighbors informed us of a fire caused by a lightning strike right next to our cabin!  We are very thankful to have observant neighbors watching out for us.  The fire was contained and extinguished.  Too close for comfort.

In August we insulated and sheathed the floor.

In September we were back with the Murphy Bed and another load of cabinets I built in my shop at home.

Later in the month I made a solo trip over to do the flooring.

A brief visit in October allowed us to haul over more cabinets and a sofa.

We also had a Bobcat stroll by while I was eating my breakfast. 
WARNING - graphic description of nature to follow - NOT the Disney version
I rarely see him but he leaves us lots of evidence he prowls the Yonderosa regularly - several Turkey kills this year and I just found another deer killed just on the other side of the creek - near where three others were killed by cats last year.  I had assumed it was a Cougar as they are abundant in the area and Deer are their primary prey.  Once I saw size of this guy - easily as big as my Labradors - I wasn't so sure.  I spoke with a State Biologist and he said that large Bobcats will indeed take Deer. 

I'm not certain he killed this most recent deer - a Mule Deer doe - I saw her tracks in the snow where she walked to the kill site and LOTS of coyote tracks.  I looked hard but didn't find any definitive cat tracks but my theory is that the deer was killed by a cat, the pack of Coyotes waited until the cat was finished or was driven off of the kill.  There were lots of areas of flattened snow near the kill that weren't used for feeding and my assumption is that the Coyotes waited for the Cat (Couger or Bobcat) to leave or drove it off once enough of them had arrived.  Once the Coyotes took possession they ripped her into pieces (Cats feed with the carcass intact) and consumed her.  It was facinating in a CSI kind of way.  My curiosity piqued, I spent a few hours looking at tracks and the remains trying to discover what had happend.  It was sad and exhilerating at the same time. 

Back to our regulary scheduled programing.

A short trip in November allowed me to get another cabinet over.  Still have three more to build for the kitchen, but it is useable now which made our December trip very comfortable

In December we enjoyed the fruits of our labor - staying warm, eating well and fueling the excitement for further progresss.  2009 was an excellent year for us.  We are optimistic that in 2010 our efforts will yield more rewards and happy memories at the Yonderosa.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winter Landscape


Cold tested

The insulation performed better than expected.  With temperatures well below freezing  we used about three bucks worth of propane for the heater. 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cozy Inside

Whatever cosmic alignment had been preventing us from visiting the Yonderosa finally relented.  We snuck over for a relaxing weekend on bare and dry pavement and escaped before the big scary storm due to arrive hours after we left.

I fired the heater and before long it was nice and toasty inside.  What better way to spend a relaxing weekend than inside a cozy cabin with someone you love?  The quiet, the beauty...  amazing. 

More details of our winter adventure later.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Link: Self Reliance Testimonial video

In his book A Sand County Almanac Aldo Leopold wrote, "There are two spiritural dangers in not owning a farm.  One is the danger of supposing that breakfask comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace."

In that same vein, I found this video to be very interesting.

A bit long but those interested in being self reliant might find it useful, perhaps even inspiring.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Peek

Technology allows me to peek in the direction of the Yonderosa.  I'm not certain if it satisfies my curiosity or just wets my appetite.  Either way I can't help myself.

The view from the Sitzmark web cam this morning.  The next best thing to being there...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I have a LOT to be thankful for and I feel very blessed.  I was born in a land that dreams can and do come true.  The Yonderosa is some of the best evidence of that.  My lovely wife and I have dreamed of this place for decades.  We knew if we saved, educated ourselves and looked hard we would eventually find it.  All of that work makes it even more special to us now that we've found it.  There are many more chapters yet to be written and we go enthusiastically forward with much optimism. We hope that by sharing our experience it will inspire and energize you to follow your dreams.

"I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he had imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." --Henry David Thoreau - Walden, or Life in the Woods

May you find, just as the Pilgrims did, your place in the world to live free, pursue happiness and gratefully acknowledge the many wonders that lead you there.

Happy Thanksgiving

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weather Delay

The DOT cam at Stevens Pass this morning.  The Weather channel say snow for the next couple of days...
Looks like we'll be postponing our next trip to the Yonderosa.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Along the way

The long road trip to the Yonderosa is eased by the scenery.  This route isn't open year round, but when it is...

We figure we add an hour to each trip enjoying the scenery.  It would be a waste to rush.  Even so, there is never enough time to enjoy it all. 

The snow has dropped to road level between the two highest passes.  Too many avalanches occur to keep the road open year round.  There may not be many more crossings left before they shut it down this year. 

This mountain range is aptly named the Cascades.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cabinet Progress

With Winter knocking on the door I snuck over with another load.

The countertop will have to wait until next spring.  One more base cabinet left to build (to the right of the range) and two more wall cabinets.  With any luck I'll get another chance before the snow settles in for Winter.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November Moon

Woke up to this view yesterday

The moon setting over the Cascades

The Sunrise - Red sky in the morning.
It did get overcast but ended up being a nice day.

Telephoto of the morning Moonset.

The Larch is a little past peak color but still quite beautiful.  The photo does little justice to the actual beauty.  I enjoyed watching it sink behind the mountains.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

October - part three

A few more from our last visit

Our favorite destination.

The Larch approaching peak fall color.

Outside in

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October - part two

The weather was beautiful but cold - about 20 degrees below the normal average for this time of year.  The cabin stayed nice and cozy warm with occasional use of the heater - about an hour every 4-6 hours is all it took, more made it too warm.  It was a good trial run for our winter visits.

Another shot of the window trim.  I'm pleased with the look (thanks to my lovely wife).  I'm very excited to get the wall finish (probably rough sawn Douglas Fir) on.  The plywood is simply backing for the finish wood and will be covered up (a frequently asked question).

My DHW insisted she needed a comfortable place to sit during the day and she bought a couch.  I resisted (of course)  but will admit that it is a pretty nice to relax on...

There will be shelving built above the built in dresser as well as another cabinet between it and the Murphy bed.  To the left of the bed will be another base cabinet and wall cabinet. 

Monday, October 12, 2009

October visit and progress

Just back from the Yonderosa.  BEAUTIFUL fall weather, got some stuff done, saw some critters...

I was eating breakfast looking out at the meadow when this dude strolled by... I took this picture from inside the cabin window.  Tried to get one from the porch but he skedaddled before I could get out there.  I've only seen a few Bobcats prior to this visit - this one was bigger than the others, easily as big as our Labradors.

The view window trimmed out  - this is the window I took the picture of the Bobcat through.

The wall cabinet I brought over installed.

More later!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Headed Yonderosa.

The weather is perfect.  I've got another load of cabinets ready to go - soon I'll be headed Yonderosa!

A Fall Tradition

"A better life, I don't know,
every night a picture show,
Mountains painted by the setting sun,
I'm one lucky son of a gun."

 -Wylie and the Wild West, 'When I'm riding I'm right.'

 Yonderosa Free Range Cattle
There is a long tradition of open range grazing in this area.  The Yonderosa Meadow is frequently visited by the free range cattle.  They do a pretty good job with the mowing and fertilizing ...  The dogs are entertained by them too.  Their scratching on the cabin is annoying...  I get my revenge by ordering a steak.  

The cowboys have their work cut out for them as local herd is widely scattered after a summer of grazing on thousands of fence-less acres.  We enjoy watching them work.  The horses are especially impressive and seem to know instinctively how to gather the beeves, no matter how willful and stubborn.

Friday, October 2, 2009

More Cabinets ready to go

If I can get one or two more done in time the next trip might require two vehicles.

The cabinet stock is the quarter sawn Douglas Fir. Everything you see is solid stock including the door and side panels. I like the way it turned out.

The goal was to create a "simple" rustic cabinet. I used slightly wider stiles and rails to give it a more muscular look and did my best to incorporate the natural "defects" (knots, bark beetle pitch pockets, wind checks, grain variations and mismatches... etc.) to give it the "unrefined" look though it requires a lot more work to achieve it.
Can't really improve on God's work. I did my best not to hide it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quick Trip - floor down & window trim

My Disproportionately Hot Wife (DHW) sourced some Red Oak inexpensively and tasked me with installing it. Got er' dun!

I also installed the window trim. After a number of mock-ups (four) and stain tests (eight) we have a winner! My DHW gets the credit for style and color. I just build it. I think she has splendid taste.

We are very excited to get the wall finish on - it will be rough sawn fir but I'm still about 100 board feet short. It would be great to get it in this fall - the weather will be the deciding factor though. We've just had the first snow of the season down to 5,000 feet.

Took this picture today on the way home.