Monday, February 23, 2009


Our recent visit to the Yonderosa amplified our enthusiasm for this project. Winter reveals yet another facet of the beauty that abounds here.

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Winter intensifies the quiet and solitude

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The challenges of Winter eased with a little fun.

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The sunrise view from the porch.
The cabin came about in part because of my love/hate relationship with the trailer. The advantages of the cabin - even unfinished - became more apparent during our visit. My current favorite feature of the cabin is the porch. It welcomes and shelters without excuding the scenery. Sitting on the porch, sipping a warm beverage is proof that LIFE IS GOOD! As a practical matter it's place to kick off the snow, it protects the entry and it (greatly) extends the living space -even in winter. We are more motivated than ever to get it done!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Window of opportunity

A break in the weather gave us a chance to to visit the Yonderosa this weekend. I'll share a few teezer photos and fill in the details later.
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Knee Deep Snow

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This Morning's View

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Douglas Squirrel

In his book 'The Mountains of California', John Muir wrote the Douglas Squirrel is "by far the most interesting and influential of the California sciuridae". It is likely true here at the Yonderosa too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Winter 2009 - Picture

A neighbor sent some pictures of our place today.

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We haven't been over for a few months and it was nice to see everything looks fine. Can't wait to get back.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Winter Project - Cabinets

While Winter has halted construction on the cabin itself, we have been contemplating the cabinets and interior trim. We've agreed we want a rustic style but the details are not yet decided.

A visit to a local sawyer turned up some quarter-sawn Douglas Fir that intrigued me. As an experiment I made a few drawers, finding it easy it is to work with and visually interesting.

I'm not sure where this will end up, but it does keep "cabin fever" at bay.

Monday, February 9, 2009

In quiet moments

"Work is only work when you'd rather be doing something else." Or so it is said.

To this point much of time at the property has been task driven - County/State forms and fees, meetings, construction, etc... Despite all of the official business we did manage to infuse the trips with many pleasurable moments. Overall it has been enlightening and enjoyable.

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An evening walk through the "neighborhood" with the family

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Gaillardia aristata - Blanket Flower. A camera and field guide recommended for a walk in the meadow.

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Whitetail and Mule deer frequently feed and travel through the meadow.

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A hansom Rainbow Trout fooled by my fly in the nearby lake.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Here's us

The Kirby Creek Outfit

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My disproportionately hot wife of 25 years, best friend for 29 years and favorite person on earth.

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Me building a dream

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Yarrow - Entertainment and Security Specialist

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Kirbenshire - Finder of water - anywhere

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Easy on the Eyes

A few of the views we enjoy from the Yonderosa

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The view to the north across the meadow

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To the South

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To the North our favorite local peak
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Kirby Creek

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Construction Photos

A slide show of the mini Cabin Construction Photos can be seen here

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Shovel Ready

We had not planned to begin building until the Spring of 2009 but impatience, opportunity and enthusiasm propelled the project forward. We paid for the permit and began excavating for the Post & Pier foundation. Once the concrete piers were set the framing began - pressure treated posts anchored to infloor beams, joists hung in hangers and the floor sheathed - tangible progress.

Following the inspection our plan was to tarp off the floor for the winter and be that much further ahead next Spring. In October a gap in my employment and some use it or lose it vacation time offered us yet another chance to continue the progress. Predictably, our enthusiasm got the better of us.

I quickly made a materials list, estimated the construction time and sourced the materials. We were on the cusp of Winter - it would be better to leave it as it was than come up short of being "dried in."

Committed, but not without trepidation we loaded up all the gear, supplies and materials we could - the truck squated under the weight. We had an uneventful trip though we did encounter snow at the higher elevations.

The next morning we were underway. The simple design sped the progress. My wife, despite her lack of construction experience proved to be an excellent helper allowing me to focus on layout, cutting and assembly.

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The weather cooperated - the night time temperature would drop into the teens and the days were sunny. We made steady progress each day and stayed on schedule. I had hoped to get a little ahead but a few material omissions required a trip to a nearby down to source materials.

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After a week of dedicated labor the cabin was dried in. It took us a total 10 days of labor to get from digging the foundation holes to installing the door knob. Fortune smiled on us - it went as well as we could reasonably expect.

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There is still plenty to do. Windows, soffits, siding, window wraps, trim, decking and rail on the exterior. My goal is to accomplish that by this summer.

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I've built dozens of houses and been involved in hundreds of other construction projects as a designer or a carpenter - the experience of building this simple little structure has been one of the most enjoyable and satisfying of my life. The environment, the challenge, the partnership with my wife, the accomplishment of a dream... all greatly enrich the experience.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Room With A View

We knew one day we would build a cabin on this property. The shortcomings of the travel trailer motivated us to spur this dream into action sooner than we anticipated.

Time was our biggest limitation. Consideration had to be given to travel, the logistics of getting materials, acquiring permits and getting inspections. Being remote the need to utilize commonly available, standard sized materials that could be easily shuttled to the site and handled would be a priority.

The climate also factored into the design. The Yonderosa is situated at 3500' - deep snow and -30 degree temperatures are possible. Summer temperatures can top 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

We didn't want to restrict future building and we wanted a view. With a number of viable sites the choice was not easy. We chose the south edge of the meadow with a good view of our favorite nearby mountain.

-A simple straight gable roof design was chosen for ease of construction, practicality and cost effectiveness. The roof is steep enough to shed snow, and is easily vented which will help during the heat of summer.

-12' x 16' main floor efficiently utilizes materials and is of sufficient size for a variety of uses and configurations. A large view window invites the natural beauty inside.

-8'x 12' Covered Porch will extend the living space and enjoyment of the structure - providing shade and weather coverage.

-The 12' x 12' loft will provide storage space for gear and supplies without cluttering the main living area. A north facing window will add light and cross ventilation.

I drafted and submitted the plans in July and they were approved within the week!

The Next Step

To make our visits more convenient and comfortable we decided to purchase a travel trailer. I was not initially happy with the purchase though I changed my mind once we started using it. Sleeping was more comfortable, cooking more convenient, and the wife happier...

Longer stays are easier with the trailer. One could stay 'home' while the other fetched supplies or went fishing. It is also easier to entertain guests. The small size of the trailer meant the eating quarters doubled as sleeping quarters - the conversion became ritual each morning before breakfast and in the evening prior to lights out.

The penalty for convenience and comfort is that the surroundings are veiled. That sensory deprivation sparked a desire to find a compromise - a remedy that balances comfort without being insulated by our surroundings... Yet another dream germinates in the fertile soils of this land.


Hallelujah, again.

We closed on OUR property in May of 2008.

We had our finances in order so it was an easy transaction. There were some bureaucratic hoops to jump through and the fees that go along with them... The county was helpful and we had our paperwork in order and approved by August.

The "Forest Management Plan" was an enjoyable exercise. It is required for the Forestry tax classification and is congruent with our planned use of the property. I will detail elements of the plan in subsequent blog entries.

Life is good.

The Search

It has long been a dream of ours to own acreage in Eastern Washington. We had opportunities in the past but for one reason or another never acted on it. A few years ago we began a dedicated search for the "Yonderosa." After looking at hundreds of properties we knew within minutes of stepping on this property that we had found it.

We were immediately struck by the beauty of this place. It was within a distance we were willing to drive. The road access is excellent. There are numerous recreation opportunities nearby. It is in an area of good wells and excellent soils. It has TREES! Many excellent trees. It has an excellent view and pleasing topography. It is excellent habitat for a wide variety of critters. It has many possibilities and potential. We can afford it.

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A view from the Forest

We began calling it our property, comparing it to what we had seen. Nothing else came close. After some additional research we made an offer and it was accepted. Everything came together as if it was scripted. We feel very blessed.


Giving it another go

There is a lot of room for improvement in my blogging skills. My goals for this attempt are:

1- remember my password
2-post more pictures that are correctly sized
3-blog better