A Space for Big Red

Big Red in its fancy, new parking space.

May 15 to 17, 2020

The weather forecast promised a stormy weekend. Sweet! I love hearing rain pound the roof of my cozy little cabin. It was one of the reasons I chose a corrugated metal roof!

But first, a beautiful Friday afternoon. Twelve minutes after the workday ended, I was on I-5 heading out of the city. I needed a break from the madness! Also, my neighbor had warned me about parking on the road the previous weekend. He said it was only a matter of time before my truck was vandalized, and I couldn’t bear the thought. As I explained to him, I don’t have a husband–I have trucks. I love my trucks. It was time to put in a driveway.Big Red's new parking space

And I was going to do it myself.

I had only my shiny new chainsaw and my bushwhacking tools, but I figured it was more than the early settlers had. They managed to build roads, and so could I.

By 6:30, I was hard at work widening the path I’d built in February. I hated cutting down trees and tearing out bushes, but it needed to be done. And, I’d chosen this spot specifically because it had fewer trees than other potential sites.

My chainsaw made quick work of the few small trees, and my machete took care of the bushes and ferns. I tried not to think of the carnage as I tossed ferns and branches and saplings in a pile. It took only about an hour to create an ugly gash wide and long enough for Big Red. I switched into 4WD and eased the big truck into the opening, skirting the telephone box perched inconveniently at the side of the road.

Big Red's new parking spaceVine maple stumps and holes left by fern root balls made the soft ground uneven and awkward. It wouldn’t take much to turn the rich topsoil into a mud pit. I will need to bring in a tractor to level it and lay gravel. Fortunately, Big Red’s ample ground clearance made the tree stumps and pits a nonissue for now.

I pulled forward as far as I could, leaving about ten feet between the tailgate and my makeshift vine maple sapling “gate” at the edge of the property. Big Red was far enough off the road to not be highly visible. And, within range of my remote.

I was happy with the work. Although I still needed to dig out a couple of vine maple stumps, the new driveway would work just fine for now. And, there was still an hour of daylight left. I grabbed my gear and tools and headed down the path to the cabin. I had a much shorter distance to carry things now.

For the most part, this was going to be a lazy weekend. The big storm we were expecting put the brakes on any big projects, other than Big Red’s new parking space. But frankly, I didn’t feel like doing a whole lot, anyway. Last weekend had been pretty hard. In fact, I’d worked so hard, I lost ten pounds over the three days. It was time for a break. I’d loaded up my iPad with movies and music, and my phone contained my library, so I had plenty with which to occupy myself. However, I had brought several gallons of paint and shelving supplies in case I felt industrious.

Saturday – A mouse in the house!

Shiny new yellow paintBy Saturday morning, the rain had arrived. However, no wind. Just rain. And, pretty normal rain for the Olympic Rain Forest. Certainly not the forecasted storm we were expecting.

I decided to go ahead and paint. First, both sides of the new plywood wall separating the main cabin from the bathroom area, and then both sides of the wall dividing the mudroom and bathroom. And, because I’d splashed paint on the toilet seat platform, I painted that, too.

The sunny yellow paint added a bit of cheer and helped brighten the small space. Especially on such a gloomy day.

There wasn’t much else I could do while the paint dried, so I went upstairs to watch a video and relax on the daybed. It was still raining, and still no wind. The weather forecast had called for wind up to 20mph. I’m glad that hadn’t happened. There are just too many trees at River Song. I’d only owned it a year and already had to deal with several that had fallen.

It wasn’t too much longer before the gentle rain picked up tempo and turned into a deluge. The noise was deafening, drowning out my movie and chasing me downstairs. Wow!

Shiny new yellow paint and privacy curtainAnd, after five hours, the paint was still damp. I would have to wait until Sunday to apply the second coat. But, that was OK. This weekend was for relaxing. And hot tea. I relaxed in my camp chair, feet up on an end table, with my iPad in my lap, watching the newer English version of “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” I was surprised to find I enjoyed the new version just as much as the original.

Suddenly, I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye. A field mouse! It had run under the front door and into the cabin. I screamed. Mouse turned, terrified, and dashed into my food cupboard. I jumped up, dropping everything on the floor, and dove for it. There was no way I was going to have a mouse in my beautiful little cabin!

Fortunately for the little mouse, it did a 180 and ran back out under the front door, disappearing into the night. Whew! I’m not really sure what I’d planned to do if I caught it. I just knew I did not want it inside. In any event, it creeped me out. I tried relaxing again, but my eyes kept straying to that small gap at the bottom of the door.

Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I shoved some wood scraps in the gap and then covered it with the door mat, using my brush clippers to hold it all in place. I knew it wouldn’t stop mice from coming in, but it did make me feel better.


Vine maple rootThe storm wore itself out some time during the night. Fortunately, the wind never came. Sunday dawned warm and dry, with spots of blue sky showing itself through the morning mist. The river was peaceful and happy again.

I applied a quick second coat of paint to the walls, and then set out to dig up the vine maple stumps in Big Red’s new parking area. Yesterday’s rain had softened the ground nicely, making it more malleable. Although it was still hard, exhausting work, I was able to dig up all five stumps in about three hours. I also trimmed the bushes near the entrance, making sure I could see traffic in both directions. The driveway is now ready for the tractor and gravel.

I had originally planned to stay until Monday morning, but by Sunday afternoon, I was ready to head home. I love being at River Song, but I did have to go back to work in the morning. But, I didn’t head out right away. Instead, I relaxed on the front deck for a few more hours, reading a book on my phone, and then headed home by early evening.

Nicely trimmed drivewayAlthough I spent most of the weekend relaxing, I did get a few key tasks done. The big one, of course, being a parking space for Big Red. In addition, I cut an OSB scrap to fill the remaining gap between the upstairs emergency exit and the mudroom roof; I painted the plywood walls and toilet seat platform, adding some much-needed color; I also hung half a colorful shower curtain as a privacy screen between the bathroom and mudroom, as well as hung the other half over the big front window; and I put up some much-needed shelving, freeing up more floor space. The cabin is not only brighter and more cheerful, but also more organized.

And ready for next weekend!