Fish, Frogs, & Growing Up

A beautiful frog swimming in the river below my cabin.

August 7 to 9, 2020

I spent the week cutting and painting trim and siding so that when the weekend came, all I’d have to do is hang it, and then I’d be done. Quick and easy, right?

By the time 5:00 Friday rolled around, I felt pretty beat up. Work had been pretty rough, and I was really feeling isolated again. Not by work, but by life. This COVID-19 thing is seemingly endless and tedious. I live alone, I work alone, and social events are all canceled or moved online. Heading out to my cabin meant even more isolation, and sometimes, it would be really nice to share my adventures. But, that’s not where I am in my life.

Strips of black trim and T1-11 siding
Strips of black trim and T1-11 siding

As soon as I got to my cabin, I unloaded Big Red, and headed upstairs to watch movies in bed. I didn’t feel like doing anything. In fact, I didn’t even feel like being here.

Saturday, August 8

In spite of the best night’s sleep I had in weeks, I still didn’t feel like being here. I didn’t even feel like eating breakfast. Which is good because I discovered I was pretty much out of food. Instead, I wandered around on my trails for a bit, and then headed back to the cabin. I would do something. It didn’t have to be much, but I would do something. And then if I still didn’t want to be here, I would head home.

I hadn’t figured out yet how I would hang the trim. I had two scraps of T1-11 siding, which I cut into 6″ strips and painted Sorel Leaf green. These would go around the bottom of the cabin to act as a rain splash guard and additional protection for the OSB. I also had nineteen 1″x3″ furring strips that I’d painted black. I would use these as trim along the edges of the cabin, as well as along any seams where sheets of OSB met. And, I would use them to frame the T1-11 strips.

I decided to take the time to frame the strip of T1-11 siding to give it a more dramatic effect.
I decided to take the time to frame the strip of T1-11 siding to give it a more dramatic effect.

But, I hadn’t decided how I would do that yet. I could take the easy way out and just run the T1-11 around the bottom of the cabin with a single strip of black trim across the top. Or, I could frame the T1-11 with the black trim, which would be more dramatic and also a lot more work.

In the end, I decided to frame the T1-11, and I started on the back wall. Because of the height, it would be the one wall I could actually finish. I would do one wall, and that would be enough. Just the one wall.

I added the vertical trim strips first, and then a strip along the bottom of the cabin. The vertical strips didn’t need trimming, but the horizontal one did. With those three in place, I then hung the T1-11. It looked fabulous! I was really happy. I added another strip of trim along the top of the T1-11, and then one along the top of the wall. And lastly, I hung a strip of trim along the seam where the two sheets of OSB met.

The cabin is beginning to look all grown up
The cabin is beginning to look all grown up.

I stood back and admired my work. It looked awesome! The cabin was starting to look more grown up, as if it were built by a professional, instead of an unskilled weekend warrior. I felt empowered. I built this beautiful cabin. By myself.

It was exactly what I needed, and I felt better, both physically and emotionally. I took a quick break for breakfast–a handful of crackers–and started on the north wall.

By the end of the day, I’d finished the back wall, the lower north wall, and started on the south wall before I ran out of black trim strips. I calculated I needed about 35 more to finish the cabin, including the upper floor. But for that, I’d need to hire some help. Or rent some scaffolding.

And in between hanging trim and T1-11, I applied two coats of Kilz primer and three coats of paint to the upstairs back wall and emergency exit.

It was a good day, and I went to bed happy.

Sunday, August 9

I had no real plans for today. I finished everything I wanted to do yesterday, so today would be just for relaxing. And that started with picking a giant bowl of blackberries. They were wonderful!

It's beginning to look as if it were built by professionals!
It’s beginning to look as if it were built by professionals!

After packing up and cleaning up, I filled a slingbag with my toiletries and a clean towel and headed down to the river. It was still early afternoon, and sunlight filled the river gorge. It was peaceful and happy and I spent some time wandering around and bathing in the river. Tiny fish, hardly bigger than three inches, circled my legs, checking me out. The biggest crawdad I’ve ever seen in my life scampered away before I could get out my phone to take a photo. A little frog crossed my path, pausing just long enough for me to snap a few.

I had planned to head home early today, but I decided instead to head into town and take care of my shopping. I had to do it, so I might as well do it here, rather than in the city.

And I’m glad I did. I bought lots of food, enough for several weekends. After putting it away, I locked up and headed back to the city. It had been a good weekend. I was glad I came out here, after all. And my cabin is looking more and more amazing.