My First Night

The path leading to and from the cabin.

May 2 & 3, 2020

My first night in my new cabin! I said last week I was finished with Phase I, which to me is the cabin’s shell. The foundation, frame, walls, and roof are all in. (Almost! The mud room/loo still has a “redneck roof,” but I’m in no hurry to install a permanent roof at this point.) Phase II will be insulation and paneling or sheetrock. Phase III will be T1-11 siding. These two phases will be the most expensive part of the cabin build, with the exception of my trip to the ER, which cost nearly $4,000.

My little cabin in the woodsFour thousand bucks for four stitches?!?!?!

But, I digress…

I decided this weekend, I just wanted to enjoy River Song. No big projects, no serious work, and lots of camera time and rest. Big Red was already loaded up and ready to head out Saturday morning.

It was raining. I knew it would be. The weather forecast pretty much called for rain all weekend, with the sky beginning to clear later Sunday afternoon.

I was OK with that. It just meant I wouldn’t be tempted to start a major project and get drawn into working my butt off all weekend again. I really did want to rest.

Pine shavings for hamster cages and loosThe second tarp I laid out last weekend did the job of keeping rain from splashing back through the gap between the second floor and the temporary mud room roof. No wet spots at all this time! Everything was nice and dry.

I brought a bag of pine shavings, the kind used in hamster cages, to use in my composting toilet. I had planned to use ferns and leaves I could find around the property, but I watched a YouTube video of a couple who had been using pine shavings and five-gallon buckets for six years. It worked great for them and is super easy and cheap. So, I decided to go that route, too. I added about four inches to the five-gallon bucket, and then slid the rest of the bag in the corner. It is enough to last me probably several months.

Small table and a handwashing stationI’d built a small table and a handwashing station yesterday on my lunch break. Both were pretty basic designs and used lots of scraps and a couple of 2x2s and 1x2s. And, I converted a long, horizontal walnut shelf into a tall, vertical, four-shelf pantry. I hauled these in from the road and set them up in the cabin. Finally! Places to put stuff, store stuff, and wash my hands.

I’d also purchased a plastic tote for storing blankets and extra clothing upstairs. My little cabin was really feeling like home! I hung up some lanterns so I’d be ready for nightfall and spent some time relaxing upstairs and practicing with my new Canon camera. Rain was really pounding on the roof.

My new pantryIt tapered off after a bit, and I took the opportunity for some outdoor photos and to record a video tour of this side of the river. It wasn’t long before the rain came again.

But that was OK. I came here to relax this weekend. After covering the two front upstairs window openings with plexiglass and adding some weatherstripping to the doors, I spent more time with my camera.

And, for the first time, cooked myself a hot meal.

I have to admit, though, I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I don’t really know how to relax. It was still raining in the evening, so I went to bed before sunset and just laid there and read for a bit before turning out the lights. I guess I need to figure out what I can do during idle times. Maybe bring some kind of evening task. I’m not sure what.

Also, I was pretty cold. Although the temps were in the high 40s when I went to bed, my zero degree Hyke & Byke synthetic sleeping bag did not keep me warm at all. No matter how much I fluffed it up and tried to shift the insulation around, it still had lots of areas without any insulation at all. Pretty pink flowerUnfortunately, it was the only sleeping bag I brought, even though I have at least six. I did have a couple of throws, so I laid those over the top of me, and it was enough that I was able to sleep. However, I was still cold and spend much of the night just listening to the rain and trying not to freeze.

And, to make things more uncomfortable, I had discovered earlier that I’d forgotten to bring the food bag containing my hot chocolate, tea, and oatmeal. I didn’t even have anything with which to make a hot beverage! Or breakfast in the morning!

By morning, I’d decided it was OK to leave early. I had a successful first night in my cabin. Other than my sleeping bag, everything went well. I had set a small dollar store battery powered tea candle on the wall frame next to the ladder, and it gave me more than enough light to find the ladder when I had to use the loo during the night. Apple blossoms at River SongAnd, I’d placed a battery powered wall switch light in between the ladder and the back door. It was within easy reach from the ladder and provided plenty of light for using the loo. The loo worked great! I used it all weekend, and no odor. I’m happy I don’t have to squat under a tree anymore! And, the cabin was secure, safe, and dry.

I think moving forward, I’d like to get one of those Mr. Buddy indoor propane heaters for cold nights and for times when I’m out there and get wet. My cabin is in the Olympic rain forest, after all. We get 144″ of rain on average a year. I usually get wet. Since I built my cabin under a giant cedar, I can’t put in a wood stove, so a propane heater will have to do.

Bleeding heart in the early morning sunMoreover, I think I would like to build a frame around my sleeping platform. When I first put it in, I liked it the way it is now, sitting on the floor. But, if I lift it a little bit, I can build storage underneath. And, it would have something with which to hold pillows so I can sit back and relax more easily.

In addition, although my handwashing station worked great, it is too big for my little cabin. I need to make a smaller one that can, perhaps, fit in the loo so it’s not right out in the middle of the main cabin area. But, for now, it works just fine.

I was up bright and early. The sun came out as I packed up Big Red, and I spent a couple of hours taking photos of all the beautiful flowers at River Song. It was a nice way to end my first weekend in my new cabin.