In the meantime….

Yes, we’re terrible about updating this blog.

No, we don’t want to waste your time.

Until the return, may we recommend some good old paper books:



curtains for the bathroom closet … not as scary as it sounds!

A few months ago, I bought a Martha Stewart magazine at the Orlando airport to read on the way home form a business trip. Now many of us feel bewildered by Martha’s projects — make a tiki torch out of clothespins! Bake a 27-layer cake in just two hours! — but as I was thumbing through the pages I found something I was interested in trying for the cabin: curtains made out of drop cloth. Martha convinced me that canvas dropcloth is cheaper than craft store fabric, heavy weight, and built to stand up to anything. Perfect for the cabin!

As part of the bathroom renovation, we added a closet next to the shower stall. It’s pretty much our only storage area, so in addition to the usual bathroom stuff (towels and cleaning products) the closet also houses a ginormous toolbox, painting supplies, lanterns, cans of propane, and … well, you get the picture. We’ve been thrilled to have the storage but not thrilled about the constant mess in the bathroom, which is finally completed!

Here are a few pics of the transformation.





Just how much is four tons of gravel?

We’ve done a ton to the cabin this spring, and we owe you a few back posts to tell you about the new deck and the foundation repair project. This morning, we had four tons of gravel delivered to make our parking space easier to navigate. (The muddy hill arrangement was getting just a bit tiresome.)

After a phone consultation with Leroy, we got A2 stones from The Mill in Whiteford, MD for just under $20/ton plus a small delivery fee. I wasn’t sure how much volume four tons of rock would be, and it firms out it wasn’t quite as much as I thought. The delivery filled our 20 x 8′ parking space pretty nicely with a few bucketfuls left for muddy ruts in the road. Definitely not enough for the fire pit that we thought we might also get out of this delivery.

Here’s the stone selection at The Mill:


After all the work of raking and shoveling was done, Stanley celebrated with an iced Irish coffee.


Outsmarting the faucet police

Spring is here, and we are thrilled to have the water back on at the cabin. To unwinterize, we had to flush the antifreeze out of all the lines, flip on the pump, and watch on amazement as the cabin sprung back to life. Water in the shower? Check! Bathroom sink and toilet? Check! Kitchen sink? ….. Kitchen sink? …. Well, shoot.

So the next two hours went something like this: jiggle the pipes, bang with wrench, turn the faucet on and off, unhook the pump, more banging, more jiggling, and the eventual realization that we should disassemble the faucet. And when we did, we found this: a sneaky plastic aerator with the very tiniest of holes that were clogged by the silt from our spring-fed water system. After that little plastic dictator was popped out, the water flowed clear and stronger than we’ve ever had from the kitchen sink. Success!

Now I know this is a cabin blog and not a forum for corporate discontent, but I’d like to take a moment to say to the faucet manufacturers of the world: aerators suck. I’m an adult and I can regulate my own water usage. In this case, our water comes out of the side of a mountain and keeps flowing at 100 gallons per hour no matter whether we turn on the tap or take a dozen showers. We are lovers of nature and truly want to be good stewards of the earth (we have a cabin in the woods for crying out loud!), but, please, for the love of god, let me wash my dishes.

Let there be light!

Spring has sprung… and, well, not quite at the temperatures I’d like but we’ve got cabin fever after the long winter. Over Valentine’s weekend, we finally were able to schedule the electrician for a return visit. we are now the proud owners of (drumroll please) outdoor lights! Overhead lights ON A SWITCH! A ceiling fan!

Having the guy walk through the door and say, “hey, it looks different in here!” was pretty sweet too.

Lots of new things in store this spring…


the insurance maze

One of the things that’s been very frustrating has been the process of trying to get the cabin insured against loss. I had no idea that his would be such a major ordeal… I mean, it’s not like we’re located in the Alaska wilderness! Nonetheless, I’m now on my fifth insurance agency, and hoping that Farmers’ will be the one that finally offers us coverage.

As I’ve learned, our cabin is too small, too remote, too far from a fire hydrant, in the wrong state, and on the wrong kind of foundation. I’m glad we didn’t try to get a mortgage on the place because we would have never met the insurance requirement (not to mention the inspection, but that’s a separate issue). If you’re reading out there, I’d love to know whether you have insurance on your remote cabin and, if so, from whom?

Where does water come from?

In recent weeks, many people would say that water comes from Hurricane Sandy: in waves over beaches and homes along the northeast cost, or in sideways through cracks in windows, roofs, and walls. Although we hunkered down for the storm in our Maryland home, we worried about the cabin the whole time. Could it withstand 90 MPH winds? Would the trees give out and topple on our roof (which is precarious at best)?

Five days after the storm, we arrived to find the cabin in fine working shape other than a loss of water. Which was curious, since our water system is spring-fed, meaning it comes directly out of the ground. Macguyver/George (the previous owner) built a cistern across the road that captures spring water from the hillside and funnels it into a second cistern under the house. An inspection revealed that our problem was some cracking of the roadside collection site, which looks like this:


But how do you fix a crack that’s under running water? Jen had the brilliant idea to try pool cement, which you mix up into a putty consistency and hold in place one messy handful at a time. Several ruined pairs of work gloves later, the water was once again running into our water lines. I still can’t figure out how 10 inches of rain caused a cement cistern to crack, but mother nature is a tricky gal. We got the water on again just in time to close the place up for the winter. Karma, man.