Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Summer Progress

We have been so very busy this summer.  With the amount of snow we get in the winter, we spend our summers trying to do all of our outside projects while getting firewood in, working in the garden and trying to prepare the butcher shop for the upcoming hunting season.

This summer our big projects have been expanding our wood shed and remodeling our guest house (formerly Miss Serenity's cabin).  We have so many, many projects that we'd like to tackle, but those two were most pressing.

Our wood shed is roughly 10' x 15'.  We fill it to the brim with wood, however, we have learned that we need a bit more to comfortably make it through a winter and we'd like a lot more, just in case we have a really cold extended winter.  Last winter we made a hoop house using a cattle panels and covered in a tarp to house extra wood, and it worked well, however, we really wanted something more permanent.  In addition to extra wood, we wanted to be able to put our garbage cans under cover and have a place for a few conveniently located tools.  We decided to follow the same roof line and double our storage space by adding another bay to our existing shed.

Once we started, the shed project only took a couple of weekends and a few evenings.  We were able to mostly use what we had, buying just a few 2x4's and two sheets of OSB.  The finished project looks nice, like it had been planned that way all along!  Now we just have to fill it with firewood and call it good!!!  It will be amazing to have the sheds full of wood, the tools under cover and the garbage out of the way.

Our expanded woodshed
Ready to fill before winter
The guest house has been another story all together!  Last fall we moved Miss Serenity's cabin to our house so she could be closer when she was home.  Many changes have taken place over the last year and Serenity no longer needs her cabin.  She decided that her life had taken her in a different direction and that we needed to turn her cabin into a guest home (our house is compact, so hosting guests is a challenge).

The cottage when it first came up our mountain, with it's original paint job!
And so, Serenity Cottage came into being.  I have spent hour, upon hour, upon hour scraping and painting and cleaning, transforming the former scaler's shack into a warm, inviting guest cottage.  Serenity Cottage is not yet finished, however, we are well on our way.  We scraped and painted the exterior in a dark green to blend into the woods and finished the trip in black.  All of the windows were removed and painted black (what a huge job!) and then replaced in a different configuration.  Originally the windows hinged from the bottom with a chain on the top allowing them to open from the top about 4 inches.  That didn't allow for very good airflow.  I ended up putting new hinges on the windows and attaching them on the sides versus the bottom.  Now the windows swing open wide, allowing for a wonderful crossflow!!!  That alone made a huge difference.  After painting the windows I scanned and painted the walls (Manchester Tan) and the baseboards (black).  Next came new flooring.  What a huge difference that has made!  I scrubbed the floors (first, on my hands and knees with hot, soapy water, then with fresh, clean water), then I patched and leveled the bad spots.  After sanding the patches, I swept and mopped the floors again, let them dry, and began to lay new floors over the old.  I had already taken up the old toilet, so I lay the flooring over the entire bathroom floor.  Rather than plumbing the cottage in to the septic, we are keeping it a "dry" cabin.  We'll put a port-a-potty in the bathroom, but we'll run a water to the kitchen sink (at least in the summer).  Once the floor was finished, Sir Knight cut trim to join the wall with the roof (the old ceiling had been taken down by Miss Serenity) and I put insulation in before we screwed the trim to the wall.

The cottage has been taken off its wheels and is ready to be trimmed around the bottom

Cleaning the original 1967 linoleum floors
The newly reinstalled windows, now opening all the way!

The bathroom, minus the toilet....ugh!!!

The view from the bedroom window

And from the kitchen window

The view from the cottage porch

Done with the first row of flooring

Almost there!

And the floor is finished!!!

Looking toward the kitchen and bathroom

The barnboard trim

So much better than the walls just ending with a large gap between the wall and roof

The wood stove waiting to be cleaned up and installed
The cottage has been truly transformed.  Our next task is to expand the kitchen counter (which will cover a mini refrigerator and create a breakfast bar) and install a wood stove.  We're putting in a queen sized bed, a double hide-a-bed and a couple of bar stools (at the new bar).  Soon, we'll be ready for our first guests!

We're still busy, busy, busy getting these projects done, but we are getting closer!  I've noticed the leaves beginning to turn brown with the heat and sun, and know that the cooler days of fall will quickly follow.  Hopefully, by the time the air turns crisp, our wood shed will be full to overflowing and our guest cottage will be ready to welcome its first guests.  And the business of summer will give way to the quiet unfolding of winter.


  1. Awesome. Now that is cozy! Your guests will love it. We lived in a 20 ft. Conex shipping container for our first winter. We affectionally named it 'Our Cabin'. Honestly, it was a wonderful experience. Your guests will share the same experience in Serenity Cottage.
    Montana Guy

  2. Oh I love your little cottage. So cute and cozy. I'm also stocking up for the winter.

  3. That looks cozy and wonderful! We burn wood for our fuel in winter and also have to work all summer to get ready for winter. The amount of wood we use is high so my husband is doing something similar to this to dry and store wood. After the wood reaches a certain point of dryness, he puts a sheet of tin roofing over it to keep out the rain. This works very well to dry and keep firewood. https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Stack-Firewood-With-Pallet-Wrap/

  4. So nice to see you back on the internet. I always liked your posts and missed them a lot. Thanks for the wonderful posts.

  5. The cottage looks wonderful

  6. Like another poster, I'm happy you're back posting. Have you ever thought of using the cabin now and then as an Air BNB to add an extra stream of income. God bless you and your family.