I had this great idea last spring: move out on the property, build a log cabin – not to finished status,mind you, but just dried in for the autumn and winter – then take a break for the winter and get back to building up the farmstead next spring. Ah, the plans of the naive.
I’ve talked about the wet summer and dealing with the rain. It quickly became evident as the summer went on that we were, in fact, not going to get the roof on before winter set in. Enter my grand plan. The great idea to beat all great ideas. I was optimistic. My theory was as such: get the first story walls up and the floor down for the second story. Then we buy some non-breathable plastic and put that down on the floor to keep the rain and eventually snow from coming in the cabin. I had thought we could just lay the second story logs right down on top of the plastic, keeping the wind from pulling it up. Oh how wrong I was. Mr. Open Sky was skeptical but didn’t have any better ideas himself and so was willing to try.
We purchased a big roll of black plastic and lay it down. Oh, did I mention it is always windy up here? Yeah. It is. Always. Windy. Laying it down became quite…..interesting. Okay. The wind was lifting this 20-foot by 28-foot SAIL faster than we could push it down. Time to get a stapler. I stapled the crap out of that thing. I know I put in about 200 staples that first go. It started raining as we finished. Knowing the rain would come through all those lovely staple holes, we went back into the tent with the knowledge I’d be up there again tomorrow to fix all those holes. It wasn’t meant to be. The wind picked up to nearly 40 mph gusts effectively tearing off the plastic, regardless of staples. The rain came in torrents. We got back up there and started stapling like mad. The wind was so strong it would lift me completely off the floor. No joke. But we kept at it and finally got hundreds more staples in. We brought up about two dozen log ends to help hold the plastic down as well.
When it stopped raining for a spell I got up there and started in with the duct tape. We all know the wonders of duct tape. It works in freezing temps and in the wet. It sticks to just about anything. It’s glorious. I spent hours covering each and every staple and hole I saw. Methodically. Painfully (on my knees – ugh). I hoped against hope that I got all the holes covered. Wishful thinking, naive, I know. A girl can dream, right?
I will spare you the gory weeks of details but suffice it to say, this plan did not work. The water still pours in. It runs down the walls. I’ve gone up so many times, pushed the water off. Found more holes and used almost an entire roll of duct tape up there. The water still comes in. By now it’s autumn and we found some acquaintances who agreed to rent us their little travel trailer for a couple months in the hope that having the tent out of the cabin would give us more room to work and less stress of trying to keep our belongings dry.
Then one of us, I can’t remember who, came up with another “brilliant” plan. This was to lay a second layer of plastic on top of the first only this time sans staples. Aha! If there are absolutely no holes there can be no way for the water to get in through the floor! Take that rain!! Somehow, doing this actually made it worse. Way worse. For the life of me, I can’t figure it out. How could the water get in without holes in the plastic? Well, both plastic layers stayed up there right up until we were working on the second upstairs stick frame wall. I practically demanded Mr. Open Sky to remove the top layer of plastic because winter was here, the rain had turned to snow and there was ice between the two layers of plastic making it treacherous to work up there. He agreed and off came the second sheet. The first holey layer is still down and we won’t take it off until we actually are done doing work up there, I think. Might as well just leave it at this point.
Honestly, I know it was a long-shot but we were just trying to get moved into the cabin. I know reading this, detached as if it happened to someone else, I can say it sounds silly and of course it wasn’t going to work. But we tried. Lord, did we try. And hoped. Lord, did I hope. As I look back over the last, oh, six or seven months, I wish we could have just put the tent up on the ground instead of on the floor and not worried about tarps and rain. We would have saved money and I know, I know, that we would have the roof on the cabin. Because we spent hours and hours and hours working on wind- and rain-control.
Shoulda. Woulda. Coulda. It doesn’t change the facts that we are where we are in this project and we have to just keep plugging along. A week or so ago we built a temporary wall in the cabin that makes a living space about eight-feet wide by the width of the cabin sixteen-feet and also includes the nook which has the wood stove. We are going to move in there and try to stay warm and dry until spring comes or the cabin is fully livable.
Right here in the middle of winter, wet weather happened. An occurrence which seems to be more and more common here. It warmed up and rained for one day. In a matter of about a week’s time it went from single digits to forty degrees and then back to the 20s. Of course it just had to precipitate on that forty-degree day. Rain. Again. We happened to be out of town that day but when we went back the following, there were icicles growing from the ceiling and a frozen lake covering half the cabin and down the walls. I was going to take pictures to prove I’m not exaggerating but it was so depressing I went back outside and the three of us gathered fire wood for the rest of the day.
I will end by saying, I am a pluviophile. A person who finds happiness and contentment in the rain. It’s my favorite weather right next to snow. I’m not much for the sunshine. But I love the rain. After this year, what with our living circumstances and fighting depression hard-core, I am struggling with the rain. It’s supposed to rain on Christmas here. Lord, have mercy! I want a break from the rain. Give me freezing cold, dry weather, single digits…just no more rain for a while! Please!