Monday, April 5, 2010

A Little Log Cabin in Arkansas

The title of this posting tends to be the title of a newsletter I publish to our family once a week. It also reflects the life style my wife and I enjoy in our real log cabin in the Arkansas woods. Living on 10 acres and a log cabin requires a great deal of time. I'm not sure everyone would be cut out for this life, but it seems to suit Terry and I. The place is not a show place. It has a couple of expired lawn mowers sitting by the garage. The garage is just that, an ugly building with some cheap siding but it houses a treasure chest of tools and the all important "stuff." Rooms in the house are under repair. I have hopes of remodeling the bathroom and making it into a pleasant room that reflects our taste which tends to old and rustic.

I did not know about log homes when I bought this place back in November 1988. I did not have the time nor the money to keep the place up properly and now mentally kick myself for not doing more. Regardless it is what it is. I invested about $16,000 last fall having rotten logs replaced and the surface blasted back to a base log look. Now with the work of our daughter Tracy's boyfriend we are coating the place with 2 coats of stain and one of a clear coat. We've applied the first coat of stain, yesterday, April 4, 2010. It looks good. The color is called Warm Honey and it does look like that. The logs have a soft yellow appearance but with the underlying log grain and patina it looks wonderful.

We are going to try to apply the second coat of stain this week and the clear coat by week's end. Providing Zeb, the painter, can hold out. I find myself becoming so interested in how the place is going to turn out I can hardly wait. In the meantime we sit in a home where all of the windows are covered with plastic and can't see outside other than to know it is either daylight or dark.

I tried to do the work myself. Saturday afternoon, with the help of Sam, our grandson, I attempted to stain the place. First of all I discovered I did not have the work thought out very well. The paint sprayer I bought does an excellent job and puts out a tremendous volume, but you actually spend more time moving ladders than you do spraying. Towards the end of the day I was fatigued and trying too hard. That is a dangerous combination for me. I seem to lose the ability to exercise care and end up stumbling around like a bull in a china shop.

I fell off a ladder. I was not using the ladder as I should have. I had the ladder, "Little Giant," in an A frame position and was working from the side. I lost my balance and started to fall back. Unable to find anything to catch myself I eventually got past the point of return and the ladder kicked out from under me. Down I went, perhaps four feet. I landed on some stones we have for decoration in a flower bed. Worse, I struck my head against a log end. From the look of the wound it was a sharp corner. I was stunned and lay there for several minutes. Blood ran everywhere. Finally Sam found some paper towels and I was able to get up. The wound bled profusely. Fortunately it was about 4 pm and Terry came home from work for dinner. She was able to clean up the area some and the bleeding lessened. However, it oozed blood most of the night. She dressed the wound when she came home at 9 pm, but I was so sore. My back hurt, my side, my legs all where I had made contact with wood, stone and earth. I was really afraid I would have trouble getting out of bed the next morning.

Well I got out of bed Sunday morning. The Aleeve had done its work, fairly well. I was stiff but not as sore as the night before. As the morning progressed I got a little looser and even began entertaining thoughts of mounting the ladders again. However, my lovely wife intervened. She called our daughter Tracy and asked if Zeb could come over and help. They did, and it was wonderful. Zeb paints cars for a living and is an excellent worker. He painted, I moved ladders for him, replenished the sprayer, picked up trash, taped windows, etc. He did the bulk of the physical work, but I was with him every step of the way. We finished coat one by about 4 pm Sunday afternoon.

In the meantime Terry prepared a wonderful turkey dinner feast with homemade cornbread/bread dressing with pecans. Wonderful gravy, and green beans completed the meal. A homemade strawberry cake with philly cheese frosting for dessert gave the feeling of old time work groups. The men work outside, the women in. Terry worked hard, just as hard as any of the rest of us. So the day came together, people came together and a task was accomplished. From the depths of aches and pains and frankly some despair Saturday afternoon to a fun filled dinner, tired bodies and a job well done.

Terry had an enjoyable visit with granddaughter Kimberly about sewing and the evening ended well. Bed and Aleeve were especially luxurious. It hurts to turn over and I am experiencing some balance issues when I get up from a prone position. It will pass and hopefully things will be back to normal with a big job accomplished. So ends the first coat.

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