September 16th, 2014 | Author: steph
You might say that Gary and I look at the Cabin a bit differently. Don’t get me wrong, if we were on a Been-Married-Forever Show and were asked where we would go for a dream vacation, we would both say The Cabin. We both love fires in the morning and watching the sunset over dinner, but there are some things we just “see” differently.
Take our outdoor shower –
When I look at that shower, I think – It’s a miracle! We have a hot shower AT THE CABIN. After years (and years) of sponge baths, pond baths (did they help at all?), cabin hair, and just plain smelling bad, we can take a hot shower AT THE CABIN.
But when Gary looks at that shower he sees a project.
And the wheels in his head begin to turn. And the walls begin to come down.
Out with the old
and in with the new –
With days to spare, the new shower was done.
And because he’s never been a fellow to do things half-way –
You can also shower after dark.
And then there are the cellar walls.
I see those walls and think of the families that raised their children in the house they held up. I wonder if they used it the for a root cellar, and why there are openings in the wall. Windows? Wouldn’t the critters get in?
Gary looks at that same wall and sees a wall getting ready to cave in.
OK, so maybe not “ready” as in tomorrow, but “ready” as in we better get it fixed before it does.
So on our second to last day at the cabin, we had a visit from this big fellow –
With incredible precision, that excavator dug out the ground behind the cellar wall and then reached over and pulled the wall back. I was not there for the “pulling the wall back” part of the exercise, but it was amazing to watch him finish up the job.
Watch your fingers, honey!
Before we knew it, everything was back together and ready for another 100 years of existence.
Gary figured that since the big equipment was already up here, maybe they could take care of a couple of rocks that had been bothering him. And killing lawnmowers. Gary’s dug up and dragged out probably twenty or so “problem” rocks, but there were a couple spots that he knew were more than what he could handle.
and then there were these babies –
They only stick up a little bit (small enough to hide in the tall spring grass, but mighty enough to bend a mower blade or two), but once Gary started digging them up, he realized they were a bit out of his class –
Come again friend – I’m sure we can find work for you!
We may see things differently sometimes, but this we know –
We Love the Cabin.
OK – if you’d like to see more Shower Rebuild photos (you know who you are) – check ‘em out HERE!
And if you want to see more of that big excavator at work – you only have to click HERE!
Thanks for stopping by!
September 12th, 2014 | Author: steph
To do a post about “trees” while we’re at the cabin might seem a bit unnecessary. Let’s face it – there are thousands upon thousands of trees on this property. Except for the two acres surrounding the cabin which is mostly lawn, the rest of our property is covered with – you guessed it – trees. Big trees and little trees, tall trees and scrub trees. Standing trees and fallen trees. But there are some trees that are quintessential cabin. There is the tall and stately maple tree that guards the way to the pond.
And then there are the pine trees that anchor the left side of the cabin. These must have been planted by my grandmother back shortly after the cabin was constructed. Tall and stately, there once were four,
and now just two.
I can’t quite imagine The Cabin without those pines.
It’s also hard to imagine the cabin without the pear trees in the cellar hole to the right of the cabin.
Also planted by my grandmother, I suppose, they produce a fair crop of hard as rock pears most years and occasionally my dear SIL makes up a batch of Cabin Pear Jelly. But more importantly, they are the perfect distance apart for a hammock.
I wonder if she planned that?
But the tree that captures my heart the most is this giant maple in our ‘backyard’ that finds its way into almost every cabin picture.
Long before there were any trees right around the cabin, there was this tree.
Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter – this tree makes its presence known.
This summer I couldn’t seem to get enough of this tree, with its massive branches stretching to the sky.
Even as it displayed those first hints of fall, it just seemed to add to its majesty.
It’s beginning to show its age (well over 150, I’m sure)
and truth be told, we never know how we’ll find her each spring after the winter snows. But all of us cabin folk hope she’s around for decades to come.
Maybe yet another generation will be able to swing from her outstretched arms.
*Special thanks to family members for supplying photos of seasons when we’re not usually here. And of course to my grandmother, Lizzie, whose photo stash supplied the ‘before my time’ photos. For more tree pictures – (you know you want to….) click here!
September 01st, 2014 | Author: steph
Do you think they knew?
It was in October of 1937, in the midst of the Great Depression, when my grandparents purchased 190 acres (+/- as the deed states) about 8 miles outside of town along the road to Wright’s Mountain. My grandfather was the town doctor with a young family and I’ve often wondered just how they were able scrape together the funds to not only purchase the land but then build this modest one room cabin during a time when his bills were as apt to be paid with live chickens and black raspberry jam as cold hard cash.
But regardless of how it all happened, I wonder if they knew the impact this little get-away would have on their descendants.
I’m pretty sure the cabin was not built as a vacation destination. Since I doubt that in the years preceding World War II there were many vacation days built into a country doctor’s life, I think the cabin, in its earliest years, was more a spot for an afternoon of quiet, or maybe even that safe place where my grandmother could take the kids for a break in the routine. Knowing my grandmother, she probably used it for parties too!
Fast forward to the 1950’s. Although as a family we ALWAYS came to Bradford for our vacation (last week in July/first week in August = Plant shutdown = two weeks in Bradford), we stayed at our grandparent’s house – the Big House in the middle of town (complete with the Doctor’s office and Nurse Cora) and later a small house just outside of town affectionately called The Little House. I think that four young children coupled with no electric, water that needed to be pumped by hand from the not-very-close-by well and the random cow plops that dotted our meadow and path to the pond made “cabin time” a bit more challenging during those years. (My grandparents leased out their property to a nearby farmer for his dry cows to roam. The cows did a great job of keeping down the undergrowth and added a bit of whimsy to the cabin ambiance, but you never knew when you might come across one of their deposits.) We were more apt to pile in the jeepster for an afternoon cabin excursion or maybe, as a special treat, an overnight camping adventure.
While it wasn’t the ultimate destination for our family vacation, it was still the highlight. It was the spot where I learned to swim, bait a hook, row a boat, enjoy fresh caught trout for breakfast and how to read by candlelight. Precious memories all. By the late 1960’s electricity had arrived and we began to stay at the cabin for longer stretches of time. Or maybe it was that my grandparents were getting older and the happy mayhem of our family (now full of teenagers) was best enjoyed by them visiting us at the cabin rather than us staying with them and just visiting the cabin. It’s hard to say. But by the early 70’s, as our generation was getting married and starting our families, the Cabin became the destination. We could hardly wait to introduce our little ones to the joys of the Cabin. (Difficulty of children napping in a one room cabin notwithstanding. At least there were no cow plops!)
Along with being the vacation destination, over the years our little slice of Vermont heaven has also served as a honeymoon cabin, a retreat from the world cabin and a family gathering cabin.
1998 – The last summer my Dad (center) made it to the cabin.
2012 – the Cabin’s 75th Anniversary
This summer, along with the four of us “senior siblings”, six of the thirteen cousins and their families spent time at the cabin. Several others longed to be here but couldn’t make the logistics work. Hooks were baited, inner tubes were inflated, frogs were caught and books were read. Naps were taken and favorite spots were explored. Maybe even a party or two was enjoyed. And important moments like these were shared.
Grampy Doc and Lizzie > Dad and Mom > four siblings > 13 cousins > 29 (and counting) second cousins
I wonder if they knew…….
August 30th, 2014 | Author: steph
One of the best parts of The Cabin is its remoteness. Oh, we’re only about 8 miles from a grocery store, a gas station, and a nice sized $1.59 dish of Moose Tracks Ice Cream, but the cabin itself is situated on about 100 acres with no close neighbors to speak off. (The owls last night were having quite a discussion, but since I’ve never actually met (or even seen) them, they hardly count!) Back in the day (as the days before cell phones) there was no way to contact anyone short of driving those 8 miles into town. Today it’s a different story. Sort of. The good news is the cell phone works – if you find just the right spot, stand in just the right angle and hold your mouth in a certain way – so you can call someone to remind them to bring paper plates. The bad news is there is the possibility that the phone will ring and interrupt your solidude. And then of course you have to quickly find that right spot, position yourself at that perfect angle and hold your mouth in that magic position while saying hello. And before it goes to voice mail. The same goes for my little wifi card. Which, sadly I suppose, is just a part of my life these days and my desire to “stay connected.” The device doesn’t move, but the signal that it emits is quite intermittent. Sometimes it zips right along (as in the page I am trying to load will eventually appear) but mostly it just plods along with barely enough umph to retrieve email and I consistently get the dreaded “cannot load data” message when I try to navigate the web. All this is to say that uploading pictures has been pretty much impossible (though one occasionally sneaks up), and even posting this no-graphics entry might present a challenge. So tonight I thought I’d do a bit of a retread of a Gratitude Challenge that I recently completed on Facebook. The challenge was to post 5 things you were grateful for for 5 days. I tried to chose things that I was specifically thankful for that particular day – well, until the last day anyway. So here goes –
Day One –
- Fresh Blueberries. (Been munchin’ all day.)
- Dinner that is being cooked by someone else. (Mmmm…Mac and Cheese!)
- A wonderful prayer walk this morning with my good friend Cheryl. (Amen and Amen.)
- A husband who puts up with my sewing stuff periodically taking up a good part of our 300 sq. feet home. (Project’s almost done!)
- That Jesus loves me regardless. (Regardless.)
- Paint rollers and painters tape. (Only two days left to finish those rooms.)
- Good friends to work with. (I’m such a party worker.)
- Pictures of the grands on Facebook. (5 out of 6 today!)
- Dinner with precious friends. (And their charming children!)
- Amazing Grace. (That saved a wretch like me)
- Fresh brewed coffee every morning. (Made with fresh ground beans =) )
- Grapes in my chicken salad. (And walnuts too!)
- A husband that is happy to throw in a load of wash, do the dishes and make that fresh brewed coffee every morning. (He grinds those beans, too!)
- An hour long phone conversation with a dear friend we don’t talk to often enough. (But we still know we care. )
- A Sovereign God who is never surprised. (Even when it doesn’t make any sense to us.)
- Project jobs that wrap up perfectly at the end of the project (location). (Doncha love it when a plan comes together?)
- Expiration dates on dry goods. (Oh. My. Goodness. – I’ve had that HOW long?)
- Friends that pray with me. (So much these days to lift to the Cross.)
- Our Cabin vacation is just a day away. (So ready. So ready.)
- A God who answers prayers. (With a “yes” or a “I have something better”.)
Days of Gratitude, # Five – a whole week late! My earlier gratitude lists were mostly of items I was grateful for that particular day (like grapes in my chicken salad). For my last list I thought I’d do a list of some of the big over-riding things that I’m grateful for. I’m grateful for them every day, and they are so much more important than expiration dates on those cake mixes (Helpful though they may be!).
- I wake up every morning and dress myself. Oh, there may be some creaks and groans, but my general good health is not a thing that I take for granted. Too many of my contemporaries are struggling with major health issues for me not to be grateful that my 60-something body is still in (relatively) good working order. I’m especially thankful for good genes (all my grandparents lived until at least their mid 80’s and Gramma Wood made it to 99), and that I love almost all veggies.
- My kids are amazing. I’m thankful daily that despite our flawed parenting, our children made it to adulthood. And quite nicely, might I add. They are kind and compassionate, loving to their mates and children, provide well for their families and even like each other. Heck, they even like US! I could also say they are beautiful and brilliant, but then you might think I was just bragging. (But they are. Just sayin’. And don’t get me started on the grands!)
- Where God has Gary and me right now. Not in the wildest stretch of my imagination could I have envisioned in my 40’s where God would have us in our 60’s. Our marriage is stronger, our faith is deeper, and our vision clearer. All because we got rid of most everything that we owned, quit our jobs, moved into a 300 sq. ft. tin can with wheels, and followed HIS lead into full-time service ministry. It amazes me every day.
- The Cabin. My week-long delay in this final list of” Gratitudes” is largely due to our arrival at our beloved Vermont Cabin. There is so much gratitude wrapped up in this little cabin – from the faint echo of our children’s giggles in the loft to God’s masterful creation all around it to sweet reminders of the generations that preceded us and promises of those who will follow us. The Cabin – where my heart sings and my soul rests.
- And overreaching it all (from the fresh brewed coffee to the family I have been blessed with) is the giant umbrella of the God of the Universe’s love for me. For when I could have cared less He reached down and, because of his great love for me, He rescued me. And He continues to reach into my life each and every day, regardless of what kind of job I am doing at loving Him. Great is Your Faithfulness, Oh God my Father. Great is Your Faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
So much to be thankful for, today and everyday. How about you?
Oh, before I see if the internet is feeling peppy tonight, here’s one more thought from the great Reformation Theologian Martin Luther – Blessings at times come to us through our labors and at times without our labors, but never because of our labors, for God always gives them because of His undeserved mercy.
August 26th, 2014 | Author: steph
We are here.
Where my heart sings and soul rests.
Where Gary’s list includes rebuilding things, repiping things and digging up giant rocks.
And mine includes…oh wait – he’s in the truck, ready to head to Lowes to pick up supplies.
And I’m OK with that, too.