The Prep – Part III

Making the Land Useful

There was one other big job that Gary was hoping to accomplish during our Cabin Prep weeks preceding the reunion. That was to not only beat back the wilderness as much as possible, but also to change some previous unusable space into mow-able lawn. You see, our little cabin sits on the site of a previous community. As in the late 1800’s previous.
(See my post about Foundations and Fences for some additional thoughts on that!)
Here in this old photo you can see the foundation of the barn that was directly across from the cabin.
We played in that area over the years, but eventually it became overrun with small trees (and giant thistles) and wilderness in general.
If you got there early enough in the spring you could still see that beautiful foundation –
Spring 2013

But it never took long for it to fill in and become just one overgrown jungle.


Over the last couple of years we’ve been working to tame that jungle and make that area useful in some way.  We moved our burn pit to the back (and lower level)part of it and tried to develop a fire pit area in the front. But still it was a problem to maintain. foundationsandfences-11 It was way too rocky to mow and needed constant weed whacking to keep under control.  This spring Gary had a plan to make at least the front part of the barn foundation useful. Or at least mow-able.
“If we get an excavator in here, he could move the rocks into a pile in the back part and we could smooth out the front, seed it and make it part of the front lawn.
In truth, it was a hard sell for me. That foundation had been there forever (in my finite world) and although it served no purpose and was a general pain in the neck to even make visible, it still held intrinsic value to me. Or at least memories.
But after talking it over with others in the family, we decided to give Gary’s plan a go.

As the work progressed, we kept separate all of the big foundation rocks, and piled the rest in the back section.

And then, we had him carefully place those ginormous pieces of granite (and other miscellaneous stone-types) into a firepit area.
We added a load of mulch,
had some husky reunion attendees readjust the stones some
(Wait, that’s three old dudes and just one strapping youth doing that)
until we came to this final configuration.
It still needs some fine tuning – more stones around the actual fire area and less mulch around the actual fire area, but it’s had its inaugural fire and it seems to be a good thing!
Once we get that grass growing and make those final adjustments to the fire pit, I think it will be a lovely addition to The Cabin Experience.

And a fair bit more useful area than this –Cabin1-11

PS – I’m thinking our young excavator driver, Brady, had a pretty fun day of it too!

The Prep – Part II

The Dock

Gary finished a major upgrade on the dock just last summer. What started out like this –
ended up like this –
Which was huge improvement and more than adequate given the two boys wrestling on it!
(To see the whole progression of the Dock Reno you can check out Here and Here and Here!)
But Gary is a forward-thinking kinda guy, and he was picturing the the 30+ kids that would be at the reunion and knew that our single family-size dock needed to be super-sized to Reunion Size!
And he got to work –
(He hasn’t used those waders for fishing in about 6 years. But here at the cabin they come in mighty handy!)
Here’s a little time lapse of getting the second side up on its posts –
Dock building
Phew! I can truly say he couldn’t have done it without me – but he sure could’ve done it quicker with someone who has more upper body strength! (Where are those boys when you need them???!)
He kept working away down at the pond (while I was working on those cobwebs in the cabin) and before I knew it we had the new Dock-Ma-Hal!
It got a little light-use testing before the reunion
but it was at full capacity during the reunion!
Fishing tournament
Fishing or Swimming
I’m pretty sure every square inch of that dock was used!

The Prep – Part I

When we signed up to be up at the cabin for a couple of weeks before The Reunion we embraced the “Reunion Prep” with gusto. I envisioned mowing and trimming, maybe sprucing up the “gardens” with some annuals for a burst of color, and some deep cleaning of the interior to try and stay ahead of the spiders and other critters who call the cabin home for many more months than we do.
When we were able to extend those ‘prep weeks’ by getting to the cabin even earlier, I figured we could just move at a more leisurely pace. More time with our Vermont family, more books read, more naps taken, more trips for ice cream. I guess I forgot to include Gary in my vision. When he realized we would have extra time before the reunion, his ‘prep list’ just got longer. And a bit more detailed. And a just a teensy bit more involved!
For example….
The Pond View
One of our favorite activities at the cabin is sitting on the front lawn
with the pond in view.
But as you can see, the view was gradually becoming smaller and smaller.
Now this is not a problem when you’re just in it for the view, but when you want to actually see what is going on down there (like 30+ grandchildren)- well, something had to happen!
We’ve been hacking away at the wilderness over the years on either side of the walkway, but this year seemed to call for some drastic measures. Gary solicited some local help for the bulk of the clearing in the center section,
but he hopped in (literally) to finish up the job!
He (and even WE sometimes) pulled and whacked and whacked and pulled some more. He even used his ‘chainsaw on a stick’ (aka pole saw) to try and get some of those higher branches
but still, there were just a couple of branches that were out of reach. While it was a great improvement, we still couldn’t see the whole dock.
For the final view-clearing step, we had to wait until some of the young’uns arrived.
Including a tree climber!
Finally – just as the grandchildren were beginning to fall in love all over again with the pond, the view was restored!

And not a moment too soon!

Sabbath Rest – Before You I Kneel (A worker’s prayer)

We’re heading back to our SOWER work after spending most of this summer up at our beloved Vermont Cabin. We’ve soaked in that beauty and surrounded ourselves with family. It’s been truly a gift. But it’s time to get back to work! This song come up on my Pandora play list this morning, and it seemed so very fitting. May this always be our prayer….

Before You I kneel, my Master and Maker,
To offer the work of my hands.
For this is the day You’ve given Your servant;
I will rejoice and be glad
For the strength I have to live and breathe,
For each skill Your grace has given me,
For the needs and opportunities
That will glorify Your great name.

Before You I kneel and ask for Your goodness
To cover the work of my hands.
For patience and peace to shape all my labor,
Your grace for thorns in my path.

Flow within me like a living stream,
Wear away the stones of pride and greed
‘Til Your ways are dwelling deep in me
And a harvest of life is grown.

Before You we kneel, our Master and Maker;
Establish the work of our hands.
And order our steps to seek first Your kingdom
In every small and great task.
May we live the gospel of Your grace,
Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days,
Then our lives will bring eternal praise
And all glory to Your great name.

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Keith Getty / Stuart Townend / Kristyn Getty / Jeffrey J. Taylor


How do I even begin…

We returned to our RV two days ago (from our longest ever Cabin stay) and I’ve been staring at this computer screen off and on for the better part of those days, trying to figure out how to consolidate the amazing, wonderful, joy-filled family reunion into a blog post. I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t. It’s an impossible task, and I don’t need to even try! What I will try to do over the next few posts is share some highlights. So many precious memories were made at the pond,
or on the swings,
or during a massive Bingo game!
But whatever the activity, the magic ingredient was always this –

Seeing the country……Serving our Lord!