Friday, August 17, 2012

The Cabin - A Virtual Tour

     Our family cabin is a sacred place where few people are ever invited to come. (Partly because there's not enough space). So this is a rare virtual tour of my favorite place on Earth. When my dad was a kid his dad got this "99 year lease" (or something like that) from the national forest to build a cabin on. So my grandma and grandpa and dad and uncles would go up in the summers and work on the cabin. The first summer they built the foundation. My grandpa always says that Grandma Dangerfield worked her fingerprints off by digging around in all the dirt and rocks up there. The second summer was building the framework and actual cabin. Years and years later they added onto it which I'll show later in the tour. So the above shot is all you can see from the road below. It's the closest cabin to the gate so we feel lucky to have this spot. There are only so many gate keys so if you're having multiple cars coming there's usually someone at the cabin with the key, the people coming in their car have to park at the gate and walk up to the cabin for the key and all the way back to drive their car in. I guess people in farther away cabins just have to plan better :) On all the lower steps you can see in the picture, all the names of the kids in my family (and 2 of my cousins) are etched into concrete at the top of the stone. They're usually so covered in dirt and leaves that you can't really tell though. So then you start walking up the steps and see the cabin, and maybe even my dad carrying logs from the woodpile into the cabin:

When you get around to the front of the cabin it looks like this:

Walk in the front door and you'll see the main living area:

Straight ahead you see into the kitchen (notice the super old ice chest that we use just as a cupboard now, but it's a cool little piece of history. Before they actually got electricity up here they actually had to use it!):

 Turn to the left and you see the living room (and my Dad eating snacks, probably Oreos):

Take a step towards my dad and look to the right and you see down the hallway. Lining the hallway are four twin sized beds (bunkbed style). When I was a kid my assigned bed was the one on the top right. Steve was top left. Adam was bottom left and Jack was bottom right (I could be wrong, I always got the boys' confused). Steve and I used to play up on top all the time and throw pillows over the wall at people sitting in the living room (the walls don't go all the way to the ceiling in this part of the cabin.) The wall with the door you see below used to be the end of the cabin. Then they added the back room on. You'll see it later.  Also notice the picture on the wall to the left, those are drawings of animals at the cabin my dad drew when he was young:


Before we go into the next room take a look over your right shoulder and you can see where we were before. That's the dining area (and my mom and brother, Steve) and on the right side of the picture is the front door.  Are you seeing how small this place is? But we love it! :


Ok, moving down the hall and opening the door we see this. A queen sized bunk bed. Oh yeah. The one on top is like sleeping in a taco. You better like the person you're bunking with because you're going to be cuddling all night. This is where my older sisters Annie and Jess slept. My parents slept on the lower bunk. That is the only decent mattress in the whole place because it's been replaced. The others all sound like crusty, rusted springs every time you move. Ha:

 From the bedroom you take a right and here's the bathroom. It's only a little scary showering in the aluminum box during a lightning storm....Ok I've feared for my life in this shower. But you get used to it :) I'm just grateful the made the addition of the back bedroom and the bathroom and that we have running water up there now! Some cabins don't and I don't know how they do it! So we love this bathroom even if it does look a little....sketchy. The end. That's the whole cabin! Now you know why we don't bring a lot of people up. We fill it up all by ourselves! And even though the quarters are a little tight (especially now that we're all grown up with spouses and kids to bring up) I love it more than any place on earth! Here are some memories from our last cabin trip.

 So my sister Jess bought this pool for playing up in Utah. Cole was sick for a few days but being in the pool was one of the few things he was ok doing so I busted out Eleanor's swimming suit so she could get in on the action. She actually had fun in it and was splashing a little! Then Cole started splashing and the picture below perfectly captures Eleanor's thoughts on that:

 (Hanging on for dear life until the splashing stopped. Haha.)

Wood chopping is a regular activity at the cabin and we round up all the men in the house and send them out back for Feats of Strength. We all love to watch :)

Big brother, Steve, choppin' them logs:

Vince's turn:

Cole naturally stepped up to be a part of the manly action:

He's a real man child:

Vince tried to man Eleanor up too. Can you see her reaction? "I don't wanna touch it" what a girl :)

Uncle Steve helping her figure it out. "Oh I see now. With the mouth....for eating."

Poor sick Cole hanging out with Grandpa and watching the action

Among the new experiences had at the cabin Eleanor got her first taste of goldfish and loved them!

Loved them so much she wouldn't swallow them....

And started laughing at us laughing at her.  When I cleaned them all out it was about 6 goldfish.

Cabin tradition is that babies have to get a bath in the sink. We have pictures of my and my brother in either side of the sink bathing at the same time. It's a big deal ya know.

She loved it! And I learned the beauties of sink baths. I do it all the time at home now. SO much easier than the bathtub! It's way more contained and a lot easier on my back! Plus it's so cute:

The bunk beds were a fun playground for kiddos. We have a 5 Little Monkeys [jumping on the bed] book that Cole liked so we started saying it when the kids were on the bed. Cole learned how to say "No more monkeys jumping on the bed" too and it was adorable. This picture they're letting Grandpa in on the fun:

Of course the biggest cabin tradition is nightly card games! We used to always play hearts until we all got sick of Dad shooting the moon. Now we play Vince's family favorite, Arthritis. I must also mention that the next biggest cabin tradition is not showering, wearing make up, doing hair, shaving, etc.:

You can see why I made the above disclaimer now (Vince and me):

 Dad and Steve

Mom and Dad:

The cards. Just looking at a pile of cards like this gets me in the mood for a game!:

Yahtzee is the other big game we play. My Grandma Dangerfield always had the best luck and we still have some of her score cards with the big wins on it. This is Steve and his Yahtzee smile:

I got a Yahtzee too!:

Uncle Steve reading comic books to Cole on the bunk beds. What a boy thing to do:

Since Cole was sick we let him watch a lot of Aristocats (which he calls Meow) and Finding Nemo (Fishies). Eleanor really liked it too. I think we need to get an iPad now:

Next big cabin tradition is the tire swing! It's actually the neighbor's swing but most of the time they're not there and they said we could use it when they're gone. When we were kids it was THE favorite activity. It's an old tire on a LONG leather strap around a tree branch. My dad would give us "Moon Shots" by running and throwing us up in the air. We probably got 50 feet off the ground (at least that's how high it seemed when we were kids. It was probably like...I dunno Vince says 7 feet but I still think it was higher):

Eleanor mostly liked watching Cole run into people. Cole had a blast though, even though he was sick:

Eleanor did better in the swing with Daddy:

So the other big tradition of the cabin is over-eating. Which needs to be countered by another cabin less observed tradition of hiking. We went on a few hikes while we were there since I am still trying to lose baby weight (and other weight). We got to take Eleanor with us! She got impatient sometimes, but with enough Cheerios she made it through and we got some exercise:

Even though this doesn't do justice to the magic of the cabin, now you have some idea of where we disappear to every summer. It really is my favorite place in the world. It might have something to do with leaving responsibility (including TV, internet, computers, etc.) behind. Or the fact that family is priority up there (since it's the only thing to entertain you). Or maybe it's the smell of smoke, pine trees, and maple syrup. I don't know what it is, I just love the cabin! I hope we can keep going back as our kids grow up so they can experience it too.