Rocks, cleaning up, and all the kids

So many things to give updates on… Summer visits are more frequent so we’ve done quite a bit. To structure the upcoming babble, we’ll talk about (1) rocks that we’ve been transforming into a magical surprise, (2) cleaning up the cabin in anticipation for (3) a visit from Mummy, Lisanne, and the kids.

Numero uno: rocks. Liam has been Superman-ing a bunch of rocks from the forest and hauling them to the site of the… new pizza oven-to-be! Very exciting. There’s a great spot just off to the side of the cabin – it has nice big exposed rock that the pizza oven will blend into, and some flat parts that’ll be nice for a future BBQ or something.

After consulting with Mummy and the Internet, Liam decided to go with an 18th century (or something)-style earthen oven like this one. It means we can do it all ourselves relatively easily (and gradually). He can fill in any details I miss here.

Basically, you make a big cylindrical base with mortared stones, filling in the inside with gravel, rocks, bricks, whatever. On the top you level it out with sand, and then fire brick goes down nice and flat, and then the earthen dome surrounding all that.

Pictures of our progress after one building session:

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The site is U shaped, surrounded on the back side by exposed rock (and soon the pizza oven). Later we’ll dig up and level the inside of the U and lay patio stones. The flat bit is just to the left of the oven. I’m realizing this is not the best picture to give the “vision”, sorry.
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A close-up. We did a second building session last weekend, but I’m not sure we have pictures of that. It looks about the same as this, only taller.

That’s (1) rocks. On to (2), tidying up for the kiddies. As usual, the cabin was a MESS before they came. Things are constantly moving around, to the point where Liam had to ask me where the plates were last visit. Very upside-down. Here’s where the kitchen is at:2017-07-14 19.32.43This picture shows the early stages of a new wood countertop. I was experimenting (successfully I’d say) with my Kreg jig and 2x6s. Worked like a charm, though I did have to hand plane a bit (a lot) because I didn’t quite line them up perfectly. OK and I also ran out of screws and skimped on the last board, but hand planing was fun and something I wanted to learn anyway. Later I’ll probably add a few inches of “frame” and blend it all in to match, and then sand more and seal it with some mineral oil.

The idea is to have this countertop be a narrower than normal with cabinets underneath. That frees up room for cooking along the whole length without the person against the wall getting squeezed in by the sink, which is staying the same place.

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This is a bit of a step backwards since it’s deconstructed compared to the previous picture, but this shows the half-finished pan rack, knife magnet (a Granddaddy hand-me-down, I believe), and not much else. But we still managed to make killer sweet potato gnocchi, despite the wonky set-up. I’m still debating what to do with the granite piece in the end. Rolling island that tucks under the countertop?
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Close up of the gnocchi. Mmm… We were inspired by the gnocchi we made with Grampa in Cape Cod the week before. So good.

In other kitchen news, we bought a double sink for the outdoor kitchen and a corner sink for the indoor kitchen, meaning the dish washer person will have on one side a view out the outside widow and on the other side a view through the opening to the living room. Good for passing, say, dirty dishes maybe? Here’s the set up now so you can get the idea:

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We can probably afford to extend the counter to the right, even up to the edge of the doorway to the living room. More space – yay! I have my heart set on having the drying rack IN the second sink to free up counter space, but we’ll see how that works out and if it’s even necessary. We don’t have THAT much stuff.

As for the living area, here’s how it was BEFORE. Since the last pictures we showed here, I think the table is/was newly positioned (it used to be in front of the day bed) and re-painted (white legs, stripped and poly-ed top). Note also the deconstructed futon propped up against the wall – that’s all part of the grand plan.

And here’s the AFTER!

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Half of the futon is now a very sturdy cushioned bench seat (surprisingly the bench is a full 6′ long… I think it looks smaller), with the foam of the second bench acting as the back cushion of the first. The second base half will be hinged and get folded up and stashed underneath the bench, ready to flip out and serve as another sleeping spot in a pinch.
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Another view of the super tidy living space. See the mug peg rail in the foreground? That’s on a trial basis. If we like it, I’ll stain/paint it and maybe router the edges (not that I know how to do that yet, but I will).

All the tidying took the better part of a day, since I had to find homes for the piles of things you see in the first pictures. I combed through it all to make sure, as much as possible, that the pointy, heavy, and breakable things were stored high up or hidden, so the little fingers of our little visitors didn’t get hurt. That was a little harder to do in the workshop/storage area, but I did OK. Here’s what I managed to do (yes, that’s the AFTER). See the (backside of the) countertop?

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Much better, but still full of sharp stuff and random piles of rat poison pellets. We tried to keep the door closed, just in case.

Which brings us to (3) – kiddies visiting! I’ll have to make that a new post. This is too long already…





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