I don’t know where to even begin in writing this post, my heart is so full….so let’s just start at the beginning. A friend sent this article to my husband, it’s an article that I hadn’t seen in years, it explains the history behind the family cabin…..”Recapturing A Heritage”, Callie and Clinton Marshall were my grandparents.
In 1985, when I was a young child, my grandfather built this one room cabin as a replica of what he grew up in. He wanted his grandchildren to see what it was like to grow up in a simple cabin with no power, no running water and the bare basics like he did. This cabin sits at the foot of the mountain, on the family farm, back in a little corner surrounded by shallow creek. To me it’s one of the most peaceful places on earth, often referred to by my Grandmother as “a ‘lil peace of Heaven”. The older I get, the more I understand why she called it that.
Growing up I would help my Grandmother clean the cabin every Spring, Fall and before special occasions. We would dust the family heirlooms, wash windows and sweep, it’s harder to clean than you think with no running water or electricity. The guys would weed-eat and clean up outside, clearing limbs from the creek and cleaning up the best they could. As my grandparents aged and later passed on, I continued to clean the cabin every Spring, Fall and special occasion just as I did growing up. My grandparents put such love it that place, it was the least I could do, not to mention it’s filled with such memories of sleepovers, fish frys, chicken stews and Christmases past.
This picture is of my family the Christmas of 1985….
Another family member inherited this lil piece of heaven but that didn’t stop the love I poured into it. I’m fortunate enough to live about 20 minutes from the property and be able to help take care of the upkeep. What I wasn’t able to do was make all the much needed repairs without his permission and my father’s help. That’s where God stepped in and the rest is history. Since the 1st of August we have worked diligently, tirelessly and weekly on this cabin making the much needed repairs. My father went at this project with a passion and if you know him, you know, when he’s on a mission the job is going to get done!
Here’s how the cabin looked late July…
The project started with bulldozing behind the cabin to make room for a back porch. We spent a Saturday building a back porch to help keep the water off the back of the cabin to help preserve the logs. As it was, the back of the cabin stayed wet and the logs were rotting. Opening and closing the back door became a challenge as the water had damaged the framing.
There’s a spring head just to the side of the cabin that ran to the creek and left a swampy mess behind it. We dug a 100 ft ditch from the spring to the creek and spent a Saturday building a “blind” ditch to bury the spring head so it could drain into the creek and not leave the swamp behind. Later the boys hauled in loads and loads of black mountain dirt to cover the ditch and make a yard.
We tore the old shingles off of the porch to realize that boards needed to be replaced before our roofing party. We replaced the rotten boards and replaced the old moss covered shingles with a new tin roof.
We tore out old wooden chinking which had strips of insulation tucked in behind it. That was a nasty job as the mice had resided in those cracks for 30+ yrs and it made for a perfect doorway for the snakes. We found 4 snakes during this project! As we cleaned that out, a man by the name of, Blanchard Montgomery went behind us and filled those cracks with cement. It’s a true art to do that type of work and Blanchard done a beautiful job.
During the removal of chinking we found four logs that desperately needed replacing, that lead to another day’s project. The Montgomery boys helped my father that day, they literally found a Pine tree and took it from standing, to the sawmill to the cabin walls. That adventure was educational in itself.
Another day was spent replacing the molding and fine tuning the back door. As it was, the door would barely open and close and took “holding your mouth right” to get it to shut properly.
Another full day (or two) was spent making a newer, more stable bridge to replace the one that was tattered and rickety due to age.
At this point, projects were beginning to wrap up and the cabin was finally mouse and snake proof, so the cleaning began…but 1st, we needed lights. So we installed 4 LED lights to run off of a battery. The cabin is so tucked in to the base of that mountain that you had to pipe in sunlight. When the lights came on, wow, not only was I able to see the craftsmanship that went into the cabin, I was able to see all the dust and spiderwebs. It took a week’s worth of generator operated vacuuming, elbow grease, corn oil and Murphy’s Oil Soap to get it clean enough to suit me. I took every piece of glass and linen home to wash it. We spent a day reworking every piece of cast iron.
The cabin is filled with four generations of family heirlooms, such as; receiving gowns that my great-grandmother wore, a picture of my great-great-grandmother, a hammer my great-grandfather used to mend shoes and irons that my great-grandmother used to iron clothes for the Dr of the community, Dr. Gates. So much history under one roof.
Now it’s time to enjoy it and make some memories! We had our 1st Christmas there in 12 years this past Christmas.
Stay tuned for the renovations to come in 2017……