Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “log cabin”

Batman and His Daisy BB Gun

I have a Red Ryder BB gun, a replica of the model made famous by the cult movie, ‘A Christmas Story,” about the protagonist, Ralphie, who dearly wanted that very BB gun for Christmas. ~: A Christmas Story (1983) Post Refresh and ...

I like bats because they eat bugs.  I even put up some bat houses intended to attract them.

Before I say anything that can be used against me in a court of law, I want to pose some questions for my readers.

— Are bats a protected species on some government list?

— If, hypothetically,  a bat gets inside one’s house, is it lawful to kill it?

— Is it lawful to discharge a Red Ryder BB gun inside one’s log cabin?

— If one finds a bat that is, hypothetically,  in a deceased state as a result of a mortal wound inflicted by a well-placed BB, for example, is there any risk to one’s septic system if one flushes the deceased creature down the toilet?

They call me Deadeye because I’m such a sure shot.  Rather, I should say, if, hypothetically, I was to shoot my Red Ryder in my house, I might be a good shot.  Just sayin’.  It is a matter of positive self esteem and optimism about success if I did someday lawfully discharge a gun such as a BB gun.

I won’t write any more on this subject until my questions above have been answered.  I’m just wondering about hypothetical situations so that I can act responsibly and within the constraints of the law if ever faced with a situation involving bats inside my home.

Item:9098793 Daisy Red Ryder Carbine 650 Shot .177 BB Gun NEW For Sale ...


Home Building on the Range

In my previous post, I described moving two cabins from Estes Park to Cross Creek Ranch.  So, if you need to catch up, read Home on the Range first and come back to this, which is Part 2. 

So, we got the small cabin placed on its new foundation.  That was the easy part. 

The hard part took over a year.  Beginning in the Spring of 1993, Ray and Brian worked to put back together each log.  This house had a new foundation too, poured 12″ thick in order to support the heavy logs.  We used a steel beam below, under the floor where the heavy fireplace would be built.  (When I say “we,” I am referring to myself as the contractor and the people with skills who actually did the good construction work). 

One of the issues in many log homes is that they can be dark, probably because the walls are wooden and not normally painted.  To bring lots of natural light into our log house, I put in several skylights in strategic locations.  We needed a new roof anyway.  Also, the front of the house faces directly south and has eight windows, including two that are about fifteen feet higher than the floor. 

On the west side, facing the mountains, we have a bank of three picture windows totalling twenty feet wide.  We call it the sunroom.  It provides passive solar.  The floor is tiled with saltillo tiles to help retain heat.  This room was an addition to the original log house. 

Additions present another aesthetic challenge, which is that one cannot match 100 year old weathered logs.  Our solution was to do the addition with stone in order to complement rather than match the old logs.

We harvested the rock for our hearth from our own ranch, where there is a vein of what I call fieldstone.  Miss Sugar and I have made many trips to our “quarry” filling the bed of the pickup again and again and again.  We picked each rock for some dry-stacked outside walls and for a water fall and pond.  We were not willing to pick enough for the walls to the addition.  Thankfully, Mike, our mason, found stones that look like the ones we have on the ranch.  We love how it turned out.

The kitchen in the house as it was in Estes was too small and out-dated.  Miss Sugar, who is a great cook, deserved better.  So the old kitchen, which was small for that function, makes for a roomy laundry room, including the old kitchen sink. 

The new kitchen was built by enclosing what had been a covered porch.  The exterior is the same stone.  The interior is equipped with professional appliances for my bride.  Raphaelle, designed a wonderful deep farm sink of granite as well as granite counters.  Because our house is so rustic, we got cabinets made of distressed pine from a custom shop. 

We made a small bedroom into a large walk-in closet with a skylight.  We made another small bedroom into a big bathroom. 

Yesterday I wrote of the old becoming new.  That, in a nutshell, is how we did it.

Home on the Range

Here is a riddle.  What is both old and new?  What was built in the 1800s and by me?

The answer is that our home, which was old, became “new” through an unusual process and sequence of events.

 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, which allowed settlers to claim 160 acres of land and eventually own it after meeting the requirements of the law by staying on the land a requisite number of years. 

Pursuant to the Homestead Act, a log cabin was built on an original homestead in the area of what is now Estes Park, Colorado.  Later the homesteaders built a larger log house.  I did not build the cabin or the house, nor did I claim the homestead.  Someone else did all that before I was born. 

What I did was rescue those buildings when a developer purchased the last eight acres of what had been a 160 acre homestead.  Over the years, the homestead was cut up into parcels that became valuable parts of the Village of Estes Park.  The last eight acres were across from a golf course and up the street from the high school and the fairgrounds.  It became a desirable spot for building condos across from the golf course, or so the developer thought.

The Village of Estes Park interfered with his plans when the board refused to approve a demolition permit for the log structures on the old homestead site, which was probably unconstitutional since the homestead had not been designated an historic landmark.  The developer offered to donate the buildings to the town if it would move them off his land.  “Put them in a park if you like them so much,” he told the board.

Around that time, I came along.  As self-proclaimed King of the Wild Frontier, I offered to move the buildings to my land, which is in the same county as Estes Park, on the condition  that the Larimer County building inspectors would look at the buildings as they stood in Estes and pre-approve me for moving them to our ranch.  I knew we needed a new foundation and new plumbing and electric and new roof and new windows, and I knew we could not move the 30 foot high stone fireplace and chimney, but I wanted the structure of the logs approved.  I did not want to be told after moving them that the beams were not engineered correctly or according to current codes.

Well, the building inspectors did approve my proposal and the developer was glad to get me to do the removal, which turned out to be a complicated project.   That is when I became a contractor. 

I took a friend of mine to see the buildings before I made the deal, to ask if he thought it was worth doing.   He had moved a cabin out of the mountains himself, which he used as the core of a house he built.  An old cowboy, Ray offered, “Me and Brian could move them for you.”

Brian had just graduated from high school.  A rodeo bullrider, he was a big help as an acrobat tearing down the steeply peaked roof.  Ray and Brian and another guy lived in the original cabin while they took apart the larger one log by log.  I rented a crane for the job.  They numbered the logs. for each wall in order to put the walls back together in the same order.  It took from November 1992 until February 1993 to take it apart and get it off the Estes property. 

The small cabin was not disassembled.  It was jacked up and moved intact, then placed on a new foundation.  The big house was moved by log trucks.  It was too wide and tall and heavy to be moved in one piece.

Then the fun began of putting them back together.  I will write about the rest of the process in serial style.

Me and Pecos Bill

There are tall tales about Pecos Bill, a famous Texan, like my own trophy wife, Miss Sugar.  This here is a true tale about what I done, just like old Bill.  I done it at the urging of Miss Sugar.  I’d do anything for that gal.

The reason I am writing this now is that a good friend of mine called me to say he enjoyed reading Sharpshooter, which is a true story as well.  His only question was why I used any tool to kill that rattler I wrote about.  He asked that because, growing up with me and all, he is very aware of how quick I am.  So is Miss Sugar.  That got me thinking about what I done a few years back without no shovel, nor gun either.

If y’all have read some of my previous posts, you know that Miss Sugar and I live in a log cabin in Colorado.  Miss Sugar loves birds.  She feeds ’em and takes pictures of ’em.  Well, one time some birds built a nest on a light fixture above our front door.  It was pretty smart of them bird brains cuz that light is beneath our porch roof out of the rain.  Miss Sugar occasionally checked on the eggs in the nest and, after they hatched, she would hold a mirror above the nest so she could look at the baby birds per the photo above.

Well, one fine day as she checked on the bird nest, she saw something that bothered her a mite.  What she seen was a mean old snake climbing on the logs aiming toward them baby birds.  So, since I’m her hero and all, as reported in previous posts, she decided to casually mention to me that it appeared a snake was fixin to bother her favorite birds.

I caught her subtle drift.  As always, I come a runnin’.  What she had carefully described in colorful language was indeed true.  A damned snake was slithering up the house to the nest.  I did not have time to get a gun or tool.  My favorite gal was upset.  So I did what any fearless hero would do.  I grabbed that snake by the tail, swung it around and around with centrifugal force so it  could not bend back and bite me.  I knew what to do because I had read about Pecos Bill doing the same thing.

After a few swings around my head, Miss Sugar suggested that I quit showing off and let go.  Which I done.  I let go with an appropriate wrist motion, sending that snake off the porch a ways, where it landed on the ground.  I went down the porch steps to finish the job.  Miss Sugar confidently assured me that it was a bullsnake, not a rattlesnake.  They have similar patterns.  She called her brother Mike because he knows about stuff like that.  He agreed that it was surely a bullsnake.

Now there is a difference or two.  One is that bullsnakes do not have rattles.  Another is that they are not poisonous.

So I went over to the bullsnake.  Apparently, it held a grudge.  It coiled up, imitating a rattler.  It was so good at imitating that I imagined I could hear rattles.   It opened its mouth and flicked out its forked tongue in a threatening manner, revealing its fangs that Mike and Sugar knew were not poisonous.  Silly me.  I felt like a big old chicken.

If I was as brave as Pecos Bill, I’d of picked it up again, just for fun.  But since I already had saved the birds, I kilt it with that sharpshooter shovel I wrote about in my blog called Sharpshooter.

I cut the rattles off the bullsnake because everyone knows bullsnakes don’t have rattles.   This one had not gotten the memo.  At least it wasn’t poisonous.  That could have been dangerous.

What Pecos Bill did was very dangerous.  What I done was similar, but, like Mike told Sugar, was perfectly safe.   Those rattles almost fooled me.

War of the Winds

The flames fascinate,
Bringing comfort
As I contemplate,
Staring at the fire.
                           Winds rudely attack
                           My reverie,
By a chilly draft
Tresspassing inside.
Noisy blowing cold,
Being too bold
Invading our home.
                              Logs and chinking
                               And metal roof
                               Try protecting
                                 Us from this weather.
Some windows rattle.
Walls are shaking.
It’s a battle,
Testing our shelter.
                                   Like evil v. good,
                                   Hostile forces
                                   War with the wood
                                    In our fiery stove.
Burning wood’s heat
Challenges wind
As they compete
On temperature.
                                  The brave cabin
                                   Resists the force
                                   As we stay in —
                                    Safe from blowing rage.
With loud gales outside,
My wife hugs me,
Snuggling by my side.
I don’t mind the wind.


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