The bottle opener from Belize works great!

The bottle opener from Belize works great!

On March 27-28 I was on a mission. First, the snow was melting fast under the growing daylight hours and warmth, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to return to the property until spring unless I hiked in. Second, I couldn’t stand the thought of that wall that had been pushed out by the snow that collapsed inside the cabin (more on this topic). Third, I wanted to simply continue building. I had studs to put in the lower walls and upper walls to get started on. And most important of all, Dee had bought me a wall mounted beer bottle opener during her trip to Belize, so I had to get that installed, too. 🙂

I had another smooth ride out to the property; although, the snow was certainly getting thinner and there was more potential for getting stuck. I didn’t take any chances and made it to the cabin safe and sound. Once there I hooked a rope and winch to my wall that needed to be fixed and pulled it back in straight. It must have been pushed out about two inches. I also unloaded a few things I had taken out, like a Primus dual burner propane stove and of course the bottle opener, and shoveled more snow out. Oh, I also took out some beer. Thus, I installed and tested the bottle opener right away!

If you don't know what this is then you need to get out more!Sleeping under the starsIt was getting dark, so I ate some dinner and prepared for bed. I had taken out some blankets and my sleeping bag, as well as some heater packets. I put a couple blankets down on the snow in the cabin for padding, climbed into my sleeping back, then pulled some of the tarp that had collapsed into the cabin over me just for added insulation against any breeze. I can’t say I was entirely comfortable that night, but I managed to get some sleep. My tent was still crushed under a bit of remaining snow and frozen to the floor. While lying under the open sky I couldn’t help but play around with the camera a little, taking pictures of the nearly full moon and stars.

Using a winch to pull the wal back in place after a leaning board and snow had shifted it outThe next morning after eating breakfast and warming up, I jumped back on the wall and inspected my winching job. The wall was perfectly true again. But, having flexed at the middle where two board ends met, they now had a big gap. After a moment of thought, I used one of my ratchet straps, tied to both ends of the wall, to ratchet the the wall aback together. Then I nailed it all in place.

Nailing the top plates of my lower walls in placeAfter that, the rest of the day was filled with finishing all the top plates of the lower walls, something that had I had time to do the previous fall would have saved me the trouble of winching my wall back into place. The top plate really makes the walls ridged. And after that was finished I began working on an upstairs wall.

First upper wall sectionThis was tricky. First, everything is higher. Second, there was no way I’d be able to lift more complete walls into place at that height. Third, slushy snow was coming down thick. I made progress by constructing smaller segments of the wall, a bottom plate with end studs, and maybe just a couple more. I was able to get that up the ladder and nailed into place. Then I did the other end. After that, some top boards. Last was the middle of the top plate to strengthen the wall up. Second wall section, top boards and center top plate in placeIt was a hollow wall, but it would last until I returned.

At that point, it was getting dim out. I needed to be on my way. The trip out was easy until I got to the parking lot.

I pulled the snowmachine into deeper snow where I needed to ride it up a bank to get it into the truck bed, but instead I sunk.

The cabin on March 28, 2010, with the beginnings of an upstairs wall

The cabin on March 28, 2010, with the beginnings of an upstairs wall

The top of the snow seemed packed, but underneath it was loose, sugary snow that offered no support. And that particular snowmachine gets stuck very, very easily. After about 30 minutes of digging and moving, sinking again and digging again, a guy noticed me and game over to offer help. Thank god. That’s all I really needed, just some extra muscle to push while I throttled and pulled. I was on my way then… but still late getting home.