I live in a log house. My wife and I built it ourselves. Now, before you go conjuring an image of a lumberjack type in a plaid flannel shirt with a hardy wife that can skin a bear and cook it at the same time, no, you would have it all wrong. We didn’t harvest our own trees and dress them for the house. We purchased the logs, cured and milled, with tongue and groove fit. We did design the house and with the help of key relatives, it went up. Not easily, but it did go up.
I can look back on it all now as an adventure, although that’s not what I thought about it at the time. In between dreams of having our own house that we built ourselves and planning all the of the niceties we would have, I was cussing like at crazed maniac. It was hard work, swinging that sledge hammer to drive the 12-inch spikes through the logs. Hell, it was hard enough just getting the danged logs up on top of the wall. I should mention that it is a two-story house. Even my blisters had blisters. Measured in cans of Miller Lite, I would guess it would have been a 500 can project. It would be about 550 cans for my brother-in-law (he’s larger than I am.)
Yessiree, that was quite an experience, straddling the log wall nearly two stories above the ground and swinging a 5-pound hammer trying to drive a 12-inch spike. A lot of them. Of course, after the first few Miller Lites, the spikes tended to look a little different. They were harder to hit, too.
It wasn’t until we reached the top of the first floor that we had electricity on the site. We thought we were real pioneers. Even the handsaw and the bit and brace seemed like cutting-edge technology. But with electrical power we forged ahead with new gusto. We were able to complete the walls and floors before the dead of winter. That’s when we started hearing rumors about the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers building a fort out our way. The rumors focused on our log house, which with crude openings left for windows, it did resemble a fort, somewhat.
I worked through the cold and snowy winter building roof trusses and getting them in place. It was quite a circus. My wife, her mother and sister-in-law assisted. We got them all up, notwithstanding our inexperience. After I had the roof purlins in place, we installed the standing seam roof.
We finished the house enough by August of the following year that we could move in. We had a working bathroom, a fireplace, and heat. The kitchen was pretty much a skeleton, but I rigged up a faucet over at plastic washtub to use as a sink. It worked. Ever since that day, I have spent most of my spare time working on it. I figure the day I drive the last nail, I’ll drop dead. So, I’m taking my time with it.
Log houses are not for the lazy. Nor would they be a good fit for anyone who doesn’t like to work. That’s all they are good for: to keep you busy. I have to admit, though, that a log house is cozy and has a unique ambiance that you don’t find in other houses.
We live in the country with the nearest neighbor a quarter of a mile away, far from view. If I want to take a whiz in the yard, who the hell will care? We have no curtains or shades on our windows. We don’t need them. The house gets a lot of light and we have a good view of the deer that wander through our yard morning and evening. They even bed down at times just beyond the driveway. And, of course, the pesky squirrels and a lot of birds. There are plenty of trees around the house, mostly oak, that provide shade and shelter for wildlife. And it’s generally quiet. No lawn mowers ripping through the air on Sunday morning or the neighbor’s power saw. Although there are inconveniences, you get used to them. They become a way of life. All in all, it’s a fair trade off for the noise and crowds of city life.