The Bad ‘S’ Word

Sooo much has happened! Where do I start??

The rafters are up!
Reiley is now using T-Rex. She has been shooting Daddy up onto the roof to move the rafter joints into just the right spot. I love hearing Steve yell instructions….”UP!”….”OUT!”….”TILT THE FORKS!”….and “”DRIVE FORWARD AND TURN WHEEL RIGHT!”…. and she does it all flawlessly. I’m so proud of her.

Like Mother like daughter! She’s a telehandler-believer! (Now can we buy one, Steve? Pleeeeease???)

She can’t drive a car yet. She’s cutting her teeth on heavy equipment like tractors and telehandlers. ( I learned on a golf cart. To each his own!)

Steve then had to notch out some of the wood on the top log, under certain rafters, to make sure the rafters all laid down evenly for the decking and metal roof.

If you think about it, each log is tapered on one end, and fat on the other. They don’t lay evenly from one end of the house to the other. So, this step is pretty darn important.
Our friends Randy and Emma McDaris brought her parents and extended family out for a visit. Emma’s daddy is the one who brought us 3 watermelons when we were building the McGuire House in the heat of Summer.
This time he brought us peanuts.   He is known to give us enormous burlap bags…3 feet tall… of peanuts with the shells on. Needless to say, we love his visits!  They are an awesome, loving, kind, and friendly family, and I was so happy to see them.

While they were here, Gina and Charlie Trowbridge brought their son out. He’s visiting from college and they wanted him to see the progress in person. Gina gave us cookies and brownies! (Are we blessed, or what??)
Mallory came over again, and brought with her another one of the girls I used to teach in the Youth Department at church. They were 17 when I taught them, but now they are beautiful college graduates in the working world. Where does the time go?? Mallory, Michelle and I had a fabulous time chatting in the McGuire House for a few hours, catching up.

While we were working one day, a truck drove onto the property. We’re used to “log lookers” (we call them) slowing down or coming to a park in front of the house. But this time, he came right in our driveway, and seemed to be on a mission….

He asked Steve, “Are you the builder, or the owner?” Steve said, “I’m both!” They laughed, shook hands, and the man told us how he had already been there looking around, fascinated. He had already shown pictures to his wife, telling her that this was a “real” log home. It made us smile.

They talked about the construction, etc. We told him about the class we took by “Log Home Builders Association”. (I don’t think I ever said the name of our class on this blog before. I meant to! We have a couple people who are already wanting to take the class after hearing about it from us!)

We asked about his job. He said he works for a company that does aerial photographs of peoples homes (though this wasn’t a sales visit). We asked to see examples of his work. He showed us some framed customers work in his truck. So impressive! Beautiful photographs from overhead.

We told him that we have 11 acres, the B&B, tank, and 25′ teepee (not up yet), too, and think that when we’re done, having an overhead picture taken would be amazing. It was under $300! Picture, flight, time and all! Deal!  We think we’re going to do this after we’re moved in and the place is cleaned up.  We’d get a huge 20x. Anyway…. visits such as these sure are fun.

While still on the subject of visitors, we received our decking boards for the ceiling a few days ago. These will sit on top of the rafters. They will be seen as our ceiling inside the house. Later, other rafters, insulation, and metal roofing will go on top. (There’s more…I just can’t remember right now.)
With piles of wood laying around, it came time for my first really scary decision. Words like “daunting” and “fear” come to mind (or anxiety attack…dread…nausea…you get the idea). The very, VERY bad ‘s’ word.


Which color? (I’m sweating now just re-living it). I can’t over-emphasize this enough; it’s frightening! To me, anyway.

Steve said it would be easiest to apply the stain before putting the boards up. Logical. BUT, Jeremy was coming back in two days to help us put it all up….so I needed to make that decision NOW. (Gulp)

We went to Home Depot that night to (ideally) buy stain. We scrutinized all the samples. This was tough!! It’s not like paint. You can’t just decide to paint over with a different color if you don’t like it. And this is my 20′ or higher ceiling! It covers my entire house! That’s a LOT of stain!!! (Just typing about it is causing mild anxiety all over again).

I knew that we had used Minwax Cherry on the ceiling in our current house…. and love it.
I know that’s not everyone’s favorite stain color, but I’ve liked it. I tend to prefer medium colored wood, or dark (depending on what it is.). Therefore, we thought we’d get it, because it was safe, and knew how it would look.

But nooooo. Minwax only sells quarts of cherry, not gallons. So we looked at Behr. They had a stain that looked really nice (in brochures). Unable to completely decide, and a little scared, we just bought two quarts of two different colors. We applied them. Hmmmm
Looks NOTHING like the cherry. (If we take the sample indoors, maybe it will look different.) Up onto the fridge it goes.
Nope. Nothing like cherry. But… I like it. (I think.) I HATE these decisions! The pressure!

After analyzing and re-analyzing, we liked it. So, Behr it is. We drove another 30 minutes back to Home Depot to get a 5-gallon bucket of stress…..I mean stain (oops).

We got back to the land, and the girls and I whipped out our trusty paint brushes and got to work staining.

Now…we aren’t novices at this. We have stained all kinds of things over the years. My girls and I know how to use a paint brush. We know about brush strokes, etc. But, something wasn’t working. The following pics are finished boards, after drying. The stain was applied the same way going all the way down. All 3 of us had the same problem, so it wasn’t just ‘one’ of us applying it wrong.
Visible brush strokes. Mottled. Uneven color. It shouldn’t look like this.

Steve hated it. He took a brush and gave us “Staining 101” lessons, as if it was US. (Whatever!). Still didn’t work. His looked just as bad (HA!).

What are we gonna do with 5 gallons of this stuff??? (Sigh.) Back to Home Depot for cherry Minwax quarts. Only one problem: no store had the 20 quarts of it that we needed. So, we had to hit 3 of the stores!! They close at 9pm. It was 7:30. We were a 30 minute drive away. The race was on!! Finally, at a few minutes til 9, we had all our stain in hand. On home to bed.

Now with the familiar cherry stain in hand, and Jeremy due to show up any minute, it was time to stain quickly. Steve applied it to one board.


( Really???) It was bad. Almost pink! I guess it was just because of the differing woods. Who knows. In any case, we both hated it, and it was still wet 20 minutes later. Seeing that they would be putting it UP soon, that was the last straw. Now we had no stain, hundreds invested, and 20 cans to return.

Steve mulled and stewed. He hemmed and hawed. (What does that mean, anyway?? How does a person haw?)

We came to the mutual and far less scary decision to just wait. Put up the boards without stain, and deal with it later. We can apply it with scaffolding, applicator and wand. Or, I’m quite sure that our fellow log home builders will have excellent advice and suggestions for us after reading this (which we welcome).

I took that moment to run a couple errands for Steve before Jeremy arrived. I ran home, too. As I backed my car up (after just getting it back from the shop after a whole MONTH away for motor replacement and the wrong motor being delivered), I swiped a tree, knocking my mirror right off the car. (Silence). Yeah. That’s pretty much what I did.

I got weepy and mad, because in addition to that, in the past few weeks, our tv doesn’t turn on half the time, and our washing machine broke last week and the parts it needs would cost so much, so it’s best to just buy a new one. My car has a new expensive motor, but now the A/C doesn’t work, and the lighting wiring got messed up when they put the new motor in, so my inside light stays on. The top basket of our dishwasher broke. And, to top it off, we have mice in the B&B. Can anything else go wrong, besides the stain?!

Just as I was wallowing in the ultimate pity party, underneath the long list of growing complaints I was mulling over, I could hear God deep in my head, over it all, gently reminding me that I could choose my attitude towards life’s unpredictable and frustrating turn of events. I didn’t have to be so upset. What good would it do? Instead, I could look at the bright side and not let it ruin my day.

I had a choice to make: Remain grumpy and mad and bummed, or choose to think positive, and remember that each thing is temporary.

So, within minutes I collected myself, felt blessed with everything else going on, and will deal with the mirror later.

As I pulled back into the land, I saw Jeremy’s truck. He and Dustin were there! A blessing! AND!!!! Look what he made me!!
Jeremy builds log furniture on the side. Wasn’t that thoughtful???

What was I complaining about, again? Mirrors? Mice? Tv? Washing machine? Who cares! Those things are really inconvenient…..granted. And, fortunately, the sale of our house will more than cover the cost of replacing it all. But this chair will remain, and was a very unexpected blessing dropped on me at the exact right moment to lessen the negative blows that have come along the way. The Lord is so good. Thank you Jeremy!!

We all got to work. Dustin and I loaded up T-Rex with wood, and lifted it up to the guys on the rafters. Jeremy and Steve nailed it in place….fast!! Within only hours they had almost a whole side done!
Can you see the guys standing on the ground under the ceiling?
Now can you see them at the top, peeking over the edge down at me?
We ended the evening with grilled fajitas and great conversation. Thank you Jeremy and Dustin for so generously coming to help us! I love my chair!!!

Jeremy and Candace are building a log home in Colorado this Summer. Dustin is going to help them, along with some other college guys.

Here are a few last minute pics… My car with the borrowed industrial power washer


And a few cleaned logs compared to the untouched one on the bottom…

He’s only been doing it for about 10-15 minutes so far.  Tool Girl had to try it. This is a girl who has shot guns and hunts deer. She can handle a strong kick. She got into her “ready” stance and let fire!


Three words: she loved it.

And who do you think had to be a part of the action then?


New competition. Who will win?

See you in the next post…”Girls rule, and guys think that, too…

If you just stumbled onto this blog and don’t know what it’s about, click here: “What is Cottonwood Creek“.  If you want to start from the beginning of this chronological story, and watch us build our 130-year old guest house, click here: Welcome to Cottonwood Creek.   If you want to watch us build our log home, click here:  What to Vegas and logs have in common?  

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