Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Special Treat From The Forest

You can put them in pies, pancakes, pastry, muffins, coffee cakes, with oatmeal or other breakfast cereals or eat them with cream and sugar. Blueberries are in the woods of our area.

The blueberries are a small fruit that grow on bushes. The plants are about 12" high and grow with many green leaves. The berries grow in small clumps of six to ten berries.

The plants grow best in a sandy or peat soil. The soil must be acidic and drained. Below the drained depth a source of adequate moisture is required for the roots of the blueberry bush.

Where do you find the blueberries? Sometimes we find them in sunny open rocky areas where the rocks provide pockets of the sandy soil which has accumulated and the bushes can grow. We look for open large rocky areas with a scattering of small trees and shrubs. We have found the blueberries along side of the road where some peaty soil may exist. They can also be found in peat bogs.

Blueberries begin to ripen during July and reach fruitation during August. This is the best time to pick the berries.

It is desirable to eat the blueberries as soon as they are picked as the berries are fresh. Another option would be to freeze a thin layer of berries placed on a baking sheet and when frozen, place them in freezer bags or containers. Blueberries freeze well and keep for a long period of time when frozen.

Wild strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are also found in the area. Our favorite is the blueberry, especially mixed into a big batch of pancakes.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Covering Component

With all the logs now in place, the gable ends are constructed with 2 " by 6" wood studs, wall insulation and cedar exterior siding. A large laminated veneer lumber LVL beam is next placed on the ridge line. The ridge beam is supported at the gable ends and at a log post near mid-span. The ridge beam is positioned to receive the 2" by 12" rafters into connections on the sides of the ridge beam. The rafters are sloped 9/12 or 9" rise in any 12" of horizontal dimension.

Fiberglass insulation is placed between the rafters and a vapor barrier is attached to the bottom of the rafters, before the ceiling boards are secured.

Two inch by 4 inch boards are placed on top and perpendicular to the sloping rafters and 1/2" oriented strand boards (OSB) are secured to the 2" by 4" boards. The boards provide an open air space above the rafters for air flow from the vents at the soffit line to the continuous ridge vent. This air flow will protect the insulation from any moisture build up that may occur within the insulation.

Fifteen pound building felts are stapled to the roof sheathing. Sometimes thirty pound building felts are used depending on the choice of roofing material.

Cabin roofs are generally shingled, which may include wood, asphalt, slate, metal or tile. In the past, roll roofing was common.

Wood shingles are the oldest form of roofing. Today, wood shingles are sawn from red or white cedar, dipped in a staining medium that preserves the life and durability of the shingles and supplies color. Wood shingles are used today to give the log cabin a very handsome traditional look.

Asphalt shingles are common today because of a greater fire reisitance and their economy. They account for 80% to 90% of all residential roofs. In the 1980's and 1990's some of "improvements" by the shingle makers turned out to have flaws. Some splitting and cracking problems appeared in fiberglass shingles. Some shingles warranted for 20 years or more would fail in 3 to 7 years, with the warranty service frequently leaving owners dissatisfied.

Organic shingles remain popular in the northern United States and Canada, and may hold up better than the fiberglass shingles.

Metal roofing has long been used for agricultural building, but it's been popular for log cabins. The metal roofing can shrug off ice and snow and has natural fire resistance qualities. It is also immune to unsightly mildew growth that may form on asphalt shingles.

The installed cost of metal is higher than that of asphalt shingles, but life expectancy is longer and may compare favorably to lower priced roofing materials.

Steel, galvanizing steel, aluminum, aluminium 2" coatings, painted metal, and copper are used on metal roofs. There are a large number of choices in the metal roofing industry.

An aluminium with a galvanized coating roof was considered, but a brown GAF Timberline Asphalt Shingle roof was selected for the cabin because of the color preference.

Instead of using dormers, skylights were used over the loft bedroom and blend into the asphalt shingles.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Hunter From The Sky

When you think of the fiercest and most courageous hunter of the sky, you think of the Bald Eagle. What an awesome sight with a wing spread up to seven feet and their feathers spread out like fingers. They are one of the largest and most powerful birds in the world.

There are many eagles in the area. They typically build their nests (Eyrie) in the tops of the tall trees near the many rivers and lakes. It takes about four years for the bald eagle to have a white head.

When boating, all eyes search the sky for the soaring eagles and each time we see one, we watch awe-struck at the graceful ease of their flight. It is hard not to watch this majestic bird. Many times we see more than one, maybe two or more (as many as eight or nine).

The eagle is a protected bird by Federal Law as a number of years ago their numbers had diminished in North America. Now their numbers are coming back.

Fish are one of the choice foods in the Bald Eagles diet. The eagle flies over the water and snatches the fish from the water only getting its feet wet. They follow schools of fish or follow other fish-eating birds. They intimidate and take away fish from other birds, even other large birds. The Bald Eagles also eat dead animals. They hunt by day and many times they can be seen eating their lunch on rocks near the lake shore.

By far, it is our favorite bird.

Photos courtesy of J & K Hallingsworth/USFWS

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Logs Have Arrived

The main floor, composed of 3/4" plywood sheathing and 2" by 10" wood joists, and wood beams, was constructed over the crawl space and on top of the foundation walls.

After the shop drawings were checked and approved, the logs were cut to length, notched at the corners and ready for assembly. The logs arrived on site on a truck bed. The small mobile crane quickly placed the logs. Vertical holes were drilled for the vertical steel rods and the electrical wires. The vertical steel rods were placed on each side of the window and door openings and about 8 feet, on center, to reinforce the logs at the openings and help in vertical and horizontal alinement of the logs.

Vertical rods are placed in the corners with threads, washers and nuts on the bottom. The nuts are placed finger tight to the bottom side of the bottom log. At that point, the logs project out from the foundation.

At the time the logs were erected, it was estimated the gap would be about 2". At present, the gap is approximately 1-3/4" to 2", or slightly over 1/8" per log. This would indicate that the logs were properly dried before construction and that the planned spaces over the windows, doors, and interior partitions were correct.

The logs are straight, without twist and have a tight connection between the logs. The corner cross-overs will be carefully caulked on the exterior.

The goal was to minimize the cracks and gaps between the logs to help prevent water and bug infestation. These goals were achieved.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin