Friday, February 26, 2010

A Cabin in the woods...

Since before I can remember I've thought it would be incredible to live in the "woods". The concept has taken on various forms at different times but the more communication technology progresses the better the idea seems. Unlike the most common version of that fantasy, one of my hedges against doing it has been not wanting to be a hermit.

I never wanted to be totally cut off from the world. I like people, cities and especially coffee shops. I'm getting pretty solid with my own coffee related creative urges but that's another post... In short, as long as I could maintain some form of web access, fairly reliable shipping and somehow make a living I'd be alright with lving in some version of the wild that is close enough to civilzation to get regular urban interaction and expect regular visitors.

As I've learned and developed more skills this lifestyle seems more and more possible. An obvious missing link in my skill set is knowing how to build a log cabin and what kid hasn't thought building, or at least living in, a cabin would be awesome at some point in their life?

The thought occured to me that thousands of settlers did it without decades of experience and training so it can't be all that hard. There weren't droves of cabin contractors on the American frontier and while safety and health concerns are worlds improved, so are the methods and finishing materials available. As it turns out there are a number of cabin building schools out there and they don't even cost a fortune.

Great Lakes School of Log Building has a ten day course priced at $1,150 and a stone masonry course at $750. That seems doable even if you are working a full time job. "Giving up" a vacation to learn one more way to make your entire life more like a vacation seems pretty worth it. That's also less than most would spend for a week in Vegas or some other poshy fun place. There are other costs involved but even at three times the course fee you'd still be doing well. On the other end of the spectrum is a twelve week course in Indiana for about $5000 William M. Lasko School of Log Building. Having a look over at almost anyone can likely find something in their budget and relatively accessible. They have links to other things as well, land, furniture and contractors if you'd rather hire it out.

To be fair, I did spend about eight years volunteering and then working for a living history program in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I logged thousands of hours in a "log cabin" style environment and, while I never built a cabin, there are likely skills and experiences related to this type of architecture that I take for granted or think of as more "normal" than they actually are. Never the less, for the motivated individual(s) it's doable!

Now all I need is a grant/scholarship to document this historic art!

...and I still think Lincoln Logs are awesome.

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