Cabin History‎ > ‎


by Dave Sullivan
Cleaning up trees

Periodically, the trees in the lot South of Sullishak have fallen on the cabin and into our neighbor's property.  When the cabin was first constructed this lot was cleared.  In order to reduce further damage this lot was again cleared. 

In this September 2008 photo, you can barely see Criag Martell on the top of his roof. Our trees have crashed into his cabin.  We needed to work carefully to avoid causing further damage to his cabin. 

Here we see Craig climbing down the ladder after cutting off a branch. Note how the ladder is bent. It turns out aluminum ladders aren't sturdy enough to drop trees on them if you want the ladders to remain straight.

The vacant lot had become an overgrown jungle that was quite difficult to walk through. 

I began by cutting down trees that were easiest to reach and were not likely to cause damage when they fell. Then I tackled the task of cleaning up branches and cutting up the trunks.

This clean-up operation would have been all but impossible without mechanical help -- the stumps were massive and well rooted. 

 Chris Reiter got lots of practice using his Bobcat to dig around the sides of the stumps, bust off roots, and eventually pop them out.

One of the largest trees was leaning over the log cabin, and it was the hardest to cut safely. Chris and I chained it to the Bobcat, and I made an undercut. Then I signaled Chris to begin pulling. Four inches of the hinge were still uncut when I heard a VERY loud crack ... it was easily as loud as a shotgun blast. Rather than slowly falling, the tree simply popped off the stump and began to crash down. With Chris pulling as hard as he could, the tree just barely cleared the corner of the log cabin.

We've cleaned up the area and are getting ready to tie onto the tree.  

This shows where the tree fell -- just missing the log cabin. 

Building and maintaining the fire was a critical clean-up activity.  

Since the lot was covered with green vegetation and wet wood, it wasn't easy to build a hot, smokeless fire.  

Early on the first day, a neighbor called the fire department, and we spent an hour talking with them about the need to keep the smoke down.  

So for the next few days, we worked hard to keep the fire as hot as possible while keeping it at a manageable size.

Barb surveys the changes from the cabin's deck.

Chris used the Bobcat to remove the salal and bushes behind the cabin.

We finally got all the sticks and brambles removed from the front of the vacant lot.

The back of the vacant lot ended up storing some used telephone poles (to go in the remodeling effort), some firewood, and a small fire.

The view between Sullishak and the log cabin is uninterrupted.

Building a retaining wall

Since the 1950s, the cabin has had salal bushes in front. This has made it hard to park on the street in front of the cabin without being in the roadway. 

To improve the situation, I decided to build a retaining wall out of used telephone poles. With Chris Reiter's help, I picked them up at Consumers Power outside Philomath, and we drove them to the beach cabin. 

The entire front yard is scattered with telephone poles. Most of them will get used in the retaining wall, but a few will be used to hold up the second-story deck.

We used the Bobcat to move poles into position. 

Then I drilled a 1-inch hold through each pole and pounded a 5/8-inch piece of rebar in the holes to keep them all lined up nicely.

Almost done ... all the logs are in place, and a load of gravel has been delivered.

All done -- I've leveled the tops of the poles with a chainsaw, and I've installed battens between the poles to hide the cracks.

The finished view from the cabin's deck.

Changing the driveway

One important goal was to change where the driveway enters the property. The original driveway entered on the vacant lot -- but this lot will eventually have a home on it. So we decided to build a new driveway that enters in the middle of the two lots.

In this "before" picture, you can see the original driveway entrance and the large spruce tree at the front of the vacant lot. 

In this "after" picture, the spruce tree has been removed, and it has been replaced with a mound of dirt. To the left, the beginnings of a new driveway are visible. 

In this picture, the new driveway has been sloped correctly, and we have begun spreading gravel on it.

Chris Reiter uses a shovel to make minor adjustments. (He did most of the work with his Bobcat.)

Barb looks at the nearly finished result.

Several days later, I've worked a bit on the retaining wall and the gravel looks a bit more used.