How has it been more than 3 years since I’ve written a blog post? Oh! I know! We’ve had a global pandemic, renovated a 4 bedroom farmhouse in Weedville that was originally built in 1864 (with a random school bus abandoned in the woods), and built a new 2 bedroom cabin in Benezette (that we meant to build in 2020). We met a really cool race car driver and started sponsoring a race car, and then, we spent two busy Rut seasons running 3 cabins by ourselves! Right. That’s kept us busy!
We have been so blessed to have guests that have stayed with us through all of that excitement. I’ve been surprised to hear that a lot of you have read all of the blog posts (Deb W, Tim F, Andy L, Dad, Edgar, I’m looking at you [and, thanks for reading!]) and want to hear more about the adventures of remodeling an old house, and building a new one with supply chain issues. While some of it I’d rather forget (carpeted bathrooms and 20 week lead times for doors and windows), it’s all turned out great (at least we think so based on our returning guests!).
Over the next few months, I’ll be blogging about these projects to give you a behind the scenes look at just how glamorous building, renovating and renting vacation cabins can be. I hope you’ll enjoy our stories as much as you enjoy our cabins and as much as we enjoy hearing your stories when you rent an In The Sticks Cabins cabin.
What a busy, busy weekend in Benezette! The 50th Annual Snake Hunt at the Sinnemahoning Sportsmen’s Club was going on all weekend long so we checked that out on Saturday. Then, we headed over to the Elk Country Visitor Center to check out the arts & craft festival.
Then it was back to the cabin for official cabin business. For me, that’s finishing touches. I’ve gotten most of the art on the walls, made the beds and started putting away the pots and pans and dishes!
Kitchen & Bath
The husband has been fighting with digging the final power line for the sewer system. Two weeks ago he busted the scoop off of the bracket that holds it to the skid steer. He got that welded back on but now the hydraulics are acting up. He finally broke down and rented a little Ditch Witch (which, come on, how fun is that to say!) and got it dug and the lines run. We’ll see if she powers up this weekend.
When you decide to build a cabin in Benezette, you might forget that there’s work to be done on the outside too.
We’ve got quite a bit of landscaping that needs to be done. And by landscaping, I mean pushing around a lot of dirt that appeared when the husband dug the sewer and water lines. Additionally, things like planting grass seed after said dirt has been pushed around and maybe even an elk resistant posy or two, are on the agenda.
While the husband set to work on fencing new apple trees, I was in charge of burning some trees we’d previously knocked down.
While I was hauling limbs, I glanced in the puddle where the roots to this tree had previously been. And I saw something gross.
See that trail of what might be intestines, or poo or I’m not sure what else, but it looks really gross? That’s Eastern American Toad eggs. And you’re about to get a lesson! The internet (also, fun fact, we aren’t capitalizing internet anymore. Haven’t been since 2016. I didn’t know.) tells me that they lay between 4,000 and 8,000 eggs that hatch into tadpoles in 3-12 days. That gross string of eggs could be between 20 and 60 feet long. (ew!) The tadpoles will mature into toads in 40-70 days. I’ll let you know what I find on Saturday.
Anyway. Apple trees are all installed and are really quite happy. The new guys have a few little green buds peeking through, the trees we planned last spring look great and the ones from the year before that are very happy!
There’s more rain in the forecast this weekend, so it’s unlikely the dirt pushing and grass planting will happen! Stay tuned!
Hey you guys! Did you miss me? I missed you too! The past few weekends have seen some very busy days in our Benezette cabin, The Sapling! I’m thinking pretty soon, she’ll be ready for renting!
In addition to lots of progress, Mother Nature has been hard on Western Pennsylvania with weather this year! With lows in the negative numbers and then a few days of highs in the 60s, you never know what you’re going to get! Our last trip to the spring was an icy mess!
So, since we last spoke we’ve moved on to projects that seem to be going much more quickly than the past few weeks. The main living space and bedrooms are getting wood floors installed and we found tile that looks like wood planks for in the bathroom. The husband has gotten the wood up on the lower quarter of the walls.
He’s also gotten some of the interior doors and framing installed. I am so happy with how the doors turned out. Shout out to my sister for her patience in helping get a satin smooth finish on these months ago!
Lastly, we’ve (read: the husband) started placing the cabinets and installing the lighting in the kitchen!
And, since I know you really only come for the elk updates, let me tell you this. They are back in the neighborhood in force! I’ve seen them every day for the past few weeks! Enjoy these photos until next time!
Due to the snow and ice from last weekend, the husband did not have Friday off and we got to head to Benezette together on Friday night. We got a late start, and when we got in at 11 that night, it was only 32 degrees in the camper. BRRRRR. It was 9 outside, so, I guess 32 wasn’t so bad. The forecast called for more snow on Saturday night.
On Saturday morning, the ground was a sheet of ice, covered in a half inch of snow, covered by a thin layer of ice. Slippery, but it looked beautiful! We drove through town on our way to get water from the spring, but there were no elk to be found. As we headed back up Winslow Hill, I looked out over the field at the Winslow Hill Viewing Area and I found ALL of the elk!
The weather men got it right, because Saturday night the snow moved in and stuck around until well after lunch on Sunday. The husband estimates there was about 4 inches of snow by the time it was all said and done. We very carefully trekked up to the cabin to finish the painting while the wind whipped the snow around us.
I was not in charge of cutting in the wall paint in the living room and kitchen area (Hallelujah!). The paint that we’re using is great, it goes on smooth and dries quickly, so we were able to get two coats done! That meant it was time to finally put some of that stained wood up on the walls! It. Looks. AMA. ZING.
Turns out I owe you some pictures from last week too. The bathroom is painted, and some of the electrical devices are in. Plus, the husband started to trim out the windows!
With the polar vortex settling in, the forecast in Benezette is saying wind chills will be between -20 and -35 on Wednesday and Thursday. Hope it’s warmer where you are!