We have had many blessings with our cabin, besides just spending quality time together as a family. Some of those blessings came when we got ready to build it.
* We were able to buy the rough oak at an extremely cheap price because we are friends with a guy that owns a lumber yard. I even hauled the materials myself.
* Another friend of ours gave us four of our windows and the front door.
* We were able to get a really good deal through him on our insulation sheets. They were about a third of the price that they would have cost at our local hardware store.
* I got the other two windows off of Craigslist.
* We also get a good discount at our local hardware store where we bought most of the other supplies we needed for it because we have an account there that we pay off each month.
* We were able to borrow a generator from our cousin, which helped us quickly nail everything together.
* We bought the roof tin from Craigslist and got a super good deal on it, with some left over to use on another project.
When it came time to heat the cabin, we really wanted to use wood heat, but were afraid of the fire danger (since no fire trucks can get to it) and contemplated whether we should put a heat source inside, or out to save space. Even though we have firewood readily available, we ditched that idea. We opted to buy a small, space-saving heater that runs off of propane. This little heater did a good job and kept us as warm as we needed, until we stayed there with temperature below freezing. That was when we quickly realized that we needed better heat. Oh, and running out of propane in the middle of the night because you don't know how much you have in your bottle and how long that bottle will last helped. Not to mention having to get up and run back to the house to get another bottle that you knew wasn't going to make it the rest of the night while your family is freezing in the temperatures in the teens or twenty's.
That just happened to be the weekend that one of our ex family members showed up unexpectedly. (It's a long story, but I met him before I met Scott and Scott has been related to him in two different ways, but is no longer. We have kept in touch with him off-and-on because he is such a precious part of our lives.) Anyway, he brought his brother with him who happened to mention an old wood stove he had that he was wanting to get rid of. He said it was rather small and sounded just perfect for what we needed. He invited us to come and look at it when we had the chance and suggested he could make us a good deal on it.
A couple of weekends of not being able to stay in the cabin because we didn't have any heat (I kept forgetting to have our propane bottles filled) and Scott was ready to try anything to heat that thing. He made a trip to the guys house, helped him unhook it all and loaded in the back of our truck, it was perfect for what we needed. Scott retched in his pocket to pull out some money, and the guy wouldn't take it! He gave us a beautiful wood stove!
When Scott got it home and figured out what we needed to get it all set up in the cabin he made a trip to the hardware store to get the needed supplies. While he was there he noticed a new stove that looked identical to the one we had just been given. It was priced at over $500. Not to mention all the stove pipe, the board to put under it and the tools to stoke a fire he had given us. Man, are we blessed.
We couldn't wait to get it set up and we once again enjoyed the peacefulness of our little cabin in the big woods. While the temperatures dropped and the wind blew, we rested cozily in our little peace of paradise. It worked so good in fact, I ended up opening the big window beside our bed that first night even though the temperatures were quite low outside because I had woken up covered in sweat.
Now we are in the process of turning one of our three sets of bunk beds into a triple bunk so we have more room in the cabin. Once we get this done, we will be able to get rid of our fold-up cots and have something to sit on besides just our bed. We will be using the mattresses we have and we might be making the bottom bed into a double, to which we will use an extra mattress from an old camper we are scrapping.
Here is a picture of the awesome gift we were given. I would say that it is the most important and useful, but really, all of the gifts have been useful and we would not be able to use one without the others. Imagine a wood stove going without any door or windows!