It was that first perfect weekend of fall. I had just finished up my first week of third grade and I needed an adventure.
When I woke up that Saturday morning the air was crisp and the sun shined on my face—an excellent day to engage in some manual labor.
I went out to the garage to scare up a couple of tools to build my own log cabin.
I really wanted to have an old cabin in the woods where I could just hide out and pretend I was part of the Hole in the Wall Gang, or some Adirondack hermit trying to brave the elements.
And like every other eight year old boy, I knew the general principals of log cabin building by playing with Lincoln Logs.
I made a drawing in school that week plotting the cabin’s design and layout.
I tossed a buck saw and hatchet, an old rusty two-inch chisel and a 15-inch long knife that looked as if it was used to scale ocean fish into an old Army rucksack.
As I exited the garage my dog Mutt took on the role of building site selector and survey scout. She lunged about forty yards ahead of me stopping every so often to survey the ground and search for building materials.
My first site proved to be a great spot for building. It was open and dry but had very few good-sized trees to work with. Most were three to four feet around—much too large for me to handle with a small buck saw.
But after a bit I found a place that was thick with black Spruce trees that were all about two inches in diameter. I paced off an area about four feet by three feet and cut most of them down at ground level.
I trimmed them and laid them in squares around me to build up the walls and used the uncut surrounding trees as a perch for cross bracing.
Then I trimmed them of their branches to make hooks to hang my cabin walls.
The smell of fresh cut spruce in that crisp air made my nose wrinkle with delight.
I was quite content with how quickly everything was coming together. Before I knew it I was surrounded by four walls, but unfortunately there was no door.
Mutt was pacing around outside the new cabin walls as if to say, “I think you forgot something.”
I decided that a roof top door would best suit this cabin. I exited by scaling a tree at one corner of the structure and swinging one leg over my walls.
Once outside I cut more saplings to lay over the top for the roof.
Even at my young age I could see that this was not going to be a great rainy day cabin, but it was all mine.