A Room Of One's Own: Lori's Cabin

Categories: Building Methods

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Once the cabin was situated on the land (and when you commission one from Finn, I highly recommend you request the moving team of Gary Delp of Heritage Timbers and Finn himself - honestly, it was entertainment and fun that is rarely encountered but long remembered) the entire dynamic of the place changed. We could cook lunch, we could nap on the single bunk, we could spend the night, sheltered from the dew, mosquitoes, roving coyotes, and even winter winds. But one of my favorite things was the shade cast by even a small building out on that prairie. With it set next to the creek, after 2pm the block of shade grew long as the day progressed. So we set farm chore schedules akin to the Nearings of the 50's and were rewarded with long cool cabin-cast shade, the song of the creek and gazes of the grand Mission Mountains through lazy-lidded eyes in the waning of the day.


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Lifetimes have occurred in the years since I acquired the cabin; a divorce after 17 years, leaving my house and gardens in town, a massive crop loss, a mid-life crisis... I have lived in many apartments but have never neglected to visit my cabin for an overnite stay. For awhile, when I could not have my dog in a couple of the apartments I rented, the cabin became the place where I got my doggie fix.

And now it turns out that the first home I ever bought just happens to be this 7x12 one room cabin. When the shit hit the fan; my back stock lavender dwindled as did any and all surplus income, and then I was evicted from my apartment, it dawned on me that as it was all bought and paid for (Thanks Mom!), the cabin was the only thing that made sense. My religious weekend sojourns to it had proved to me that I could exist there. I had downsized my entire life, become quite used to living with less with each apartment I rented. So in October 2012 I moved in. And I realize, that I have not been this happy and content for some time. This is  my home sweet home.

I measured the inside when I was trying to figure out the way my necessary things would fit in there. At 6.5 x 11.5 feet it is just shy of 75 square feet. She is, with her arched roof, 6 feet tall. The slight arch makes even taller folk than my 5 foot stature feel comfortable. The wood that lines her insides is warm toned and Finn gave all the nail holes exacting attention with little half round wood caps. There are ample shelves, and storage space neath the bed. The single bunk is nestled at one end, next to a big window and has it's own skylight. There is another skylight above the kitchen. A small wood stove tucked into a corner, is, in winter, more stove than this space needs. Even on a 10 degree day, it warms to 85 degrees in a couple hours. When I let the fire die, heat holds at 60 degrees for hours on end.

I cook marvelous meals on the 2 burner propane stove. I wash dishes in the bathroom size sink with water I haul in. It drains into a bucket under the sink. I use the grey water on my trees. There is ample storage under the sink. I utilize a cooler for a fridge. I have a bucket system toilet in another outbuilding.

The small footprint of it is located in a large swale, close to a small perennial creek. It its obvious that the wild things rule here. And I would have it no other way. I maintain a low and quiet profile as much as possible to avoid disturbing those who were here long before me. And to bear witness to Nature. The cabin with its windows to every direction, including up is like a hunting blind. I see a lot and am unseen.


What I notice most since I began visiting 7 years ago is that I can no longer abide noise - white noise especially. Trains, traffic, tv, clanging pipes, forced air heaters, most electric gadgets, ticking clocks, dripping faucets, buzzing space heaters...my cabin has none of it. I have traded them all in for; a crackling fire on a cold Montana winter's night, the creek outside the door, a caroling coyote chorus running about the valley, a multitude of birds, and occasionally my dog going ballistic at an errant mouse up in the ceiling...

Lori Parr, writing to you from a lone prairie in St Ignatius, MT


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