Reschke Cabin Restoration
The actual restoration of the Reschke family cabin is underway. Mark has been harvesting and hauling logs over the past 5 years, from the cabin property, in order to do this project. Once logs were identified as viable for the restoration, they would be hauled to the on-site Sawmill. Mark would then cut the logs on three sides, removing the bark from the fourth side. Once this was completed the logs were stored in a way that would allow air to move freely through them to dry.
We arrived late on Wednesday, July 20th . Thursday we spent most of the morning running errands, picking up supplies and materials. Mark’s cousin, Dennis Reschke, joined us in the afternoon. Dennis was great and wanted to help out in any way. He started out mowing the driveway (as we all know, mowing is an on-going chore). Honestly. I’m not sure how comfortable Dennis was initially with the riding lawn mower. As time went by the mower died at the end of the driveway. Mark took his trusty tractor, a Ford 641 Workmaster 1958, and hauled the lawn mower back to the cabin.
In the meantime, Mark is finding challenges in the Sawmill. The logs had warped during the drying process and needed to be loaded back on the mill for additional passes with the chainsaw. He then found that the diameter of some of the logs was too small. Although enough logs had been harvested for the project this is causing a setback. Mark and crew will now be fixing the most critical walls first which is the corner. This is the wall to the right of the chimney on the east side and the wall under the window facing the lake.
On Friday, Dennis continued his lawn mowing mission. We are fortunate to have a 2nd riding lawn mower, so Dennis got it running and headed out. Mark is back in the Sawmill prepping logs for the groove cut. After the first groove cut, Mark could determine that something was still off with the Sawmill. Frustration, anger and disappointment were evident all day. Now, where’s Dennis? Whoops the second lawn mower has died on him. What in the world is he doing? This did give Mark an opportunity to step away from the Sawmill and address another issue. Soon after, Dennis was on his way to the Hardware store and the Auto Parts store for supplies. Let’s be honest here, that would not be the last trip of the day to either of those stores. Neither of the lawn mowers were resurrected on Friday so Dennis went with Mark to the Sawmill to help trouble shoot. Dennis left late in the afternoon to spend the night with friends in Crosby, MN. A bright spot for Friday was Dave, Mark’s son, was joining us late Friday night.
Weather for the most part has been awesome!!! The Calvary is here in the form of Dave. As most of you know, Dave owns a lawn care business, American Lawns LLC, with that field of work he was able to trouble shoot the lawn mower issue and got one operating again. That’s great because Dennis will be back at the cabin and he wants to finish up the mowing. As Saturday morning progressed it was determined that the rail the saw carriage rides on was not level. Mark and Dave tried a number of things to resolve the issue but time and again they needed to keep adjusting and plotting a new course of action.
Dennis got back around noon after having a fun time with his friends. Mark and Dave had just completed there list of materials needed to move forward and were heading into Baxter/Brainerd. With the guys gone, Dennis continues his lawn mowing mission. While I am occupied in the cabin, Dennis is mowing the upper area where the clothes line is. I keep checking out the window and I think Dennis is having a grand time and feeling very useful. Minutes later I hear him shout and I go running from the cabin. Somehow the lawn mower went half way over the bank. @%*#! I go and grab the lawn mower to help prevent it from going the rest of the way over. Dennis was able to get down the bank and bring it down the rest of the way safely. Thank god he was OK because that could have been a disaster. Dang the moss on the bank! Mark and Dave arrive back from their excursion and head directly to the Sawmill. Dennis recovers and goes back to his mowing. I’m with the guys in the Sawmill to hear what the next steps may be when Dennis comes running back yelling that the lawn mower is on fire! Dave ran to his truck, Mark and I to the cabin to grab fire extinguishers and a fire extinguisher towel. The fire was quickly brought under control and all was good. We suggest not throwing pine needles and moss on a lawn mower fire. Personally, I don’t know if Dennis’s lawn mowing restrictions will ever be lifted. (Dennis, if you're reading this I hope you are laughing as much as we are!)
Late in the afternoon, my dad Harold Liljenquist, arrived to spend a couple of days. He has never been to the cabin before so it was a treat to have him here. I took Dennis and dad for a pontoon ride and a little bit of fishing. Dad loves to fish and enjoyed catching a few bass right away! It's been very cool today so the bonfire was nice in the evening.
Sunday was another beautiful day. Sunny and warm again. Dad went fishing soon after waking up and came back with a number of nice sunnies. Mark and Dave continue working in the Sawmill with Dennis and dad walking in to observe. As frustration takes hold, Mark and Dave step away into the old cabin where they removed a log brace which they replaced with a new one. If you all can remember the original brace really interferred with easy access to the refridgerator or passing through to the side door. The new one is out of the way!
Dennis headed back to the cities in the early afternoon with promises to return. Dad took a nap on the coach, a needed rest for his next round of fishing. Mark and Dave trued up the saw carriage rail so it run the saw level. They the cut the grooves into the logos. After a much needed dip in the lake we all went out on the pontoon fishing. We had a nice surprise when we returned to the cabin. Mark's nephew, Derek Thomson and his girlfriend Anna had stopped for a short visit. Derek will join the crew on Friday. After a fun time fishing and a good dinner dad headed to bed so he could leave early in the morning.
Monday was an interesting day. We have been expecting the power company to send in a tree crew since the begining of May. They arrived at 7:45 am for a long day of trimming trees that could impact the power lines. The tree crew has a very interesting work schedule. They work a half hour, then it's time for their half hour break. They finally finished at 4:00 pm. Really, it was only 6 trees.
The vibration of the chain saw or grinder causes screws to become loose. So screws need to be tightened or replaced frequently. The muffler came off the saw. A number of more logs have been grooved and approved for use. We are seeing progress.
Dave stayed until the early evening on Monday. He left with some concern that one of us, either Mark or I, would not be making it home from the cabin as frustration, anger and disappointment still abounds. Before Dave leaves our next crew member arrives, a very close friend Pat Bailey. Pat has been a key contributor, or Rigger, in helping Mark cut down trees and hauling logs for the restoration. Let’s just say Pat’s a big guy and can get a lot done. More could be said but we do love him (and his wife Masa). Because of the tension in the air Pat thinks he has walked into a hornets nest.
Tuesday morning is another beautiful day. Mark and I talked some Monday night and again Tuesday morning so tension around the cabin has lessen greatly for everyone. Thank god! Mark and Pat continued milling the rest of the dry logs. More problems occur and everything needs to be adjusted accordingly. Things are going more smoothly. Mark and I could tell how stressfull things were when I went to put a ham in the oven for dinner and it really was a fresh Pork shoulder roast meant for making venision sausage. The uncontrollable crying did me a world of good!
With the beautiful sunrise Wednesday morning brings more progress although it has been determined that the window sill for the picture window needs to be replaced. Finished milling the logs and finished the surfaces using the draw knife. Took the trim off the bottom of the window and around the door. Mark believes we will need to increase the storm door openning in order to purchase a standard size storm door. Mark had a "brain fart" today when they were frustrated trying to skim cut the logs with a chain saw. They were able to true up surfaces better with the grinder or Sir Lancelot much more effectively and easily.
On Thursday, Mark's old nieghbor from Mound, Michael Blassey, joined the crew today. A great guy willing to lend a hand. Michael surfaced the front bottom log with the draw knife while Mark made the Cut-Off Box. Mark and Michael took a change of pace and went to cut down two Jack Pines and hauled the logs in with the tractor. After lunch on the pontoon, where we tried to connect to a WiFi Network to update the cabin blog, which was unsuccessful, they were back at work. (We had been able to connect to a lake WiFi Network on Friday evening but our last two attempts have not worked.) They were going to spray the logs with Timbor, a treatment for the logs to prevent decay, but the sprayers we have do not work. Michael mixed up a gallon of the Timbor and brush on a coat over all of the surfaces of the logs that we need. They have left then in the trailer, hooked to the Gibson, ready to bring to the cabin. Mark cut a couple of Celtic Candles for Michael's wife Catherine so she could bring them on a Girl's Weekend to Grand Marais. It was great to see Catherine also for a few minutes. Catherine and a family friend, Sarah, biked over on the Paul Bunyan trail, 12-15 miles from their home in Merrifield. Way to go girls!
Once people were gone, Mark and I headed out to run errands and pick-up more materials. Screws at Carlson Hardware, we stopped at Stonehouse Coffee Shop in Nisswa to use their WiFi Network to upload to the Cabin blog, then into Walmart for a USB camera cable (updated pictures to come) and Home Depot for Timberlock screws. Of course we then needed to stop for gas for the chain saw.
Finally after a week of trying to contact a Forrester, Mark made contact. The Forrester will be here on Tuesday, August 2nd to make an recommendation on Foresty Management. This probably should have been looked into years ago.
Friday morning weather was again awesome and lasted all day. Derek and Blaze, Mark's nephew and dog, arrived about 1:30 to become the new crew member for the day and all weekend. Mark began making the sill for the picture window. After placing a brace log in the corner of the cabin , Derek began the demolition of the logs on the corner. The glass for both windows are now in Don and Jeanette's bedroom waiting to be replaced. The Cut-Off box is finished just waiting for the next step. Rebecca, a very close friend of Mark's and mine, arrived about 8:45 pm. After a late dinner we were still waiting for Dave, Heather & Bud. They made it at about 1:30. The bonfire was going nicely. We were all wired and the girls ended up cranking music and dancing in the cabin to let off some steam. Mark checked on us a number of time and just laughed at us. It was a good day.
Saturday we woke up to rain, but as I'm typing now, 2:50 pm, the sun is out and it's very hot. Dennis, Paul and Peggy Reschke, along with Saddie the pup (we are up to 6 dogs for the day), and Landon (5), Lucas (2), Chloe (9), and Faith (6) who are Paul and Peggy's grandchildren arrived about 11:00 am. Our crew has really grown for the day.
Dennis, Paul and Peggy brought lunch fix'ns for all. It was delicious and we have taken photos of everyone. Although our crew has become very diverse, work continues and people are assigned tasks as they are spotted. Dennis has added another Timbor treatment to the logs. Rebecca has been awesome this morning! She removed the doors from both of the bedrooms and planned them, then sanded and reinstalled. Both doors now shut without a problem. She also cleaned up the refridgerator in the old cabin. The bonding, or getting to know other family members, has been great. It's a very possitive feeling for the future of the Reschke family. Heather has been off locating wood for another bonfire. We want to treat Paul and Peggy's grandchildren to S'mores before they head home. Heather has been the chief baby sitter, dog sitter and dish washer today. She also made time to wash Chloe and Faith's hair while they were in the lake swimming. Rebecca and Heather have been great help!Dave and Derek are very considerate to shut the screen door facing the lake so bugs don't get into the cabin. Hey guys, two windows have already been taken out and the poly is off! All bugs welcomed here! The complete sill/frame of the picture window has now been removed. A very happy side note is that Don is going to be released from the nursing home on Tuesday, August 2nd. Hats off to Don!!! Storms hit the cabin about 6:00. Tornado Sirens going off all around us. Dennis and crew headed to their vechiles and took off. The girls and I had gone into Pequot to run some errands and to work on the computer. Mark called me and told us to get our butts back to the cabin. Work ended early today. No dancing in the cabin tonight for us girls. According to Dave and Derek the demolished corner of the cabin is held up by a toothpick. Even my great weight could take it all down!
Sunday is another beautiful day. Rebecca headed out early, she had things to do at home and wanted to spend some time with her brother and his family. Heather was a rock star again today, scrubbing out the kitchen sinks, the bathroom sink and she tackled the toilet. Yeah Heather! At the same time Mark, Dave and Derek are pushing ahead on the cabin logs. The bottom front log required 1 large rabbit and 8 different wide notches. Three more logs were cut and put into place, one additional front log and two side logs. The couch has left the building... By then it was time to poly off the opennings before the pesky bugs became serious! We all have bug bites galore. Hanging under the eve, very near the project, is a large wasps nest. So far, Rebecca has been stung twice and Dave once. Dave, Heather and Bud took off for home about 7:30. Heather drove because Dave was exhausted. Mark, Derek and I went into Pequot and had a very nice dinner at Pestello's. We are all dog tired so it was a nice break not to cook or clean up afterwards. We got back about 10:30. Mark and Derek then tackled the wasp situation. The pests should be done by morning! The cabin feels different with the open walls, but it's awesome to think we are doing the same thing Grandpa did so many years ago. Although we are not building but restoring what he so lovingly built for himself and the generations to come.
Monday morning started out very wet! Rain, rain and more rain. Mark and Derek have secured the poly half way up so they can still work, but are also prepared for when the rain moves back in. Mark and Derek jacked up the vertical post on the corner in order to fit the fourth log on the east wall. They needed to remove 6 inches of the vertical log to ensure the final logs would fit securely. This also pushed the corner back to plum, or squared off. Timbor lock screws where used on all the logs to hold them in place. The final log on the front of the cabin was placed at 5:00. Between the logs on the cabin they contined to work on the beveled sill for the picture window. They replaced the poly to secure the windows. Derek has been very entertaining all weekend. We had our radios going and Derek would hear the first few notes of a song and break out singing. He has quite the voice?!?!!! Blaze on the other hand got completely spoiled by her auntie. Of course my dogs are not spoiled. Derek packed up his truck, after another swim in the lake, to start the ride home. Mark and I had a quiet evening, we enjoyed grilling venison on the bonfire. The storms resurfaced about 12:45, 1:00 am. The winds were furious and took the poly right off the cabin, from then on it was damage control. A crazy night!
The Forrester consultant arrive right on time Tuesday morning at 9:00 am. Unfortuneatly, we had not checked the driveway for downed tress and branches yet from Monday night's storm. We had a dead Ironwood tree that uprooted onto the driveway. Not big, just a nuisance. Mark was very interested in what the Forrester had to say. We can do something more proactive with forestry management in the future. The Forrester made comment to Mark the it is possible the upper road along the highway could have been a part of the north/south trail used by many men with horses and wagons. Mark's friend Michael, a retired History Teacher, is going to research this for the family. Our Tuesday has been a fairly slow, quiet day. Especially since the walls have been replaced. Everything is water logged and not worth moving yet. I spent 2 hours at the library updating the website. I really got into a groove so when the library closed at 4:00 I moved over to the Pequot landromat to continue working on the computer. I sent an email to Marv Larson, Dennis and Paul Reschke letting them know pictures were posted and my "journal" loaded to our website. Of course a few more supplies for the project needed to be purchased. Mark continued working on the sill for the picture window while I was gone. When I returned to the cabin I sent out word, via the cell phone, that the website was available for access. I hope all will enjoy. We are hoping to use a riding lawn mower and the little trailor to put things away. We are now concerned that more damaged happen with the fire incident than we were aware of. We'll check it out tomorrow. It has been decided that Don is not quite ready to come home from the nursing home. He will be there for probably another week. He did start with a new physical therapist and he is very happy. The therapist is trying some new things that should be helpful in Don's continuing recovery.
Wednesday is beautiful again as we begin the final stages of Phase 1 restoration. Mark is working on the sill for the picture window. We have made arrangements with Michael and Catherine to come over and help out. Also, the promise of a good old fashioned wennie roast. While Michael helped Mark in the Sawmill, Catherine went out scouting for mushrooms. She found some unique ones and brought them home to research. I have spent about two hours pulling staples from the logs, left from when we pull the poly off the open windows in the morning. Finally it's time to move the window frame and install it. It's a good thing four of us were here to accomplish this, a couple more minor adjustments and it's installed. After lunch Mark squared, schimmed and nail the window fram into place. Our guest departed about 3:00 after Catherine shared stories from her trip to Grand Marais. She went with some girlfriends for the weekend and participated in the Dragon races. This is a canoe race with 22 to 23 people per canoe rowing together. Catherine was proud to report that her team of women came in 2nd place for their class. Way to go Catherine! Another quiet evening was had by Mark, I and the pups.