country dreams / durham / kitchen / Logs / maintenance / NC / Products / renovations / thoughts

Saturday…This is the day for the logs

10 AM:

I woke up this morning at my usual time determined that I am not going to let this day pass without getting a lot of stuff done. Today I am devoting the day to my logs (again), which I hope to get done this time and maybe, just maybe, get my range hood box made.  That’s the plan.

I started working on the logs this morning.  Well I actually started last night but after about 15 minutes I took a break and wound up falling asleep. That happens a lot lately and I wake up with my laptop on my lap.  I finish typing whatever it was I was typing then head on to bed.  As soon as the alarm went off this morning I jumped up, took a shower and got busy.

Step one.  Cleaning the logs


I made a mixture with water and Cascade.  I first tried washing the logs with the scrub brush but that was getting messy and making me have a headache so I switched to using the bathroom scrubber.  I saw this in Walmart the other night.


I never used this before, or even heard of it but I decided to try it because the scrubber has a handle on it and says it is light duty.  I want to clean up not tear up so that sounded perfect.  This scrubber was getting up all kinds of dirt and I think some of the old stain as well.  The water was looking naaaasty!  (BTW the logs in the background are clean now…)

There is definitely something alarming and disgusting about cleaning the kitchen and coming up with really dark murky water and I had plenty of that.  No one wants to think they had this much dirt around their food. Ewwwl. The dirty water in this case was coming from cleaning the logs that used to be on the outside of the house.  Since I have owned the house the logs have been covered so the dirt was contained…but still..

I also found old dirt dauber nests and there is something alarming about that also.  There is always that fear that there may be a live infestation and when you knock that thing down all these killer wasps will come out of the nest and come after you and do what they do…sting you with a thousand stings and kill you.  And in my case I could be dead round this joint for a minute before someone realizes they better call the fuzz cause something might be wrong. LOL.. okay …so yeah… I have a vivid imagination.   I hesitantly knocked them down and quickly disposed of them.  There were some dried up cacoons in there but I darn not hesitate to take a photo…just in case.
I  moved right along to the next task



I feel like I am getting to know my house intimately.  That is why I love tinkering.  In this case I am getting to appreciate the skills  Mr Jim put into building this house for his wife Ms Georgia.  I mean how awesome is it to have a husband that will go out on your land and build you a house from scratch BY HAND.  He probably had his buddies helping him, they were sneaking to get a sip in here and there, talking junk, laughing, cussing,  and just doing what men do.  You know I always say men have a funny bonding thing between them and they will work hard to make a woman happy as long as they like said woman.  That’s why when I am dating someone I try not to piss their buddies off and I get mad if they talk smack about me to their friends, which none of us should do anyway.  So here they were working hard on the Gates dream.  There was no running to Lowe’s or Home Depot every day buying supplies like I been doing, all they needed was elbow grease, a saw to cut down the trees and a hammer and some nails to put the house together. LOL.

The bottom lines is that the man cut the trees down and did what he had to do to build his home. It took a dream, it took skills, and it took love and when he put it all together he got this little cabin. Mr Gates was just a man but he did the best he could and it turned out wonderful because the love is still appreciated some 70 years later albeit by another woman (me), but the dream continues in my country dream.  That’s so beautiful!  I honestly feel like crying typing this.  WOW.

This is a photo of Mrs Gates daddy E.C. Belvin.  It looks like it was taken where my barn is now.  I bet he also helped to build this house.

So in my labor of love (cleaning the logs)  I realized I have to do some maintenance.  I have to buy some wood filler because some of the logs have deep cracks.  I did not feel any sogginess as if the wood is rotting so I am hoping the wood filler is going to be sufficient.  While I am at the store I am going to go ahead and buy the stain too because I swear  IF I HAVE TO GO TO THE STORE ONE MORE FRICK-FRACKING TIME AFTER THIS IMMA SCREAM!!

And I have to plan how I look when I go to Home Depot dag-gone-it.  I don’t care that I look like I been working but some chicks be coming in the store looking tough and rank.  I can’t do that. All those handy men in one place…hmmm…I don’t think so.

Will update you again later on today.  hi ho hi ho its off to Home depot I go.

Okay so now its 1:41…about 4 hours later…  I got back from the store and of course I stopped to get something to eat and while I was eating I updated this posting.  This is how my day keeps getting ruined. Next steps, fill in the cracks in the logs and cut off that cement flue in the chimney.  I HOPE I have the right blade for my grinder….


Went to fill in the cracks in the logs and they were deep so I decided to fill them in with backer rods cut in half first.This should make it easier to fill with the wood putty and prevent further cracks from the putty shrinking.  I don’t want the logs to look perfect I just don’t want them to have deep gouges in them.  Remember this is my kitchen and these walls will occasionally have to get cleaned.  I want to make that process as easy as possible.

Side note…I did find a LOT of these nests in the walls.  Ewwwl.  I am happy to think that once I finish the insides of my walls are going to be clean to my standards,  LOL  This photo is showing a log on top, chinking on the bottom and bug larvae in between.  I hope these are terribly old.  I wonder if I should have this wall sprayed before I close it?

I have the putty done… I had to smooth it with my fingers because the grain of the wood is so raised.  I had a leak in the roof a few years ago and this wall got a lot of the drainage.  I did not find that out until later but that’s a long story I don’t want to get into right now.  I will sand this down after it dries and before I start working on the chinking so in the meantime I will work on the chimney.

4:29 I said I was going to scream if I have to go to the store one more time right?  ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!

I went to cut that little piece of the flue off so I can hang the wood on the wall and the dry wall and lo and behold the grinder is not working.  I been messing with that thing all this time and you know what? I just don’t have the time for the drama.  I am going to the pawn shop and getting me another one….That is all for now….

7:39 And after running to the pawn shop and decided I was not paying $89 for a used grinder I went to Harbor Freight and got a 4″ grinder for like $20.  Then I was reading the instructions and I was not sure it was the right tool for the other words I was not sure it could handle it cause it is a cheap grinder.  So I went in the kitchen with a hammer and knocked the overhanging flue off and well, that’s what I wanted in the first place so I accomplished the goal.  I could have accomplished it for $20 less though.  I have a small collection of things to be returned to the store and it is on the list.  I don’t see an immediate need for a grinder so when I need one I will get another.

Okay so I have delayed long enough.  Time to mix this mortar and get to chinking.  For some reason I have been intimidated to do it.  LOL.  Not sure why but what the hey, I have no choice but to do it now. I only have a couple more things to do so delaying time is over with.  I wonder what happens if I totally screw it up.  Do I get to the point of no return and cover it up with drywall?  I guess I will cross that bridge if I get to it and I hope not.  LOL

Okay so my recipe is 1:3:4

1 part Portland cement, 3 parts sand and 4 parts lime.  I will use a shovel to measure and after everything is mixed up in the bucket then add water and mix till it is the consistency of peanut butter.  Oh I forgot the nails…   LOL that shouldn’t take but a few minutes.

11:58 PM Last post of the night and on this thread.  OH MY GOODNESS.  I knew there was a reason I was scared to start on this!  First of all I can not lift the Portland cement out of my trunk so it has to stay in there until I use enough of it to be able to lift it out .  It’s 75 lbs and all I used out of it was a shovelful. I have a long way to go!!

I had the bag of lime in the house so I laid the bag down cut it open and what do you know? A shovel does not fit in this bag!  Okay so how am I suppose to measure a shovelful?  I don’t…I used 8 half shovels instead.  Then I go outside and break open the bag of sand and scoop out 6 half shovels,  then I do the same with the cement getting 2 halves of a shovel.  Of course that did not make a dent in the bag of cement.  So I bring in the bucket and put it on my drop cloth.  I go outside and scrape all the soil off my shovel.  I’m sorry, did I say soil?  I meant to say I scraped off the clay they call soil here.  I bring it in and look around for something to put the water in.  I have some plastic cups but they are only 8 oz and it would take too many of these jokers so I used the next best thing…an empty McDonalds cup.  LOL I have plenty of them around here.

I got a workout mixing this stuff up.  Cement is not easy to mix. I thought I had it the constancy of peanut butter but in retrospect, it might have been just a tad bit looser.


I started at the bottom as instructed.  Hmmmph.  I was about to cry in the beginning because I could not get the chinking to stay in place.  Oh gosh I forgot the nails.  That was a prime example of ADD.  I went to Bearfortlodge to read about the nails and got sidetracked on the site and forgot all about the nails.  Now that the cement is already mixed its too late because I don’t want the cement to get hard on me.

Since the chink wont stay i was getting discouraged.  I put some of the chink in by hand and pushed it into the gaps.

Then I smoothed it out with the trowel.  I hope that does not make me get cancer.

It was in doing this that I started realizing that if I used the trowel at an angle to begin with, everything stays in place.  It was hard to do because the gap between the logs is as much as 6 inches high in some spots but I stuck with it…  and I finally finished.  I know it looks messy now but I will get it all straightened out tomorrow.





The lower logs had their face shaved off.  I think that was so the front could be level. I will have to get some use out of the grinder after all because that wood is VERY rough and VERY hard near the bottom and a grinder will smooth it out quickly and without a lot of effort.  I can’t wait to see how this wall turns out.


2 thoughts on “Saturday…This is the day for the logs

  1. I liked your story about Mr. Jim and Ms. Georgia…that’s my husband’s name, so I have my own “Mr. Jim”…even though our house is a 1983 ranch, he is renovating almost every inch of it himself, so it’s almost like he’s building us a house with his own two hands. I guess that would make me “Ms. Donna” 🙂


    • Oh that’s so great. Actually I liked the work hes doing that you have blogged about. I still have hope of finding my own Jim..hope is still alive!!!


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