Moving on up! First Weekend.

Moving on up!  Moving up 6,000 feet to be exact.  Finally our cabin is done enough to move stuff in.  Two years in the making and a lot of debt.  But the time is finally here.  A little background:  Over three years ago, we found out we were moving to Great Falls, MT.  We were excited because it was bringing closer to our roots.  McGyver was originally from Idaho and I was from Washington State, Northwest folks to be exact.  Because of the military we have lived all around the globe, and where we haven’t lived, we’ve traveled.  After extensive traveling, sometimes you realize there is no place like home, and sometimes you find out there’s no place like the place your living at now.  McGyver’s family had left Idaho, and believe it or not, decided to relocate to Washington State.  The natural thought would be for us to settle in Washington State to be closer to both of our families, however, we both knew that Washington had become quite crowded and honestly the constant “grey” of Washington was unappealing to both of us. 

We were super excited about the opportunity to move to Montana.  It would bring us closer to family, but it was not a heavily populated state.  I’m not a total country girl, I knew that I wanted certain amenities in life like a well stocked grocery store and Internet.  Great Falls seemed like the perfect place.  When we moved to Great Falls we decided to down size from a 3,000 square foot home to an 1,800 square foot home.  That meant that we had an excess of furniture.  About the time that we were moving here the American economy was doing poorly.  We (mostly McGyver) were losing money on investments.  McGyver had decided to pull one of his money market accounts and invest in land…..after all no one is making land.   Because the economy was not doing great, realty was also in somewhat of a slump.  We were able to buy 40 acres with most of McGyver had pulled out of his account.  We knew that we wanted a cabin so we stored some extra furniture in the dreams of a cabin someday.

The property we bought has a small creek running through it and had a cabin started.  Really the only nice building on it was the outhouse at the bottom meadow.   So last year we had a contractor finish framing the cabin and do the outside.  This year the concentration was on finishing the inside.  Lucky for us our year ’round neighbor is a drywaller and construction guy.  So we hired him to finish the inside.  In an ideal world we would have built and finished the cabin ourselves, there is certainly a sense of pride that goes along with that.  Problem is, we didn’t have the time, both of us working full time and having a family, and the real truth…..we just didn’t have the knowledge and skill.

Sure we could have figured it out and got it done, McGyver has the aptitude, but…..we wanted use it.  If we did it, maybe in 20 years it would have been done.  So much for making the most of our investment.  Our rational was that the quicker we could get into it the quicker we would stop paying rent for space for the furniture in storage and vacations would be spent there versus elsewhere.  Oh, McGyver and the boys would lap in luxury during hunting season.

The time has finally come, the cabin was finished enough to move some stuff in.  The dogs were excited as usual to go.  Okay, they are excited anytime they get to go for a ride, but they especially like going to the cabin! 

First look through the door.


The mortaring for the wall isn’t quite finished but it looks great already.

 The bathroom is the least finished…I didn’t care….the toilet was ready to use.

We had a composting toilet installed, which is very “green”, the compost will be used for a garden that I will have someday.

My mom and my sister had bought me this copper and brass light, probably six years ago.  Finally it has a home.  The cabinets I finished myself, they are supposed to look old and distressed.  It was certainly a fun project.  I’d like to commend by neighbor Jeff for the trim work.  I just told him I wanted wood trim and I wanted it to match the cabinets.  He did a perfect job and added the nice touch on the top of the windows and sliding glass door instead of just doing a plain square.

 We have a small closet that holds the breaker box, water heater and will hold the batteries to power the house when the generator isn’t running.

He even stained our “stairs and the frame around it to match.

 This is our bedroom, the walls are actually brown and dark beige….lighting is not ideal in our room but it will make for a cozy night sleep.

Please admire the hardwood flooring which we got for a steal.  I love how it looks “old”.

 The door that we bought at the “Restore” store here in Great Falls.  It obviously came from an apartment.  Jeff also set up the rails so no one would fall down the hole in the middle of the night.


He also installed some hand rails that are so helpful when coming up the stairs.

As you can tell Mcgyver is happy to have something to hold onto as he climbed up the stairs.

The view from upstairs.

This is our bedroom.  A bedroom, wow, how great is that?

The cubby that we had niched out….because you always need more space, especially if you only have 600 square feet.

This is the “living” area.  Again, we had a nook…I have a vision for that.

See the water container…I have a vision to cover that…..

 Jeff came down while we were moving things in.

 I can’t believe it…put water in the above tank….and you have running water!

 This is our “instant” hot water heater in the only closet we have.  It runs on propane and gives you hot water within a minute!

While we were moving stuff in and Jeff was going over all the logistics of the cabin, Becca dog was doing some discovering herself.  Specifically she found a fresh cow pie from the free range cattle and rolled around in it. 

 Needless to she was tied up until McGyver could take her down to the creek and wash her up.  The way she is licking her chops you’d think she was enjoying it.  Ooooh gross, what is wrong with you dog?????

In order to get larger items up to the top floor we had to use a little McGyver ingenuity.  A pully and a pick-up truck did the trick.

Unfortunately it was just McGyver and I which made the task  a little more difficult.

Our dinner that night was a cold dinner of crackers, cheese and red wine.  I knew we would be busy all day “nesting” so a cold dinner and a little cheap wine to celebrate would just fill the bill.

The next morning I utilized my kitchen for real!  I cooked up some bacon and made coffee.  

I baked some canned biscuits in my cast iron pan in the counter top propane oven.


Some how breakfast seems to tast better so much better in the cabin…see those lovely fried eggs, the pile of bacon and baked biscuits even if they are homemade!

The cabin is not fully decorated but I am working on it.

This is the front room with Dennis the Pheasant that McGyver shot, the old lantern, duck decoys and rocker from Grandpa and Grandma HoHo.

 The dining room table was a freebie with the above hall table.  I was in Tongeren, Blegium, doing my usual bi-annual visit when I ran across this fabulous hall table/sofa table from Sweden.  I wanted it and the seller offered to through in the table with 4 chairs for free.  I paid $100 for the lot.  I used all pieces for years.  The chairs were horrible so we got rid of them before we moved here.  I am so pleased the other pieces are working out.

 The china hut was purchased at a “bazaar” on base in Lakenheath, UK.  The dishes are my absolute favorite;  Henry Watson “for use at home or safari” from England.  The blue plates made by Spode and a bunch of knick-knacks from Germany and copper pieces that I have collected over the years.

 Another cold meal for lunch.  Salami and cheese sandwich with some chips and a little coffee.

Please note the gorgeous Chicken Picture  from Italy, a gift my daughter Leah.

 Mcgyver had his Cuckoo clock from Germany and a special picture he bought that we hung up in the “high” traffic area.

I added some of my copper collection to the wood stove area.  Plus an old wooden sleigh…..just because I like it.

 At the top of the stairs we mounted “Hamlet”.

Folks, this is why I really needed a cabin…seriously where else was I going to hang McGyver’s trophy? 

Sometimes what you think, is not what you are going to get.  We thought we would do a Daybed upstairs.  So we bought a set of antique twin beds for $90.  My idea was to put the two foot boards together to make the day bed.  We did and we found out that there would be no room for a coffee table.

I am sad to say that the daybed idea is kaput and we will be purchasing a futon instead.

I know this post is lengthy but please bear with me because I am so proud of the chairs we have.  As I stated earlier, we got ridh  of the horrible chairs that came with my free table; last year on our 4th of July visit to Westport, Wa.  Grandpa and Grandma HoHo gave us chairs.  Chairs with a history.  Grandpa HoHo had bought some chairs at a yard sale, the seller had told him that the chairs were from the original Yellowstone Lodge.  We didn’t know if it was true or not, but we knew that they were beautiful chairs that needed some work.  We took them to a local guy for restoration….well, he found a stamp on those chairs.  They were made my a company that supplied all the original chairs at….you guessed it….Yellowstone Lodge!  McGyver and I went on line and did some research, sure enough it was true these were original chairs from Yellowstone Lodge.  Not only that but some reproduction chairs were going for $500 each!

Look we have a bed!  The brass bed came from McGyver’s grandfather.  McGyver had the quilt made in Germany.  The throw pillows are Irish linen that I picked up.  The mirror was thrown in free when we bought our daybed set up.  The night stand was also bought in Tongeren. 

Right now, this is how we get water up to our tank.  Poor McGyver has to haul it up.  Fortunately our neighbor Jeff has an established spring that we can get water from.  We have 3 springs but we haven’t developed any of them yet…next year?????

Every move has it’s mess, this is just a small haul we were taking out with us. 

 This was a very long blog….but so exciting.  I’d like to leave you with a picture of Summer who thinks that Becca is her personal fur covered couch….

Can that be really comfortable?  Probably if you are a dog.

 Hey, on the way home we stopped in Lincoln, MT at Lamkins Supper Club.

A couple of employees were looking up in a tree.  We couldn’t resist and we had to look up also. 

Poor little black bear.  I hope he finds his way down soon, I mean after I’m not around cause I’m sure he’ll be hungry.  I would be if I were stuck in a tree all day…. 

Next weekend more moving in and I can’t wait!


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3 Responses to Moving on up! First Weekend.

  1. Leah @ L4L August 10, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    WOW! It’s really coming together! I like it! I like seeing all of the pieces from our travels! 🙂

    Ok, and the dogs are cracking me up. I love the first and last picture of them. And you are right, Pippin looks like Becca’s sister!

  2. Kitchen Butterfly August 18, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

    Congratulations RHONDA – I loved seeing the house with all your bits of home. But is this home? Or is this your holiday home…….Congratulations again and well done.

  3. Linda Balfour November 5, 2010 at 1:49 am #

    Oh, Rhonda, I am so envious. You have done such a great job and I love all the knick knacks, apart from the stuffed creatures on the walls – don’t think I could sleep with that looking at me! I was wondering what a china hut was, and then I saw it was a dresser, glad to see you have some stuff from England. Hope you have many happy times there.