Monday, September 05, 2005

Cabin Fever

I went to a really neat place yesterday for a picnic. It was an 1860 cabin on a kind of remote ranch in the mountains. There were actually 2 cabins. We drove about 15 miles into the mountains outside of Ferndale. Ferndale is a very small dairy town about 15 miles outside of Eureka. The last 5 miles or so was down a one-lane dirt road behind a locked gate.

The larger of the 2 cabins was built in 1860. I would say it was about 800 sq ft. The smaller one started out life as a one-room bunk house about 12-feet square with a small exterior notch for the bathroom. The age of the bunk house is unknown. The smaller one was added on to 2 years ago to double it’s size. Both cabins are in mostly original condition, with the exception of the addition to the small one. There is no electricity on the ranch and the water is gravity fed from a spring.

This small ranch is part of a larger family run ranching operation. A woman who works for the family is a permanent resident of the larger cabin. Some friends of mine have a sort of lifetime lease on smaller one so long as they maintain it and the small bit of property it sits on. The main cabin still had the massive cast iron stove that is still used for cooking on a daily basis. It had fir counter tops in the kitchen and a zinc tub in the bathroom, along with many day-to-day household items.

There was also a fir kitchen table that was really cool. The table was about 3-feet by 6-feet and the top was made out of a single piece of fir wood. It was just one big slab of wood that was 3-feet wide, 6-feet long, and 2-inches thick. The wood grain looks just like the fir flooring I put in my kitchen. The kitchen counters were also made out of a single piece of fir wood.

With the smaller cabin every last stick of wood was redwood. All counters, cabinets, cabinet handles, walls, floors, doors, windows, ceilings, siding, and shingles were all redwood and none of it had ever been painted, oiled or shellacked. It was very rustic, very charming, and very, very cool.

There is also a small graveyard on the ranch. There are only 3 bodies buried there. One is of one of the daughters (or maybe a grand daughter) of one of the original homesteaders of the ranch. She lived on the ranch her whole life from 1906 to 1996. The other was of an 8 year old boy who died in 1918 (I think) when he fell out of the barn. Apparently there is a third grave that has lost it’s marker and people forgot where the body is.

Unfortunately I forgot my camera so there are no pictures.


Jocelyn said...

sounds like a nice excursion. we didn't manage to get away at all this weekend- except to walk 2 blocks to the lake, which we are lucky to be so near!

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