Camp #1: A bit of history is in order

Blog entry by fredf posted 09-04-2008 02:33 AM 2345 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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When my parents were first married, they lived on the farm with my grandparents for several years. In the summer they would camp in the lower pasture, by a stream bordering my grandfather’s property for a bit more privacy. When I was born, they bought a chicken coop from my grandfather and moved that to the property to use as a camp.

When my dad died I was 3 or 4. They where no longer living at the farm as my dad had taken a job 40 or 50 miles toward the coast. My mother had a 16×24’ building added on to serve as a living room/ sleeping porch, with the original chicken coop as a kitchen, and we moved back for the summer. A couple years later she had another building added as a storage area / bedroom.

Fast Forward till I got married, and took over management of the camp. We jacked it up 18” to get it off the ground, adding a second set of 16’ 2×6’s as floor joists ( the original ones were 24” on center (talk about a bit of spring in the floor!) and a beam down the middle for even more support.

We built a shed to house the pump and for storage, and added a bathroom to the second building, along with a septic system, displacing the fire breathing toilet that my mother had added to replace the out house. (The toilet even had a theme song popular with my son and nephews, something about chestnuts roasting on an open fire . . .) We also added a deck to tie the buildings together to avoid tracking through the mud

The beam along the side of the living room and porch (on the side with the coop attached) had been repaired in 2 places, and a 3rd section got carpenter ants, and needs to be replaced. There is more repair than original beam left. The coop only has about 5’ walls (what do chickens care about headroom!) but that made it impossible to put wall cabinets in. so storage space was very minimal. We agonized for a year or so what to do; we didn’t really want to trash it, as it was the original part of the camp. Finally my son suggested that we move it and use it for a bedroom. That made a lot of sense. Actually what I did is to build a whole new building, and next summer we will disassemble the coop and use the walls for interior trim in the new building, which we will use as a kitchen till we get a new one built. At the same time we gained headroom and a solid floor (the original was 2×4s 24” OC,) later reinforced with 2×6’s. Once that is taken care of we can attack that 24’ beam that is now in at least 4 pieces . . .

Back when we started I figured it was a 10 year sentence, then a 20 year, then a 30 year…. I now figure I got life at hard labor; but it is a labor of love. At some point I want to add a workshop so when we retire I have a good place to play. Considering we only have a couple weeks a year to work on it typically 1 week & 3 or 4 – 3 day weekends,) I think we have made pretty good progress

Please excuse the mess, this is a construction zone! Please watch your step!

The front of the coop, behind the tree, hiding under a brown tarp. The beam under the porch covered with black tarp is where we found carpenter ants

The back of the coop

The new home for the coop

The front of the camp

The front of the porch

The shingled section is the bathroom/laundry area, the log cabin siding is on the 2nd building that my mother added for storage

Interior shots of the new temporary kitchen, this space will be converted to a guest house eventually

-- -- Fred, Springfield, Ma

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6 posts in 4469 days

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7 comments so far

View PaBull's profile


694 posts in 4570 days

posted 09-05-2008 01:04 AM

Looks like a nice homy place to me, Fred. Thanks for sharing, and welcome on board here at HR.

View MRTRIM's profile


743 posts in 4623 days

posted 09-05-2008 12:32 PM

great story and great camp as well

View fredf's profile


6 posts in 4469 days

posted 09-06-2008 05:23 AM

Thanks for the kind words, we are happy with the way the temporary kitchen turned out, the shell is 4’ longer than the original so we can add a closet in the back, that and the extra height really make a huge difference. the old kitchen was very cramped with all the bags of groceries etc on the floor for lack of a better place to store them.

-- -- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View PaBull's profile


694 posts in 4570 days

posted 09-06-2008 04:58 PM

How is the building department to deal with in your neck of the woods?

View fredf's profile


6 posts in 4469 days

posted 09-06-2008 08:13 PM

If you try to get away with something they can be tough, if you ask they are quite willing to work with you to work out any issues. Now back in the good ole days, they didn’t have one. Back when I started building the shed without a permit, the inspector stopped by and asked what I was doing. he was a bit tough, but at least I didn’t have to dig up the posts :-/

One of our neighbors built a “storage area” over his garage, finished in knotty pine with all the amenities. I understand that the inspector was NOT amused . . . .

-- -- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View clieb91's profile


12 posts in 4619 days

posted 09-16-2008 03:25 AM

Fred that is a great story and so glad to hear that the camp has stayed in the family and your working on fixing it up. Look forward to seeing other projects there. I am sure it will be as you said a labor of love.


View dustygirl's profile


321 posts in 4410 days

posted 11-08-2008 04:33 PM

Wow Fred your camp really has a lot of history to it.Loved the story.Thanks for sharing.

-- Dustygirl Hastings,Ont. Life is too short to sit around doing nothing

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