There's some remaining building site and septic field tree removal to do, but last weekend I couldn't resist exposing more of our view of Green Bay.
A birch and an ugly poplar came down and bam! An island!
At the risk of sounding like a complete ignoramus, I didn't even know this piece of land existed, and I've been coming to DC for over 40 years. It's Green Island. It's 68 acres, about 9 miles from Door County and 5 miles from Marinette, WI (on the other side of the bay). Turns out, it's the only private island in Green Bay. And, it's for sale!
Now we're considering a major pivot that's more aligned with our misanthropy: sell our 5 and buy an island, which will include:
I don't know how I got my phone into Early French Impressionist mode, but it's finally happened: our clearing is visible from Bay Shore Drive. Specifically from the parking lot for Bay Shore Blufflands Nature Preserve.
Our plan is to keep most of the red and white pines — seen here — because they are such magnificent trees, and still allow a view.
Back in February I had an itchy trigger finger and felled a bunch of trees to beat the wind. Last weekend I worked from can-see to can't-see to clean it all up. Prized timbers were marked for milling, and Tim Bittorf of Bluffside Services (920-495-8482) is taking the rest away, for wood chips and toilet paper.
It may not look like it, but we're getting close to having Nick's team at Lily Bay Sand & Gravel — the winners of the sitework bids — come to scrape the building site and remove all the stumps. They won't be thrilled, but I'll be onsite for that, grabbing as many unearthed stones as possible for our foundation and patio. Lots more to come soon.
What you're supposed to do at this point is trailer your lumber back to your site for air drying. A forklift loads the trailer. But Door County received a bunch of ❄️ in February that made that impossible. So I used the brute force method that recalled Door County settlers: I hand-loaded it all into the back of the Land Cruiser (4 trips!) and then shoveled out nearly 2 feet of snow in two spots to stack and sticker it. It was just an insane amount of work that had me considering Lumber Liquidators.
It'll all be worth it. It's wide and pretty and there's enough flooring to knock out most of the main level. This is what I'm telling myself.
There was a gale warning in Egg Harbor for Sunday night and sustained 15-20 MPH forecast for Monday, so Sunday afternoon, with winds at 4-5 MPH, I took down as many trees as I could, and left the limbing and bucking for when it's blowing.
Don't cut timber on a windy day.
It was so fun. I probably felled 20 trees and even managed to make three or four felling cuts that didn't bring embarrassment and shame to the point where I needed to re-cut the stump to hide the incriminating evidence. I'm posting those here (see below). Also, the video is not bad. I didn't make a totally even back cut, which is why the tree twisted a little on the way down. My technique still has a long way to go. By the time the lot is fully cleared I hope to be intermediate.
While I'm trying to line up a well, septic, foundation, and ... a *driveway*, my wife insisted on me laying out the kitchen. 🤔
We have a galley kitchen in our Edina house and love it. So, much like we're copying our current den, we're trying to copy our current kitchen, too.
Somehow my drawing ended up having 11' between posts, and 9' of wall against the stairs, which makes this layout math so simple even I can figure it out.
On the exterior wall, left-to-right, is a 2' pantry, 1.5' dishwasher, 2' sink, 2x 1.5' cabinets, and a 2.5' fridge.
Explanation and rationale:
"Kitchen work line." We don't really cook, so more important for us than a "kitchen work triangle" is a "kitchen work *line*" running from the fridge to the sink. 99.5% of our takeout is unpacked in this space, as evidenced by the wear pattern patina on the floor. (It's at least as patinaed as the space in front of the sink.) Having 36" of counter-top between fridge and sink, with two silverware/knife/utensil drawers below is incredibly handy and efficient. I don't think I would build a kitchen without this setup.
Windows where cabinets should be. On a .25 acre urban or inner-ring suburban lot, the kitchen often ends up looking into your neighbor's living room, so a single window above the sink is about all you want. Even though this wall is facing east (the non-water view), there are a lot fewer neighbors to see, so we're sacrificing shelves/cabinets for glass.
Signature refrigerator. This was unintentional, but the refrigerator is turning out to be a focal point not just for the kitchen but for the entire MVC. It's in view at every turn, so in the drawing now is a ridiculously expensive 30" Sub-Zero with a glass door. We plan on offsetting this expense by doing IKEA cabinets. 😉
On the 9' wall is a 1' cabinet, a 2' range, and 3x 2' cabinets. We'll put all our plates and glassware on 3 floating shelves made from some of the trees I cut down.
Explanation and rationale:
Baby *does* get put in a corner. We use our current range for scrambled eggs and frozen pizza, so we're going with a mini 24"-wide range, sacrificing symmetry, and getting it off to the side to make room for ~6'-wide shelves.
On the next kitchen post I'll break down the prices for all this stuff. Love it? Hate it? Completely indifferent? Let me know at email@example.com.
One of the objectives of the 8-day Door County stay was to create a "driveway" and "parking" on the lot so I didn't have to keep parking on the side of the road. And on the 8th day, mission accomplished. It felt great to actually drive onto the building site. It suddenly somehow felt more "owned" than before, getting a truck in the space where the tennis courts will go 😉. It certainly was much handier accessing gear, and beer.
Before heading back to Minneapolis I put all the timber I plan on milling on makeshift stickers so they're not rotted by direct contact with the earth. Even using wood-moving techniques taught in The Bible, and with the help of a cant hook, it was a lot of work. I also destroyed all evidence of any laughably amateurish felling cuts. There were a few decent ones (but nothing great yet). I kept those visible for any stump readers who might stop by.
I can't wait to get back and start exposing part of the view (hopefully in October). I'm also excited about the possibility of placing the structure between a giant white pine and a giant red oak, where the oak would be the centerpiece of a circular driveway, while the pine would ideally sit between two windows on the western elevation. I need to bring the measurements and compass readings into SketchUp to see if it will work out. The results will be posted here.
Our wide-plank oak flooring has landed. I'm not gonna lie. I should've popped a couple of Valium or Xanax — or maybe both — before taking this oak down. While I have been prepping for it all week, reviewing my previous experience in my mind, and re-reading key verses of the tree-felling Bible, there is no getting around the anxiety of felling a 20" diameter tree. Unless you do this for a living, it's big and scary. Anyone who says otherwise is full of shit.
Also, I am out here on my own. 😬
It all went pretty well. I didn't die. I did make a rookie mistake by not making a relief cut before lopping off the first 8' 6" section once it was on the ground, which caused the split you see. I can't imagine making that mistake again.
Later this year it's all headed to Henschel Sawmill, just a few miles away on Townline Rd. It's famous for being the only female-operated sawmill in Wisconsin. Jamie Henschel is awesome and I look forward to having her mill all our timber.
Cottage on High Bluff Road is a blog documenting a house build in Door County, Wisconsin. A more in-depth explanation is in the inaugural entry.
We're just getting started and don't have a lot of channels, but the early leaders for content are mistakes, lot, and view. Many more to come.