A behind-the-scenes look at the makings of a magazine… and a cabin

One of the best parts of my job is speaking with fascinating people and learning interesting things as I gather materials for the articles I write, and I love chatting with sources to learn everything I can about whatever topic is at hand. For the December issue of Country’s Best Cabins magazine, which arrived on newsstands today, I wrote about a group of Dartmouth College students who dedicated a summer (and more) to rebuilding a treasured local cabin that was lost to a fire.

Along the way, they kept a blog detailing their progress, and I’ll be completely frank with you: it’s freakin’ hilarious. As I read through the entries in my office, I kept having to remember that other people around me were probably trying to work, because I literally had to stifle myself from laughing out loud! Wanna read it for yourself? Here’s the link.

In the article, I mentioned one instance where a member of the building crew took advantage of the time-lapse camera they had focused on the site to crawl across the logs and look like a worm in slow motion (compared with the frenzied sped-up actions of the rest of the crew). Check out the video and watch the logs on the left side starting at 1:45. I swear, these students remind me so much of my co-workers from college at the University of Maryland’s Outdoor Recreation Center. Good times, good times…

I wish we could have included a few more images and mentions of the crew’s hilarious misadventures in the article, but that’s what the Internet is for :). Here’s an exclusive look at a few more photos (courtesy of Lucas Schulz) that you won’t see in the magazine.

Because the building site was on an island in the Connecticut River, all materials had to be paddled in by canoe.

To ease the transport of materials from the river to the building site, the crew built a 40-foot-long ramp up the slope, which was promptly dubbed “the death slide.” Aside from just hauling building materials up, team leader Greg Sokol admits, “It happened to fit a whitewater kayak perfectly.”

After hauling more than 4,000 pounds of concrete mix to the island by canoe, crewmember Kate Bowman (not shown) explains how they mixed it “based on an extremely precise and scientific process known as ‘well that looks about right.'”

On the blog, crewmember Max Friedman details the process of building a cabin floor. “Step 3: Spelunking.”

While their team leader took a privy stop, mischievous inspiration struck a few anonymous crewmembers, who deftly performed some rapid construction that forced Greg to seek alternative modes of exit.

Volunteer Dave Goldberg hesitatingly wields “Gorgeous George,” a 60-pound, custom-made mallet that helped shift the stacked logs.

Just goes to show you that the story you read isn’t always the end of the story! If you’re interested in picking up a copy of the issue (it also features three other articles I wrote about winter grasses for your landscape, stylish-yet-durable entryway flooring choices that can stand up to winter’s onslaught and the year-round attractions of Pocahontas County, West Virginia), it’s available in the Log & Timber Home Bookstore for (the low, low price of only) $5.99. Come on, support your local writer :).

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