Hunting Property Needs A Cabin
Good thing that Tycen knows how to build one. And, he also knows where to get beautiful lumber for it! Here is what is up on the Paradise Farm property in Tycen’s words!
Details About The Paradise Farm Property
While I was still in the Army, I was stationed at Fort Lee, VA. It was for my last tour prior to retiring. I had always wanted land that I could use to build a cabin and hunt on. Virginia ended up being where I decided to search for property to own.
The search began in 2010. A year prior to my retirement. After looking at many different properties, I finally found the land I now own. In the heart of Buckingham county, Virginia. I initially looked at the property in 2011. Then came back to it again and again over the next two years.
About The Property
The property is 54 acres with a beautiful all year stream that cuts through the center. The property has 20 or so acres of 15 to 18-year-old pine trees. The rest of the property has 6 to 7-year growth after the last clear-cutting. It has hardwood maple, oak and gum trees surrounding the stream. Then there is young pine, maple, oak and other various types of wood throughout the rest.
The property is located close enough to FarmVille, VA that you can easily go there to get supplies. Far enough away that there is little traffic or human noise. There is an abundance of wildlife. At least 15 or so acres of relatively even ground. Which is spread evenly on either side of the stream for the future cabin. Also for storage sheds.
We purchased the property in January of 2013 and have hunted it ever since. A lot of good size bucks and does with the biggest buck so far being a 10 point. I have improved the road over the last couple of years. Also, we cleared 6 or so acres for camping and food plots along with trails throughout.
Scenery And Wildlife
At the back of the property, there is a gorgeous rock formation. It juts out and stands approximately 60 feet tall. It’s a wonderful place to take a camp chair and sit to watch all of the wildlife walking about below.
In the last two years, we have had four different beer spotted on trail cameras. One mamma bear and three of her cubs. Two of the older cubs are twins born two and a half years ago with another cub born this year. They don’t bother us so we leave them alone and will continue to do so.
How Did We Find Out About The Opportunity To Get This Lumber
When I retired from the Army in 2011 I decided to do something I have loved for many years. Firearm repair, modification, and manufacturing. Two of my customers became very close friends. One of them owned a small piece of wooded land in northern Virginia.
About a year ago this friend decided to cut all the timber on his property. He offered me the opportunity to mill all the wood I would need to build my cabin. As well as other structures on my land. Over the last couple of months, he has been felling trees. A couple of weekends ago I went down and helped him start the milling process.
How Exactly Did The Process Work?
The process is pretty simple yet it is very physically demanding. You start by felling or cutting the trees down. Then taking all the limbs or branches off the trees.
Once The Trees Are Down
Finally, cutting the tree trunks up into usable lengths for the sawmill. Depending on the size of the limbs you can use them in the milling process as well for lumber. Once the logs are cut into usable milling length you have to seal both ends of the log. This helps the milled lumber dry evenly after it is milled and stacked.
We are drying the wood using an open-air process. It is stacked using small sticks spaced 12 to 16 inches apart to allow even airflow. The wood is stacked in the barn located at the property where the wood was felled and milled. The average time to air dry the wood is 12 months per inch of wood thickness. I will be building the cabin within the next 18 to 24 months.
This was the best approach for me. Since all of the wood, I will need to build the cabin will cost me nothing. Other than my time and labor to help clear my friend’s land.
Quick Side Note
As a side note, my friend nor I own the mill used for this project. We found a great guy who owned a portable Woodmizer mill locally. He is milling the wood for the opportunity to get some of the choice pieces of ambrosia maple. It would usually cost around $60 to $75 per hour to have this wood milled. Which is still much cheaper than buying it from Home Depot or Lowe’s
What Type Of Wood Is It? Pros and Cons?
Most of the wood on the property is gum and poplar with some ambrosia maple and white oak. We will use the oak for the frame and roof timbers. Then gum and poplar for the siding and interior walls. The ambrosia maple for the floors, cabinets, and furniture.
The pros are many, it’s free for one, you can cut it to whatever length and size you need.
The only cons I can think of is the amount of time it takes to dry. The fact its rough-cut means we will have to do a lot of work once it’s dry. In order to turn it into usable wood for flooring. As well as cabinetry, and furniture. The bulk of the wood used for the structure and siding of the cabin will remain rough cut. We want a very rustic look.
How Many Trees Were Taken Down?
So far we have felled 30 trees and that is only about 20% of the available lumber on the property.
The Cabin! Inspiration And Ideas
The cabin will be roughly 16 feet by 20 feet with 9-foot walls. The outside will have board and batten siding with covered and screened-in porches on either end.
I plan on doing a metal roof so that it will last. One half of the inside of the cabin will be the living/dining and kitchen area. It will have cathedral ceilings. The other half with have a loft for a sleeping area, a storage room, bathroom, and additional bedroom.
It will be heated by a wood stove and powered by a combination of solar and generator power. The generator will run on propane which will also heat the water when solar isn’t available. The toilet will be a composting design. There will be no need for a septic system which reduces gray water waste.
I hope to make it as efficient as possible. To reduce if not eliminate the need for fuel such as propane. It will remain off of the electrical grid no matter what.
Will We Have Enough Wood From This One Trip?
We will continue to mill wood for the next 6 months. Until all trees have been cleared from my friend’s property. We spent most of the time on this last trip milling the ambrosia maple. We didn’t get to the wood we will be using for the cabin structure yet. It will take at least a year to mill all the wood needed. We are only doing it when the mill operator/owner is available so normally only three or four days a month.
Where To Place It On The Property And Why?
We have cleared a level area on the property. It is close to the road that runs through the property and is near the stream. It is far enough into the property that you will not be able to see the cabin from the main road.
I wanted to make sure the cabin was far enough away that people couldn’t see it from the public road. Yet, close enough to the stream so we can get water when needed. It will be protected from high winds and far enough away from the stream to not worry about flooding hazards.
The Most Important Part
Although this project is going to be very labor-intensive. It will truly be my dream come true when it’s finished. I have always wanted a place I can go, in the middle of nowhere. It will be built to last and something I can pass down to younger generations. It will be something that I can be proud of as all of the work I will have done myself.