We built a cabin in Show Low which is in the White Mountains of Eastern Arizona. It took us almost a year to decide on a plan we both could live with. There was much tweaking, but finally we both agreed on a plan we loved and the building began.
We have one acre and back up to national forest so our acre is actually unlimited. We had our contractor build what’s called a turn key shell, meaning from the outside it looks like a cabin, but the inside is hollow. The only thing we asked was for one completed bathroom so we could shower and do other private things.
During the building process, (we built the inside ourselves because we could save a lot of money) we were up there almost every weekend (it’s almost a 4 hour drive from home). We always had picnics inside because there was so much room with no walls or ate on the outside deck.
My husband and I even took our sleeping bags and slept under the stars on the cabin floor with our wood burning fireplace blazing and a nice bottle of wine on the weekends with no kids. Those were the best times!
Before we had the real wood flooring installed we told both kids, now is the only time mom and dad will ever let you ride your bike or skate board or whatever in the house. They must have thought we were crazy but we didn’t have to twist their arms to have some “inside” fun.
Before we put special wood on the walls to dress up the bedrooms, we had each child write whatever they wanted on the walls because, of course, it would be covered. They had the best time, so Mom and Dad had to join in on the fun as well.
We “camped” up there for about 8 months, a picnic table was our dining table, we used 2 saw horses and an old door as a kitchen countertop, had a mini refrigerator and a microwave, (my husband is an electrician so after a while we had power to parts of the cabin).
Our great room furniture was lawn chairs and we slept on cots or blow up mattresses in sleeping bags. We even celebrated Thanksgiving with 10 people up there. We cooked the turkey in one of those slow roaster ovens, our mini fridge was filled with all sorts of food and because it was cold, we could keep milk, soda and other perishable foods
outside if the fridge was too full.
Those were the “good” times because we had no TV and not much power so we had to find other ways to amuse ourselves. We read, played games, hiked, really talked with the four of us. Then came the time when the cabin was finished and some of those “special” times went away. But, we always try and play at least one family game when we visit, keep the TV to a minimum, takes lots of hikes and always have quiet reading time.
We even buried a time capsule under the deck of the cabin and we all put whatever was special to us during the building process. Pictures, special pottery found or whatever anyone felt would be fun to read in 25 years. So…in 2025, God willing, we’ll all get to see what will probably be silly items but I’m sure we’ll find some very special memories as well.
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