When we bought our cabin, it was all inclusive of everything in the cabin and in the yard, with a couple of exceptions. That meant all the furniture, tools, cookware, appliances, etc. The cabin was full. Of the roughly 1000 square feet of floor space, it seemed like there was only 200 square feet not covered. Every space on the shelves had something, every drawer was filled. If there was one dish cloth, there were ten. If there was one wine glass, there were a dozen, and at least 3 different styles. If there was a TV, there were 5, yes, 5 TV’s at the cabin. If your going to just watch TV, may as well just stay at home in the city, at least that was our thinking. In the living room, there was a large 50 inch TV with a high end surround sound system, and a smaller TV hanging from the ceiling above it, and another 32 inch TV at the other end of the room.
Outside was full of patio furniture, deck accessories, bicycles and other assorted items. The all inclusive package included two lawn mowers, a 30 year old gas powered mower and a new human powered rotary push mower. There were a number of other yard tools. Over the next few days we would soon discover what was still in working condition. We knew the cabin had hardly been used for recreation the last few years. That much our real estate agent was able to get from the previous owner. What had become clear was that it had become a big storage closet for a wide assortment of trinkets and knick knacks.
On day 1 of possession my oldest son and I took our new set of keys, loaded my truck with tools from home, and headed to our new cabin to begin. Job 1 was to knock down the grassy weed field we were hoping would eventually be our yard. We took everything we might need to cut, dismantle, knock down and remove as much excess stuff as possible. But, cabin rules, before starting any work project, we cracked open the first beers on our new cabin property.
We went in with the assumption that any tool the previous owner had left behind was not going to work, if it did, that would be a bonus. I set the lawnmower wheels as high as they would go, told my son to wear boots to protect against whatever shrapnel might be encountered, and sent him to cut the knee high front lawn. I pulled out the man-powered rotary lawnmower and decided to give it a try in the back yard. I soon discovered that while everything was turning properly, the rotating blades could not get on top of the tall grass/week combination and all I was doing was rolling over the plants. Next I pulled out the gas mower, set the wheels to maximum height, filled the oil tank, filled the gas tank, and started working on the pull cord like I was at the gym doing one arm dumbbell rows. On about the third set of 10 pulls, it sputtered to life, backfired, blew smoke, sputtered and stalled. A few more sets, a few more episodes of back fires and stalls, and it kept running. Excellent, free lawn mower. (Edit: 4 summers later, still running). In need of a tune up but a free lawn mower saves me a few hundred bucks. After three passes, adjusting the wheel height each time, we had knocked it down to a reasonable height. Crappy lawn, mostly weeds, but gotta start somewhere.
With the yard knocked down we moved on to what we knew was the big job, getting all the junk out of the cabin that we didn’t want. Along with the all inclusive purchase plan, we knew there would be a big pile of stuff we didn’t want or need. It didn’t take long to fill up the first of 5 truck loads of junk we would take to the dump. To get to the dump, we drove around the west end of the lake, south to the highway, back east a few miles, then 5 miles south on the grid road. About 20 miles round trip. Return and do it again. It was a few weeks later that we learned about the transfer station located about 2 miles straight west of us.
As loaded up the truck each time, we would send out group text pics of items in the cabin we came across to everyone in the family. That helped us with the 3 piles of stuff to definitely recycle/throw out, the donation pile, and the smaller pile of surprising discoveries. One of these was an old cream separator that was tucked under the stairs, under a fake plant, partially hidden from sight. A really cool antique piece that now sits much more prominently. More treasures were found such as paint ball guns, brand new life jackets, wet suits, window mount air conditioners, a foldaway cot, old movie posters, 20 strings of Christmas lights (not counting the ones already wrapped around trees outside) and more figurines than we knew what to do with (1 is too many if you ask me).
There were more discoveries to occur down the road, more in future episodes, but for now, after a full day of making space in the cabin, it was now time to sit on the deck, on the newly discovered lounge chairs, and finish off the rest of the beers. While my son took the kayak down for a paddle, I watched. It was a full day of work and we were only just beginning.