It wasn't dawn, but to a seven-year-old it was close enough. My mom
pried me out of bed and her logger friend, Randy, asked if I was up for a visit
to his house. I liked Randy. And I'd never been to his house before. My sleep, I
decided, could be sacrificed.
We piled into his pickup's front seat and Randy drove. Mom hummed. I might have closed
my eyes. The next time they opened, we were in a forest. Randy turned up a makeshift
road and, weaving through beastly evergreens, bounced us along until the cratered
dirt segued into an open field. We slowed and Mom gestured out the window,
delighting me with the news that I'd have free reign of the place. For now.
I parked myself at the field's edge and got to work prying up a massive
rock I determined was covering a few of the forest's gems. As I held the
first, a foot long earthworm, up for inspection, I heard a motor barreling up
our road and turned to see a man--Joe the Carpenter I would later call him--in his own pickup, pulling alongside me.
He admired my find, then asked if I'd be willing to part with it long enough to
help him unload the two steel beam skids that spanned the length of his truck bed.
Mom and Randy reappeared in hard hats and handed one my way. They told me the
four of us weren't visiting Randy's house. We were building it. A tiny cottage
in the forest where he and other loggers could live while on the job.
Suddenly, my worm did not seem
We worked all day hammering
floorboards, installing window sash, attaching roll roofing. Mom and Joe passed
the time arguing over who would build and hang the door. Tradition had it the
honor went to the most experienced carpenter. By dusk, Mom was tightening its
We slept in the forest that
night, but I never saw the stars or felt the soft give of the ground below.
Instead, I fell asleep atop a flat, hard, wood floor, gazing at the shadowy
grooves of a ceiling not seven feet above me. And even though the moon shone and
the coyotes prowled and the trees whispered to each other outside, I felt the
true magic in here. Between the walls of an 8' x 24' cottage that, only ten
hours before, had been a pile of lumber and a keg of nails.
What we had done that
day--what we had made from nothing--was truly awesome. I fell asleep exhausted,
content, and certain of one thing: I would make more.
I'm Stan Mitchell and for
fifty years I've dreamt of building cottages. Have you dreamt of owning one?
ADU/Cottage Facts and Information