Can a city boy build his dream homestead on a mountain, by himself and with no mortgage?

A sow’s ear?

The weather report says low 40’s and 20% chance of precipitation near my mountain and that means low 30’s and 90% chance of rain in my area. I need to finish the weatherproofing now. I have the vertical siding I need for the door wall, I only need the horizontal boards for the other 2 unfinished walls.

I stand in the Lowe’s debating…to put horizontal planks of redwood or cedar will cost $360 for the back wall and $300 for the big window wall. I just cannot afford it.

I skulk around the lumber department, depressed, carrying my calculator and wall diagrams.

I finally settle on the cheapest horizontal option available. The el-cheapo 6′ dog-eared 1×6 fence boards, pre-stained redwood color. They are $1.67 each. I’ll need 44 so it will only cost $75 for the entire back wall. I decide to save up my 30,000 pennies for redwood for the front wall since it’s the wall everyone will see the most.

I need to use my “design on a dime” chops to make this look good. I ask the bored salesman to cut each of the boards to 5′ on the big saw. 2 each gives me a span of the 10′ width I need, yes with a seam, but I’m confident that enough wood stain will make them look good. If they look crappy, I can always unscrew them in the spring and replace with the expensive wood, no harm no foul.

Installation is a breeze using stainless steel screws.

I splurged on Olympic Maximum Protection Semi-Transparent wood stain in Oxford Brown (the darkest color on the chart). I brush it on and hold my breath.

The back wood wall has dried nicely (it had 1/2 hour of good sun) and the boards look great in person. They look very rough in the photo but trust me, they are gorgeous when you’re standing there.

The weather is not cooperating. A low cloud cover and temps in the 50’s portend rain so I rush to get the vertical siding up and painted as well.  The paint cans say that I’ll need 24 hours with temps above 35 degrees without rain, so I pray to the baby Jesus to keep them clouds away.

Apparently I have no cred with the baby Jesus. The fog rolls in just as I finish painting the rest of the siding. I used Olympic’s solid stain in “California Rustic”. It’s a gorgeous deep rust color that will blend in with the landscape beautifully…

or so I think.

Due to the damp air and cold temperature, the stain will not dry. My tar-paper love shack looks like a whore-orange outhouse.


The paint stir-stick has dried into a beautiful, rich, deep rust color so there is hope for the whore orange siding. I am now praying only to the Holy Virgin Mother (I don’t think I’ve pissed her off yet?) to bring out the sun, dry out the paint and turn my sow’s ear outhouse into the silk purse cabin I keep seeing in my mind.

… the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, amen.

8 responses

  1. Dan

    You should have tried praying to the 8 pounds 6 ounces… new born infant Jesus. Maybe next time

    November 23, 2009 at 6:28 am

    • Agreed Dan.
      Just an old-school Catholic boy here, I never question the divine!

      November 23, 2009 at 9:53 am

  2. The photos look great! California Rustic is a beautiful color, hopefully the weather holds out for you and it dries soon. If after a few days, you are still feeling some tackiness… follow the instructions here in our Olympic Stain After Staining tips:

    good luck!
    Olympic Stain Team

    November 23, 2009 at 8:37 am

    • Thanks Amanda, the Olympic stains are awesome. I use them professionally for my film and TV work. The colors selection is killer, they’re a breeze to apply and the semi-transparents look like a million bucks right out of the can!
      The weather report says bright sun every day since I was up there so I’m confident it will all dry!
      btw, If you ever need a testimonial… LOL!

      November 23, 2009 at 9:45 am

  3. Great! Glad to hear the weather forecast is working out in your favor. The photos look fantastic. We’ll keep you in mind for a testimonial, thanks! Happy Holidays.

    November 24, 2009 at 10:08 pm

  4. Pingback: Tiny House Design , Archive » Urban Rancher Update

  5. Vic

    Great job man- really looks fantastic.

    November 27, 2009 at 10:13 am

  6. Pingback: WordPress gives us an end of year “Wow”! « UrbanRancher's Blog

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