Friday, February 27, 2009

Howard cabin--final preparation for log dismantle

The dedicated craftsmen from Timber & Stone and John--Yeargan Construction

What a whirlwind week it has been! The chinking is gone, the floorboards are gone, the roof is gone, and the chimney is gone. A little powerwashing...and the Howard cabin will be ready to have its logs come down!

Yesterday was another exciting day. The interesting discoveries include a bat skeleton, a small garden snake, old Pepsi and Vienna sausage cans, a beer bottle, and a small piece of mortar with "1961" etched on it--presumably the year the cabin was rebuilt on the Village site.
Timber & Stone owner Rode Walker was also here to check the project's progress and to offer his insight on the next steps. And we expect the Skytrack to arrive on Monday to start bringing down the logs! Very exciting!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Quick amendment to prior post...

Today and tomorrow, crews will finish removing chinking, clean up the site, and start removing the upstairs floor boards. Since the upper floor joists are tied/notched into the logs, they will be removed as the logs are removed.

Expect heavy equipment moving in on Tuesday (or possibly Monday)... Stay tuned!

Hats off...or rather ROOFS off to the Howard!

In what feels like record time, Timber and Stone has removed the roof, chimney, and much of the chinking on the Howard cabin! Today and tomorrow the logs still comprising the wall will be assessed to see which ones can be reused, which ones will be repurposed (i.e. the good part of longer rotten logs that can replace smaller rotten logs), and which ones are too "far gone" for the project. We're expecting heavy equipment to move in on Monday to start taking the walls down. Logs aren't light, you know!

Here are more photos...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Howard cabin--Phase 1 cont'd

Okay...we recognize that we are log cabin geeks. It's our job. However, you have to admit that this whole restoration is pretty amazing! We've been making several trips down to the construction site, where we are afforded wonderful access and delightful stories by John (Yeargan Construction), Juan, and crew (Timber & Stone). We can honestly say that we've NEVER had so much fun working with contractors! Keep up the great work!

And a little birdie told us that some of the contractors' family/friends are following their progress through our blog as well. We'd like to welcome our new readers and let them know that their loved ones are doing a GREAT JOB!!

And now for the photos. We expect the roof to be completely off by the end of today, which would place the project more than a week ahead of schedule. Amazing!

As always, please click on any photo in the slide show to make it larger and to control the speed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Howard cabin--Phase 1

Never have we been more excited to see sledgehammers and flying chinking! Timber & Stone began dismantling the Howard cabin yesterday, and already the shakes (shingles) are gone, and much of the chinking and part of the chimney has been removed.

Each log is being carefully labeled (see photos) to ensure proper placement as it is being rebuilt. Today's visiting school group may not get to see the Marine schoolhouse...but they're being treated to a once-in-a-lifetime alternative: seeing the inner workings of a log cabin being taken apart!!!

Keep following the blog for more updates as they happen. Our contractors are working quickly, so expect rapid progress!

Please click on any photo in the slideshow to control the speed or to see larger photos...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Summer Daycamp information...

Our Summer Daycamp information is now online!!! Come check out the new camps we have to offer this year...

More Information on Natural Dyes..

As promised, here are a couple of links with some really great information on using natural dyes. This would be a great project to try if you dye eggs!

Thanks to all who attended our special event this past Saturday. We hope you enjoyed seeing the spinach, beet, and blackberry dyes in action!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"The Art of Necessity" is going on right now!

We are smack dab in the middle of our special event, and I wanted to take some time to post a few photos so you can see what's going on until 4:00 p.m. today! Be watching the blog next week for more information about natural dyes...

Again...we are very grateful to our special guests, members of the local chapter of the South Central Region of the Embroiderer's Guild of America.

Here are the photos!

Friday, February 20, 2009

An "Art of Necessity" teaser...

One of the activities we'll be featuring at tomorrow's event is felting. Participants will not make felt to take home, but they will be able to try their hand at the process. It's really fascinating to watch raw wool become fabric using just soap, water, and a little elbow grease!

Here's a great series of videos that shows you modern methods for making a felt scarf at home.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Howard Cabin Restoration--the calm before the storm...

As promised, I will be blogging Howard Cabin progress as it happens. Right now things are fairly calm. We are waiting for the log cabin restoration specialist from Timber and Stone to finish another project, and then the chimney dismantle will begin. We're anticipating this beginning very soon!

The huge, industrial construction dumpster has that's a good sign. The contractors' portable toilet is here as well, which of course means business in MANY ways.

We appreciate our patrons' ongoing patience as certain portions of our operation are disrupted for VERY good reason. These are exciting days! We also appreciate Yeargan Construction for understanding our site's unique needs and challenges and working to ensure our visitors maintain the most positive experience possible during this massive restoration/rebuild.

We're looking forward to learning about all these processes and sharing them with you!

The photos throughout the post show electricity being removed from the Howard and the electrical "stub" being installed to power the contractors' equipment...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Signs, signs, everywhere are signs...

...or rather fancy new exhibit text and graphic panels! The signs for the Parker cabin are here and installed! And as you can tell, we are QUITE excited.

With this installation, all of the new interior signage is complete. All that remains are two outdoor signs: the Foster house and the Howard cabin! The Foster panel will be installed within the next couple of weeks, and the Howard panel will be completed AFTER the Howard cabin itself is completed.

Come check it out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Event reminder...

Don't forget...The Art of Necessity is this coming Saturday!!

After much debating (all internally), I've finally decided on Saturday's craft: finger weaving (hand holding is optional). We will be using craft loops instead of yarn (easier for our littlest weavers), but the effect should be much the same.

We'll also be dabbling with natural dyes, finger and drop spindle spinning, and felting. Research for this event has been a lot of fun!

If you'd like to try finger weaving/fingerknitting at home, check out this great article and video!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy birthday, Abe!

Today is officially Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday! The National Museum of American History has a great blog post about it here...

For more information...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Rampin'" it up...

While being closed to the public for a couple of weeks might conjure up images of peace and solitude as we worked feverishly on quiet projects, our closure actually resulted in saws, trenches, hammers, grinders, missiles, and other equipment we cannot even describe (much less name). It was all in the name of progress...but believe us when we say that the sound of 80 3rd graders hopped up on juice boxes and long bus rides will be comparable to crickets gently chirping after the past closure. :) Besides...we missed our visitors.

The closures are important, however, to help us undertake those projects that ARE too noisy and prohibitive for completion during open hours. One such project was rebuilding the ramp at the back of the Foster House.

This ramp is a prime example of how we handle many "modern" amenities: we place rustic-looking complementary facades on contemporary, more permanent structures. The underlying ramp is concrete, but it is carefully concealed beneath a wooden shell that doesn't detract the eye from the cabin.

We are also fortunate, being part of City government, to have skilled crews who custom design our repairs keeping the aesthetics of the site in mind. This is no easy chore for us "modern folk" unaccustomed to life in a log cabin!

Here is a slideshow of the rebuild from start to finish. Please click on any photo within the slideshow to make it larger or to control the speed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One of our cats is missing...can you help?

One of our beloved Village cats, Charlie, has been missing for a couple of days. He is a very friendly large orange tabby. Charlie, also known as our "greeter," is best known for letting children of all ages rub his belly. He is the cat most likely to run and meet you at your car in the parking lot...and unfortunately the one most likely to wander.

If you've seen Charlie recently, please call us at 817-392-5881. We miss the big fella!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009


A big thanks to Kevin Buchanan for his mention of the Howard Cabin project in his excellent online publication Fortworthology. Kevin loves Fort Worth as much as we do...and his insights on local projects, new urbanism, and architecture definitely make his blog a must read!

Check it out!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Prelude to a Restoration...

This is the stuff dreams are made of; well...the stuff dreams are made of if you love history and the vestiges of the past left behind in our care. After years of anxiety, dropping coins in wishing wells, and reading tea leaves, the Howard Cabin is finally about to be restored. And we plan to document every step of the restoration here on the stay tuned!

The Howard Cabin will not only be restored--it will be dismantled log by log (with each log being carefully marked) and rebuilt from the ground up. It will be given a new, more stable foundation and a new chimney made of as many stones as can be salvaged from the existing chimney. Rotted logs will be replaced as needed. And new, more appropriate chinking that will help preserve the logs as well as look more authentic will be put into place. See you later, Portland cement!

Construction is set to begin on February 17th, and the Marine Schoolhouse (by virtue of its proximity to the Howard) may be unavailable at times throughout the project's duration (hopefully completed in May/June). Our local general contractor is Yeargan Construction, and our log cabin "expert" is Timber and Stone out of Fredericksburg, TX.

So what will we do with the Howard Cabin after it is restored? Keep watching to find out...

Here are some "preview" shots that show exactly why this restoration is necessary... Please click on any photo for a larger view or to control the slideshow's speed...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Our February event...

February will be another exciting month here at the Village! Not only is it almost time for our next special event...but we're also celebrating our one-year blogiversary! Thanks to all our loyal readers...and welcome to those readers who are just now joining us! We appreciate each and every one of you for your continued support...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Art of Necessity

1:00—4:00 p.m.

The daily chores of the nineteenth century are the lost arts of today! Members of the South Central Region of the Embroiderer’s Guild of America, Inc., will be on hand showcasing some of the skills used during this creative time period. Then dig in to try your hand at carding, dyeing, spinning, and weaving cotton, wool, and other fibers! Cost is regular Village admission plus a $2 fee to make your own “necessary” craft.