Glenn & Kathy's Troglodyte Cabin

The Challenge... to build a cabin using earth friendly alternative methods of construction without going broke in the process!

Location: California, United States

Registered nurse & grandmother, married to Glenn, a building contractor. We have 5 children & 8 grandchildren.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

another view

More Pictures

Here's another view of the "conversation pit".
We used cob & worked around great big boulders. Glenn did the sculpting.

Some veggies from the RV garage planter (heirloom red carrots, cabbages & swiss chard)

A New Year!

Well, I'm finally posting again! For awhile, for some reason, I couldn't get on my blog site... I'd been contacted by HGTV to see if we'd like to have our underground cabin on the show "What's With That House?" I've never seen it as we don't watch TV anymore - too much interesting stuff on the internet! We decided it would be better not to have any publicity... but it was great to be asked. The woman I spoke with from the program was really nice... She'd be welcome to come & see the place anytime.

Well, the holidays have passed... we got quite a bit of stuff done around the cabin over the past couple months. Had all the family & some friends up a couple weeks before Christmas as I had to work at the hospital throughout Christmas & New Years. My son, Nathan, helped with a lot of the projects in December - that was fun - got to spend some extended time with him.

My older brother Scott, his wife & family weren't able to be here for our get-together in December because he had just had surgery for neck cancer & was going through chemo & radiation therapy. Keep him in your prayers - he is doing better now - I spoke to him yesterday & he is even trying to work out a bit to build up his strength.

Then we just found out that my dad has esophageal cancer - he's not a candidate for surgery, but they will put a shunt in to keep his esophagous open & he may go through chemo & radiation also. Pray for him, also. I know they are both in God's hand.

I did a lot of reading today on alternative therapies - nutrition etc. Here's a link (for some reason I haven't figured out how to copy & paste on this blog.)
Anyway, I will post some more pictures.

Sunny Conversation Pit

Master bath

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Floor Plan

Just found a copy of the floor plan Glenn drew up... might be kinda hard to read.

Veggies from our rooftop garden

Hanging Bridge

looking out towards hanging bridge

The kitchen area - the windows are recycled - the gridded one is from Red Lobster (a restaurant Glenn did an addition to), the counters are made with bull pine - a really tough wood - I sanded & finished them with verathane. The odd looking wooden thing on the log beam to your right is a fold out table that is held together by piano hinges, you pull it down, open it up & there is a leg sitting flush with the table while it's up that folds out to hold up the 4'x4' table - great for when we have company! There are different curtains covering the shelves now (in fact the 3rd set I've made) & Glenn has made me another set of shelves that act as a little island. The old radio is up against it now facing towards the other side of the room, so didn't really take up anymore room, just gave me more space to work at & store stuff. On the other side of the foldup table is a set of shelves that fit right between the table boards for my cookbooks & spices. To the right on other side of table are French doors that lead to the "hanging bridge" an approx 8'x8' (odd shaped) made with I think 3 or 4" thick wooden planks. I have my freezer out there & another set of shelves. There are circular stairs that lead down to the "deep part" at ground zero & another set that lead up to the another landing approx same size with French doors that open into the master bedroom. You can also see the uphil patio & curved cob stairway with oak limb handrails as you walk across the bridge.

Our big wooden door - Glenn took the outside slabs of cedar logs, dowled & glued them together, then cut out the shape of the door from the straight boards so it all fits together well - he also made his own latches & handles out of oak, cut the hinge holders with a torch out of steel & painted them.

The outside of the door is rounded & looks just like several logs put together for the door - I really like it - everyone else seems to, also.

This is another view of our "studio apt" area - you can see the 1924 Round Oak stove. Works wonderfully. We bought that in Coarsegold, a little town on the other side of Oakhurst - probably about 35 miles away. It works wonderfully. Glenn & I sit in our recliners keeping toasty warm in the winter. BTW, we are totally off-grid but have DSL wireless, so can sit there all comfy surfing the web on our laptops. We don't watch TV although we can get several channels... just too much stupid stuff on as well as too many commercials.

Life continues...

Well, we didn't get a whole lot done around here this past weekend. We went driving around the country a good part of Saturday looking for old corrugated steel roofing that Glenn had seen advertised in the Sierra News On-line ads - no luck, also checked out a few yard sales, didn't buy anything, but did meet several very interesting people - in fact one lady gave me a brand new needlepoint pillow - very pretty. Glenn got a chance to look at everyone elses junk (equipment, old cars, junk... you know).

That evening we went to the local Sixth Street Cinema & saw the movie The Fastest Indian with Anthony Hopkins. It was pretty good. Afterwards, there was a motorcycle fanatic, Doyle, who had either met the original guy who raced the Indian motorcycle & beat the world's record or had seen the bike, can't remember. He shared a bit about it & also some his racing experiences. Afterwards we ended up talking to him for quite awhile, I know we didn't get home until midnight. Come to find out, he is from my old hometown area where I went to school from 2nd grade thru college - Merced/Atwater area. He knew a lot of people that I knew. He is on solar & generator power. Lives up on a mountain that has several mines.

A couple from up the hill - Dave & Ingrid, also came by to see our place. They built a home recently & are totally on solar. Interesting people - they lived in the sailboat & sailed around the world for 10 yrs. Glenn said Dave made the remark "if I saw another sandy, palm lined beach it would be one too many."

Sunday, Doyle came over to see our cabin & then we went up to his place to see his "stuff" - he has 60 motorcycles & lots of other machinery & an older red, convertable Mercedes that he had completely restored, just needs to paint it. He had a trencher & Glenn said he was interested in buying one, so we ended up taking that one home. He gave us a good deal.

We had dinner at the "Bug Lodge" an international hostel that's located on the way to Yosemite. They always have a nice menu selection with reasonable prices.

Yesterday, I didn't accomplish much, cleaned house, otherwise surfed the web - Glenn worked on the Bobcat all day - some wires had been cut when the people who overhauled it didn't make sure the wires were out of harms way... There was one thing he couldn't fix - Al, from Greeley Hill, came by & had it fixed in 15 minutes - he's remarkable for fixing machinery!

Guess I better post some more pictures...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hollywood Wing

The bathroom ceiling/roof structure is called a Hollywood Wing (Mike Oehler). From the floor to the tallest part of ceiling is 12', but the ground is just below the windows, so mostly underground. The picture on the left is outside before the dirt was applied.

More framing

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Early framing... this picture was taken from the west side where the master bedroom is, looking across the "deep part" as I call it - Glenn calls it the "great room" which is 16-26' wide x 61' long, towards the east where the "studio apt" is. The deep part is at ground zero, the studio apt is at 4 1/2' elevation & the bedroom is at 8'.

More pictures...

Two examples of what you can do with a mixture of clay, sand, straw & water - called "cob" . Glenn sculpted the cat oven which is on our porch next to the conversation pit and the bear hot tub oven (both wood fired).

Monday, September 11, 2006

Kangiser Reunion Near Lincoln City, Oregon

New Granddaughter Amaya Lee

Angelina holding her new little sister Grandma holding Amaya

Grandsons Darion & Drew Helping Grandpa

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New Granddaughter!

We now have 8 grandchildren! Matthew (my youngest son) & Jennifer added another daughter to the family - Amaya Lee. She was 8 lbs 15 oz & 22 1/2 inches long, born August 3 @ 6:01 pm. She's a real cutie, if I do say so myself and growing fast! I have pictures, but for some reason, I can't seem to post any... grrrr - well the pictures of everything will have to wait until I can ask the "expert" Glenn.

Been Awhile...

Hi everyone! So much going on over the past couple months... our grandsons, Darion & Drew were here for a visit in July and we went to Oregon in August for family reunion (Glenn's side of the family). Had the hottest weather that I can recall - officially, I think it got up to 113 or 114 - one day I was driving on the freeway through Fresno & my thermometer on the car registered 117! Poor Glenn was working on a big warehouse there - up 35 ft next to the metal roof - putting up steel & welding - the sweat was literally pouring off of him... all his clothes were soaked - no way to make a living when it is that hot. I was afraid he would get heat exhaustion - but he is so tuff! It still worries me when he has to work under conditions like that. At the hospital I work at, we had lots of people coming in with dehydration - people in their 30's to 80's.

Glenn has been working out-of-town quite a bit for the past several months so we haven't been able to work on our cabin a whole lot - but the "near free RV garage" is almost completed. That was a lot of work but I really like it. We haven't done much on our cabin - hopefully, soon... we started another project - a pole building that will be a garage for my car out in front of the cabin to the side of the RV garage, so won't block any views. I injured my left knee at the reunion running around chasing our little 15 mo old granddaughter (Chris & Angie's little one) - she wanted to run - the reunion was in a big meadow with a creek surrounding the site in a horsehoe shape, just across the road from Glenn's parents place. A lot of the property there was originally homesteaded by Glenn's grandparents. Anyway, a beautiful area with trees lining the creek, a big gazebo built in the middle with electricity, water & of course, had a couple port-a-potties. Probably about 70 relatives there - camping in RV's, trailers, tents - we had a tent & I had to get one of those air beds as my old body won't tolerate the hard ground anymore - it was quite comfortable, only problem was that Glenn weighs a little more than me & I think we were sloped sideways towards the creek - so I would slide over pushing Glenn into the crack between the air bed & the side of the tent - everyone kept teasing us that we were going to end up rolling into the creek!

We also celebrated my younger brother's 50th birthday - a surprise party - he has done a remarkable job remodeling his home, built a pool in the backyard, & recently built a really neat poolhouse/gazebo - I'll post a couple pictures of that, too.

Well, back to the cabin... we started on the garage... Glenn used his Bobcat to dig out an big area & we got the main posts up (3"x6" posts from the Wawona bridge that was dismantled - used those in the RV garage, also.)

Well, enough writing, I will post some more pictures...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The views looking out from the front of our cabin

Guess I should continue with the story... after all the hassle I've been through already trying to post... it's embarressing! First I forgot my log on name (too complicated) then I had the whole post done, including pictures & the stupid modem had gone off line. Glenn just installed a new one & it only stays on for a few minutes to an hour - may have to replace it again. So - lost the entire posting & had to start all over again - grrrr

We were able to scrounge the money to buy the property without having to get a mortgage & were all set to go! We hiked all over our land, exploring everything - found the year-round spring - pure, ice cold water - refreshing after traipsing all over the place. We thought about constructing some kind of trolly that could hang from a line off the ground so we could get down to the spring without a mile hike up & down the steep mountainside. We also thought about using a sled to slide down over the grass but figured we'd probably run into a rock or tree, so settled for just hiking down - good exercise.

First we brought our RV horse trailer up & parked it on an area that hadalready been excavated. The trailer had everything we needed - queen size bed, shower, sink, stove, microwave, fridge, port-a-potty. It also had a hook-up for solar & generator. Glenn had converted the back part into a shop & partitioned an area where he built bunkbeds for when he used to take the trailer on jobs out of town, so there was quite a bit of room & we could lock things up when we were gone.

Next Glenn brought up our old Bobcat & also bought an old John Deere tracklayer backhoe from a friend. A well had been dug the month before we bought the property, but we still needed to install the pump. Glenn & his friend Al (the guy we got the backhoe from) put in the pump while I operated the crane to let it down into the well. Our well is 675 ft deep but we only had to put the pump down to about 165 ft I think (can't remember all these details). He also had to dig a trench for the phone line - that wasn't real long, but the trench he dug up the hillside to go to the 2700 gallon water tank he'd installed was 600 feet long. What a job it was placing all the pipes - we layed out electrical & water pipes, then had to walk inside the trench glueing the pipes together. Glenn did the water line & I did the electrical - hot & dusty! With the 80+ feet drop from the water tank, we consistently have 30# of pressure.

The views from our place are so gorgeous. Glenn & I would sit out in front of the trailer in our lawn chairs to eat our meals. He would always say - "there's my kingdom & all my subjects down there..." as he surveyed the valleys & hills - ha.

I'll have to continue later... got lots of work to do.