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DayCreek Journal

February 23, 2003

A River Runs Through It

We seem to go from one weather extreme to another around here. The bitter cold that had been entrenched in the upper Midwest for the last month broke this past week with temperatures reaching 54°F on Thursday. Although the warm weather only visited for a couple of days, it caused a rapid snow melt and what was our road between the house and cabin became a stream bed. Using a pick ax I was able to make a few waterways to allow the water to run down towards Day Creek. Hopefully the road won't be an ice skating rink. Temperatures are dropping rapidly and it looks like it might be -10°F by Tuesday morning. So much for Spring!

The Bathroom Takes Shape
With a few modifications to the floor plan, the bathroom took shape this week with the construction of the stud walls. The bathroom originally was designed to have only one door, but after listening to friends and neighbors advice, I decided that having a second door directly from the utility area made sense. This way if I have to wash up after doing outdoor chores, I won't track dirt all over the house since the mud/utility room is adjacent to the first floor bathroom. Nothing like changing the floor plans as you build!

As you can see from the photo, there's now a shower stall in the room-to-be. Jo and I considered all sorts of options from building a shower from scratch to buying a pre-built unit. I really liked the idea of building one from scratch using slate tile but after hearing horror stories regarding water stains, mold and water leaks we decided against that idea.

After making numerous trips to home improvement stores and plumbing supply houses, we finally decided on a one-piece acrylic shower complete with a roof. I'm not a real big fan of plastic, but it seemed to be the best alternative. It's easy to clean and being acrylic, it is also quite durable.

(Please be aware that "one-piecers" are quite big and if you plan on installing a shower of this size, you would be wise to have the shower delivered before you install your exterior doors and build any interior walls. In our case, the front door has not been installed yet which allowed me room to maneuver the shower through the roughed-in door frame.)

Why just a shower and not a tub? Early on, we ruled out having a tub for the downstairs bathroom. Neither Jo nor myself take tub baths, and if we were to become handicapped at some point, a shower is easier to get into than a tub. I also boxed-in a rectangular area before the floor was poured to allow for a recessed shower. By doing so, a handicapped person does not have to step over a 4-inch lip to get into the shower.

Birds of a different feather
On a closing note, while I was outside Wednesday afternoon I heard what I thought was a robin and after patiently waiting, out of the woods came three robins! I'm not sure if they were full-time residents or some early migrators. It's not too uncommon to see a few robins down in Illinois during the winter months, but this was the first time that I saw any in Minnesota in February.

Interestingly, there are a few bluebirds that are permanent residents of Day Creek. I have witnessed them a number of times over the last few winters. All of my bird books show that they are not suppose to be here in the winter, but so much for the books. I have no idea what they feed on considering they are insect and grub loving birds, but considering they are a form of thrush, maybe they eat berries too.

A sign of spring or just a few lost robins?