They were nice straight logs, and until we started milling them found out why they were such a good deal. Campers like to hang lanterns and string tarps. Each log must have had fifty assorted nails and spikes embedded into and underneath the bark. Some were over fifty years old and all reeked havoc on our circle mill and chainsaws. We were only able to use the top half of every tree and cut the rest of it into firewood, very expensive firewood.
Being out on the highway got us all kinds of exposure to sell different log components like fireplace mantels, porch kits and deck railings. One day an older contractor ordered a log entryway from me for a new custom home in the area. He would do the installation and fitting, so all it was to us were three twenty foot peeled logs. I think the total price was around $170.00. I’ll always remember that afternoon at the tavern, clinking beer mugs and bragging about it when one of us blurted out… “Can you believe that dipstick paid $170.00 for three measly logs?” Then we all laughed and toasted our beers. Of course, he was sitting in the corner with one of his buddies the whole time. He got up, tapped me on the shoulder and said in a deep voice… “Just make sure they’re delivered tommorrow morning, son.” Ouch!
Sam was an old veteran in the log home business. He had built a few kits from another company in the Santa Cruz, California area and was convinced that log Granny Houses were going to be big. He had lobbied the California Legislature, State and local building departments and our only industry’s national magazine… The Log Home Guide. Doris, who ran the magazine had a soft heart for Sam and wanted to see his dream of a log cabin for your parents behind your house take off. She was in the middle of her own venture out in Tennessee having all the big players in log homes donate cabins and buildings to her for the World Headquarters of Log Homes. I swear she would call me once a week pleading with us to build a home there. We hadn’t even sold a Homestead home more than 300 miles away, and this was like 2000 miles or more. She was like a pit bull nipping at my pants leg and would not take no for an answer.
Sam was also hounding us every minute about building his model home, a Granny House. We finally gave in, to help him on a single story 500 square foot cabin near Watsonville. His idea was to take a mobile home frame and build a sub floor on top of it. I made him a dealer and low price on the kit and hardly anything to come down to California and build the shell. He had told me all the permits were in place and to schedule a date to head South. The mobile home frame/floor was cut into the hillside and cant-levered over a dirt pad, it was not a model home location and I was not impressed. Only Joe and I went down for the construction and unloading and that was it. We rented a forklift to move the units around and a crane for one day to assemble the ridge beam and rafters. All the wall logs went up by hand, as usual. Joe was my helper that week and been with Tom and I from the beginning. He learned about log homes the same way we had and was a hard worker. Joe was a fun guy to hang out with and we both had a lot in common. Tragically, he died about ten years later in a four wheeler accident, racing around the dirt trails near Jacksonville. We all miss him and all the fun we had together. He was a pretty funny guy and loved to laugh. One of his younger brothers still works for us today. Kevin has been with us over fifteen years and is in charge of preassembling the log home packages and onsite construction.