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By Hand

In the early 70s, my dad spent two years building a cabin of his design in the heart of North Carolina’s Appalachia. This region was then, and continues to be, among the poorest rural places in the country. It is a place removed, where moonshine stills stood and questionable crops were raised with little fear of discovery, and doubting that any of the holler’s residents were without a gun on their person would be a mistake. His job took him to the area, but I haven’t thought to ask why he bought property or built the cabin. This detail aside, sweating life into the cabin and its existence is one of my favorite stories.

Under gruff guidance from moonshine swilling, homegrown tobacco spitting Appalachian old timers,  construction began using techniques and tools of a bygone era. Logs and rock from his mountain property provided a majority of the raw material used in the cabin's construction. He hewed logs via axe, coaxed them into position with a system of pulleys, and fixed their pl…

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