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My spouse's goal of cabin ownership was in conflict with my desire for uncommitted vacation time.I thought I'd negotiated an excellent compromise: She could look for a cabin, but I would set (and judge) the criteria for any possible acquisition.

Some of the criteria:

  • A lake high in recreation/water/fishing quality
  • A big lake (but not too big)
  • Far enough away to really be "Up North" (but not too far)
  • Something truly "unique"
  • Within our budget (so not much).

I was confident I'd just bought at least several years (if not delaying a purchase indefinitely).

Bad assumption. Due to someone's tenacity, within a few months we'd acquired a small 70's vintage dome on Lake Belle Taine in Hubbard County for less than the cost of an empty lot (its availability proving my interest in "unique" obviously not being universal).

While possibly even leakier than a tent of comparable vintage, it was still something of an upgrade from camping (primarily due to indoor plumbing). With our three kids and lots of friends, we spent a decade enjoying the simplicity of the "cadome."

While my spouse had capitulated to my desire for uniqueness, the dome was not her dream cabin.

The “cadome.”

So when a tree fell* on it in 2014, the leaks went from trickles to gushers, and a cadome replacement project went from a post to a pre-retirement project.

We had a log shell constructed and spent the ensuing summers finishing it ourselves. This at least allowed me the consolation (to my wife's chagrin) of acquiring more tools.

While several projects remain, we now have more time for proper cabin pursuits, and the cabin has almost completed its journey from occasional summer retreat to retirement home.

* While I've always suspected someone may have been paid to push that tree over on the dome, the primary suspect maintains it was purely an act of nature and is sticking with that story.

Rod Hunter, Nevis, Minn.