2012-DEC -> Cabin Complex Renovation Project Completion

Our Cabin Complex Renovation Project has extended into 2012. Construction began in April 2009 (see 2009 Monthly Archive). Work continued throughout 2010 (see 2010 Monthly Archive) and 2011 (see 2011 Monthly Archive). We plan to complete the project by Spring 2012. Only finishing touches remain in the Cabin interior space – the exterior Picnic Grounds and Wood-fired Oven are complete. This construction effort has indeed transformed our property into a fully-functioning, year-round, business event and agri-tourism destination, but the scope, difficulty and complexity grew over time. Please continue to check back each month to see our progress in 2012, and for the announcement of our Grand Opening celebration this Spring.

[Progress Photos below taken January 31, 2012]


Nearly the entire month was spent staining and face-nailing the Cabin main floor. The 1″ thick Oak boards were removed, stained and then drilled and face-nailed back with cut-nails (not without a host of re-installation challenges).

The photos show the random width board and nails used throughout. The floor will be touch-up stained and then waxed (not polyurethaned).

The plumber returned to complete the Loft bathroom vanity installation, walk-in shower fixtures, and other checklist items.


The photo shows the Loft vanity sink. A wood facade will be added to conceal the under-sink area pipes, while providing shelf space for towels.

The tiled shower is complete less the glass shower enclosure (to be installed).

Our pre-hung interior doors finally arrived and are ready to be installed.

I took steps to install a “ground-cloth” ceiling material under our Cabin Deck to conceal the framing, while protecting the ground level space from debris (details, details).

My heated greenhouse maintenance work performed last month was revisited this month when the circulating pump failed and needed to be replaced (just over its 3 year warranty period). Just-in-time to germinate flats of seeds I annually order online from Johnny’s Seeds. It’s that great time of year – you start thinking about Spring and growing luscious vegetables – like the pictures in the catalogs (or almost).

I had to replace our Cattle water-barrel heater that keeps the water from freezing when the temperature drops below freezing at night. Like most farm tasks, it became far more complicated that I could have ever imagined – ask me about it.

After a lot of web research, I’ve settled on purchasing a USA-made, Engelbrecht “Santa Maria” style stainless steel grill insert for our outdoor fireplace. This will complete our outdoor picnic complement of capabilities unmatched in the surrounding area (more about this in the future).

The Tar River Land Conservancy Annual Stewardship site visit was held on January 7th. A walk of the perimeter and stream easement boundaries revealed no issues of concern – all’s in good shape – meeting our conservation obligations 100%.

On a sad note, Coy Duke, my cattle mentor died on January 29th. Without his help over the years, I would not be in the beef cattle business, nor have a beautiful closed-herd of cattle that I do. He will be sorely missed and was a tremendous resource for all cattlemen in Franklin County.

For those that have been on the Lynch Creek Farm “Market Menu” mail-list, I’ve taken steps to coordinate the Lynch Creek onsite Farm Stand Market with upcoming Franklin BreadWorks Dining Events. Come eat with us, then return home with fresh eggs, honey, vegetables and artisan breads starting this Spring. Subscribe to our new BreadWorks Newsletter that will be emailed monthly describing the details of our upcoming dining events.

February will see the Kitchen sub-floor installed, interior doors hung, final trim work (doors and baseboard) completed. Work will begin on the rustic stairwell handrails. March is earmarked for the Kitchen cabinet installation marking the end of this Cabin Project. Never imagined it would take this long or be this difficult; but we are really happy with the result, and believe you will agree when you visit. Until then . . . .

[Progress Photos below taken February 29, 2012]


Once the Cabin living room oak plank floor was completed, we began leveling the Kitchen floor for our cabinetry (on order). The photo shows a 3/4″ threshold, inset pine boards (left-over from Loft floor upstairs) and surrounding sub-floor. Once the cabinets and appliances are installed, you will only see the plank wood flooring under-foot. This task represented a challenging bit of woodworking.

Photo shows a bathroom door (with frosted glass) about to be installed and trimmed. All interior door installation is nearly complete. Remaining trim work will be installed in March.



On the Heated Greenhouse front, we have a variety of seedlings germinated and ready for transplant to our hoop-house: spinach, romaine lettuce, shallots, leeks, broccoli rabe, basil, chives . . . and for my third try, Italian “agretti”.

In our Hoop House, we’ve got a great Garlic crop growing (see photo), various herbs, strawberries, red-leaf lettuce, and “about-to-plant” fingerling potatoes.

We are sure happy to have our Hoop House back in service again. We will be growing produce for use by the Franklin BreadWorks and for sale at our onsite Farm Stand. Our bees are really active early due to the warm weather this year, and our cattle are eating grass in the back pasture – unbelievable!

On the farm front, we have engaged Canal Wood, LLC to thin about 20 acres of pines on the back tract of our property under the terms and constraints of our Farm Stewardship, Farm Tax Status and TRLC Conservation Agreements. The work should be completed soon – photos will follow.

The progress we make in March will set the stage for the completion of what has become a monumental effort to upgrade our Farm so that we can begin to provide a broad spectrum of services in the future – all essential to the future viability of living-off a small farm at this time in history. A project that began in April 2009 will hopefully be completed in April 2012.

[Progress Photos below taken March 31, 2012]


Preparations were made to setup the Cabin Living room as a Meeting space for a visit from Novozymes – Franklin County’s largest employer. The Cabin interior (all floors) can be flexibly arranged to accommodate any Business Meeting requirements; similarly for the outdoor spaces (front and back Porches, Patio area and Picnic Grounds).

The Cabin Basement ceiling was completed to both conceal duct- and electrical-work, as well as reveal the Beams and underside of the Living room oak plank flooring. Track lighting was installed as shown along both sides for optimal lighting effect.

Electrical rheostats were installed throughout the Cabin on all circuits where precise lighting control was needed.

Interior door- and baseboard trim work proceeded in the Loft and Basement. Time was spent on the preparations needed to install the stairway railings, but progress on the Cabin slowed somewhat this month by our need to replace the drain-field of our Main House septic system.

IMG_3983_revThe photo shows the backhoe work in progress in the front yard. Our 35 year-old drain-field was exhibiting blockage from tree roots. The best remedy was to install a new distribution box that passed effluent to both the “old” and “new” drain-field. Over time, as the “old” drain-field totally blocks, all effluent will divert to the “new” drain-field. Fortunately we were able to relocate the drain-field in an area with few “boulders” and well-drained soil. This unexpected event diverted our attention from the Cabin for over a week and was complicated by our need to have the NC ONE CALL service locate our nearby underground electrical service before we could begin excavation.

Another distraction this month has been the untimely-need to transition our website and email from our present ISP (Internet Service Provider). I apologize for any downtime you experienced with our service while in transition. Even the posting of this months (March 2012) Cabin progress report is nearly two weeks late on my part. Hopefully everything is now working smoothly, but certainly not without its “pound of flesh”. We are now being hosted by “Go Daddy” of Danica Patrick fame (NASCAR).


On the farm front, I released our chickens from the coop to the fenced-in yard. Being rescued commercial birds, it took a while for them to get used to free-ranging. They adapted quickly and now love the be released each morning. We must close-in the birds each evening to protect them from night-time predators (owls, opossums, weasel, etc.)

We planted 1/3 of the Hoop House with Fingerling Potatoes, as well as many beds of Shallots, Lettuce, Broccoli Rabe, Leeks and Spinach.

To better reduce and control the Hoop House temperature, we removed four exterior, polycarbonate end-panels. So far this has worked extremely well.

No progress has yet been made on the Pine Tree thinning we contracted for earlier this year. I had hoped this would completed by now, but . . .we did remove three dead pine trees from within the boundary of the back pasture before they might injure my livestock, take down my overhead electrical lines, hit my barn or fencing.

I put our creek pump back in service and re-established all other outdoor water service that had been winterized in the fall.

I was pleased to see the first calves born to the bull I had lent Herman Hawkins last year – they look great and the bull is truly handsome. I’ll post a picture when I get the chance.

We were recently notified that our Kitchen Cabinets will be delivered the first week of May. By then all other Cabin trim work will be completed. By Memorial Day we should finally be finished (Kitchen and Stair railings). Our Inaugural Open House should be over Memorial Day Weekend. An announcement will be made in our next progress posting for April 2012.

[Progress Photos below taken April 30, 2012]

IMG_4012_revAll interior trim work in the Loft and Basement have been completed. Bathroom fixtures (towel bars, tissue holders etc.) have been installed. The main cedar posts for the stairwells have been prepped and fitted. All touchup paint and staining have been completed. All construction tools and materials have been removed from the Loft and Basement – vacuumed and washed. The Cabin door hardware selection has been resolved and are on-order – to provide security and one-key simplicity.

IMG_4015_revThe septic tank backhoe trench has been final graded – after all boulders and debris were raked and removed.

Two dozen large native azaleas were procured and planted in the surrounds of the Cabin – making the Cabin appear as if it were there for more than a century.

The front pasture barn doors were finally cleaned and stained after years have past since we built the structure and have used it for equipment shed space, interior storage and cattle management. Significant repair work was performed on the front pasture fencing.

The hoop house potatoes were hilled and the entire building weeded and watered deeply after the spell of hot weather we had this month.

The Kitchen cabinets are scheduled to arrive the first week of May. By Memorial Day weekend, the stairwell handrails will be completed and the bulk of the kitchen should be in place – marking the end of cabin construction after three years of full-time and about ten years of part time work.

Look forward to receiving an e-mail announcement about our Memorial Day Weekend party!

[Progress Photos below taken May 31, 2012]

Our custom kitchen cabinets were delivered onsite, unloaded to the Cabin living room, unboxed (30) and pre-positioned in the kitchen. Only two drawer fronts were damaged and replacements were ordered and delivered. Final installation (fastening together and to the walls) will be completed in early June. Counter top templates will then be made onsite to pattern the cutting of the granite slabs we have selected.

IMG_4056_revAll exterior door knobs and deadbolts have been fitted and installed. Our custom Cabin front door required special treatment due to its thickness. The photo shows the Cabin front door “ring lock” and deadbolt – we installed a “peephole” for security as well. The QwikSet locks we selected are single-keyed and permit us to re-key the locks (ourselves) at any time. 

IMG_4053_revOur Memorial Day Weekend – Ben Franklin Society – Inaugural BreadWorks Dining/Fundraising Event was held Saturday, May 26th. Our Newsletter was e-mailed and could be downloaded from either www.lynchcreek.com or www.benfranklinsocietync.org. To see a copy, use the following link BreadWorks Newsletter. All future BreadWorks Events will be described in a new Issue of the newsletter and e-mailed about one-week in advance. The photo to the right shows our roadside mailbox and “BreadWorks” placard posted on Event Days.

I’ve included three additional Memorial Day Weekend photos showing some of the 35+ folks that attended. We raised over $300 to support ongoing Ben Franklin Society Research Projects and doubled the Ben Franklin Society membership.

IMG_4026_revOur thanks to Rick & Bette Newsome of “DryBread Road” Band for providing live Acoustic and Old-Time Music on the Cabin front porch. Bob also played a selection of 78 records on his 1908 Victrola – to the amazement of everyone – the sound travelled well on the Grounds.

IMG_4050_rev Linda and Lester Holley (right) speaking with Ken and Sharon Billings (left)


Ken and Sandy Mizelle (backbround) with Fred and Jean Carter. Francis Hill (foreground) with Ann and Richard Smith (right) and Joe Elmore and Shirley (left).


Other Cabin work activities completed this month included: finalizing the installation of custom Bathroom towel bars; install and stain wooden bathroom mirror trim; repair/replace Cabin service-drive entrance underground drain with 8″-to-4″ pre-formed transition piping; and activate and test the hot water heater.

IMG_4052_revOn the farm front, our cows are still calving. Photo shows a newborn Bull Calf off #25 busy nursing. Helping out a momma cow by bottle feeding one calf for a while.

We finished haying our rented land and produced over 35 rolls of excellent oat hay. In anticipation of next winter I also purchased over 60 rolls of hay from Lester Holley.

With the warm weather comes a lot of bush-hogging with the tractor to keep field perimeters and tractor ways clear and accessible.

We still have some Cabin interior finishing touches to complete, but for the most part are finally beginning to transition into “using” the Cabin and Grounds, not just “building”. Plan to attend one of our upcoming BreadWorks Events – SUBSCRIBE for e-mail notices if you have not already done so.

[Progress Photos below taken June 30, 2012]

IMG_4063_revIMG_4072_revThe bulk of June was spent installing the Kitchen cabinets. Our small Kitchen, coupled with two log walls (not square studded sheetrock), provided for a challenging installation. From the photo you can see that only the Granite counter tops (plywood shown), Range and Refrigerator remain to be installed. The Kitchen Sink will be under-mounted on the Granite at the window. Once the tops are installed, minor electrical and plumbing work remains, and the pedestal stainless steel Range Hood will be installed completing the Kitchen.

Our Cabin Well water was tested this month by the Franklin County Department of Health and found free of all bacteria – a necessary requirement for our Kitchen to be approved by the NC Department of Agriculture as a Certified Home Kitchen; thereby permitting us to produce Bread for sale to the public. The Cabin Basement will temporarily serve as a bakery prep area with stainless work tables, commercial mixer, bakers racks, trays, containers and supplies. Eventually, we will bake Artisan Bread for sale on a regular schedule at our Farm Stand (this Fall).

IMG_4067_revSomewhat like a surrealistic painting, our garlic crop was harvested in June and was photographed while it was stacked and drying in a wheelbarrow in a cool, dry storage area. We also harvested our first overwintered shallots and the balance of our fingerling potato crop. Our hoop house is now populated with leeks, pepper plants and a broad assortment of herbs. As the summer heat subsides we will begin planting our Fall crops. That may be a while, with the weather we have recently been experiencing.

Our Independence Day (Fourth of July) BreadWorks Event is coming up this week (Wednesday July 4th, rain date Saturday July 7th).

I will resume working on our stair railings now that most of the Kitchen work that remains will be performed by others. Come see us at an upcoming BreadWorks Dining/Fund-Raising Event.


Progress Photos below taken July 31, 2012


Work continued on the Kitchen this month with the installation of a new Samsung Refrigerator and overhead storage cabinet. The stainless electric, slide-in Range installs next, and final cabinet spacers fitted to allow granite countertop templates to be made.

We expect the Kitchen to be completed and fully functional by Labor Day. The photo to the right shows an Eye-Round Roast prepared and hand-sliced for sandwiches at the Third Quarterly Ben Franklin Society Meeting held at Cabin Headquarters on July 19th.

The photo below shows Susan Myers – NC State Office of Archaeology Site Registrar – discussing how the Ben Franklin Society will interface with their Office to permanently record sites (Grist Mills, Cemeteries, Indian Artifacts etc.) in Franklin County. Susan was assisted by Lea Abbott – Assistant State Archaeologist – who discussed registering of Historic Sites as well.

In the photo below (left-to-right in Cabin Meeting Room) Susan Myers, Derek Halberg – Director of Tar River Land Conservancy, Mark Pace – Oxford Library Genealogist, Joe Elmore – Franklin County Historian and Betty Jean King – Oxford Library Genealogist. Also in attendance was Scott Hammerbacher – Franklin County Planning Director. This meeting culiminated several years of preparatory work to position the Ben Franklin Society (BFS) as a recognized source for Archaeological Site origination with the State of North Carolina. A demonstration of the BFS GPS and Computer Mapping capabilities was also made (by Bob Radcliffe).


In stark contrast to the Cabin renovation work underway, normal Farm activities continue each day. The Photo show our latest new born calf at 1-day old – really cute.

Cow pregnancy is roughly the same as for humans – nine months – except the calves are born fully functional and independent – standing within one-hour of birth, and running with a day-or-two.

Our BreadWorks Fourth of July Event was quite successful. Although very hot, we transitioned the picnic into the comfortable, air-conditioned Cabin Meeting Room. Over twenty-five attended and stayed until nearly 9:30pm enjoying the company and conversation of others. The food was great! Since May, we have raised over $500 and added over 50 new BFS members at BreadWorks Events. Our next Event will be Labor Day Weekend (details to follow by email).

We will be busy finishing the Cabin interior in August in anticipation of starting a full schedule of Events this Fall. Subscribe to our BreadWorks Newsletter to guarantee you will be notified of all upcoming Dining and Entertainment Events.

Progress Photos below taken August 31, 2012

IMG_4109_revAll work centered on the Kitchen final cabinetry – spacers, filler boxes and overhead – to permit the granite counter top templates to be created. Shown in the photo is our new stainless steel electric slide-in (ceramic top) range.

A significant portion of the month was devoted to the preparation/proofing/printing of tri-fold promotional brochures for 1) the Lynch Creek Log Cabin Meeting Center, 2) the Ben Franklin Society of North Carolina, and 3) the BreadWorks Newsletter for our Labor Day Weekend Entertainment Event (see photos below).

Additional marketing contacts were made with Novozymes, the American Wine Society (North Wake Chapter), Wine101 (Wake Forest) and Tar River Land Conservancy.

Additional Grant Applications were submitted to Novozymes and Walmart in support of Peggy McGhee’s Ben Franklin Society “NC Colonial Life Education Day” Project scheduled for Friday, October 26, 2012.


In the photo (left) hors doeuvres accompany the folk concert by Dave Debonzo (on Cabin front porch. Dave was accompanied by his two sons later in the evenings performance.

Everyone was extremely complimentary of the music and foods prepared for the evening. Weather spared us the rains that most experienced that evening.

Unquestionably, we will have other Concert Events later this fall. If you missed this Event – you really missed something special! See you next time!


This was our 3rd BreadWorks Fund-Raising Event, and with each Event we get better in the planning and execution of the many tasks that comprise a 1st class outdoor event like this.

We expect to complete the Kitchen in September and install the carpeting from the main level to the basement stairwell. As well, we are fabricating the custom cedar stairwell handrails and stiles to complete the Cabin essentials.

Until next month – come see us!


Progress noted below for Sep/Oct 2012

Some final details remain to complete the Cabin and satisfy the Building Inspector – but not surprisingly, the Tax Assessor has notified us we are 100% complete from his perspective – supposed to believe that is a good thing! All of my Farm Maintenance work that has been postponed to work on the Cabin this year finally needed my attention to resolve important issues before winter sets in. I’ve sold a truckload of cattle – long overdue, and delayed by the untimely illness of Coy Duke – my cattle mentor for years. Fall hay has been cut, raked and rolled, and re-seeding with oats and clover finished-up with help from Talmadge Burgess.

Since Labor Day Weekend we have held several more BreadWorks Fund-Raising Events; namely, Bob’s “Tomato Pie Buffet” on September 28th, the American Wine Society Tasting on October 7th and our Quilt, Artisan Bread and Jam Tasting SALE on October 13th. Much work was also devoted to Peggy McGhee’s, Ben Franklin Society “NC Colonial Hearth Day” Event coming up on October 26th.

I’ll provide final photography of the Kitchen, Baths and Stairwell Railings next time. Come see us. Attend a Franklin BreadWorks Event – to get email notices, simply subscribe using the Online Form we provide. Hope to see you there.

Progress noted below for Nov/Dec 2012


As 2012 draws to a close, we are proud to say our renovation project comes to an end. The photos show the Cabin Kitchen.

Our Building Inspection has received final approval. Our Kitchen Certification process is underway and should be approved in January 2013.

We are putting the final touches on our Bathrooms and custom Hand Railings.

A Project that began in 2009 is finally complete.

The scope and difficulty of the project grew over time, but we overcame many challenges and now can proudly extend to the community-at-large a new Business Meeting and Event Services venue in Franklin County. The Cabin also serves as the permanent headquarters of the Ben Franklin Society.

Consider using our Cabin for a Business Meeting or Event in 2013. Join the Ben Franklin Society to attend our private Franklin BreadWorks Dining and Entertainment Events. To receive email Event notices, subscribe to our free Newsletter using this Online Form.

Our best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Hope to see you soon.

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