A chip off the old block

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 9, 2010

Charles Adams isn’t taking credit for “all that work.” Six years of it to be exact.

But the idea was all his and he conveyed that idea to others who put the hammer and nails to it.

On New Year’s Day 2010, Adams stood proudly on the porch of his 3,000-plus square-foot family cabin and welcomed family and friends to the beginning of a holiday tradition.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“This will be an annual New Year’s Day get together for family, friends and anybody else that wants to come,” he said. “I’ve wanted a place like this for a long time. A place where we could come and just enjoy each other without a television or a radio. Just the woods, catfish and us.”

The Adams’ family cabin is located a few miles out of Texasville on 60 acres that was the family’s home place. Adams’ dad, Sam, built a small cabin on the site back in the 1960s. Time, weather and a few varmints took a heavy toll on the cabin and it collapsed around the chimneystack.

That chimneystack was the starting point for Charles Adams’ dream of a cabin in the woods.

“Daddy’s brother, Uncle Elmer Adams, died in 2002,” Adams said. “He was the baby brother of the family. He left me the land where Daddy’s cabin was and his house in Texasville.”

Adams knew exactly what he wanted to do with the family farmland, Uncle Elmer’s house and the two-acre property it occupied in downtown Texasville.

“I gave the two acres to the Texasville Volunteer Fire Department,” he said. “Uncle Elmer had been a member of the volunteer fire department. The land was next to their fire station so it gave them room to expand.

“Uncle Elmer’s house was old and not in good shape, so I took it down and used the lumber to build the cabin I wanted on the family farm.”

The blueprints for the cabin developed in Adams’ head and around the chimneystack.

“I knew what I wanted and told the workers and they did the work,” Adams said. “I did some of the finishing work but I had good people helping me.”

The mind-imprinted blueprint included a huge great room with a kitchen and dining area, four bedrooms – the two off the porch are “in the works” — three baths, an upstairs play area for the grandchildren and a library/getaway for Adams’s wife, Mary.

Some of the lumber for the cabin came from the sawmill but most of it came from “Uncle Elmer’s house.”

“I had the sawmill cut some 1x12s for the floors but the rest of it is old wood and I like the look it gives the cabin,” Adams said. “The catwalk between the library and the children’s play area is made from two hand-hewed 24-foot fat lightard beams from Uncle Elmer’s house. They are 16×16 and talk about heavy. We had to walk them up the wall on a slide.”

The focal point on the cabin on a cold winter’s day is around the fireplace and it’s also a conversation starter.

The mantle is a huge hand-carved beam that was done by an artist friend of Adams’. Into the center of the “fireboard” is carved the word SPIO.

“Spio was the name of this area at one time,” Adams said. “I don’t know where the name originated but Spio is where we are.”

There are several conversation pieces in the cabin but none as “interesting” as the butcher’s block in the kitchen.

The block sits atop the antiquated examining table from the late Dr. Don Golden’s office in Brundidge.

“The stirrups make interesting holders for wine bottles,” Adams said, laughing.

The cabin plans also included a front porch that span the length of the cabin, a side porch and a back porch that doubles as a second kitchen — an old-time kitchen with a wood stove.

“Food cooked on a wood stove is just better than food cooked any other way,” Adams said. “I don’t know why, it just is. So, I wanted a wood stove. A friend of a friend had one that had belonged to her son in Oklahoma. But for about 15 years it sat there never being used. So she asked me if I would trade her some stained glass work for the stove. I couldn’t say yes quick enough.”

When the Adams’ cabin was completed after six long years, Adams tried unsuccessfully to find another wood stove for the cabin but never could.

“The one I had at the house was only used on New Year’s so I decided to move it to the cabin,” Adams said.

“We cooked hushpuppies and baked sweet potatoes on it on New Year’s. I fried pork chops and baked more sweet potatoes on it Sunday. And it makes the best biscuits you ever ate.”

When Adams wants a little time to himself, he just fires up the stove and most everyone heads for the house or the porches to avoid the work.

“Right now, it’s too cold to really enjoy the porches,” Adams said.

“But when it warms up that’s where we’ll spend a lot of time. There’s a nice view all around.”

The back porch offers a panoramic view of the farm’s two ponds.

“The county line runs through the property so one of the ponds is in Henry County and the other is in Barbour County,” Adams said. “We��ve got catfish in both of them and the fishing is good.”

The walkway to the front porch is a bridge “over muddy water” right now. But Adams said his blueprint calls for a moat.

“Not one that goes all the way around the cabin,” he said.

“Just one that goes across the front. It will have a waterfall so you can hear the water running as you come up to the cabin.”

A stock of field rocks is piled in waiting and a stash of old lumber is off to one side of the cabin. So, evidently, Adams hasn’t revealed the entire blueprint.

“Over these six years, we’ve work until funds ran out, then we’d stop for a while,” Adams said. “When I’d get a little more money, we’d start up again. Right now, we’re just enjoying the cabin and having family and friends enjoy it with us.

“That’s what I have wanted — a place for all of us to come and be together away from all the distractions of daily life. And, there is more work to be done. But not right now.”