Montana Log Homes

Log Homes & Log Cabins FOR SALE

Joys of Log Home Living

Does it get better than this?

This morning I was sitting at my desk, which faces a window overlooking our front yard, and movement caught my attention. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a magnificent male deer…this 60 second video shows a buck having brunch in our yard.

Maybe I should have titled this post “Joys of Rural Living” to be more specific, but since I was looking out from a log home, I took some liberties. I only got about 60 seconds of video of this fine creature, but I watched him graze and walk around for 8-10 minutes. It is why I choose to live in a rural area away from the conveniences of city or suburban life.

These nature appreciation moments happen quite frequently around our home.  Here in NW Montana we share our space with a good variety of wildlife from squirrels to deer, black bears and even an occasional mountain lion.  The cool thing is that you never get tired of watching these creatures.

In the past I’ve shared some photos and videos of bears, turkeys and deer from our yard and some have been “National Geographic” quality. Experiencing those moments is one of the things that makes living “out” so appealing to us and to most people who build log homes.

I was born and raised outside of Pittsburgh, PA and we lived in typical middle class neighborhoods (and yes, I remain a diehard Steeler fan). I can’t remember how old I was before I saw a “real” log home outside of television or a magazine, but I was always infatuated with them and wanted to live in one as long as I can recall. When the opportunity to move to Montana presented itself, there was not any doubt the kind of home I wanted to buy or build.

My story is not unlike the thousands of people who build a log home every year.  Some spend their entire lives dreaming and saving for retirement before they make the move, while others find the right setting to build that is convenient to work and schools and make it their primary residence.

Don’t wait to build your log home

What we can be sure of is that nobody wakes up one day and just decides to build a log home.  The idea usually develops over time from a love of nature, an appreciation of wildlife, the allure of a secluded lifestyle or maybe a sense of history, but turning that dream into reality is most assuredly one of the best days of our lives.

If a log home or cabin is part of your future, my recommendation is that you do everything possible to fast-track that dream. The future is one giant unknown…we don’t know what it holds, what’s in store for us or even how long we’ll be here.  We all have a tendency to put things off until the moment is right or when we have more money or less stress, etc. I can tell you from personal experience that I wish I had made the move ten or twenty years prior to getting my log home. I have never felt more at peace, more connected to nature and less stressed than I do living here.

If you want to jumpstart that dream of yours, start by browsing through our log home directory. Find a floor plan that works for you, contact some manufacturers and log home builders and get your questions answered. Seriously, what are you waiting for?

Made in the USA Log Furniture (& more)

I received a call from a fellow named Ken Bouchard yesterday and he had an interesting story to tell, so I thought I would share it with you. I’m a sap for anything that helps our military veterans. As a Vietnam veteran myself, my ears open wider anytime I hear of a worthy veteran’s cause or about someone who is doing something meaningful to help our vets. After chatting with Ken, I asked him to send me some info about his organization and that I would share it with you. We’re talking America’s veterans and log furniture…what’s not to like?

Made in the USA Log Furniture Products
Manufactured by American Military Veterans

Made by Veterans, LLC is a veteran owned organization committed to helping veterans through a centralized location where customers can pursue exceptional products manufactured by American military veterans. While respectful of international commerce, we believe that “Made in the USA by American Military Veterans” represents an elite class of products that stand alone.

My name is Ken Bouchard and I am the founder of MadebyVeterans.com. Although I served 12 years as a reservist with the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard, I was never ordered to a combat zone. In 2010, while working as a geographic information systems (GIS) specialist and land use planner near Fort Hood, Texas, I was privileged to meet several soldiers who served our country in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and other places around the world. During this time I became intimately familiar with the harsh realities derived from prolonged wars and the true costs of freedom. My experience in the Fort Hood area is the inspiration for this organization and everything we do.

Today unemployment challenges many of our veterans and I believe that creating a demand for veteran made products and services is a helpful way to remedy this. In fact, by design the very success of this organization is solely dependent on our ability to create a demand for products that put veterans to work. The goal is simple, to provide a place where all veteran artisans can showcase their products within an organization that is focused on charitable causes and new growth. This is a team effort involving you, us and the people who allow us to live as Americans, the military veterans.

If you are an artisan who has served in the United States Armed Forces, please complete the Veteran Artisan form on our website. If you are a veteran artisan who owns or operates your own shop, please contact us immediately via our website or by phone at 248-757-1500.

If you could please SHARE and LIKE us on FACEBOOK and tell everyone you know about this effort we would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your help.

www.madebyveterans.com

www.facebook.com/MadeByVeterans

Log Homes For Sale

Do you have a log home for sale?

99% of the information published in these 600+ pages is about building or maintaining a log home. However, over the years I’ve been contacted by many people asking about log homes for sale and whether we list such properties.

Announcing “Log Homes For Sale”

This is a brand new area of the website that I think in time will become a big draw for people looking to buy a log home or log cabin. As you know, when you are in the “dreaming stage” of planning your log home, you don’t always know whether to build or buy. Many of us start off searching for an available home for sale – some buy and some decide to build to their custom specifications.

Looking at log homes for sale also offers ideas and inspiration for those wanting to build from scratch. When we moved to Montana ten years ago, we bought the home of our dreams as some nice family had already built it for us. If you are looking to buy an existing log home or cabin, you now have another place to look. Check out the new section of our website called, “Log Homes For Sale“.

Search geographically

As I mentioned, this is a new area of the website so our listings are quite sparse at the moment, but look for this to grow quickly. When you follow the link you will see a page that permits you to search by state or Canadian province. To see all listings, select it from the drop-down menu.

Log Homes For Sale & Log Cabins for sale

List your log home or cabin for sale

Click to sell your log home or cabin

If you or someone you know has a log home or cabin for sale, I invite you to list it here. You can list your log home, cabin or timber frame property for sale in the world’s largest log home directory!

Unlike most other listing resources, we charge ONLY $10 for 6 months and you can cancel your listing at any time! As an added convenience, if your home hasn’t sold in 6 months, we will automatically extend your listing for an additional 6 months.

Go here to list your log home or log cabin for sale. (NOTE: Scroll down under the “Search Listings” and follow the steps.

Before Chainsaws, America's Loggers

Logging Monster Trees

Today’s post is an amazing look at a period of our history that wasn’t that long ago involving the challenges loggers faced every day to earn their wages. Remember this the next time you think your job is demanding.

Before chainsaws were invented, the logging industry in the United States & Canada was a seriously challenging occupation and we are only talking about 125 years ago.  In the Pacific Northwest there were forests full of monster trees and cutting them down was done by hand. A friend sent me these photos and I had to share them with you.

Logging in the Pacific Northwest

Look at the length of the two-man hand saw and heavy duty axes they used to drop these tremendous trees. It is almost inconceivable to think of cutting a tree this size with a hand saw.

See the length of the hand saw they needed

The work required very strong men (and horses) working long days for minimal pay. Could you imagine doing this to earn a living?

The work required very strong men to cut such trees

After a tree was finally felled it took a week or more to cut it up into sections that could be managed (somehow) and transported by train to a lumber yard.

After felling, it took a week or more to cut up the tree

Maneuvering the logs down the mountain to the train was a complex job. I didn’t do any research on this, but I would be willing to bet that many men lost their lives doing this dangerous work.  One slip and a hunk of wood as big as a hotel is rolling your way!  The other question that begs an answer is how did they get those logs onto the flatbeds of that train?

Some of the logs were larger than the train engine...

Hollowed out logs became the company’s mobile office.  Can you imagine stacking such logs to build a log home? Two courses would produce a 30′ ceiling. Maybe that’s why it was easier to hollow out a tree.

A hollowed out log became the company's mobile office...

A long time before anyone ever thought of a “mobile home or RV” hollowed out logs were also used to house and feed the logging crews.

Hollowed out logs were also used to house and feed the crews...

We are accustomed to our modern conveniences like electricity and gasoline powered chainsaws, and it is always such a mind-boggling experience to see how such monumental tasks were performed before these conveniences appeared on the scene.

Share this with your friends, even those who don’t live in a log home will enjoy this ‘blast from the past’!

Attention Log Home Companies...Have you ever sold a log home online?

I mean – sold a log home totally online?

Yesterday I had lunch with the owner of Montana Log Homes. During the course of our meal we talked about the log home business, industry trends and a dozen other related things. I have been in the Internet business since 1993 so few things surprise me when I hear of a new twist on Internet marketing, but that was about to end.

Brad told me that business had been good this year, but one thing happened recently that had never occurred before.  He sold a custom log home online. Sure, that’s been done before, but never like this.

The buyer contacted Montana Log Homes via email. He was living in Texas and wanted to build a home in TX on land that he owned. He chose a floor plan, made the expected modifications, asked all the typical questions and a deal was consummated when the check arrived. What was truly unique is that it wasn’t until the deal was done; money was in hand and the process begun that Brad realized that he had never spoken to the buyer. They had never had a conversation; all communication was done through email.

Obviously, we use our websites to attract potential buyers and showcase our floor plans, provide photos of log homes and information that will help turn a prospect into a customer, but at some point we always talk to our buyers.  Don’t we?

Such a transaction would have been inconceivable just a few years ago, but today it is a reality. As technology continues to advance and people become more comfortable using the Internet, that increased comfort level will make more things like this a common occurrence.

To capitalize on such trends and develop our marketing message to reach more people, log home companies must embrace basic search engine optimization fundamentals and leverage social media. One of the most basic, but most important SEO requirements is having “content-related” backlinks to your website.

Having your company listed in this directory happens to be one of the best things you can do to help improve your website’s ranking in search results. This website has over 500+ pages of log home information and a link from the Log Home Directory has SEO value.

Take a few minutes and watch this video, then click the link below and claim your listing.

Claim your listing!

Claim or add your company listing in the largest log home directory. Find the people who are searching for your company and help your website perform better in search results. I you are a log home manufacturer or log home builder, timber frame company or supplier to the industry; you need to be listed to be found.

 

Log Homes in Highlights Kids Magazine

I’m one of those who can watch the Science channel for hours. One of their shows, “How it’s Made” is one of my favorites. I’ve always been interested in such things, even as a young boy. My canister of Lincoln Logs was one of my most used toys. With that in mind, I was intrigued to read that Estemerwalt Log Homes had an article featured in Highlights High Five Magazine.  And no, I didn’t learn this from my subscription.  🙂

(From Press Release) In the June issue of the esteemed children’s magazine Highlights High Five, in a special feature entitled “Building Log Houses”.  The publication, which is written for preschoolers, aims to help stimulate children’s social and emotional growth, their ability to reason and to think creatively, their physical well-being and their acquisition of language skills.

“We are a family company,” says Kurt Propst, owner of Estemerwalt Log Homes. “It’s exciting for us to be included in this magazine, and to be able to be a part of teaching children the log home building process.”  With nearly 130 years in business, Estemerwalt is a fifth-generation family owned company in Honesdale, PA. Highlights, also of Honesdale, visited the Estemerwalt facility as background for this story. The three-page spread provides a fun tutorial on the construction of log homes. “It was fascinating to visit the Estemerwalt facility and learn how the logs are prepared. Kids have always loved to build toy log homes, so seeing how real log houses are made will really resonate with them,” says Kelley Cunningham, Art Director for Highlights High Five.

Highlights magazines are distributed to over one million subscribers; their motto “Fun with a Purpose” is demonstrated throughout each Highlights magazine and in an expanding family of products. Estemerwalt Log Homes welcomes kids of all ages (even the grown up kind) who are interested in learning how to build a log home to visit their facility. The company regularly hosts seminars and mill tours, visitors can RSVP directly online.

Estemerwalt Log Homes creates one of the most comprehensive log home packages in the industry, offering a wide variety of log profiles, including D-Log, Half Log, and the ever popular Full Round Log.  For more information on Estemerwalt Log Homes, please call 1-800-515-2060, visit them online at www.estemerwalt.com, or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/estemerwaltloghomes.  For media inquiries, contact Scott Rouleau at Rouleau Communications at 860-677-0560 or via email at scott@rouleaucomm.com.

For more information on Highlights and Highlights High Five, please visit www.highlights.com.

 

Outdoor Wood Furnaces for Log Homes

Today we have an interesting article from a company that specializes in components for Outdoor Furnace installations. These have become quite popular with log home owners in the past few years.

A Great Option For Log Cabin Owners

Outdoor Wood Furnaces Save You Money

In today’s world, we are all looking to save money wherever we can. Many of us know that reducing utility bills is a feasible way to save money, but struggle to come up with more creative ways to reduce these bills other than to make sure lights are turned off, and possibly putting plastic over leaky windows to prevent heat loss. However, there is an effective way to greatly reduce your monthly utility bills. An outdoor wood furnace can be used to heat your home and your water. While it is true that you will have to invest some money initially, particularly with installation, the savings will soon outweigh the upfront money that was needed. Here are the top five ways an outdoor wood furnace will save you money.

Cheap Energy Source

Without a doubt, wood is a less expensive resource than gas, oil or electric. In addition to the cost savings to purchase them, trees are a renewable resource, so you don’t have to worry about the rising costs of trees due to a tree shortage. If you live in a rural area or have timber in your backyard, you can heat your home for the cost of a couple of gallons of gas and a bit of manual labor with a chainsaw.

Easy Installation

Outdoor wood furnaces are easily installed or integrated into existing heating systems. As mentioned before, it will cost some money to have the unit installed, but the savings will quickly outweigh the cost. Since outdoor wood burners are easy to install the labor to install them is relatively low when compared to other home improvement projects, and definitely lower when compared to the cost of replacing a traditional furnace that uses oil, gas or electricity to function.

Less Fuss, Less Mess

Since outdoor wood burners are not inside your home, you are saving money on the maintenance that has to be done inside your home because of the damage that can be caused by a traditional furnace. With an outdoor wood burner, your home is not subjected to soot, ashes, smoke or odors on the walls and ceilings of your home. Instead, all of the wood burning is contained in an outside building. What does this mean for your home? This means you will spend less time cleaning up dust, ashes and smoke that have made a mess in your home. You will also not have to repaint walls in your home to get rid of the smoky smell that traditional wood burning stoves can leave in your home. If you currently use a traditional wood burning stove and store the wood in your home or garage, you will experience even less mess than traditional furnace users because you will no longer need to store wood close to your home. Instead, you can leave the wood outside, where it belongs, near the outside wood burner. This means you will not have to deal with messy wood and the bugs and issues that can arise from having wood in the house.

Better Home Insurance Rates

Traditional wood burning stoves can have a negative impact on your home owner’s policy because of the risk that a wood burning stove brings to your home. Also, using a traditional furnace that burns oil, gas or electricity can impact your home insurance rates. However, with an outdoor wood burner there is no risk of fire or explosion. Why is this? This is because the only open flame for the outdoor wood burner is at least 30 feet, potentially up to 200 feet, from the home. This distance ensures that if the unlikely event of a fire in an outdoor wood burner did occur, it would likely not impact your home. Insurance companies are aware of the safety benefits of an outdoor wood burning stove and that equates to lower insurance premiums for people who choose to use an outdoor wood burner to heat their home.

Better Air Quality in your Home

During the winter months, many home owners and their occupants suffer from allergies that are largely brought on by the change in air quality in their home. Allergy sufferers are forced to spend money on doctor’s appointments, over-the-counter medications and prescriptions to combat the effects their current heating source has on their allergies. Unfortunately, the only true cure for them is when the heating source is turned off for the warmer months of the year. With an outdoor wood burner, allergy suffering homeowners and occupants can save their hard-earned money since outdoor wood burners do not affect the quality of air in the home at all.

As you can see, outdoor wood burners offer home owners and business owners a plethora of savings in a financial category – utilities – that some people may accept and continue to pay, even though the rates continue to rise and homeowner’s wallets aren’t getting any bigger. Don’t let the initial cost of the outdoor wood burner and its installation affect your decision to change the way you heat your home or business because the potential savings will quickly outweigh your initial cost.

About

Kyle Brent is the president of OutdoorFurnaceSupply.com. It is a great place to buy your Underground Pex and all your Outdoor Furnace Parts.

Log Home Secrets

Make that 30 Log Home Secrets & a New Website

Log Home Secrets by Roland SweetA few months ago I mentioned that I had reviewed a new book, “Log Home Secrets of Success” by Roland Sweet, the editor of Log Home Living magazine. I said that it is an excellent book and highly recommend it to anyone considering building a log home or cabin.  Roland and company have expanded their reach to help people learn more about this topic by launching a new website.

A press release states, “A new website, LogHomeSecrets.com, is now online and ready to assist homeowners in their log-home planning.”  It goes on to describe it more fully, “In addition to photo galleries, book reviews, and downloadable book pages, the Resource section includes log building schools, upcoming log home shows, recommended books and magazines, and related websites for further research. The Bookstore provides links to autographed books and e-book editions of PixyJack Press titles.

 

Log Cabins, Log Homes, I love you, I do!

Log Home Living

Okay, so this morning I let the pooch out to take care of business and as I’m walking back to the house, this little pine squirrel starts making a racket. He (or she) is munching on a corn cob and I guess he thought I might be interested in his breakfast and started calling me all kinds of names. At least that’s what I figured he was doing.

Pine squirrels are funny little creatures. A couple years ago I was walking the dog about 1/3 of a mile from our log home when one little fellow started making all kinds of noise. He was in a pine tree and so high up I could barely make him out, but all of a sudden, a nut came flying out of the tree aimed right at me.

I stood there mesmerized while this little squirrel continued to throw nuts at me and the dog for many minutes. One projectile actually hit me, but the whole scene was too funny to chance ending it by moving away. This was the first time I had ever had an animal throw things at me and it was the most amazing experience. That 10 ounce rodent was attacking a 200+ lb. human – too funny.

When I lived in Plano, Texas or the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania or Roanoke, Virginia, I never had such an experience. And I think that is one of the reasons why the log home lifestyle appeals to so many people. In most cases we build a cabin or log home in a rural setting, away from the noise and bustle of the city. As a result, we get to experience nature up close and personal and see things we never could experience in the confines of a neighborhood or city street.

It’s the experience

I’ve had as many as 30 deer wander through our property at one time; we’ve seen many bears, some elk, turkeys, eagles and even the occasional mountain lion or bobcat, and you never get tired of seeing these creatures come by for a visit. Just watching a tiny pine squirrel nibble on a corn cob is an event that makes you stop what you were doing, grab your camera and enjoy the moment.

To me, that’s part of the thrill of living out in the woods and being close to so many different critters. It’s part of log home living, and I love it, I do.

Log Home Stains - Which is Best?

From the editor:  This post was originally published on this blog in 2008 and has been one of the most active threads on this blog. The reason is simple; the quest to find the best log home stain is something we all search for.  Nobody derives joy from stripping and staining a house. The less frequently we need to do it, the happier we’ll all be. The latest comment on this post arrived this morning, so I thought it might be a good idea to reopen this discussion and see if anyone has discovered that ‘perfect stain”.

Log Home Stains

A few days ago, a reader posted a question on this blog and I felt it was important enough to make my response a posting rather than just replying to her comment. Julie asked…

“What type of stain did you use on your logs that lasted 5 years? I can’t find one that lasts for more than 2 years on mine. I have a very sunny exposure and the sunny sides of the home are the worst. Any suggestions on what stain I should try next?”

DIY Maintenance - Re-staining Log ome

That is the million dollar question, and one you will see regularly on every log home forum or blog. In my case, I was like many other new log home owners in that I didn’t know – what I didn’t know. I assumed that if you buy a stain from a ‘name brand’ and you get a good quality product.

When we bought our home from the former owner who had built the house, it was in need of re-staining. I asked the owner what he used and followed his lead. He was using a popular brand name product available from Home Depot. I elected to use the same stain for two reasons. One, the former owner had used it and I was anxious about mixing products to avoid any adhesion or coloration issues. Secondly, I was swayed by the manufacturer’s “X-year” guarantee.

Julie and I share the same problem in that I cannot get more than two years on my horizontal surfaces, but the manufacturer “guarantees” five. In fairness, my verticals look great after five years, but decking, stairs and railing horizontals look terrible after only two years. I went so far as to ask the people at Home Depot about this when I did my first two-year re-staining. They told me I needed to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter, including stripping and pre-treating the wood with their “authorized” cleaning solution. I did – it didn’t.

Two years later, I had to re-stain all horizontals once again. To make matters more confusing, I attended a log home show last Spring and had a conversation with a representative of a major supplier of stains to the log home industry. This salesman told me that even with the “guarantees”, he knew of no product that would survive more than two years of our harsh Montana seasons. According to him, few people pursue such guarantees and can seldom prove that they followed the manufacturer’s directions as required, thus calling such guarantees into question.

It is NOT my intention to insult any manufacturers or start a ‘flame war’ on this blog, but like Julie, I would love to hear from stain manufacturers in this industry. I would like to know why their stain is better than others and can survive where other’s cannot. My experiences and Julie’s may be unique, or it may be more of what you have experienced. If you use a stain that you like or know a manufacturer that would be willing to add their two cents, I would welcome any input.

Manufacturers of log home stains…. Please feel free to use this blog to promote your products and make some converts. Julie and I would like to know which log home stain is best!