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If These Walls Could Talk

Sharon's Home

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08/01/2011 - "I'm making this garden in memory of my mother" said Sharon Hazelton Seems as she pointed out the Johnny-jump-ups and Lily of the Valley her mother, Irma, had favored. The flowers to which Sharon referred are clustered in front of the old Hazelton homestead cabin on Casper Mountain. After living the last 20 years in Arizona, Sharon and her husband, Larry, are moving home to the cabin for retirement.

Retirement? I remember Sharon mostly as the little blond teenager that came to babysit me when my parents went out for the evening. It's difficult to realize that she is now the grandmother of teenagers. Grandmother though she may be, when Sharon talks about the cabin on the mountain it's obvious that the times she spent growing up there are vivid in her mind.

The Hazelton family homesteaded the five acre parcel of land on which the cabin sits in 1950. To earn the deed to their land, they were required to accomplish specific task: clear the land of deadfall, clean up where the road had been bulldozed, build an outhouse, dig a garbage pit, and build a home-sized cabin.

Although they had a house in town, while proving up the homestead, the family stayed in an old army tent on the mountain. Sharon remembers sealing their sleeping bags in barrels during the day to keep the critters from nesting in them. Now standing in a place of honor in her kitchen is the Home Comfort wood cook-stove they used in the tent days.

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Though Sharon was only five when the project began, she remembers every step -- even the day they picked out the property. As the oldest child in the family, Sharon labored with her parents as they built. She recalls that her little fingers came in handy when nailing the tiny tacks that held the mesh for the cabin's chinking. She's also proud of the cement finishing skills mastered as a child.

Sharon's father Frank Hazelton learned to build with logs from a man he met while stationed in Switzerland during World War II. Their homestead cabin is a fine example of that old-style craftsmanship. The details are lovely -- hand peeled logs cut from the property, hand chiseled stone crafted into a fireplace, tongue and groove floor and ceiling, knotty pine cabinets, handmade log barstools, gracefully curved log porch railings -- each item is a labor of love.

Sharon inherited the cabin in 1968 when her father died. She continues the labor of love her parents began. "I've put eight coats of hand-rubbed polyurethane on that wall and I'm not done yet" she said in reference to a log wall in the bathroom addition. Though it's stood in its place for almost 60 years, the little cabin still isn't finished. A real home is never really done. Like a living thing it keeps growing.

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