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The West Virginia Cabin with Countless Family Memories

Mike and Susan Stenz have lived in their log home in West Virginia for 33 years. The cabin holds countless memories and family traditions.

Written by Lauren Ogg
The West Virginia Cabin with Countless Family Memories
 
Mike and Susan Stenz have lived in their log home in West Virginia for 33 years. The cabin holds countless memories and family traditions. But their favorite part of cabin life? Walking outside in their underwear whenever they want.

In reality, they love the “peace, quiet, and solitude” cabin life provides. They hate traffic and don’t mind the lack of cell service—making cabin life a natural fit. The cabin itself was built in the 1970s and was a model for New England Log Homes. They’ve remodeled over the years, but it has always maintained its charm and simplicity. For decades, they’ve lived surrounded by more wildlife than people and more trees than houses. They have loved every minute.
 
The Stenz's three children were raised in the cabin, and the lifestyle allowed the children to learn respect for wildlife. Growing up, they learned to identify bear, wild turkey and deer tracks. They learned to determine which plants were edible and which ones grew nuts. Susan remembers snakes that often snuck into the cabin, and although they didn’t bother her, they really bothered her mother-in-law. On one particular visit, Mike’s mother “found a snake skin in her bedroom and thought it had been placed there as a prank by one of the children.” Luckily for the sake of the kids, that wasn’t the case. This wasn’t a rare occurrence in the household, and one that came with living a life that heavily revolved around being outside.
 

Animals in the house became a normalcy for the family. They had many domestic animals, and often had kittens running around the property. However, certain animals were not as domestic and not so welcome.

Before switching to a furnace, the family used a wood stove to heat their home. This set up allowed the occasional bat to get into the house through the chimney.

One night, a bat flew into one of the kid’s bedrooms and woke him up, ensuing chaos. The incident led to the development of a bat-catching technique referred to as “catch and release.” If you ever need to catch a loose bat, the Stenz approach is to attack from the back with a sheet or fishing net.

Now that their children are adults with families of their own, the Stenz household is full of grandkids. The traditions continue, but now with the next generation. The values of cabin living are being passed down, in hopes that it remains a special place.

The cabin life is something the Stenz’s stumbled upon 33 years ago, when they decided they were done with the noise and congestion of the city. Decades later, their original reasoning for choosing the cabin life remains: not only can you walk outside in your underwear, but you can see some beautiful mountains while doing it.