PHOTOS OF SKIP'S LOG HOME
NOT INCLUDING BEDROOMS, BATHROOMS, STORAGE ROOMS, ROOMS ON THE THIRD FLOOR, THE PANTRY, ETC.
SKIPíS PITBULL Ė NAMED FANG
AN IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT FANG !!!
Skip's home is NEVER open to the general public.
Please do not come to Skip's ranch unexpectedly.
We can not have "surprise" visitors here, for reasons include the following;
1.We have a pit-bull named Fang. He bites anything that moves. When he bites, he does not let go. Fang is here to keep packs of wild dogs (deer killers) off of the ranch. He has now killed all the wild dogs. So far, he hasnít killed any human beings. We donít want you to be the first human being to be killed by Fang. [Frankly, we prefer that Fang obtain his exercise in other ways.] Therefore, please do not come here without calling us first -- so we can put Fang on his logging chain.
2.There are four separate alarm systems here at the ranch. These alarms are always activated when we are not at home. Therefore, if you come here unexpectedly, and/or when we are not at home, an alarm system will dial the Monroe Police Department. The police will arrive before you can leave the premises (the driveway is 1,200" long, and it is hardly drivable in a "normal" car ). The police become very upset when this happens. Even worse, they charge us a fee for responding to any "false alarms" (perhaps involving friends, relatives, etc.).
3.There is a Video Monitor that takes videos of every vehicle that enters the premises and every person who approaches the house. The images are transmitted to a remote recorder. We do not want these cameras to be activated unnecessarily, because this requires re-setting the equipment when we get home.
4.Other safe-guards have also been taken to protect the ranch. These safe-guards are too numerous to mention. However, if you are acquainted with Skip then you probably realize what types of things might be involved.
5.NO ONE comes to Skip's ranch without calling first Ė not even Skipís children, or his friends, orÖ etc. Several of us live here, and we value our privacy. This place is a sanctuary... a haven of refuge.
6.We do not talk to people who come here without an appointment. We do not help them. We do not answer any questions. We do not allow them to attend a seminar.
7.The above explanation is not meant to sound unfriendly. Believe it or not, us folks here at the ranch are very friendly people. However, we are trying to have a "life" here Ė and we canít do this without some degree of privacy.
8.Please accept our sincere thanks for being "understanding" about the above.
PS -- If you write to us via e-mail, Skip (and/or one of the other volunteers) will be glad to write back to you and help you in any way possible -- free of charge.
THE BACK OF SKIPíS HOME Ė UNDER CONSTRUCTION
This home contains nearly 7,000 square feet of floor space Ė not including approximately 2,000 square feet of decks and porches (which could be enclosed at a later time, if necessary).
This photo was taken before the porches were added to the first, second and third floors Ė and before any of the finish-work was done.
This home was used by Universal Studios for the filming of the "log mansion scenes" of Northern Exposure. It was "lived in" by Maurice (the retired astronaut, played by Barry Corbin).
THE BACK OF SKIP'S HOME (FACING SOUTH -- INTO THE SUN AND THE VIEW)
The building on the right is a log sauna, with a large covered area for a hot-tub. There will soon be a cold-water pool just outside the door of the sauna.
At this time, there are some additional log buildings on the left side of this home.
In the foreground is a very large spit Ė for roasting cows, pigs, lambs, etc.
On the first floor deck there are four matching picnic tables, with benches. This means that there is "table-seating" for 32 people on the first floor deck. Skip often has large parties at his home (no alcohol, no drugs, not even any tobacco).
On the second floor deck is a Jacuzzi and some exercise equipment Ė as well as a picnic table, a telescope, and a hammock that Skip brought back from the Yucatan Peninsula.
On the third floor deck is another picnic table and a telescope.
We often shoot guns from these decks Ė at "human-shaped" targets that are located where I am standing while taking this photo. "Head-shots" are where it's at.
The sauna is more visible in this photo -- as is the spit in the foreground.
This is the sauna, with Chip standing by the door. We could have used this small building as a guest-room, but it was not needed for that purpose.
The deck on the left is quite large. There are four picnic tables on the porch, and each table seats eight -- with means that there is seating for 32 -- and there is also approximately 200 lineal feet of wooden steps that are perfect for sitting on. This means that, with no preparation, we can seat approximately 150 people for picnics in the back yard.
This spit has been used to cook MANY cows, pigs, goats, etc. Skip likes to think that he has it down to a science, as follows: The handle has a locking mechanism -- and he turns it 1/4 of a turn every 15 minutes or so, depending on several factors, including (but not limited to) the weight of the critter -- the amount of heat being generated by the coals -- the type of coals being used -- the distance between the critter and the coals -- the amount (and type) of marinade being used -- the direction of the wind (parallel to the critter or at right angles to it) -- the speed of the wind -- the weather (temperature, and humidity) -- and a few secret tricks that Skip says he will probably never divulge.
THE FRONT OF SKIPíS HOME Ė WITH WINDOWS NOT YET ADDED.
The relatively large size of this house is NOT readily apparent, because of it's proportions. The front "double-door" is wide enough for Skip's Case 350 bulldozer to pass through.
THE FRONT OF SKIPíS HOME
Again, the size of this home is deceptive because there is no easily discernable frame of reference.
However, Bob Johnsonís wife is standing in the front door (wearing a blue jacket) Ė and there is a Jeep on the right side of the home -- so perhaps these can be used to understand the size of the building.
The interior of the home is almost large enough to accommodate a small race-track for Jeeps.
The two cabins on the right are utility buildings. The one with the sunshine on the roof has an extended roof line on both sides of the cabin Ė one of these roofs is a "carport" for Skip's bulldozer, and the other one is a carport for the dune buggy. Tools for maintenance are kept in the building itself.
This photo was taken from inside Skipís main home Ė looking through the open doorway (with only one of the doors being open). The building shown in the background has 1,500 sq. ft. of floor space Ė with three stories, and a ridge pole log that is over 54í long.
This photo was taken in the middle of winter, and the heat was on. However, the snow is not melting on the roof Ė which means that the roof is well insulated.
In one of the first segments of NORTHERN EXPOSURE, Maurice was raising the Alaska flag on this building (see the flag-pole at the peak of the roof) when Dr. Fleishman drove into the yard in his pick-up truck. Maurice rappelled down from the ridge-pole to greet Fleishman, and then they went into Skip's main home. When this picture was taken it was cooooooold outside -- but toasty warm inside.
SPRING IS HERE AT LAST
The size of this building can be visualized via the size of the doorway (not to be confused with the 2" X 10" "molding" around the doorway -- look carefully).
The third floor has an open deck (see hand-rail) where we often hang out, play cards, and just relax.
This is Skip's wife, Elvie -- and their son, Chip.
Chip was born on May 4, 1995.
Elvie was born on _________ (Skip is afraid to say how old Elvie is, because you might think that Elvie is much too old for him.).
[Just kidding, Elvie.]
The VW was born in 1970. Itís camper-van. The canoe is always on board -- and camping gear is always stashed in the luggage rack.
ANOTHER BUILDING TO THE RIGHT OF THE GUEST HOUSE...
The smaller guest cabin on the right was built using the Scandinavian Chinkless Method.
The notches in this building fit so tight that it looks like the logs "grew" together. This is one of the finest examples of this method of construction that we have ever seen. This building is very warm and comfortable.
As a graduate of Skip's seminar, I could build this structure for almost nothing -- IF I used logs from my land -- and IF I used an Alaska Sawmill (that fits on a chainsaw) to cut a few boards -- and IF there were no building codes in the area where I was building.
In other words, I could build the house for almost no money at all IF the right trees were growing on my land (which is very possible in the Pacific Northwest), and IF I used pioneering techniques that were perfected more than 1,000 years ago.
My expenses to build this cabin would involve only the purchase of a few nails, a few carriage bolts for the door, a couple of hinges, and some windows that I would purchase from a flea-market. My total cost would be approximately $100.
In Alaska, I have used leather for hinges, raw-hide for windows (if rawhide is properly oiled, it lets a lot of light in, and it has an appearance that is similar to stained glass), rocks for a foundation, etc., etc.
A SCANDINAVIAN CHINKLESS WINNEBAGO -- with one of the neighborhood deer.
The chinkless home that is on the back of this truck has been used in many parades -- in many communities -- for many years.
It has been featured at the Seattle Kingdome (please see the Historical Photos section of this website), the Folklife Festival at the Seattle Center (more photos in the same section), the King County Fair, the Heritage Festival, and MANY other events too numerous to mention.
This is an EXCELLENT example of the Scandinavian Chinkless method.
The deer is one of the many that come into Skipís yard every morning, and every evening. Fang completely ignores the deer. He doesn't even look at them. It is beneath his dignity to acknowledge them. However, he is quick to attack the packs of wild dogs that often kill the deer in our area.
ANOTHER PHOTO OF THE GUEST CABIN AND THE "PARADE" TRUCK
The truck has a fire-pit as part of the "landscaping" (near the windmill) Ė and there is a pot hanging over the pit. It also has a little stack of fire-wood, a hand pump (that re-cycles water), a log house builders work-bench (see the tripod on the left of the truck bed), and a horse (with the head removed).
One of the deer is still standing (with tail towards us) in front of the chinkless building.
A SADDLE-NOTCH CABIN UNDER CONSTRUCTION AT SKIPíS RANCH
The small tags (barely visible) at the ends of each log have numbers written on them -- so the saddle-notched logs can be taken down and transported to a different location.
Without the numbers on each log, it would be almost impossible to re-assemble the building after moving it to the final site.
ONE OF SKIPíS CLASSES:
This photo was taken in front of a row of cabins at Skipís ranch. In this area of the ranch there are approximately nine cabins in a row. Skip is the guy standing second from the right (with coffee cup in hand).
Skip bought the 4 X 4 Willys pick-up truck at an estate auction. It belonged to the estate of the guy who owned the golf course in Monroe. They say that it had never left the golf course. It only had 30-something-thousand miles on it. What a truck !!!
THE FRONT OF SKIPíS HOME
Again, the size of this home is deceptive Ė because the only reference is the double-doors and Skip's Jeep. These doors were intentionally made wide enough so Skip could (in case of an emergency) drive his Corvette through them, and into the living room -- as well as the Ford F 250 Pick-up, the Case 350 bulldozer, the Case 310 Front-end loader, etc.
Frankly, I think these vehicles would look a bit strange in the living room -- but who knows...(?).
The small buildings each have wooden numbers permanently attached to the door. This facilitates communication, such as;
"Where is the Alaska Mill ?"
"Itís in building number 16."
The Ďvette has a Greenwood ground effects package. Itís a pretty fast car.
Where is the 8,000 Pound Warn winch, Skip ??? How do you pull logs out of the woods with this thing ??? How fast can you pull a 60' log ???
As you can imagine, Skip's friends have often joked with him (harassed him) about this car.
THE "DOUBLE-DOOR" IN THE FRONT OF SKIP'S HOME Ė AS SEEN FROM ONE OF THE LIVING ROOMS.
Bear -- Moose -- Bobcat #1 -- Bobcat #2 -- Snowshoes.
Most of the trophies in Skip's home were taken by him when he lived in Alaska, and hunting for meat was an important part of life.
[To the right of the door are some of the "dummy" alarm switches. All of the real switches are hidden. Believe it or not, even the interior doors have alarms on them. In other words, if we are sitting at the dining room table, we can immediately tell if someone opens a door on the third floor.]
[Also, the lights in each room can be turned on, or shut off, via a battery powered remote switch that is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket.]. In other words, the lights in each room can be turned on and off by using a small, portable remote.]
The interior wall is scribed to fit the log wall.
THE FRONT "DOUBLE-DOOR" Ė AS SEEN FROM THE SECOND FLOOR
The stairway on the left connects the first floor and second floor. It is considerably wider than a normal stairway. There is a full-size horse-and-buggy (circa 1850) hanging on the wall directly above the upper stair landing. The size of the logs is evident via the length of the rifles.
HALLWAY INTO THE "BRUCE LEE" ROOM
In this short hallway there are closets on the left and on the right. The maroon velvet curtains (tied back with gold braid) are a nice little detail. The slope on the upper left of the photo is the stairway to the second floor.
In this room there are a lot of "mementos" regarding Skip's relationship with Bruce Lee [see the page called THE BRUCE LEE MEMORIAL.].
TO THE RIGHT OF THE DOOR
Skipís compound bow is on the far right. The rifle next to the wall is a "pre-ban" semi-automatic.
Skip was an avid hunter in his youth -- primarily in northern Minnesota, Alaska, and Canada.
TO THE RIGHT OF THE DOOR
Snow-shoes -- buffalo -- Indian head-dress -- bob-cat -- bear trap -- and a bunch of other Indian items (antiques) from the reservation where Skip was raised.
Skip grew up on an Indian Reservation, where his dad built log homes and ran a second-hand store. Skip started collecting Indian artifacts at that time.
ONE OF THE LIVING ROOMS
The size of the logs can be determined via the length of the rifles, etc.
A LIVING ROOM WALL
Again, the size of the logs can be determined by various items. Skip cut these logs on his own property. He has over 1,500 knives stuck in the walls of this home. He collects knives Ė among other things Ė from all over the world.
A CATHEDRAL CEILING IN THIS LIVING ROOM
Frankly, I canít remember how many logs are in these walls, or how tall the walls are. Skip would probably know.
This partition separates living room #1 from living room #2. The partition allows the eye to go beyond the defined enclosure of the room, which makes the room seem much larger, and more open Ė in the Frank Lloyd Wright tradition.
The couch and chair set is quite old.
The silver-inlaid goat skull (in the chair to the right) is from Tibet. It is a religious item.
SKIPíS MOM'S ROOM (THROUGH THE WINDOW, ABOVE)
Skipís mom stayed at Skipís home quite often.
She lived in the Seattle area.
She was 98 years old when she passed away in 2002.
The spinning wheels belonged to Skipís mom when she was a little girl.
SKIPíS MOMíS ROOM
The window-opening that is visible above the spinning wheels allows one to look down into one of the living rooms (below). This opening allows the eye to go beyond the confines of the bedroom.
In the log wall of this bedroom there is a large picture window which over-looks a ravine and creek.
The ledge (with the spinning wheels, and the cylinder phonograph with morning-glory horn) is covered with the same carpet that was used in the rest of the house.
The floor joists are spiked to the log girder.
This girder goes through the log wall, but it is not saddle-notched. We avoided using a saddle-notch here Ė for several specific reasons that are related to structural strength and longevity.
LIVING ROOM #1
The closets are on the right, under the stairs. The slope of the stairway can be seen on the wall directly behind roll-top desk (which has been in the family for many years). On the far-left is a bathroom door.
APPROACHING THE SECOND LIVING ROOM (#2).
Bathroom door. Player piano. Dining room table in the background. Two fencing foils. A Tiffany "dragon-fly" lampshade.
PART OF LIVING ROOM #2
Stairway to the second floor. Player piano. Dining room to the left of the chair. Two ridge-pole-support-logs. A bear-skin rug.
This dining room table seats 26 people. Sometimes, depending upon how many people are expected for dinner, we remove two chairs and set it so it only seats 24.
THE DINING ROOM TABLE
The lace table cloth belonged to Skipís mom. The table is always "set" and ready for guests.
The cups are part of a collection that belonged to Skip's mom.
In this photo the table is set for 26 people. The window shades are open and there is a beautiful view of the valley.
These are some of the things Skip has collected from various parts of the world. Almost all of these items have religious significance to the people who live in the cultures from which they came Ė and thus they have religious significance to Skip.
A few more knives stuck in the wall. Skip seems to remember that he got the walrus in Alaska (where he has spent a lot of time) in 1957. This walrus skull is an Eskimo artifact, as indicated by the carvings on it. This item has religious significance to the Eskimos Ė and thus it also has religious significance to Skip.
The white object below the walrus is a petrified whale bone with Eskimo carvings on it. Skip got this from Eskimos he worked with on the Alaska Railroad before 1960. These types of carvings are religiously important to the Eskimos.
The white cobra in the background is rather rare. [Yes... it is dead.]
The quilts belonged to Skipís mom. Some of them have been in her family for over 100 years. There are several with the "log cabin" pattern, a couple of them with "double wedding ring" patterns, at least one with the "Texas Star" pattern, etc.
The small stove (which is against the wall, and under the petrified whale-bone Eskimo carving) is propane. It heats the entire house even during the coldest weather. It vents through the wall, and when the stove is on, the vent-pipe is hardly even warm.
The knives are from all over the world.
THE HALLWAY -- GOING FROM LIVING ROOM #2 TO THE KITCHEN.
The marimba is from South America. The masks are from all over the world. The knives are from ___________ ??? (we would need to ask Skip).
LIVING ROOM #2
A large round pillow from Morocco. Cannon balls from the civil war. A bronze elephant from India. Bolos from Argentina. A bear that Skip killed with a bow in Alaska.
DOOR TO THE MASTER BEDROOM
Through this door (and straight ahead) is the "outside" door which opens to the second floor deck.
The heavy bag is hanging from a 4" X 10" floor joist . Skip tries to work out on it (kicking and punching) for one hour every day.
The log girder (above the door) goes from the east side of the building to the west side of the building. The third floor joists are spiked to this girder.
I don't know what the diameter of the girder-log is, but it is obviously quite large, compared to the size of the door. These logs were all cut on Skip's property. He moved them with block-and-tackle, hand-winches, etc.
This is the second floor hallway that leads to the "back" stairway -- that goes down to the kitchen. The China Cabinet contains curios (mostly of religious significance) from all over the world. Fang's pedigree can be seen in the mirror.
The purlins in the roof are not necessary. We installed these purlins only for the fun of doing so. A locomotive could be parked on this roof without causing any damage to the structure itself.
The bookshelves include sections on construction, art, philosophy, literature, martial arts, etc.
The door in the background (on the right) is to Skipís office.
The other door is a bathroom.
The third floor ledge is covered with same carpet that was used in the rest of the house.
The masks are from all over the world. Most of them have religious significance to the tribal people who made them.
The Morris chair in the far corner is one of Skipís favorite places to read and think Ė and fall asleep doing either...
The snake skin on the floor to the right is over 20í long.
The yard area on one side of the house can be surveyed from this window.
The stairway that goes down to the first floor is directly ahead of the guitars on far right.
Looking at the library from the hallway.
The stairway on the right goes up to the third floor -- where there are bedrooms and lounge areas. The door on the far wall (below the antlers) is to Skipís momís room.
This full-size buggy (and matching sleigh in the background) were both made in approximately 1850.
The ridge pole is quite large in diameter. At the time we lifted the ridge pole into place it was over 100í long. We lifted it with simple tools that will fit in the trunk of a car. It took approximately five minutes to lift it into place.
The two paintings above the door need no explanation if you have ever spent the evening strolling on the streets of Oaxaca, Mexico Ė where these types of paintings are done (as you watch) by the "street artists".
The MARTIAL ARTS BOOKS on the coffee table were written by Skipís good friends Ė Jesse Glover and Jim DeMile. The books are about Kung Fu.
The blue book at the other end of the table is a movie-script about Bruce Leeís life during his "Seattle years." The movie includes characters that represent Bruceís first students (and friends) in America. The real names of these people are used in this movie. In other words, there are actors who "play" Bruce Lee, Jesse Glover, Jim DeMile, Skip -- etc.
The poster on the wall is of BRUCE LEE, Skip, Jesse Glover, Tak Miyabe, Jim DeMile, LeRoy Garcia, and Taky Kimura.
Next to the poster is Skipís original Kung Fu uniform. He fought at 165 pounds. It would be an understatement to say that this uniform would no longer fit. (Perhaps it shrunk, Skip ???)
The counter-top separates the kitchen from the dining room. This counter-top is 4' wide by 10 feet in length.
The round oak table has four leaves, and it expands to seat ten people.
The butcher block at the other end of the table is functional. It is sitting directly in front of the refrigerator, and the brown stove (with two ovens).
The round oak table seats 10 when it is fully extended. This is where most of the small gatherings take place -- and this is where Skip entertains friends on a daily basis.
There are two large electric stoves in the kitchen. The white stove in the background was manufactured in 1920. This "extra" stove is generally only used when we are having large parties.
On the north wall in the kitchen is a refrigerator, a door to the pantry/laundry room, and a Kitchen Queen.
The Kitchen Queen. The books are all COOK BOOKS (no wonder Skip has been gaining weight recently). Actually, this is an old photo. The bookshelves (and books) go all the way up to the ceiling now.
These implements are all functional.
We are worried that Skip doesn't have enough knives. [Just kidding, Skip.]
A white cobra, and some stuff from Northern Africa.
The books are Dante's Inferno -- and Milton's Paradise Lost.
This is the wall-phone that Skip used as a small boy -- on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. By the time you read this, the telephone will probably be hooked up to a similar phone in one of the other log buildings -- so each phone will ring when the other is cranked.
(If you want to talk to a recording... press "one.")
The small arrows are from a primitive tribe in Borneo.
War clubs from the "island cultures" of the South Seas. Some of these clubs are extremely old. They were given to Skip by his friends who live in those areas.
A column which supports the second floor girder.
A scribed fit around the girder.
A desk Skip often uses to catch up on paper-work.
Two Tibetan prayer wheels. A couple of fighting knives that are ideal for "pushing." A couple of Meerschaum pipes. A wooden war-club (in the shape of a fish) on the floor.
A few American Indian artifacts --from the Indian Reservation where Skip was raised..
A few more knives, stuck in the wall.
A few more fighting knives on these tables.
Skip grew up on an Indian Reservation, and therefore he has been collecting Indian artifacts for many, many years.
Skip's son, DeWelle Ferguson: (Chip) Ellsworth IV -- playing on his favorite down comforter. Chip loves to play on this comforter because it is soooooooooooo soft.
This comforter was made by one of Skip's very best friends.
We had to see this in living color.
From living room #2 to the kitchen.
One of the small buildings at Skip's ranch. These are some of the tools we often use (with the proper knowledge) to lift logs onto the walls, lift the ridge poles, etc.
This is a Scandinavian Chinkless corner on one of the buildings at Skip's ranch.
These notches fit so tight that it looks like the logs "grew" together. These were done by Skip's friends (former students) -- and they are probably the best notches you will ever see.
There are some "secret" tricks to this -- and the tricks are easy to learn.
A Scandinavian Chinkless building being built by Skip at his ranch.
A Scandinavian Chinkless corner -- located at Skip's ranch.
Skip teaches this "cornering" method in the seminar.
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