March 2018
Simple Times

Dreaming of a Log Cabin?

There’s a size – and a price – to fit you!


The Badger

Most folks have dreamed at one time or another about living in a log cabin in the woods.

Whether it was when you first read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s "Little House in the Big Woods" about her family’s first cozy log home or while you watched Fess Parker tamin’ the bears on TV as Daniel Boone, you likely imagined how simple life would be in that small, wooden fortress just the right size for you alone or you and your family.

But, even though I’ve been a back-to-the-lander since the 1960s, let’s face it, there’s not many of us who are able (or willing!) to fell trees, peel off the bark and then build a castle from the logs after waiting years for the trees to mature.

That’s what has ALWAYS set Brock Ray apart, though. He has always been known to be a grandiose dreamer!

He hosted two TV shows, "Better Built World of Outdoors" and "Bass in Mexico," about hunting and fishing for over 17 years, and an outdoor radio show on Sirius XM for seven years, while running a highly successful publishing company whose books and magazines dealt with all things outdoors.

Brock Ray in his booth at a hunting expo.


BUT the difference between Ray and most other dreamers is that he makes his dreams realities!

"How else can a person make an excuse for having all the outdoors as an office," he laughed.

"During the years of my hunting and fishing shows, I saw so many places people stayed and I decided to come up with something much better: a small log cabin. Our logs are unique, and nobody has them but me. They are 4-by-8 tongue-and-grove pine.

"Most everybody would love to have a log cabin. Many people actually dream about it. But it seemed that nobody else was making small ones that were affordable. Most of the big log companies will build a small one, but they really don’t make much money on them. So, they jack up the prices so they will make their profit margins.

"And now there’s just so many people wanting to downsize and our cabins fit just what they want. We can make a great tiny home that is not on wheels."

Ray began selling the simple cabins about nine years ago and building them himself five years ago.

The smallest cabin, known as the Fox series, starts at just 196 square feet, but the sweet, 6-by-14 porch makes it seem twice as large.

The largest is the Lodge, decked out at 2,200 square feet.

In between, in various sizes and shapes, are the Sportsman, the Bear, the Whitetail, the Badger, the Perfect Vacation, the Moose Series and the Grizzly Series.

My favorite is the Elk with a slightly larger front porch and 320 roomy, but simple, square feet.

"We can customize them any way people want," Ray explained. "We can add additional windows, more outlets and the kinds of things to make them just exactly what you want."

The cabins are ideal, not only for part-time hunting or vacation homes but also for full-time residences. Or they make excellent guest houses, offices, children’s playhouses, pool houses, workout rooms or even just for backyard "man caves" or "lady’s getaways" (think sewing or craft room).

According to the History Channel’s website, there are log cabins being built in present-day United States based on the styles of ones first constructed in 1638 when the Swedish settled along the Delaware River and Brandywine River valleys.


The Elk (I loved this one!)

Later German and Ukrainian immigrants also used the technique, followed by British settlers. Although they were usually not originally intended as permanent dwellings, some were built so well they are still standing, including the C.A. Nothnagle Log House in New Jersey built in 1640!

Log cabins likely reached their peak with the mid-19th century Adirondack-style cabins, the inspiration for U.S. Park Service lodges built in the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

A simple log cabin was built from logs laid horizontally and interlocked on each end by notches. A mixture of mud, straw, sticks, gravel and more was used as chinking between the logs to make the buildings as airtight as possible.

Ray’s cabin designs make the logs fit so tightly that old-time chinking is no longer necessary and the cabins are energy-efficient and built to last for years.

"They are very cost effective to maintain with heating and cooling because they are solid logs," he explained.

Ray has built cabins all over Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Illinois, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and South Carolina ... so far!

Ray grew up in Oxford, but has lived in the Oneonta area in Blount County for about 12 years.

He has entered into a partnership with area Quality Co-ops to introduce even more residents and outdoorsmen to the cabins’ benefits.

"The Co-ops have good locations and they deal with a lot of people who would want a cabin like mine," he said.

"A customer may have a hunting place, lake lot, river lot or recreational land. That fits our customer base. We now have cabins at Blount County Farmers Co-op in Oneonta, St. Clair Farmers Co-op in Pell City and Morgan Farmers Co-op in Hartselle. We’re working on partnerships with more every day.

"You can drop by one of these Co-ops, look over one of the smaller cabins, pick up a brochure and give us a call at 205-274-2185 for more information."

You can also check out his two websites, and

"We’ll be glad to construct you a tiny home for your full-time residence and the perfect cabin for the weekend warrior!" Ray added.


Suzy Lowry Geno is a freelance writer living on a small homestead in Blount County. She can be reached through Facebook or her website at