A Day in the Life

updated 09/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Aaron Tippin grew up in South Carolina getting his hands dirty on his dad's farm and in his airplane maintenance business. So now that a gold and (READ BETWEEN THE LINES) a platinum album have given him the wherewithal to build a 2,800-sq. ft. log house exactly as he wants, he's doing it himself. "The worst thing you can do to a hillbilly is tie his hands so he can't work on his own stuff," he says. Most days, Tippin, 36, drives 60 miles each way from Nashville to his 315-acre future haven. He hopes to move in by year's end and plans to build his mother a home on the property too.

6:30 AM
After arising at 5:45, Tippin begins his daily one-hour workout. "It's back and chest day today."

7:05 AM
With girlfriend Thea Corontzos, 30, as his spotter, Tippin bench-presses—Grrr!—250 pounds.

7:30 AM
Coffee and vitamins, that's it. "I'm not much of morning eater," he says. "Makes me puke."

8:06 AM
"Call me during the day," says Thea (bestowing a goodbye smooch). He will, on a cellular phone.

8:23 AM
Snuff was "a nasty little habit I had to get rid of for this career." His chew now is mint leaves.

8:45 AM
Cone Oil store, off Route 40. Coffee for his tank, gas for the truck's. To cashiers: "How y'all doin'?"

9:25 AM
In his pickup, which he calls Moose, Tippin arrives at the site, on a high point on his land.

9:35 AM
Cutting steel. On his last album, Tippin sang the praises of "workin' on a workingman's Ph.D."

10:00 AM
"You gotta keep on 'em if you want it right," he says, away from subcontractor Tommy Moore.

10:35 AM
Daughter Charla, 17, from his first marriage, is vacationing with him and riding shotgun today.

11:15 AM
Welding in the future garage. Half will be devoted to vehicles, half to weight equipment.

11:40 AM
On his loader (he also owns 11 vintage Mack trucks), Tippin pushes brush into a "burn pile."

12:12 PM
He grabs his "varmint gun," takes a walk. Bam! "Think I got him. Looked like a copperhead."

12:36 PM
The master surveys his domain. "We call this Push-Off Point. It'll be fun for rappelling."

3:15 PM
In town, showers, changes, goes to mix new CD. "Takes me for damn ever to get it right."

6:16 PM
Tippin stops at a party at the home of Thorn Schuyler, Nashville head of his label, RCA.

7:35 PM
Dinner with Charla and Thea. First meal of the day. Then TV at the apartment, lights out at 10.

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