August 2, 2010



Tonight I took a few minutes to sit in my recliner, sip on a cup of coffee and puff on my pipe.  I got to thinking about how much we have got completed on our Off-Grid home over the last year.  A year ago last April we were just getting started with the finish sanding of the drywall mud.   Next came the plumbing, sewer system and black pipe work in the crawl space. That next weekend we started buying the unfinished oak kitchen cabinets, bathroom and kitchen sinks.  Oh yea, we had the well put in also.

Suddenly we wanted to have a mud room added and the porch extended.  In September I ordered the solar system and within a couple of weeks we had a back hoe digging trenches and running 10 gauge power lines in PVC pipe.  Panels installed and inverters and converters working in the electrical room we suddenly had power before Halloween.

Had to prep the water pipes to keep them from freezing and wire up a temporary back-up generator in the event of short winter sun shineless days.  That winter was a lesson learning session from hell but we make it through everything anyway.

Spring came in a hurry and we got the barn built and the garden planted, summer slipped in right behind it along with a chicken coop, wood shed and our root cellar.

Within a week or two, we will be canning about 2 million tomatoes.



June 3, 2010



The sun was shining early this morning when the Green Goblin turned into my driveway.  I wasn’t sure if Ronald would come by to build the wood shed since the weather man predicted rain and thunderstorms through out the day.  I guess he figured he might as well get something done between raindrops.

Blair didn’t come with Ronald and Vicki today.  He had to take his dog to the Veterinarian for it’s yearly checkup.  I tried to fill in as best as I could being a “tote”.  A “tote” is below a “go for”.  You help the “go for” carry boards, and ladders, of which you are always trailing on the back end.  You hold up boards to be nailed when the “go for” can’t handle it themselves.  When two ladders are in use you must control one making sure it is ready and in it’s proper position as the boss needs it.

Leveling the garage ramp

The first order of the day was to finish the foundation of the garage ramp.  A few weeks ago we had shoveled in the gravel.  Today Ronald put in the side foundations to hold in the concrete when it is poured in the garage and the ramp.  We had to make sure that the gravel was four inches below the the top of the foundation ascending up the ramp.  There was too much gravel so we had to shovel some out and then rake it until it was level.  Now the garage is ready to have the concrete poured.  That will happen a couple of weeks from now.

Thunder rumbled far off in the distance.  We moved to the wood shed project to get as much done as possible before the weather changed.  The sun was still shining but the air was thick with humidity and we were wet with sweat.

Wood Shed Frame

Ronald dug the four corner post holes.  He hit a few rocks but none that were so big they couldn’t be removed.  Then he put the 4x4x10 corner posts into the holes and poured in the sacrete. It needed to set up so we took a break and tried to cool off on the porch.

The thunder got closer and the rain came.  It lasted about a half hour and moved on.  The sun popped out and the air was more humid than before, but we trudged on.  Things seemed to move pretty quickly as we put on the side boards, fascia and rafters. It helps that Ronald has a nail gun and has probably built a hundred of these structures in his lifetime.  More than likely we will use this same pattern to build shelters for our goats when we get them.

The last thing Ronald did was to measure the coop and wood shed for the metal.  If he orders it tomorrow it should come in on Monday.  Hopefully by Tuesday afternoon our coop and wood shed will be ready for use.  All in all it was a productive day.  I am a little worried that Ronald may never be the same after working with two women who are opposed to being bossed all day.

Building of the Barn

May 5, 2010

Finally the barn has build has begun. After saving all winter getting by on bread and water our builder Ronald and his faithful assistant Vicky (his wife) was almost ready to get started. Ronald and I worked out the best location and discussed how many bays and even talked about putting a cement floor in one along with a garage door. That turned out to be a great idea. I could use it to change the oil on the cars and store the tools there allowing me to clear out the electrical room. The open stalls can hold the tractor, mower and most other things.

Ron staked out the 25’x36’ outline with a line and a 50’ tape. Once things were squared up he marked where the 4”x6” main posts will be placed. Linda’s cousin John has a old Ford 4060 tractor along with a new post hole attachment on the rear. He offered to come over on that Friday to start putting the holes in. After everyone left Linda and I were looking at all the handy work that went on that afternoon and suddenly noticed a pretty big tree near the stream that had a pretty pronounced lean. After a second glance it was clear that if that tree roots were washed out many more times it would more then likely hit go down and could hit the corner of the barn doing some serious damage to Ron’s handy work. I quickly grabbed the Homelite and got busy. As I dropped cut the tree it began to drop and it hit exactly on the corner of the staked line that would have eventually been the corner of the barn. Linda got started dragging the brush away and I got to cutting that big boy cut up. We got the brush removed and stacked in about 3 hrs.

On Friday John completed putting all 13 holes in the ground. Ronald returned on Monday to estimate the lumber, screws, J-channel and the metal for the roof and sides and associated 2×4, 2×6 and 2×8’s. He submitted the order and set a delivery the following week. After the delivery they got their generator running and started at it hard and fast. It rained a few days here and there but in no time they got it framed out and ready for the metal to be hung.
The green tin (actually it is not tin) went on the roof and they finished it off with a ridge vent. The white metal went on the sides pretty quick until Ron figured out he was shorted on the white screws. Lucky for us Ron has some extra’s left over from a earlier job he recently finished.

By the next Friday, Ronald started the install on the garage door. He wrapped up that project in just a few hours. A week later he got the delivery and used the wheel barrel to haul and spread the 5 tons of gravel he needed to level out the floor before the concrete gets ordered. It is nearly finished (see below).

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