Sunday, December 31, 2006

Starting the 2nd Building

This our 2nd building was going to be our wood shed, we quickly decided it would better serve as the closet/ guest room, as the tent (where our clothes are now) has a very limited life span.
The materials are all recycled and it is about the same size as the office (1st building) This will create an entrance to the compound with a building on each side of the road.

It is cold now and the days are short. It's a good time to travel to see the children......... till next year.......

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Progress report November 2006

Well we have been living here full time now for four months, the 1st building is painted, the porch finished, the enterance is starting to get a facelift with coyote fencing, the drivway s curve is growing in , a gate to the back enterance is installed, our neihbors put up the fence between us, the picnic table is in place,

our out door shower ( hidden below that tree) is still putting out luke warm water at days end, solar lights mark our paths at night,


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Working on the road

Where we live the top soil is fine sand, so our driveway was easy to get stuck in. We hired a local trucker to haul in road base to level and give the road a texture. We had him put on about 2" , 4" would have been better but we had to start somewhere. It really made a difference!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

starting to Paint the outside

Painting the building was so much fun, it brought everything together and you would never know it was built almost completely from recycled materials!
As you can see we have not put on the decking for the porch roof yet, it was easier to paint at this stage.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Moving month....

We added the light fixtures, switch plates and stained the floor, we were ready to move . Our entire household was moved by our trusty little trailer. I put a pencil to it and compared renting a u-haul to us moving with the trailer. The gas was the same for both options, so we saved the cost of the actual rental truck.
As you don't see, we did not have anytime to take pictures. It was a wild and woolly month.
We finished the room just enough to make the move. Our refrigerator died, the circuit to the kitchen would not stop tripping, we had to clean the rental and get everything in storage that we could not fit on the land in a safe place and go to work to make money so we could build. We did it and are saving a lot of money each month by not paying rent....... WOW!!!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Starting the Front Porch, Finishing the inside...

The roof for the front porch was planned from the beginning. A space was left for the rafters to be placed under metal sheeting as to keep the transition from wall to roof water tight.
The posts were installed, then the front plates and the rafters anchored the structure together. The Rafters were two 2X4s nailed together.

Moving back to the inside it was time for the wire mesh to be stabled and nailed to the walls and ceiling. It is important to make sure the wire is very tight and securely fastened to the wall because that is what holds the plaster to the wall.

Again, I was the mixer and Richard was the applier. Because everyone has their own way of applying plaster, it is best to let each person complete a wall section, otherwise you would see the difference in the strokes
Finally after the plaster was completely dry, we painted!!! What a difference!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Working on the inside

Now it was time to finish the inside. The first step was to run the wiring. We decided where we want the receptacles , lights and switches. Then I connected them with #12/2 with ground romex. Next was the insulation, 19-R recycled fiberglass in the walls, 6" Styrofoam (30-R) in the ceiling. The insulation was covered with plywood sheets then plastic or tar paper which acts as a moisture barrier.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Kitchen remodel

It was time to enclose the kitchen and put a better floor so we chose crushed granite, readily available at our local road material yard. It made a tremendous difference in the dust level!
We moved in a larger table, pulled an electrical circuit with an outside, heavily coated gauge #10 /3 wire because we were about a 100feet from the panel and installed a refrigerator. THAT WAS A MAJOR IMPROVEMENT!!!

Pouring the floor

I must say at this point , that I have the utmost respect for those who do cement work. It is the most demanding part of building a house.
When we got to this point , we received a bid to pour the cement for our small 130 square foot building with the 4 foot porch . It was going to cost about $2,000. So we decided to do it ourselves.
We first set the forms by staking boards around the perimiter. Cement is very heavy so you cannot have weak walls to which the cement will form against. We then marked the floor level and dug down 4 inches for the middle of the room and dug a foot deep around the perimiter for the footings to give the building a solid foundation. A metal mesh was placed on the floor to help give it more strengh.
We needed to mix 4 cubic yards of cement : The supplies are 1 yard of sand/ 1 1/2 yards of gravel, 24 -92lb sacks of portland cement ( 2 parts sand, 3 parts gravel,1 part cement and about 5 gallons of water) and a cement mixer which we rented for $63.00 for 24hours. The supplies came to about $184.00 at the time.

The one thing we were told from people in the know is that cement can get away from you . Which translated means YOU HAVE TO WORK FAST or the cement will set and get hard, which is really what you want it to do, but be prepared to work non stop until the job is at a stopping point. This does depend on the temperature and humidity.
It took 12 batches to make a cubic yard, 20 minutes a batch . We rented the mixer on a saturday morning (they were closed on Sunday) so the 24 hours meant we needed to return it by 8:00 monday morning. It took Saturday to pour the inside and Sunday to pour the porch from sun-up to sun down!
I was the mixer and Richard moved the cement to the area and did the finish work. It really helped to organize the piles and keep them all close.