Sunday, August 30, 2009

Progress Report: 3RD Year Aniversary!

Well, we have been living here for three years now and what an adventure it has been. Of course we thought we would be alot further along. I remember talking about it when we first bought the land, that it would take about 3 or 4 years before we would start on the main house.
What we have learned is the reason it takes so long to accomplish a building project is because we are educating ourselves as we go along. To build takes many skills and learning curves and we tend to build mechanically more than mathematically.
When one builds mathematically , you do it from a set of engineered plans. That all changes when you get to the reality of the project and things have to change to make them work, so this is called the mechanics of the situation. When you hire someone to build your house , you hire a person that orchestrates the whole process and hires many different people to do a specific task. For the most part they have hopefully perfected their craft and can accomplish it in a fraction of the time that you could. The trade off is, the money it takes to pay someone to do this and they might cut some corners that if you do the job you would take the extra time to do it exactly the way you want it. Of course you out there already knew this!

Back to what some of our time is spent doing..... The 2 pictures on the left here are that of the infamous cut-ant hills. I believe these colonies must be about 50 years old! The reason I say that is the fact that I have been trying to eliminate them for about 6 weeks now. I do have them down to a one lane highway from a super multi freeway when they come out marching at night.
My process has been this: 1st you need to see exactly where they come out of the ground. They seem to be on the hunt when the temperature is between 50 and 80 degrees. So either at night in the summer , or in the day in the winter its a matter of following the trail of ants (with a strong flashlight) from the tree they are stripping to the underground fortress they have created. 2ND :I mark this with a flag so I can easily find it when they have gone underground and there is not a trace of them. 3rd: I make a solution of orange anti-bacterial soap in a few gallon jugs,the name brand Ajax seems to work the best, I think the store brands are too diluted. I then pour this down the entrance hole. I usually have to use a small stick to open the hole larger to easily pour the liquid. There are times the hole will collapse and I will have to wait until the next day after the ants have reconstructed the entrance and try again. If it is a new colony it might only take 1 or 2 treatments. If it is half a century then it takes a bit longer and you have to do this EVERY DAY!!!

Here is the view from the driveway looking at the future main house with the stash of bar joists for the next 3 buildings and the I-beams for the house.
In the middle is the burn pile waiting for the burn ban to be lifted. We have had record heat this summer: 67 days of over 100 degrees!
The fire department calls the burn ban when there is the combination of the temperature being over 80 degrees,the humidity under 20%, and the wind over 20 miles an hour.

This is where the carport is going. The grey pole sticking up in the air on the right side of the picture is the conduit for the electrical line to the house and carport.

Here is where the next building is going. We are due to start on it in the next few weeks. One of my wonderful and generous clients is having his crew form and float the cement slab, what an amazing help!!!
It will be the shop, our kitchen will temporarily go on one side, and we are getting our things out of storage. It will be huge when this is done!!!

This is the center island that our drive way goes around.

The closet patiently waits as we finish the fence, finish clearing for the next major buildings (the shop and bath house), build the garden shed/mini green house to but our plants in for the winter and finish the pigeons out-side flight area.
We still need to hang the screen door, put up the trim and paint. But at least the inside is organized and Clean!

We replaced the tarp on our existing slab. At first we covered it with a silver tarp from Harbor Freight tools, it did not even last a season and it said it was a extra heavy duty...what a joke!
We found these vinyl billboard signs that work perfect! They are only 15 feet wide, we had to cover 20 ft , so we overlapped them in the middle. We put the shiny side up on a frame of t-bars and re bar. It keeps cool and best of all it does not leak!

The office and dog.

The back yard with Mexican sunflowers and crape myrtle in bloom with many, many butterflies .

The first batch of peafowl in the foreground and the 2ND batch in the back, they really grow fast . The older ones are starting to show signs of male and female differences in their coloring. The males are getting darker on their wings . We think we have 2 males and 2 females left from the starting batch of 8.

The 2ND batch of peafowl just before we let them out in the yard.

This is our Latrine. What has really worked well is using a heavy metal trash can with-out the bottom as the base and retro fitting a regular toilet seat as the top. To keep the smell way down , we use pine sawdust, it is the only wood that works.

Our shower! Made of stacked used cinder blocks:
shower curtain and all!

The kitchen is the same...

The chicken coop is bullet and varmint proof!!!

My garden is a bit messy , but just keeping things alive through the heat is a miracle!

The blueberries shaded and finally looking like they should. I have had to put 10 lbs of sulfur around them every 4 months to keep the PH acidic enough and keep them well watered.

The road is finally paved!!! WOW what a difference!

No more dust storms every time a car goes by.

The entrance filling out!