Tag Archives: Beginnings

Homestead update: not a lot of progress in the last two months

So, last I wrote about the house, we were still waiting on contractors to come finish the siding and roof. Our house sat with only 1½ walls for 4 months till the new contractors finally fit us into their schedule. They finally started and I jumped in to help on a particularly windy day. In the process of helping, I learned how to do it.

So when some unavoidable delays happened again, we decided to take matters into our own hands.

Brushing off the dirt from the panels

And there were were, a family of rock stars who put the preliminary insulation, and siding up on 1½ of our walls, all by ourselves.

But then…

Before the contractors could come back and start on the roof, there was some trim work that needed to be done. And we REALLY wanted that roof. So, we continued working sun up to sun down in a push to get ready for the contractors.

With the help of some good friends

This picture makes me so happy. I love that my girl is old enough to be a huge help, but also to really remember this awesome adventure we get to have as a family.

We got the trim all on and it was time for the roof.

But first…

Yep, that’s a fire pit. INSIDE our house. How many of you can say you’ve done that?

And then the day finally came that the roof started going on!

Oh Happy day!

Pajii got to help!

Finally! The roof was on, but there was still a bit of trim work to do before we no longer had the equipment. So once again, my brother and sis-in-law jumped in to help out.

And then it was done, done!

We still have to cut in the doors and windows, but at least it’s “dried in”.

So the exterior structure of our house was done. And so was I!

This is what happens when you hurt your knee but don’t really take the time to slow down and heal. It keeps getting worse until it’s so bad you can’t walk on it any more!

So, I was laid up for about a week, waiting for my knee to heal well enough that I could get back to work.

But in the meantime, we had one more job to do with that equipment.

Putting in our cistern tank.

But let me back up…

Last summer, we needed to rent a large excavator to widen our garage pad. We also dug the hole and trench for our cistern system (say that three times fast!). A cistern is a fancy way of saying a water tank. This one is specifically a holding tank that we will fill with our well water and use as the water for our house. Being off grid, this is the best system.

But in order to get the tank in the hole, we needed to prep the hole and run the line for the water.

Remember the part I said the hole and trench were dug last year?

Yeah, it wasn’t pretty. And this picture is after Pajii had cleared all the big rocks out! But that entire trench had to be bedded in sand for the pipe to lay on. And how do you get dirt up a 175 foot long trench that is 3+ feet deep and only 2 feet wide?

With buckets. Lots and lots (and lots and lots) of buckets full of sand! In fact, that’s how I hurt my knee, all the way back at the beginning of June. Carrying those heavy buckets (each one weighs roughly 40lbs when full!)

And where were we getting the sand for most of the job?

From our own sand pit, of course. We bedded and covered nearly a hundred feet of pipe on a very steep hillside by “mining” sand from our property. A lot of extra work, but it was free, and we had the time (we were still waiting for the contractors at the point.)

So fast forward several weeks. The contractors came and went and we had abandoned the trench prep in lieu of working on the house (because, priorities), I had begun to heal from my knee injury, and we were looking forward to finishing the cistern and starting the next phase of the journey.

But that was not God’s plan. My Dad’s health took a drastic turn for the worse and it became apparent that he should no longer be living alone, and therefore, his house on the other end of town needed to be sold. So, very reminiscent of when we dropped everything and moved to Oregon in 2014 to care for Hub’s ailing mom, we dropped nearly everything to care for my ailing dad and get his house ready to sell.

That was at the end of June. It took two months, but I’m happy to say, PopPop is now settled in here with us (in his own trailer), his house is in escrow, and we only have one more load to bring home from his house.

But in the midst of all that, we needed to finish the cistern. And we needed to do it quick. We had already put in so much work to it, that to leave it at the mercy of the elements was just stupid. So, while we still had the equipment we used for the siding on the house, we put in the cistern. Then we had to bring in load after load of DG (saving us the time and effort of shoveling it from our own property). But, how do you get the DG from the trailer on the road, down 15+ feet to the hole that the cistern is in?

That’s right, some of our roofing and siding scraps. The sand just slid right in. Quite ingenious, if I do say so myself.

And so easy, a 5 year old could do it.

Then it was another while before we could get it finished. That entailed hooking up the supply pipes, etc to the tank.

Hubs is inside the tank, putting holes in it!

Starting to fill in the hole to cover the tank

And that brings us up pretty much to the present. Here’s an updated picture of the dianthus bush I planted.

The dianthus has not done too well in our hot summer, but the alyssum, petunias, zinnias, and marigolds that I planted around it have just about taken over!

And we’ve got another broody hen who has been sitting on golf balls for 5 days. I put 9 fertile eggs under her this evening. This will be hen #6 that we’ve tried to get to set till the eggs hatch. It has been misadventure after misadventure. But I’ve learned a lot and have great hopes that this clutch of eggs will be the one!

We did have two chicks hatch from our very first broody hen of the season.

I’m not sure why only two of the 7 eggs survived. Of those other 5 eggs, one chick was half hatched, three were fully formed as far as I could tell but had died before hatching, and one had gone rotten from the beginning of the brood. But I was totally excited to get two of our very own, completely home grown chicks! Too bad they both turned out to be boys. 🙄😒

And now, for the truly, truly up-to-date update:

We’ve started working on the Septic System: Phase 2! By the end of the week, we should have a complete septic system. Hallelujah!

Using a friend’s transit level to lay out the septic field.

The middle one of the three required leach lines marked out.

And today, we started cutting the trenches. But that’s another post for another time. Right now, I am t-i-r-e-d. And we still have at least another two hard days of work till we can call for inspection.

Nighty night. Don’t work too hard!

Advertisements

Rain, rain, go away

February 7 – Rainy day

What a winter this has been so far! We had a small snow storm just before Christmas and knew that we NEEDED to get our mudroom built. The day after Christmas, we started building it. We got the roof on just before the next bigger snow on January 4th. And we’ve had back-to-back snow and rain systems since then. In fact, as I sit here typing this, it is pouring outside. We’re supposed to get about 15% of our  yearly rainfall in this one storm. And we’ve already gotten over half in the last month alone. The bigger mountains around us have the most snow anyone living there has ever seen. What a blessing that mudroom has been.

January 5 – got the roof on just in time for the next snowstorm

Since the push to get the roof on, we’ve slowly been finishing up as we have time and inclination.

January 6 – enclosing the last bit of wall section. I always was a monkey.

January 6 – the fun-ness of construction in the winter – scraping ice off your materials

January 9 – the snow is gone, the rains have come. Time to add the gutter and rain barrels.

January 13 – oh look, more snow. And the beginnings of a door for the mudroom.

January 17 – still snowy – working on a floor for the mudroom

January 17 – mudroom floor before. At least when I was doing this project, the ground was mostly frozen, not the gushy quagmire it had been.

January 17 – mudroom floor after. We used heavy duty shipping pallets we found on Craiglist.

Once the floor was in, the mudroom was just about completed. It took us three weeks to build something that should have only taken one. But that’s construction in the winter for ya. The Hubby is toying around with a small wood stove to put in there so that on days like today (rain, rain, rain), we have a place to dry things out if need be. But even without a woodstove in there, it’s so very nice to have a place to kick off your wet and/or muddy shoes before coming in the trailer. It also keeps our fridge protected from the elements.

January 23 – speaking of the elements…more snow! There are three more solar panels under there somewhere.

We had a few days of warmer and drier weather over the past week and were able to get a few other projects done.

January 30 – sunshine! A beautiful day to clean out the chicken coop.

February 4 – more sunshine (but very windy) – finally built some steps into the hillside between Pajii’s trailer and ours. That will come in handy the next time it’s covered in snow. Slipping and sliding is fun when sledding, not so much when carrying dinner to your father-in-law’s house.

February 6 – despite the bone chilling wind (45mph), Princess Girl and I put up a fence around the rabbit hutch to keep the neighbor dogs out. Just glad it wasn’t raining like today.

So, at the rate this winter is going, it’s looking like things won’t dry out till March or possibly April. Hopefully no longer than that. In the meantime, we are planning and dreaming and looking forward to the day we can start construction on our house. 

And on days like today, when my plans for the day were ruined because of the rain, I see it as time to relax, and catch up on other projects that get put off too often. You know, like dishes. 😉

I hope you enjoy your day, no matter what the weather is where you are.

Planting Dreams

This is another post from our time before we moved to Oregon. I found it buried on my computer. I remembered writing it, I just could never find it. It’s the continuing story of our apple trees on the homestead (for the beginning, read here).

We finally got our trees planted! After buying them, they sat in their buckets, attached to our EZ-Up shade shelter for waaaay too long.

20140529_114104

It was hard to keep them watered enough with the heat and wind. And they got stressed fairly badly. The horrid windstorms we had which ripped our shade pavilion apart also ripped the apples off the trees. The last time I saw the trees, there was only one little clump left (and now we won’t get to even partake of those few since we moved, if they even survive – sad face). So, before we knew we were moving, we finally made the time to plant them so they wouldn’t die. We have so many dreams attached to those trees.

20140622_141114

Flower Girl “helping” dig.

20140622_141117

The Hubby and my dad taking turns digging the lower hole.

20140622_144727

I know how to handle a shovel, for sure!

20140622_150434

The lower tree is planted.

20140622_170710

The girls helping tamp down the compost in the upper hole.

20140622_171624

Princess Girl actually helping to shovel dirt into the newly planted tree.

20140622_182314

Staking the tree so it won’t blow down (look how little she looks!)

A lot of the leaves, especially on one of them, were turning brown and crunchy and I was concerned that maybe they had gotten too stressed.

But I’ve learned through my gardening years not to give up on anything too quickly. And sure enough, just before we left for our fateful visit to the Northwest, I took these pictures of the new growth happening. I was so happy to see those signs that they were going to be ok.

And then, not even one week later we decided we needed to move to the Northwest to care for family. When I got out of the car after that trip and saw my beautiful little trees, I wept. Who would be there to care for them? They aren’t nearly established enough to possibly even remotely survive on their own. But once again, family stepped in and saved the day. My mom says that she’s willing to go up a couple times a week to water them. That means hauling a 5 gallon container of water up to the property with her, lugging it out of the car, waiting while one tree is watered, more lugging to get to the other tree, more waiting, then heading home. We appreciate her so very much! And now those little trees can grow and thrive, even while we’re gone, and when we move back we’ll have full fledged apple trees. Thanks, Mom!

Update: Mom sent me a picture on 4/17/15 and the trees were blooming! It was so amazing to see that they had survived the rest of that summer and the winter.

20150417_113450

And they survived the whole summer of 2015, too! Mom and God watered them as needed. Though they did get a bit stressed, they made it through. Sounds like my own personal journey. 🙂 So far this winter (2015/16), they are getting plenty of moisture through rain and snow, so that’s a very good thing. And hopefully by this summer we’ll be moved back to care for them ourselves (hey, I can dream, can’t I?).

Oh, and I DID get to eat an apple from our tree!

20140811_141343

The girls and I went back a month after our move for my cousin’s wedding. The apple was small and tart, but oh, so delicious! We didn’t have any apples in 2015 since there was a late freeze that came through and froze all the blossoms off everything. No one got any fruit last year. But, that’s life in the high desert. Hubby and I have plans in our heads of how to protect our fruit trees in the future. But first we have to BE there in order to do the protecting. One step at a time!

Plans

We are scrambling in the planning stage of building our house on the homestead in Nevada. We learned last week that in the county we are building in, we HAVE to build a garage! We were planning to wait for later to build a large garage/shop. Now we’ll be building a small garage along with the house and we’ll build the large one later. Just one more expense. Well, you can’t have too many outbuildings, right? 🙂

image

I talked to the power company this week to see just how much it would cost to bring in power. We were going off the assumption that it would be just the same or even cheaper to do solar than to bring in power. But our information was about a decade old. So we’ve been doing our research and turns out we were correct. Whew! At least that was as we expected.

This week I’ve been calling the building department and the health department and the planning department and every other department they might have to get the final information we need. Hopefully in the next couple of days we will be able to dig our test trench for our septic system and once we have the results from that we can submit our plans for our permit. But in order to make that happen, I have to coordinate schedules with my dad in Reno so I can rent a backhoe, have it delivered to the property, he can dig the trench, we can order the inspection, and then back fill the trench.

Oy, I’m going crazy. Things would be so much simpler if we lived there. But it is what it is. And it is actually an exciting time. Things are actually happening!

Next time I’m feeling overwhelmed, I just need to remember that. It IS exciting. And we are so blessed to be able to build our own house. And one day in the not-too-distant future, we’ll be living in that house on our very own homestead. Exciting indeed!

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121