Sunday, November 29, 2009

Moving Forward

For the past couple of days we have been completing the platform/foundation of our house. As we ended our work today, we couldn't help but notice the windy-wet-cold weather that will be upon us for the next few days. We may not be able to work in the stormy weather, but we'll have plenty to do, and spend the time getting some telephone errands done. High on our list is registering for mail delivery, which we were going to do in person in the Big Town but we could easily do it over the phone.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shopping Trip

It was a little chilly this morning, but it has warmed up to a beautiful day.  Unfortunately we weren't able to utilize today for building, since we had an appointment in the Big Town to get the windshield in our truck replaced.  Going that far north is a long trip, so we try to make it a really effective day for shopping.  Since the vast majority of stores are so far away, we must plan out exactly what we will buy, where, and when, well before leaving the Ranch.  Even things that are available in Study Butte are usually much cheaper in the Big Town, and it will be our only trip north for a week, so we are trying to make it a highly successful trip! For the most part we have all the major things we need to continue building, but there are always odds and ends that we need, and food is always appreciated. We picked up a 100 gallon stock tank to turn into a transfer tank by building a sealed lid, which should work well as an inexpensive alternative for a pickup truck transfer tank.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Construction in Progress

Well we've been working very hard the past few days. We've had our fair share of disasters and successes though.  On Tuesday we discovered our water had siphoned out of our tank so we had to run to Study Butte and bring back as much water as we could carry.  Unfortunately, though, we don't own a transfer tank yet, so we had to fill up our two 7 gallon drinking containers, two 5 gallon water cooler tanks, and four 2 gallon cat litter bottles.  Just enough to tide us over until we can move the tank onto our property and fill it back up to 250 gallons. Despite the water disaster, we were able to set all six of our 4x4 posts in concrete. Today we should begin hanging floor joists and we also want to paint the underside of the tongue & groove OSB flooring with oil based paint, in hopes that it will block water penetrating into the wood from condensation under the building, etc.

Our dog Sprocket is convinced that he owns about 20 square miles instead of 20 acres, and he likes to go exploring in the evening.  Many other dogs around here are free range and quite friendly.  We worry more about him finding a snake or running into coyotes, but I would like to put in an electric fence when we have enough money to spare so he won't wander off too far.

With Thanksgiving coming up, we will have celebrated our second major holiday in the desert, the first being Fourth of July.  Soon we hope to have an address and mail/package delivery, but of course everything is a process and takes a bit of time.  Pictures soon to come!  Thanks for following us :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Establishing a house site

For the past two days we have been clearing our house site. This entails clearing cacti, greasewood, brush, and many rubble rocks. The common safety technique around here is to keep the area around your home within about 20 feet clear, for fire safety and to eliminate rattlesnake hiding places (this is very important because the nearest hospital is 80 miles away). Within the next few days, we will set the posts for our home and start framing. 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Building Materials

Yesterday we finally received our much anticipated delivery from McCoy's! The driver came much earlier than we had expected, but we were able to meet him at the highway and lead him into our property. He was not the slightest bit intimidated by the rough roads and our narrow driveway.

So now we have a huge pile of wood, cement, and insulation at the beginning of our driveway.  Hopefully soon it will come together into our small starter home. First though, we need to finish clearing the house site.  The house will sit on stilts about five feet off the ground on the low side of the hill, and three feet up on the high side. This will make it easier for us to make the house level even though we are building on the side of a hill.  Stilts seemed like the best option since we didn't want to do an adobe pour just yet, but we didn't want a structure just sitting on the ground without a slab.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Clearing the Land

We spent a day walking around with the GPS determining our property lines. This processes was a lot of fun and important for our next steps. We started clearing the driveway and we our just about to our house, which is our next clearing step. As for videos with our new Canon HF-10 we have yet to make the video editing software work that came with it, so if anyone has any free AVCHD editing software to suggest we will appreciate it.  


Friday, November 6, 2009

Texas at Last!

We just arrived on the ranch Wednesday evening!  Sorry we haven't posted lately, but we were packing like crazy the days before we left and then traveling wiped us out pretty badly, so we never posted from the road like we had planned.

But everything is just as beautiful as we remembered. Yesterday morning we walked our 20 acre property and found some beautiful features.  We know there is water either underground or fairly frequently in the creekbed, because there are some large plants growing around there -- even a couple cedar trees. Lots of wildlife too, judging by the tracks and scat everywhere.

After we got back from the hike we stopped at the Grub Shack for breakfast and received two important items in the mail -- the FloJet on-demand water pump and the Garmin 60c handheld GPS device.  Today we plan on going back to the property and marking the perimeter somehow.  I have to install the software on the computer first, and learn a little better how to use it, but it is very promising and exciting.

Today we also need to go into town, whether that's Study Butte or Alpine hasn't been decided yet, but we need to get food!  You can only live on Gatorade and crackers for so long!  Our neighbors welcomed us back with a great dinner last night (though our dog's misbehavior cut the festivities a little short) but I am really looking forward to cooking our meals myself. 

We'll keep you guys posted on our progress. Thanks for following us!