Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Setting the Ham Radio Tower

A few weeks ago when Marti was out of town, Marvin rented a jack hammer and took a few more feet of rock out of the tower foundation. He had had a base for the tower made last year and it has to fit completely in the foundation, with just a few inches of pipe out of the foundation for the tower to fit into. Then, he added rebar, ground rods, and yesterday, a truck load of cement. Once the concrete sets up and the wind dies down (if it ever does), he is ready to assemble the tower.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Storm Room is Installed

The same week the electrians changed out the meter box, Marvin got a call that the storm room door was finished.  Over the next few days, Marvin finished the door wall and installed the door.  Not an easy feat as the wall is steel sandwiched between plywood and the door weighs 600 pounds by itself.   The recommended locks (there are three deadbolts) cost over a thousand dollars, so Marvin is going to check with the company who built the door and see if they have a cheaper source.

The inside of the storm room is sheetrocked, and has an overhead light, electric outlet, an internet connection, and a ham radio connection.  Of course, most tornadoes go through quickly and most of the time the all clear is sounded fifteen to twenty minutes after a tornado is spotted.  So we really don't need internet or ham radio unless the building falls in on top of us and we need to call for help, and in that case, the antenna tower will probably be down too.  But it will be something to do, kind of like pressing the help button over and over in a stuck elevator.

When finished, the storm room will have closet space and store soft things like sleeping bags and blankets so it isn't a big waste of space 364 days a year.

After getting that room finished, Marvin was able to finish framing the closet walls and setting the pocket doors.  Except for a couple of trim pieces, the framing is finally finished!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New Electric Meter, Panel, and RV Pad

If you recall, we got the first meter May first.  So why do we have a new one?  One word: Oncor.  Or maybe it should be two words, the first and last name of the Oncor representative.  Oncor is the electric provider in this area, which is not to be confused with the electric provider, TXU, who actually installed the meter meters.

The Oncor representative, who was new to his job last fall, told Marvin that it would be cheaper to run the lines underground and have two meters because of the rebates.  Since we only have one building, we were going to have one meter for the garage and one for the house.  Then the representative drug his feet at every turn and it took months to get everything installed.  In fact, I went around him to the previous reprentative to finally get electricity.

After we got the first meter, we called TXU, and then Oncor, and then TXU....  To make a long story short, the Oncor representative was wrong, we cannot have two meters on the same building. Commercial businesses can have more than one meter, but residences cannot.  One of the TXU people we talked to, and there were several, told us that we may be able to get the second meter billed as recreational; otherwise, it would have to be a commercial meter.  AND, we would have to build a second barn either way.  Finally, it was decided that we wouldn't have to have two meters after all, but we would have to have a bigger meter to handle both areas.

So here it is, the new meter on the left, and the first meter on the right.

Marvin had recently finished spreading the road base for an outside RV pad and the electrician also installed an RV outlet box with 50, 30, and 15 amp outlets.  Near it is the water faucet, now covered, and the dump station.  I bought the dump station sewer cap from <a href="http://www.rvparksupplies.com/" target="_blank">RV Park Supplies</a>.  They were great to deal with.  Now we are ready for company with their RVs!
The last thing done by the electrician was to put a breaker box in the wall for the house.  Now we can finally get the wiring done in the house and not have extension cords everywhere.
Oh, and that Oncor representative?  He's no longer with the company.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Winding Up Again

By the third week in June, we had quit working on the barndominium.  The temperatures had reached the high 90's and with abundant spring rains, the humidity was higher than normal.  Plus, we had worked long hours every weekend and every evening until we had reached the breaking point.  I guess you could say we were stressed out, burned out, and tapped out.

I printed this quote from The Cabinet Guy at rvforum.net: 
Now get out there and have FUN! If tempers start getting short and it stops being fun STOP!!!!! That is a good time to go get wings and a beer and walk away until next weekend. Also...Take breaks from the project for a day or a week now and then. A Project of fun and love can turn into a ball and chain if you try too hard too fast.
Of course, he was talking about building a trailer, not a house, but if tempers flare (and ours were), it's good advice no matter how it was intended.

Also, with that abundant rain, which continued through late July, we had to work on our hay field.  This land hadn't been worked in a number of years; the hay was poor and the weeds were taking over.  So from mid-June until late August, we spent every evening mowing.  Our hay mentor told us to keep the fields cut short for a year or more and the hay will come back.  Easier said than done, but I can tell now that it has made a difference.  Already, our field looks better than the one next door that hasn't been cut since last fall.

By September, we knew that we were going to be living in a trailer for quite a while, so we traded our small trailer for a larger one.  A few of our new neighbors told us that we'd probably be living in our trailer for a year or more if our build took as long as theirs.  It took until September for us to believe them.  Of course, having a bigger trailer meant we had to have a bigger truck and it wasn't until October that we found the one that fit our requirements and budget.

Usually, the high temperatures begin to break by mid-September, but this year the heat hung in there until the end of the month.  When it did, I we decided that we needed to organize our tools before starting work again.  My Our first priority was to get unneeded items off the floor and out of our way.  We lined the west wall of the garage with a layer of foam insulation topped with 5/8 inch plywood.  On the upper level, we put some shelves for lightweight items and a bigger platform for heavier things.  Eventually, a ladder will attach to a rail on the platform.

Last week, I started building cabinets to hold the tools and provide more workbench space.  It's pretty sad when the bumper of the trailer is used as a counter.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


I just happened to walk outside with the phone this evening to catch this sunset.

Last week we saw a deer in our driveway when we drove in at night, and Saturday we saw two deer in the middle of the day. There is evidence of hogs at the back near a creek, but so far we haven't seen one on our property. We've seen them around though, and Marvin hit one at dawn one morning on his way to work. He didn't know if he killed it because it kept running, but I saw its final resting place when I left later that morning and so did about twenty-five buzzards.

One of our neighbors named their place Hog Run Farm and I told Marvin we should name ours Hog Wild Farm. He didn't think that was funny.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Sunrise at the Farm

Marvin enjoys sunrise on the porch, and this one was particularly pretty.  His comment when he took this picture:

Sleeping in a cramped trailer somehow is worth it with morning coffee and quiet sunrises.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Attic Decking Completed

It's not much to show for the weekend, but in our defense, we took off Saturday for some R&R.