Sunday, November 11, 2012

......electricity options.

so as I get closer to Christmas tree season (and the thought of money in my pocket again) I have started thinking about electricity for the cabin.  I basically have three options.

  1. Put a wire to the barn from the electric company. 
  2. Solar panels and batteries
  3. Micro Hydro and fewer batteries.
Option 1 will give me the most power but I will also incur another monthly bill. Hooking up will cost 500-1000 dollars and the electric company charges a minimum 25 dollar fee to meter so I will be looking at 25-75 dollars a month. This option however will allow me to set my recording gear up in the house....where I don't know, but somewhere.

Option 2 may cost the most up front but might be the best option. I need very little electricity but I need to keep my fridge going, a fan would be nice in the summer, I have a few low wattage 12v lights, a water pump for the sink and one for the shower and it would be nice to have a small TV/DVD combo. I figure I iwll need at least 500w of panels and 4-6 100ah batteries.....maybe. I need to ask someone about this. I like solar because it can travel with me..

Option 3 would give me plenty of juice but since I don't own the land, at some point I will have to leave. If my next spot does not have a creek, well, I am up one. Hydro is pretty cool though. it runs 24/7 and allows you to have a smaller battery bank.

all of these options are expensive.

..lot's of progress.

...I have made some good progress over the last couple of weeks. I installed my loft which frees up a ton of space downstairs. The loft is laid out along two 2x4's that act as ledgers. These are screwed into the wall with lag bolts on four wall joists (each side). On top of this ledger I laid out floor joists for the loft. since I used 2x4's for this as well, I laid them out on 12" centers. The loft is just under 6' deep and rests on 7 joists. There is almost no sag when I climb up and this will be further mitigated when I add the wall for the bathroom which will help support the weight of the loft. I laid out some plywood and put the bed up there. It hangs over a little bit but all in all it's not too bad. I still have to screw down the flooring but for now it is just sitting up there.

...getting into the loft.

I built  bookshelf/stairs to get into the loft. They are each about 12" deep and come off the wall 20". There are three steps each with a bookshelf beneath. I still have to finish the last step which will be my closet. It will be bolted on to the last step and will stand just underneath the loft, about 36" wide. The bookshelves will have about 7 shelves and hopefully (with the floating bookshelf in the living area) will hold most of my books...I am sure that I will have to get rid of some. The steps themselves are made out of recycled oak that I got from some old shipping pallets. They are really nice looking with a great patina.

The first (lowest) step will actually be the futon frame which I have yet to build. I am planning an open box with a removable top(for storage) that is strong enough to step on. My futon pad will fold on top for a nice seating area. I am planning a coffee table that has a false top that comes off and clips to the front of the bench and back of thr coffee table creating a platform for the rolled out futon. This is still in the planning stages.

again still waiting on a camera worth a crap.. Pics to come

Friday, November 9, 2012

a little porch action...

I have been having some problems with rain bouncing off the deck and making it into the house under the sliding glass door. I had been using a big tarp but it did not last through the first snow (it barely lasted through the first rain) so the other day I made a small roof for the porch out of some scrap 2x4's, recycled pressure treated decking and some recycled pallets. The pitch matches that of the roof and it covers about 7 feet of the porch with a 2' overhang. It is screwed in right below the shingle line and is propped up with 2 supports made out of pressure treated lumber (also recycled). It is shingled with re-claimed pallet wood and though it leaks a tiny bit, it keeps the rain from splashing into the door. And it looks good, albeit a little "cabiny".


  The other day I was sitting on the porch of the house waiting for friends to arrive for dinner and enjoying the view to the south. It was cooling down and I looked around this little patch and day dreamed about what could be. I had built some raised garden beds that morning and in my minds eye I saw them over flowing with fresh veggies, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers...a bounty of food. I then looked East, past the fire pit, and pictured my chicken ark, full of healthy birds and fresh eggs.

 The path is hard. There is work to be done, but what a content feeling it will be when I know there will always be food, grown by me, on my table. I have lived so lean, for so long that just knowing those small comforts will be there makes me happy. I can do without electricity ( I do miss it) and the convenience that it brings but the peacefulness out here, without those distractions, is amazing. Soon my days will be spent tending my gardens and feeding my animals  and I am truly looking forward to that.

....lots of progress..

I have made some great progress on the house in the last few weeks. I replaced the undersized window in the kitchen with a larger "picture window" which is actually a recycled skylight. it is framed in and although I need to replace the siding around it (too many cuts) it is in place and looks great. I have it closed in and I put a piece  of plastic sheet over it until I can replace the siding. I put the window in now because the ledgers I planned to hold up my loft would make that difficult.....oh yeah, I put in the loft!!!

The loft was pretty easy. I ran 2 7' ledgers down the walls and bolted them into the wall joists with lag screws and washers. They are made from simple 2x4's which I sanded. The floor joists for the loft are also 2x4's. I laid them out on 12" centers and while the span is around 7 feet there is almost no sag when I get in the loft. In between the floor joists are spacers made from 9.5" pieces of 2x4 and all of these parts are simply nailed together. I laid some plywood up there and put my mattress to test for sag and for headroom. There is almost no sag but there is little headroom so I think a thinner foam mattress is in order. My innerspring mattress is really nice but it is 14" thick. I will get an 8" memory foam mattress and add 6" of headroom......well worth it.

I also started on the bookshelf/stairs combo for getting into the loft. I found a nice old oak pallet and salvaged some very rough but very beautiful 1/2" oak boards......enough to make 3 steps..each 19" wide by 10" deep. The stairs will start on the built in futon (which I have not started yet) and go up 2 tall steps with narrow bookshelves underneath.  The last step will be wider and will be on top of my closet (19" deep by 24" wide). I have not started this yet either, just focusing on the bookshelves to get an idea of how everything  will end up going together. When the futon/stairs/closet are done they will all bolt together and then get lag bolted to the wall for safety.

I am also working out an ottoman with a removable top that will clip into the futon bench to form a day-bed. I think it will be a simple 3/4" plywood slab 4' wide by 24" deep with some simple cleats that fit into the futon frame and the edge of the ottoman creating a 7x4 platform for the futon pad to roll out on. This will have to happen when I get back from Cincinnati.

....well again, pictures are coming soon. I really need a camera.