It’s been three and a half years of building. It’s been three and a half years of spending all of our time, money, and energy trying to fulfill our dream, but it’s been a while since I have discussed what exactly this dream is, and I think it’s time to revisit this.
When we decided to start this journey we were tired, poor, and beyond frustrated. We live in a system that is designed to keep you poor, and most people at one tragic event from being poor. For those people there is nobody there to help. Divorce, a car accident, a medical issue that leaves someone disabled are a few of the many reasons that people go from being comfortable to struggling, and most in this situation either don’t quite qualify for services to help or don’t want to seek that help because of the years of being brainwashed to believe that if you seek this help you are less than a person. These things are wrong.
We are activists. We aren’t necessarily the people that you will see out on the streets protesting (although we fully and vocally support the protests we agree with), but we are the underground activists. The ones that see the plight of the people and try and catch them before they fall through the cracks.
Once our house is done our real journey will begin. We plan to grow food on most of our 11 acres, food that will go towards feeding those who wouldn’t normally be able to afford good, healthy, nutritious food. We want to teach people to cook farm food on a budget (and I mean a BUDGET, we spend $120 a week to feed a family of 5/6), we want to help people decrease their dependency on utility companies by helping to install grid tie systems and energy and water efficiency products. We want to help people learn how to budget and use their credit to their advantage instead of being afraid of them like we were for so long. We don’t expect people to be like us but even implementing a few of our strategies could go a long way to helping people feel less stressed, which I honestly feel is the leading cause of death in this country. Change your environment and circumstances and you change your mindset, and most of the time you can’t do that without help.
Until we start voting for people who want what’s best for the people and not corporations we need people like us who can help pick up that slack.
Last Sunday we started building the deck that will be outside the door on the second floor. We needed it there in order to move the door that has been underneath the scaffolding and we needed to move the door so we can take down the scaffolding so that we can finish backfilling next weekend. I think the most annoying thing about this job is how everything has to go in a particular order and if you don’t schedule things out right you are left with having to fill time with other jobs. It’s very stressful. Once the spray foam goes in timing doesn’t have to be as rigid.
this is the door under the scaffolding.
we built a deck! It will be bigger later but we want to get kore if the inside of the house done first.
this is midway of pulling the door up onto the deck. This was HARD and took us several days to recover. I’m not sure C is fully recovered yet. He was on the deck and I was underneath. He would pull and I would pick until it was up about 8 inches to a ft. Then C would hold it in place while I rushed to screw in small boards to hold it up. Pulling it up onto the deck was the hardest. He had to stand on the unfinished part of the deck and pull on a rope that was attacked to the handle while I pulled on the other handle that was on the foot long piece of deck, all while trying really hard not to drop it, and this door was HEAVY.
success!!! We have a door!!! It looks really nice. It even has blinds that are inside the glass. It was about a $2000 door that was returned to Lowe’s and sold to us for $600. I can that a huge win.
We are FINALLY having our septic installed. We were able to get the lagoon decreased in size, thanks to the grey water system, and they will be marking where it is going, getting it inspected, and putting it in sometime in the next few weeks. The problem? We have to bush hog the area where it is going before they can even mark it. We don’t have a mower. We have been looking at mowers but aren’t ready to make the commitment of $200 a month for the next 3 years so we can have the mower we need for our property. Instead we bought a heavy duty Stihl brush cutter. A heavy duty handlebar brush mower. This sucker comes with a harness. It’s heavy duty. We even bought the saw blade for it because the regular weed eater type blade isn’t heavy duty enough for our lawn.
C goes to order this crazy thing from a tractor dealer. He tells him what he wants and that he needs it to be able to start easily because his wife will be using it (I have a lot of trouble starting our chainsaw but not our generator so pull chords can be hit or miss with me). The guy looks straight at him and says “you are letting your wife use this?!?! This is a heavy duty piece of equipment for a woman to be using”. To which C replies “first off I don’t ‘let’ my wife do anything. If she really wants to do something there isn’t much that can stop her. Secondly women can do a lot more than people give them credit for”. Kinda made me feel really proud.
Also, I used the brush cutter today. I used it as much as C did, and it’s really not that cumbersome, and it starts much easier than the chainsaw. I feel bad ass right now. And I’m very sore.
We officially have a roof on the house, and it looks DAMN GOOD!!! They are going to be back later this week to finish the outer walls and put up the plywood. That leaves installing the windows and doors and we will have a fully enclosed structure!!! Don’t get me wrong, we still have a TON more to do before we move, but OMG GUYS WE HAVE A ROOF!!!
We also now have lights in our bedroom and will soon have lights in the bathroom and closet and plugs too. That’s right, the electric is going in!!! The picture is supposed to show the lights and plus. Not a great picture, but still better than nothing. I’m pretty excited.
Guys. Guys. This is not a joke. This is the real deal. We have a roof!!!
It’s not finished yet, we are short a few pieces of metal that we are picking up tomorrow morning, and the roof should be complete after tomorrow. It. Is. Amazing. Amazing. Beyond what we could have every expected.
These guys that are doing our roof are phenomenal. Absolutely amazing. Also the house isn’t even enclosed fully yet but the temperature in the house has dropped at least 15 degrees. It was comfortable inside and HOT outside.
We are hiring them to finish framing the outer walls of the house, which hopefully will be finished next week. At that point we install the windows and doors and it’s completely and totally enclosed.
C is working. On installing the electric next week while I am finishing the greenhouse and the concrete on the tires. After that we install the water, have the septic finished, get the propane guys out, spray the insulation, have the drywall done, order the appliances, and we should be ready to move in. This is insane. INSANE. We will still have so much more to do once we move but we will be MOVED!! We will be living in our own house!! I’m so overwhelmed right now I can barely breath.
Over the weekend C and I moved all the batteries into the battery house (which took a lot of effort because they are very very heavy and were located behind the battery house), and C got them all connected and hooked to the solar panels. The solar panels go to a PV disconnect, then from there to a midnight classic 150 charge controller, then from that to busbars, then to another disconnect, then to the batteries. In 2 partially cloudy days we have been able to fully charge the batteries, which is pretty exciting. We have 40 of our 60 batteries connected, and will hook up the rest as soon as we order more connectors. We opted for data safe 12hx400s because we were gifted them and they should work nicely for a while. We are hoping to have the house connected in the next few days. It will be nice to have power to the house, and truthfully this is a step we never thought we would see!!
this picture was take. At 5:30pm while it was very cloudy, and we were still making 276 watts plus we have 40 fully charged batteries ready to go. I think this could work!
I honestly never thought we would be getting to this point. We installed our solar panels this weekend. We have fourteen 325 watt Canadian Solar solar panels. They are HEAVY. At peak (most solar panels can be expected to run at 80% in full sun), but at peak they can product 4550 watts of energy. Considering that we have a much lower energy draw than most homes (no heating or cooling and the two appliances that would be high energy, the stove and dryer, are propane), and we have a huge battery bank, this should do us quite nicely. If now we are also planning on having a backup propane generator and are adding a wind turbine or two next year. I am so thrilled to have these up. C started wiring them too. The wiring from the panels to the battery house is finished (but not connected) and 1/3 of the batteries are in. My hope is that by the end of next weekend we may have power to the house! This would be quite exciting. The second two pictures are of us putting in the panels and building the frame.