So much to do and so much done

We are pushing really hard to get the house to where we can move in. We are very close to finishing the drywall. The electric is almost all hooked up. The water is almost all hooked up, and we will be putting in floors soon. It’s really exciting but also super overwhelming. I have been going out to the house almost everyday for anywhere from 2-8 hours at a time and C has been going out on the weekends and after work. We are both exhausted. Here is what it looks like so far: the kitchen is above and the boys and girls rooms are below.

The upstairs


Lots more work

We did so much this weekend!!!

First off, with the help of my cousin B and her wife K, we completed the drywall in half of the upstairs. We need to finish installing the outer walls and the ceiling in the bathroom and bedroom. It looks amazing! If we can get it drywalled, mudded, and primed we can start moving some smaller boxes. Yay!!!

That was Saturday. Then on Sunday we attacked the 25 foot wall, getting drywall and insulation up. We also hopefully fixed the flooding problem by installing the rest of the water system (we are missing an essential connector but at least we have a shut off valve between the (now full) water cistern and the house), and also backfilling more dirt around problem areas, adding drainage away from the house in those areas, and adding plastic on to of that. I failed to get pictures of the backfilling progress, but here is a great picture of the water setup. The connector we are missing connects into the pump and will join the pump to the filters.

So tired

We have really amped up our construction in the past two weeks. Last week we were out almost every night working on things.

Last weekend we started installing drywall. Our friend K came out with her daughter to help. We were able to put up most of the main wall and half of the girls’ bedroom.

Then C came out every evening last week and built stairs. I put up some more insulation. His stairs are amazing.

It’s enclosed! (well almost)

This weekend we finished the spray foam and installed the rest of the windows and doors!!

Friday we took the day off (because we had to be somewhere at 2 and didn’t want to get dirty and sweaty), so we went fishing. It’s our “thing to do to relax”. It was the best day for it too. We caught almost ten fish, some of them a fairly nice size too. We let all of them go except one larger sunfish. I ate that one on Saturday while the rest of the family had meatloaf (meat allergy means I get to eat fish more!

Saturday I finished the spray foam while C fixed one of the walls and worked on more of the electric. We ran out of spray foam with three small strips of roof left to go. Not too bad and we can finish next week.

Sunday we put four windows in and the large, extremely large, gigantic patio door. We first tackled the door. It was so large and so heavy. It took us about an hour and a half and a LOT of cursing to get it in. Not only is it in but the door actually opens and closes!! (it didn’t at first). The windows went to much easier!! I’m glad we started with the door.

All we have left is the front door. We haven’t laid the concrete yet. We framed it out before we left but I was too tired to start carrying 80lb bags of concrete down a hill! Tomorrow I will go out and lay the concrete. Then we can install the door on Tuesday. By the middle of the week we should have an enclosed house!


We started installing the spray foam insulation this weekend. It’s not hard to figure it out but it gets EVERYWHERE. You have to cover everything, including yourself. We were in full Tyvek suits with respirators, and goggles, and gloves and STILL got it all over us. We also had to cover or move everything in the house that we didn’t want to get covered. It was HOT. So hot. And tiring. After 2 days the upstairs roof is done and the downstairs roof is half done. I have also discovered that if I ever needed to create a new resume having the ability to learn new things, including running wire in a house, and teaching myself to install spray foam insulation, is a really great quality to promote!!

Here are some pictures:

Water system install

Last weekend we installed the large part of our water system, and also did some backfilling. The tires are now almost completely covered, the second floor is the same height as the hill as well. We bought a 2000 gallon water tank, dug a hole, put it in the hole, added pipes, and covered it up again (mostly). Friday we spent purchasing and transporting the cistern. It was as big as the truck!! Then Saturday C spent most of the day backfilling and moving dirt. Sunday we moved the cistern into the hole he made (which was quite entertaining and resulted in me falling and cutting my leg up on a rock) and added the pipe that will be used to pump water into the house. We also added the pipe that will catch the water from the gutters that will fill the cistern. The he gently backfilled in the cistern being careful not to break the pipe (which surprisingly we did not!). The next day it rained and we actually got some water in the cistern. It won’t be long until the house will have water!! It’s a bit exciting.

The reason

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.

A door!!!

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.

So much is happening.

There is so much happening. I may have to do multiple posts. First off we have spent about two weeks installing the rest of the electric. C has been teaching me to run the wire while he installs the switches, lights, and plugs, which is pretty impressive for someone who is afraid of being electrocuted (me). Although I am only working with wires that are not in any way hot, so that’s probably why. It’s definitely going a lot faster with both of us working on it. We still have the living room and kitchen and pantry to finish. Once we are done we can put in the spray foam insulation! Things are getting really exciting.