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.

Prepping for a pooper… and being a woman

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.

The roof… the roof… the roof is.. well.. ON!

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.

Let the freak out happen…

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.

It’s alive!

WE HAVE POWER TO THE HOUSE!!!! We only have 14 lights installed at the moment so it was only pulling 1 amp, but we were able to turn all the lights on inside the house!!! I’m a bit excited. C doesn’t go back to work until the 16th. We are hoping to have most, of not all, of the electric in by then. We are also having the roof guys finish framing the sides of the house and put plywood up. It would be nice to be able to put in the spray foam either right before or right after C goes back to work. Once that goes in we just have to drywall, install the windows and doors, and finishing concreting the tires and it’s almost ready for us to move in. There is a lot more other than that but those are the main things.