May 15th, 2013
Click cabin in for video
As I was making my way scoop by scoop of dirt out of the property onto the road and about an hour early the truck came with the Cabin. The thing I noticed was how big it was…it didn’t look 10×12. The driver was very hesitant about my make shift driveway and in general was a bit lazy. he just wanted to drop it off in the neighbors flat field which would have been awful. He finally got out of truck and took a look around and decided it was doable. So he backed down in. He came up to a point where he could go no further (not yet at the half done pad for the cabin) So I took the digger and knocked out some stone walls i was hoping to keep. He backed in and place it ..woot. It was on uneven ground that I was hoping to have flat but it was in. He then mashed it and made it out could have been better but it was in and I could have a beer and relax and an epic push to get the driveway done. I dont have pics of this b/c I was going at it so hard.
The cabin is really cool. Ill post more in a following post but its 10×12 . Half porch half enclosed. Novelty sided with plywood and tarpaper covered in metal. The hip roof makes it look different then anything around but its natural wood siding blends in nice to neighbor hood.
May 15th, 2013
So I have machine over there and b/c I don’t have a car. I have a pedal power with a trailer to get to town for diesel fuel and tent/tarps for the 4 or 5 days ( I forget) until the Cabin is delivered. So I started off picking a spot out of the way and in the trees so I could hang a tarp. I then took the digger and made a mound so I would be above the surrounding soil. This turned out to be a very wise thing to do. The weather was very dynamic (its spring in ny). There was lightning storms and downpours and b/c of this step I stayed warm and dry.
So plan now is to get things clearer enough for the scheduled (3 weeks in advance) arrival of the cabin/shed. This is no small thing b/c the whole land is overgrown and there is absolutely no access into property. The spot where I picked to set it up is a high spot where a barn used to be. So from here on out it was a lot of crazy non stop 12 hour days. I slept very well and burned serious calories. Which required me to bike to town for food… a few miles . But I felt good. Nights would get very cold sometimes. I focused on the wrong this initially. I just started cleaning b/c to be honest I did not know here to start. I could not really see and underlying topology. Focus should have been on access first b/c I ended up working til 2 am the morning and the freezing cold the night before the shed came and getting up 6am in same freezing cold to finish-ish driveway.
Around old barn foundation (where cabin will go)
What the pics miss is the process. I would go in with shears and thing the branches of bushes and once I got things in piles I could get a machine in to pick up the big stuff (willow was 2 to 3 feet in diamter for example). The logs went into the resource center out of the way by the road.
May 15th, 2013
I have had this property for a little while now (2 years). I have been camping on it and kind of dreaming what I want to do and trying to understand the property and its history. Its a very raw piece of land, that after finding old barn parts I have figured out was a spot for farm outbuildings. There are very rough foundations and scrap metal. Its quite an amazing piece of property in its own right. Its small surrounded by working hay/corn fields with local boys who leave the edges of the creeks in tact. It boarders a creek and stream on the other side.
I finally had things in my head I wanted to do. I penciled in 7 days I think for the whole project. It has taken 13 so far and two more days (plus maybe a bit after I get machine out of there). So far its been a great success. Here is the project through pics (i have been excited to post these).
The goal of project has been to get it nice enough to sell it so I can fund myself and my share of our family’s monetary requirements for a while. It would also create seed money for another project..problem is I really like it…oh well.. at least I will have something of value to use / rent / sell if when needed.
So here goes the “Before” pictures.Â This is after my friend Brian and I cut down all the marked trees to thin it out.Â The ground was waterlogged.Â There was moss growing on it and it really needed some sun light.
3 apple trees
This is where driveway will go.Â There was crazy amounts of organic matter deposited over the years from neighbor.
Here is the “Middle” of the acre lot.
Picture from Rasberry Patch Id like to keep.Â They are amazing..and come to find out the reason is because of the woodchucks borrowing a hole into the middle.Â If we just work with nature….we could do amazing things together.
Looking from the river to the road
March 15th, 2013
So this post is just to get some things down somewhere. I have managed to keep up with the sap from the 4 tapped trees (5 taps) so far, when I fall behind it just goes into a clean 5 gallon pail.
Boiling takes 10 hours approx to boil down 5 (4.5) gallons down to roughly a pint (maybe a bit more?). The process is incredibly easy but I need to constantly tend it all day(every 10mins). The tending though is not bad. I saw videos of people using these stoves and they were very particular about placing wood in. I was at first but now just shove a bunch in and walk away. Super easy. Wood consumption Id say would be around 2 chunks (18″) wide worth of Ash per batch.
The main thing this year was testing this “Batch” Method vs the standard factory type evaporater.
The goal is to refine this current method and scale it up a bit . I have approx 50 maples on property. This small stovetec eco rocketstove is not capable of doing any more then what I am doing now!
Most maple sap people will tell you the longer it takes to boil the better it will taste. The first batch this year was the best tasting surp I ever made. Now keep in mind the first 3 half ass attempts with different backyard rigs were pretty much were unconsumable!
The first time is got scaled so it tasted very burnt (try balancing a burning hot lasanga pan with out moving the syrup in the pan..jeez). The next years setup just tasted like smoke from the fire (not only was sap smokey but it was not fun having burining eyeballs the whole time). This year victory..awesome syrup and an experience that is enjoyable then any so far!
March 11th, 2013
I purchased a stove tec rocket stove. I wanted to purchase an institutional rocket stove but they did not have it in stock and I was feeling a bit tight money wise so I ordered this which is good for personal use/learning.
I taped 5 trees this year. I had taps left over from last year. For buckets I used the 3 gallon water containers with a spout. With a key cut in one corner it can hang on the spout
Being this is version 3.0 I think this years setup is the best (the bar is very low)
Stove Tec Rocket Stove
March 3rd, 2013
The kitchen cabinets were something I really wanted to try and tackle myself. I like building with wood, but don’t have much experience. Every project gets me a little more skilled. I’m going slow, trying not to screw it up too much!
We’re only having base cabinets – most of which are on the exterior wall side. The 24″ electric stove will sit in the corner at an angle. Angles always mess me up! You’d think with the many years of college math I’ve taken, it wouldn’t be so difficult.
Jeff thought it’d be easier to build one large cabinet instead of three separate ones. First we built the toe kick/frame. Jeff scribed this against our floor since it’s not totally level.
We decided on maple cabinets. This is 3/4″ maple plywood.
I used scrap pieces for the bracing. It’s starting to take shape!
Next up was the face frame. We picked up maple from our local lumber mill and ripped it down with a table saw. I picked up a couple of clamps, but could have used a few more.
For the doors, I got 1×4 maple from the mill. I didn’t want to rip these boards, since I’m not very comfortable with a table saw. Instead I decided to use whatever size was available. I thought the 1×4 frame would look too chunky, but I really like how it came out. I wanted the 1/2″ maple plywood panels to be flush on the back, so I bought a new rabbet bit routed the backside.
The (almost) finished mega base cabinet! They need some more tweaking and poly. I bought some really cool knobs off Etsy I’m excited to install!
We dry fit the sink in. After having it laying around for over a year, it’s great to see it in the right place!
It’s really starting to look like a kitchen! More to come…
March 3rd, 2013
Before the kitchen cabinet work could begin, we needed to install the counter outlets. For the exterior wall, these are installed with 1/2″ conduit on the outside of the block. The bathroom wall will have T&G, so we were able to install the outlets in a more traditional way. There’s also a run of wire through conduit for the exterior outlets. Once they are installed, our electrical work will be complete – yay!
We also added a ceiling light. Running the wire required more conduit – this time up the back of one of our trees. We put the light on a chain so we had some flexibility on it’s location. I found the old schoolhouse light on Ebay.
March 3rd, 2013
Before we could start the exterior insulation, we needed to build frames around the windows. We discussed a few different ways to do this, and ended up with a simple solution – cypress boxes attached with L brackets. The lower edge of the frame has a bit of an angle on it to help water run off. The boxes were treated with an exterior poly. It was really nice to see some changes to the exterior of the building. Just a little wood is exciting when you’ve been looking at grey cement for so long!
The last photo shows the beginnings of prep for our ground insulation. Lots of this ground work will just get covered up, but it takes so much time and labor to complete!
March 3rd, 2013
Daily life seems to keep us very busy – maintaining a home, three kids and jobs is a lot of work! This year as we wind down on the house building, we get to start getting back to other things we’ve been putting off. Exploring more, sculpting our land, planting, and maybe even some relaxing! It’s going to be a good year…
Here are some photos of what we’ve been up to the past several months besides building.