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Monday, September 26, 2016

Playin' In The Dirt

This whole, "homesteading" gig is pretty cool.  A TON of work, but very cool.  I get up most mornings knowing I'm going to be physically working my ass off, and I love it.

Right now, I'm in major, "attack the deferred maintenance" list.  The previous home owners, to be blunt, didn't do shit to maintain this property for the past couple of years, at least.  And the way systems and "stuff" were configured, leaves me scratching my head.

For instance, we're in 4-season country.  While not as cold as much of the northern part of the US, our average temperature during the winter is below freezing, and we get into the teens overnight.  We actually have an 18" to 24" frost line, which is a new one for this former Kalifornian!

They installed a sprinkler system for the property - but didn't include a way to winterize the system by blowing out the lines to keep them from freezing over.  To add insult to injury, when the system was installed, they just tee'd it off of the supply line that goes out to the freezeless yard hydrant (these are hydrants that are designed to deliver water to horses/animals during the winter without freezing over).

So, in winter, when I turn off the water for the sprinkler system, I'll also be turning it off for the hydrant.  If I had animals - say, in our horse barn - I'd have to haul the water.

We're looking to add some animals next year, so that will need to be dug up and re-routed next spring.

Done So Far

> Added exterior surveillance system (thanks bro for running the cable)

> Added security system

> Started compost pile

> Cleared 1/4 acre of thorny SOB tumble weeds (1/4 acre to go).  Made a note on the calendar to have county spray next year (previous owners "forgot" to do it this year)



> Drilled a half-dozen 3-hole ventilation groups in eves to get air into attic - absolutely NO airflow currently into attic

> Removed pine tree limbs and unknown species limbs from rubbing on roof - really, people?!

>  Pruned 4 of our cottonwood trees of the wild growth on the trunk up to 12 feet.

Before and after

Before and after

And, as you may have guessed from the "after" pictures, I've got a yard full of cottonwood leaves - compost bound....

>  Installed 2, 24 inch risers for septic system access (had to be dug up before each time it was pumped - at a cost of $85 per hole dug)



Coming Up

>  Next week - rent a Bobcat, move a yard of gravel from one side of property to another, drag railroad ties piled on one side of property to be used as borders in backyard area, level area for planting beds, lay out first course of planting beds (will be raised beds), scrape final 1/4 acre of tumbleweeds.  Also, hire a tree trimmer to cut back and top a 35 ft cottonwood that is perilously close to back of house.  Terminate a heating duct that was not connected to anything when the previous owners installed a new heater 4 years ago (yes, they'd been warming the crawl space for 4 years).  Get chimney sweep out to clean chimney so we can use the awesome fireplace.

>  Mid-October - (or as soon as cool weather hits the Kalifornia foothills) Harvest and split oak firewood (dried deadwood) from relative's property.  Also, our well system is a bit jiggy.  We commonly get a "wet spot" right at the well head, and have gotten outright pooling one time.  Anyone with ideas, PLEASE CHIME IN. (And, no, the water isn't draining from some other surface area.)  There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason when this happens.  Stumped.

>  Late October - have our first legal burn.  Mostly the aforementioned tumble weeds and some tree trimmings.

>  November (or as soon as I can't do stuff outside any more) - get workshop in order (it's just storage now), reorganize prep foods (a total CF after the move), build a Murphy Bed for guests in wife's office

>  January - Prune both apples trees.  Doubt if they've ever been pruned.

>  Early April - if ground not frozen, run sprinkler system out to garden beds.

>  Also on the list - relocate a shed from right in front of our view of the Sierras to side of property (or tear it down and rebuild - which ever is cheaper), re-roof horse barn and turn into storage and saloon (a gamey man-cave of sorts), install new flooring in home (currently 2 different types of tile and the most ugly blue carpet you've ever seen).

Lastly, I've gotten a number of private emails about how I'm doing the "business in California, live in Nevada" gig.  It's working very nicely.  We've been able to hire two new employees and re-jigger the schedule to where me an my business partner have, shall we say, very favorable in-store hours.

When I do have to go in, here's what my commute looks like...

(From my dash-cam.  Sorry for the bug guts on the windshield...)

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Copyright 2016 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

great post! have homesteaded twice,your work list is eerily familiar, to me and others for sure. nice work