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Moving forward with Okanogan homestead got the land (with pics)  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Location: Pac Northwest, east of the Cascades
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Thank you, I fell in love with the place at 1st sight.

Awesome Carrie, I wish you much luck and happiness moving to your land. It is definitely a wonderful thing to be in the nature full time. Not just a visitor but calling it home.

Rabbits, yes that is one of the forgotten to mention critters. I have plentiful rabbit.

Oh turkey, quail, and grouse. LOL, the list likely would never end since I will just keep remembering more, and by the time I list all, I will likely spot more.
 
Devin Lavign
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I posted this up in zero waste section of the forum, but figured it worth having here as well

Devin Lavign wrote:So this is 3 yrs worth of trash on my homestead that finally accumulated to 13 45 gallon bags, enough to finally take a trip to the dump. *edit to add (oops, this is an earlier pic of only 10 bags, I seem to have trashed the 13 bag photo)



Most of this trash came from styrofoam, bubble wrap, and other packing materials from moving out to the property and from online orders for items I needed. After the 1st yr my trash accumulation slowed down a lot. I think I added only the last 4 bags in the next 2 yrs.

Sad thing is my area does not have a good recycling set up. Especially big issue for me is glass is not recycled in the area. I tend to opt for glass over plastic bottles due to glass being able to be recycled infinite times. While plastic just a few times. A few neighbors and I are considering pooling together to make a 3 hr one way glass recycle trip worth it.



If you want to participate in a discussion of this please visit this thread https://permies.com/t/107908/ungarbage/waste#882450
 
Devin Lavign
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Posts: 782
Location: Pac Northwest, east of the Cascades
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building chicken earthworks forest garden homestead hugelkultur rocket stoves solar trees wofati woodworking
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OK here is some older pics I didn't get around to posting due to infrequent internet access. But will share to help give the progression I have gone through.

1st up I moved the trailer and installed my 400w solar set up.





It stayed like that through the spring and summer, but by fall I knew I needed a better cover for the trailer than just a tarp. Original plans were to build a pole barn, but time was just too short and I had been busy running back and forth from the coast to the property too much. So option 2 was an RV carport. Quick instant shelter, but unable to have a wood stove inside. So the plan was to add a wood cabin on the front to house a wood stove and leave the interior of the RV carport open to the cabin so the heat would circulate into there and lessen the need for heating in the trailer. ** it should be noted I started with help from 1 neighbor on this project, ending with 3-4 neighbors helping** got to love the oldschool barn raising helpful neighbors.



Note the water tank inside the shelter area. The idea behind this is the wood stove would help heat the water so it wont freeze in the winter, as well as the water itself would act as a heat sink to help regulate temps in the shelter. Thus the position is actually quite close to where I put the wood stove. (hind sight, it works pretty well)

I had some issues with the RV carport quality.

obvious welded over wrong holes


Worse though was piece not fitting together. The female end too small for the male ends to fit in. So I had to cut the pipe to open up the opening. It was too late in the season to return and wait for a new one. So just had to make due with what I had. Do my best and hope it worked.


The plan was to put two smaller carports to either side of the front of the RV carport, and the cabin in the middle. So here is me testing the smaller carport frame with the RV carport in progress.


Frame finished now putting the cover on.


Got the cover on, and one carport to the side. It is starting to come together now.


With the 2 carports to the side I can start building the cabin in front of the RV carport. My brother had given me a bunch of tongue and groove boards that I planned to use to build the cabin with. He also hooked me up with 6 of the 9 needed 4/4 posts and lots of other random lumber.

Just a small portion of tongue and groove.



Beginning stages, I was working alone so had to get creative to try and square and plumb.


As I worked hard to get things level and plumb I realized, the high probability of frost heave since I wasn't putting in a solid foundation meant meticulous work would likely be wasted time. So got less worried about perfection and just pushed ahead with reasonable approximations.


Got the roof up, and covered it with a tarp, as the local Barter Faire was coming up.


Video of Barter Faire. Barter Faire started 40+ yrs ago by hippies who moved out to the area and started homesteading. They invited the homesteaders to come and barter their fall goods in exchange for other goods. It has gown a lot since those early days. Sadly a lot more commercialism, and yes some of that hippie party crowd. But you get what you look for. You can find garage/yard sale type stalls, mountain man leather workers, there is a blacksmith, people selling fresh produce, canned produce, raw sheep wool, pottery, and so much more.



While at Barter Faire, it snowed. The mid/end of October and the 1st snow had already come, I was thinking I had to beginning of Nov at least. And we got snow already! Yikes, I got to get this cabin finished!




Started getting the base walls, and floor in.


Looks good up there in the day, but the actual work happened at night. Since I was now in a hurry before the weather got even worse. Jon Snow was right "Winter was coming!"




Had a fire out front to go warn up at and just generally get out and take a break every so often.


A view looking inside at the trailer, open wall making a small cabin connect to a large RV carport.
  • https://i.postimg.cc/y85FRw1z/rv-carport-inside-cabin-build-2.jpg


  • Walls start going up. It is raking shape and entering the home stretch now.


    Wait were is the front door, where is the window? Well I hadn't bought the door yet, I had thought I had more time before snow so was hoping a decent exterior door might show up at the recycle store. Nope, had to buy a new door. For both the door and window I just cut the tongue and groove after measuring for the size and placement.

    Front door and window installed, floor almost done, and wood stove in place. It is almost done, yay!!


    Funny thing, all that rush and worry due to the early snow. Well by the time I was mostly finished with the cabin.


    Now of course it didn't stay that way, and I am glad I got it done before the real winter came. But I could have been less rushed and less worried about getting it done. When winter did come, it really made a difference, and I found that I could heat my trailer with just oil lamps when I had the fire out in the cabin. No more propane condensation in the trailer is a very good thing when I am tracking in snow anyways.

    My 1st winter in the new RV carport and cabin was a success. The extra room, and ability to get out of the trailer but not out side was great. Of course going outside was also great especially since my mom got me snowshoes for x-mas. I had a lot of fun getting out exploring the property in the winter with them. Really made it so much easier for me to spend time outside in the winter.


    Thankfully my brother had hooked me up with a bunch of fire wood, a lot of it was 3-4 yrs of drying after split and cut. So I had multiple loads when bringing stuff back from the coast, that uhaul with the tongue and groove, this is what the uhaul looked like full.


    After the 1st winter, this is what I was left with for fire wood.


    Looking down to my camp that winter from the hill to the North of camp. You can see the carports and if you look hard you can see the back of the solar panels which I moved up the hill to get better sun exposure. Since by Nov, the sun sets by 2 pm for the area my camp is set up. The next year I actually moved the solar panels further up the hill after getting a little more cable to let it reach further. It is probably as far up as I can go without loosing too much in length of cable to vs getting more sun exposure. But this is a temp set up, the house build will have a completely different panel location with better sun exposure.


    camp in the right corner, and the rest of the property blanketed in beautiful snow.


    Hope you all enjoyed this. I still have at least one more dump of pics and story before I head back in a week. So stay tuned.
     
    pollinator
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    Enjoyed the pics; lovely place.

    I have seen elk near my place, grazing beside the highway. Magnificent. But, the consensus seems to be that they stay on the far side of said highway. This is encouraging to me as elkproof fencing is either very expensive or does not exist depending on who I ask...

    Do you have fencing plans?

    Do you end up snowed in, or is the road passable by 4x4 pretty well right through?

    You plan to build the first stage of the whole house, rather than finishing a segment first? The segmented design seems well suited to a gradual build, but the earthworks parts, and the roof, would be challening to handle that way.

    The back workshop areas will be closed in with large doors?
     
    Devin Lavign
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    Dillon Nichols wrote:Enjoyed the pics; lovely place.

    I have seen elk near my place, grazing beside the highway. Magnificent. But, the consensus seems to be that they stay on the far side of said highway. This is encouraging to me as elkproof fencing is either very expensive or does not exist depending on who I ask...

    Do you have fencing plans?

    Do you end up snowed in, or is the road passable by 4x4 pretty well right through?

    You plan to build the first stage of the whole house, rather than finishing a segment first? The segmented design seems well suited to a gradual build, but the earthworks parts, and the roof, would be challening to handle that way.

    The back workshop areas will be closed in with large doors?



    Thanks, I really love it. Pics and video don't do it full justice of course, but can't bring everyone out to see it in person.

    On the other side of the valley we get big horn sheep. Thankfully they stick to that side and don't come over to my side of the mountain. Rams butting heads during matting season would get old quick if it too near by.

    My bigger worry is my area is open range, so I have to worry about fencing out cattle. I plan to build anti cattle fencing that still allows deer and elk in. Then further in on my property I will build more intense fencing around the areas I want to protect. I have a plan for a wandering path garden system along a long path pasture. Where the gardens near my home will be heavily guarded against any critters getting in, but further out less and less protection, until the gardens are completely open for critters to munch how ever they wish and want. I feel they were here 1st so I can't get mad at them for wanting the food I plant. Soi as a good neighbor I will plant some for them and some for me, and some we can share.

    My 1st winter I had no trouble with 4 wheel drive on my Chevy, without chains even. Though my 4 wheel drive broke multiple times, the last time left me stuck unable to drive up a hill and out. I eventually got out but it was annoying. This year we had a mild winter until the end. My easement rd had 2-3 inches of ice from a melt freeze cycle that kept happening, so I had to actually put chains on this year just to get up that. I did buy a snowmobile to use when the snow got deep, but it didn't get deep enough until just before leaving for a month long vacation. Next yr I will get to use the snowmobile.

    I would love to build it all in one go, but don't expect to be able to do so. What I want to do, is build the entire skeleton frame first, but doubt I will even get that finished the 1st yr since I still have a lot of prep to do to even get to building and the window for building it short this far north. Once I get the entire frame the rest will go together fairly quick as a shell that then can be buried. Then I can take my time finishing out the interior. I would rather stay in my trailer mostly than to move into an unfinished home. I know I will be tempted, but I have known a lot who moved into unfinished homes. Not one has been fully finished, even after years of living in them. You end up settling, getting the important things done but letting others go. If I wait till it is finished, I know it is all done.

    The garage/work shop space I do want to put large doors, glad you saw that. I have some barn style doors in sketchup I just hadn't yet installed since I am also thinking roll up doors. The trick there is cost. If I can source cheap selvage roll up doors that fit that would be my choice. Otherwise I will have to opt for something less expensive. Part of the idea of those spaces is it is hard to put on additions to an earth shelter home, so I can build the shells and not finish them out, but at a latter date if needed I can turn them into extra bedrooms or some other room if needed. Trying to think ahead to avoid headaches.

    Thanks for the questions and comments. I appreciate hearing from others, and finding out what others think.
     
    Devin Lavign
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    So I had said I was going to do another photo dump before I headed back home but things got busy and I wasn’t able to put the time into making it happen before I left.

    So here goes the update I meant to post.

    Last fall I finally got the piece of heavy equipment I was looking forward to getting. I had known I was going to need a piece of heavy equipment, and given the terrain of my property and what I want to do in regards for earthworks I wanted a dozer with a 6 way blade.

    I finally found a nice small dozer on craigs list.







    I was really stoked to find not only a dozer, but one with a backhoe.

    I went to check out the dozer. With a neighbor who is a diesel mechanic to check it over for me.





    Immediately wanted it, being a John Deere which my grandfather worked for, plus having the backhoe attachment. I knew I wanted it but was able to talk the price down a little, making it a bit more affordable. But had to come back to pick it up, after getting a trailer to bring it back home. And this is where the adventure gets a bit crazy.

    My neighbor who is a diesel mechanic said he would help me out getting a trailer, making sure it was appropriate to haul the dozer as well as having a truck to do the hauling. I was relying on him for the hauling and I over estimated his knowledge and ability. As well as he seems to have overestimated how much he knew. I rented a trailer after my neighbor and the renter saying the trailer would handle the dozer and backhoe just fine. Though after getting it loaded the first signs it was not the proper trailer were showing. As seen in the amount the tires were squished down by the weight of the dozer on the trailer.





    We got down the road a ways, thankfully past the major urban areas. And the troubles started.

    1st, a tire blew.



    Had to unload the dozer to jack up the trailer, and even used the dozer to lift the trailer.



    Not just to change the tire, but it turns out what caused the tire to fail was the axle came loose of the u-bolt and caused the tire to rub and blow.



    Now this happened in the night, so what we actually did was find a hotel and slept and got a u-bolt set from Farmers Supply in the morning. After getting a good nights rest and then fixing the axle and putting on the spare. We headed to Les Schwab to get a new spare. Wanting to just get the spare fixed right away rather than waiting to get home.

    In the parking lot of Les Schwab we slowly went over a speed bump and there was a snap in the axle.



    If you notice in the picture, the people who rented me the trailer had welded an extra strip of metal onto the axle. The break happened right after their weld, which likely means their welding ruined the temper of the axle metal. This is were I had relied on my neighbor to check out the trailer, and he had failed me. He should have realized this looking over the trailer but didn’t.

    We got the ok to unload the dozer there in the parking lot, using a bunch of used tires to roll down on to prevent the tracks from ripping into the pavement. We went back home and found someone else who loaned me another trailer to use. As well as returned the broken trailer. Then headed back to get the dozer.

    So here the dozer is loaded on the 2nd trailer.



    I had wanted to load it backward, but my neighbor insisted blade first was the proper way. Again another time where his knowledge was lacking. Pretty quickly we started fishtailing when ever we got up over 50 mph. This was happening do to the backhoe boom starting to swing, as well as the weight was sitting back too much. We pulled off the highway, and spun the dozer around on top of the trailer.





    This seemed to help and we got to within 3 hrs of home, before another flat tire happened to us. Thankfully when we were off the highway and about to fill up with gas.  I don’t have pics of this as it was late at night, we were a bit worn out, and it was dark. My neighbor had thankfully lived in the area previously and tracked down a spare tire from a friend of his.

    So we got back on the road and got almost 2 hrs down the road when the tire we replaced sheered the bolts and came off the trailer rolling down the road. Amazingly I went back and found the tire and brought it back. But we didn’t have new bolts, we were worn out, it was 2-3 in the morning, and things were getting a bit stressful.

    We went to the nearest town and tried to sleep in the truck cab for a bit, but by the time the sun was up it was obvious that we weren’t going to get any good sleep. So a woke my neighbor, and suggested we just drive home. I wanted to contact the person who loaned me the trailer, and have him let me know how he wanted to deal with things. My neighbor was a bit upset at this, wanting to be the one to fix the problem and I think just frustrated and worn out. But he agreed, and we headed home.

    At this point I was realizing my neighbor was not as knowledgeable as he made himself out to seem. The last thing I wanted to deal with was causing more problems due to lack of sleep and lack of knowledge. At this point I was getting to the point of feeling like we were pushing our luck and that with heavy equipment accidents can be very dangerous as well as costly. Plus I was starting to learn more about trailers, and loads with all this experience, and realized I needed someone with more experience than my neighbor to help out.

    So after getting in touch with the trailer owner, we went down got the trailer fixed, and back on the road. Shortly on the road, he immediately said the load was tail heavy. We stopped and repositioned the dozer. and had no problems after that.

    So long story short, I finally got my dozer up to my place.


     
    Devin Lavign
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    So of course I started doing some work with the dozer, shortly after getting it home. Though it was pretty dry and the dirt around my area is a fine dusty stuff, we call moon dust. So I was limiting myself to just a little work on the easement road. Smoothing a little out in anticipation of winter to come.

    And the 1st day of doing stuff, I throw a track.



    Thankfully another neighbor had been in the military and had felt with thrown tracks while serving. He came up and took a look at it. Then the next day we and his son, who is my age, got it back in place. Seems a wood fence post had gotten jammed up in the works and derailed the track. Took a bit of work but thankfully it was only off partially.

    After that I did little with it, and have only just gotten back to using it since winter and my time away from the homestead.

    But I should mention here as well, the resolution to the trailers. I had to pay for the sheared bolts and flat on the 2nd trailer. As well as the 1st trailer’s issues. In all It would have cost about the same or less to pay for a professional service. With a lot less drama and headache.

    The people who rented me the 1st trailer tried to claim I owed double what Les Swabs had quoted me, as well as what I priced out at North 40, a homestead supply store. They wanted to argue and claimed I said the dozer weighed less, etc… But eventually settled for half what they wanted to charge me.
     
    Devin Lavign
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    Well I started working the dirt road going up to my easement road. But started having trouble with the dozer over heating. A little time looking things over, and it seems the radiator cap was failing allowing the coolant to overflow and then the engine to over heat.

    So I just picked up a new radiator cap and hopefully this problem will stop and I can get more work done fixing the road so it is easier to get in and out of my property. And then I will be moving on to earthworks on the property.
     
    Dillon Nichols
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    Wow, what an adventure getting that beast home! I'm just glad you and it are alright even though the trailers were not!

    There are two occassions I've had a really marginal tow to do.

    The first time I chickened out and hired it done; same trip my van lost the wheel bolts on a rear wheel. Would have been deadly with a tall 8k trailer load on mountain highway...

    The second time I very nearly wrote off my tinyhouse, truck, and perhaps a couple innocent bystanders. Might not have been around to care though...

    The lesson I have taken from this is, buy a bigger truck. Hiring is probably cheaper tho!

    But back to your machine, should be very versatile with the backhoe; I have a friend who's done a ton of work with his 450 with hoe. (Let's not talk about how often he's thrown a track tho...)
     
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