Monday, April 27, 2015

(Apr 27) Really Productive Saturday. :) Sunday, not so much. :(

Saturday was a really good day. Lots of progress.

We finally picked up some more T&G so we could finish installing the ceiling. I'm really happy with how it looks. Now we've got to decide whether to finish it or leave it natural. If we decide to do anything to it, we're leaning towards just a light coat of polyurethane. I really want to keep that light honey color.

We'll also need to come to a decision on how to transition from ceiling to wall. Most likely will be some type of crown molding. We don't want it too large or ornate though. We've still got lots of work on the walls to get done before we get to that though. We did some work on the East wall Saturday and nearly have it ready to paint. I'm not going to punish myself trying to get it all perfect behind appliances and cabinets. No place to rearrange them to anyway. :)

Next, we turned attention to the kitchen counters. We were not happy with the "adjustable" feet that came with our IKEA corner cabinet so we cut some 2x4s and made bases for it to set on. Feels very stable now and level to boot. What a concept. We love the room the corner cabinet's going to provide but save your $12 on the feet and build your own.

We measured outward from the edge of the cabinet (in place in the corner of the kitchen) and started subtracting the appliances and gaps they would need. This left us with our workable countertop lengths. We confirmed that our Elfa drawers would fit and cut the countertops on the table saw. Since the blade would not raise high enough to cut through the backsplash we had to get a little creative. We made a practice cut with our metal chop-saw. It was OK but it was difficult to get it line up perfectly with the cut that would be on the bottom with the table saw. I filed the two edges smooth but still wasn't happy. We eventually stood the countertop up on it's back edge so that the backsplash was laying flat on the table saw. We cut through about an inch and a half and then laid the countertop down and lined up the blade in the slot left from the 1st cut. Since they were both flush against the rip fence, the cuts lined up perfectly. To help it glide smoothly, we put a 2x4 on 2 roller guides to rest the far end of the countertop on. As I pushed the top through the saw, the long end rolled smoothly out past the edge of the table.

I must say it was harder to get the countertops glued together smoothly than it was to cut them. The mitre cuts from the manufacturer were not perfect and they ended up off just a bit at the backsplash. Not so much that we couldn't live with it and definitely not worth taking them back and starting over. We slathered both edges with the strongest wood glue we could find and used mitre bolts to secure the seam. Considering we'll cut most of it out for the corner sink, it came out pretty smooth. We'll brace it up next week after it's had a chance to cure.

Next, we cut the final Elfa drawer set down to the proper height and attached the casters so that it can roll out from under the countertop. Best of both worlds. We get drawers for kitchen ware and appliances AND we get a butcher top that doubles as extra counter work space.

Elfa drawers on casters with butcher top under the counter. 

Elfa drawers pulled out to use butcher top cutting board. This extra island of countertop space will be very useful! Elfa drawers on the East side secured in place. 

Sunday was quite the bust. We decided to go into town and get some lunch. We had left the truck at the front of the property for fear of getting it stuck in the driveway. We had forgotten the come-along winch so we were trying to be cautious. Destiny was not to be denied. In turning the truck around, we (I) got it stuck anyway. We worked for the next 7 hours trying to free it, even going as far as hooking up the go-kart, hoping the extra 7 horse power would help a bit. Sadly, it did not. We even engaged the neighbor who came over and promptly got his 4x4 stuck before he even made it to my truck. After freeing his truck with a 3rd, he made another run at getting to mine. This time successfully. But, alas, it wasn't to be. He tried pulling it forward. Nope. Went back to the blacktop and tried pulling it from there. It only got worse and my truck slipped into a little swampy area.

I finally admitted defeat and called a wrecker. He showed up at 10pm and promptly got stuck. Now it's getting a bit humorous. After freeing it 30 minutes later, he unloaded the monster 4x4 truck that he had brought with him. I must say, once he got it into place and hooked up his winch, it dragged my Dodge 1500 crew cab out of there like it was a toy. I have 18" deep ruts 100' from where we were stuck to the blacktop but I was free at last. Now we had to trek back and forth to the cabin 600' away to pack up and get back to Arlington. We left for Arlington at about 11pm, exhausted, filthy and smelling quite rank. I told Kim not to worry, that I smelled bad enough I couldn't possibly smell her. :) Our only consolation was that we slept in for an extra 30 minutes this morning before coming to work. I'm shopping for an electric winch before we return! We're also considering canceling our trip to Colorado this summer in favor of 100 cubic yards of road base in order to lay a driveway. What the heck, maybe the Tiny House Jamboree will be in Texas next year!

Just a wildlife note, we were excited to see the hummingbirds show up this week and they were happy to see us! :) They're a delight through the fall.

We also talked to the Appraisal District here for Rains county. They are now participating in a "Wildlife Conservation" classification of tax exemption. The problem is that you have to be classified as exempt for agriculture (crops or life stock) first and then you can switch to Wildlife. :( Not sure we could ever swing getting Ag exempt. No open land for planting crops. Fencing would be incredibly expensive to take in the whole 12 acres. We'll keep working on it as it would drop our current taxes from $850/yr to about $40. That would go a long way to helping us get to the financial situation that we've been striving for. Still, even if we don't ever get exemption status, less than $1K for land and building is not bad. How exciting would it be though to be able to say that our total monthly housing cost (mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities) was just over $30! Most of that would be propane once we got the solar panels installed.

With all of the rain this spring, we've seen quite a crop of fungus across the property. Here were a couple that popped up on the deer trail. I didn't have my ladder or I'd have crawled up to pose with them. :)


  1. Pretty sure TX classes bees as livestock, if you have five or more hives. might be worth looking into..

    1. You were correct, Bea! This is awesome! Certification is accepted/defined by each county. Rains county does recognize Bee Keeping as a tax exemption classification, 5 ac min, 20 ac max. Same 5 year certification process as cattle or crops. We could buy and raise ourselves or we could lease out to someone else. No fences like cattle or goats. No hay to buy and haul. After establishing exemption for Agriculture (Bees), we could then switch to Wildlife exemption. We're looking for info on bees immediately! We could lower our tax liability from $850/yr to $50/yr for our 12 acres when this goes through (in 2020). One more step to financial freedom. Of course, we'll spend more than that every year taking care of the wildlife. Heck, we do that now and wouldn't you rather do that than just give your money away in taxes!! :) Thanks, Bea! You get the 1st quart of honey, on the house!