Monday, January 25, 2016

(Jan 24) Some Progress On Siding

Over the past week or so we've accomplished a few small project. They all add up, right?

First of all, we got the framing done around the air conditioner. More obvious difference now that winter has sort of arrived. (It's supposed to be in the 70s this next weekend!) Still, there were some pretty big gaps before that were letting in cold air and critters (scorpions and spiders namely). We'll get around to painting it soon. Nothing fancy until then. :) We just ripped down some of the leftover beetle-kill pine that we put on the north wall.

8,000 BTU AC window unit mounted over the fridge

We had our grandson with us and also had a visit on Saturday from our good friends Cory & Rob. They brought some great turkey burgers to grill. We spent some time assembling our new IKEA broom closet and then worked on a woodworking project for Cory. Great to have friends out and share our Tiny! :)

We put it in the corner of the living area kind of tucked behind our hanging drawers. I'm not thrilled with the walnut color of the cabinet itself so we'll be looking into painting it at some point to match the door more closely. It's 90" tall. We put in a divider shelf at 60" and will use the taller bottom partition to store the vacuum, broom, mop, etc. The upper section got a couple of shelves and will store some kitchen appliances and such. Had to make space for the blender! Wasn't about to leave it behind.

Storage Closet in living area

The next day, we set our efforts at using up some of the Hardi board we had laying around. The weather was perfect and it seemed like the time! :) We started by ripping down a piece of soffit to fit under the roof. Went up nicely. It took us a while to get all of the air gun equipment out and get the compressor outfitted with the high volume hose. Made all of the difference in the world when we were shooting the 2" pins through the concrete board into steel roof joists.

Undreside of soffit on South wall.

Like all of the other projects this week, we'll end up painting everything later. Especially the Hardi. We had originally painted it before we installed it. Too much trouble. Hang it. Paint it all at once. Done. :) We finished installing the planks on the South wall. Now it just needs battens and window trim.

Hardi board on South side. 

We came up just 3' shy of getting about 1/2 of the North side done. Some stains on it but that's the beauty of concrete board, it'll clean up and paint like new.

Hardi board on North side. 

Really glad to make some progress on the walls. We got wrapped up in working on the interior through the summer and just never got back to it. We'll take some more soffit out next week as well as some planks to finish the North wall. Then we can start on the window trim. Hope the weather holds. It was so nice working outside in the 60° temps.

Just a brief word on safety. I had left a hammer on top of the 8' ladder pictured above. After lunch, I forgot it was up there and went to move the ladder. Nearly got beaned by it. Not tall enough for a fatal blow but it could have been a nasty cut. Not the way you want to spend what's left of your weekend, sitting in an ER room leaking bodily fluids. Slow down and keep safety in mind, ALWAYS!

Have a great week! I look forward to your comments. :)

Monday, January 11, 2016

(Jan 10) Bathroom Window

It's been a long time coming. I finally got motivated and got the bathroom window framed in. We picked up some Cedar boards and it gave us a good excuse to use our new band saw.  :)  Happy to report it works like a champ. Gave me nice clean cuts at 90°. Much easier than trying to wield a reciprocal saw and much quicker than the jig saw we were using.

We'll stain it next week when we come back out. Hopefully right before we leave. Tung Oil finish puts off a lot of fumes while drying and I'd rather not be here. We're closing in on being finished with the bathroom completely. It will be so nice to check it off!

Bathroom window framed in

We also found evidence of wild pigs in the camp for the first time. We had seen signs of them on the other side of the creek but never right next to the house. Our wildlife camera caught 20+ last week feeding on the back part of the property. I'm assuming this is the same group as that was. Several options. 1) Put our head in the sand - stop feeding the deer and hope the pigs go away. Good luck with that! 2) Varmint control - Texas allows you to kill "wild animals" for protection of your property without any license or permit.  3) Breakfast - If you are going to take an animal in Texas to eat it, you need to purchase a state hunting license. There is no season and no bag limit, so you can take them throughout the year.  Many people swear that wild pig meat is excellent - much leaner than farm raised. 4) Christmas money - you can trap wild pigs and sell them to processing stations across the state. They don't pay lots per pig (about $10-$100, depending on the size) but if you trap enough of them, you could fund a small trip to a 3rd world country.

Here are links to a couple of videos from our wildlife camera last week.

Wild Pigs Video

Deer Video

If you are going to pen them for more than 7 days before transporting them to a processing station or hunting ranch, you'll need a permit. Luckily, there's a station less than 10 miles away. Not sure you'll be ahead on money after you've fed and watered them for a while but at least they won't be tearing up your land. 

We're looking into finding someone that is already in the business of trapping them who just needs a fresh place to catch them.  I would gladly forfeit any funds to not have to mess with them. In the mean time, we've stopped feeding the deer and we'll wait and see. I would have to have a really clean shot to take one with my .22 rifle. Might be an excuse to pick up that Ruger Mini 30 I've been dreaming about. :)

I'll brag again on Ruger Firearms. I have a Ruger target pistol that I've been shooting for nearly 30 years. It developed a problem in that it would on rare occasion fire with the bolt partially open. Scared the crap out of me 1st time it did it as it blew part of the brass casing out the side of the receiver. I got a service authorization and shipped it off to Ruger for diagnosis. About a week later, I get the pistol back with a note explaining that they replaced just about everything on the gun except the barrel and the trigger, apologizing that I had experienced the problem and that there was no charge for the service. Are you kidding! A 30 year old gun that I had worn out by shooting 1000s and 1000s of rounds through. That's customer service and a company committed to standing behind what they build. 

Ruger Mini 30 (7.62mm) - 20 round magazine, 18.5" stainless steel barrel

The cold weather (in the 20s several nights this week) has taken it's toll on our couple of 12v batteries that were running our sink and shower pumps. We'll likely deal with it for a bit longer until we can put in a pressure tank and a 110v pump. Again, a good excuse to build something. I think a cute little pump house (about 6'-8' square) would do the trick. Insulate the heck out of it and I wouldn't have to heat it except in the most extreme cases. We'll put it right next to the cistern at the back corner of the house. That'll let me bury the incoming lines to to the pump and keep them out of harm's way.

Thanks for reading! Comments are alway welcome! :) 

Monday, January 4, 2016

(Jan 3) Starting the New Year

Wow! Can't believe it's 2016! Another year has sped by. At least we've got something to show for it.

Going into January last year we had just started getting sheetrock on the walls, had no flooring down and nothing on the ceiling.

This year, we're starting off with electricity, a floor, furniture and and full kitchen. It's been very exciting. :)

I forget why I'm so tired until I look at the progress we've made in the past year. We've still got lots of work to get it finished, but it come a long way.

I got to spend the last 18 days of the year out at the Tiny House. Kim got a couple of days off for Christmas and New Years but worked the rest and stayed in Arlington. I tried to use the time to get a feel for truly living out here. We swoop in on the weekends, get some work done and hurry back to our other lives. Moments to slow down and enjoy a simpler life are typically measured in hours. This couple of weeks was eye opening. I have come to think of this new property as my home and the other house as just something I have to do for the time being.

If retirement is anything like what I just went through, I don't think I'm going to have any problem getting used to it. :) It's a good thing I don't require much sleep though since sleeping in late never really happens. One of the things we cherish about our little spot in the woods is the abundant wild life and let me tell you, their appetites kick in before the sun comes up every day. We can hear the birds and squirrels hitting the feeders by 5:30a - 6:00a every day and by sun up, there's usually a woodpecker pecking away on something. :)

Here's a little guy that flew into the house and couldn't find his way out this weekend.

Carolina Chickadee

The week before, there was a sparrow that hit a window and knocked himself silly. I couldn't bare to let him lay out there and risk the ants getting him. He took the better part of 20 minutes to regain his senses. Wouldn't fly even when I walked outside with him just standing on my open palm. LOL

White Throated Sparrow

We had a very peaceful Christmas. I can't wait until we get snow while we're out here on an extended stay. Speaking of weather, we're still having to park out at the street and walk in due to all of the rain from the last month. Not too bad except for the water jugs and the building materials. Hopefully, we'll have our cistern plumbed and running soon. That is our biggest daily challenge at this point (hauling and conserving water) now that we have electricity.

With the help of my son-in-law, David, we did some work on the shelves in the bathroom this weekend. We had hoped to replace our 2x6 shelves with some 1x Oak but it was going to cost way too much at this time. That will have to wait. I loved the brick paneling we put on the outside of the bathroom so decided to put it on the inside also. We also painted the shelves and frames. I really think it completes the effect.

Here was the before shot:

Here's the after:

We decided to take the backing off of the medicine cabinet and let the brick show through when you open the door. It didn't need the support anymore since it was sitting on a shelf. Anyway, I'm pretty pleased with it for now!

I hope everyone has a great week back from the holidays. Stay safe and warm!  :)