Saturday, March 31, 2007

Really bad map

well, I tried to draw a simple map of the property, as folks have been giving me a hard time about how they never see 'the whole picture' on my blog.

I had to delete it as it was just horrible. I'll try and take a bunch of different 'long shot' photos over the next couple days.

you can see how it's hard to show what's where... here's a view (east) uphill towards the new house spot.

here's a picture from the 'driveway' looking sort of towards the yurt from the shed... you can't see the shed, or the yurt, but you can see Melissa and Scout halfway up the driveway hill...
Arugala Salad!

we had to thin out our arugala as it started to grow, and we decided we should eat the baby greens in a salad. Of course Melissa had to take a picture.

Garden work....

I took a bunch of photos of this stuff, but it all sort of looks the same, so here's one shot of the garden with some of the treliss work that we did this week. The redwood branches tied together will be the 'tomato cages' and bean treliss and cucumber treliss that one normally buys in the store. it's hard to get me to spend money on stuff that I figure I an build without too much effort with the stuf at hand. Of course, we'll see how they do.

My attempt at the artsy sunset yurt photo...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Bathroom is officially Done!

In addition to the other pictures you can find in the archives, we now can present the rest of the 'outhouse'. The first big deal is the butterfly mosaic inside the door:

and then there's now the composting-bucket-holding bench, with side slot for the sawdust bucket:

there's doors in front of both buckets, so they can be slid in and out when full or empty.
We got the big tractor here...

So, turns out another neighbor, Dominic, has a couple of big tractors, and actually has the time to come out and get some stuff done.

First, we had to move the big chunks of Madrone still laying around from my lumber work.

Then he had to build a new road so that he could get the bigger tractor in there (and eventually we'll want to get things like a cement truck and some gravel delivered to the house spot, so this wasn't a bad thing.

That backhoe scoop really works!

Dominic knows what he's doing!

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Weekend of Bobcat fun kicked off with Greg and Christine getting here on Friday night, and we grilled fresh trout, trying out my new grill basket thing. They looked so good, Greg wanted to be in the photo

Christine helped a bunch throughout the weekend; one way was that she replanted the wild Iris that were growing in the area we were digging up. This way, we kept the lovely little plants and helped our meadow look all that much better. One more small way we're hoping that we have a light footprint on the land.

So we rented a bobcat....

Tired of second-guessing the pros and wondering how hard this stuff could be, and wanting to get something done, I rented a 3ft bucket bobcat last weekend, and invited Surfer Mike and Inventor Greg up to help drive it around and play.

Of course the Dodge did a great job of pulling the trailer up the hill, and on Saturday morning, we got started.

Wasn't too hard to get the engine going, and get it off the trailer. We all took turns getting used to it up on the flat ground, then turned it over to Surfer Mike for the first real run down the hill and to the house spot.

Turns out all guys make that same face when driving big machinery around.

I think Mike liked it too.

Once we got down to the house site, it became apparent pretty quickly that this bobcat wasn't quite big enough for the task. Here's Mike trying to dig a little tree out of the way.

After a while, we managed to figure out how to get it to pick up some dirt, but it wasn't exactly a quick process.

Here's Mike, supervising... something...

And Melissa, doing more supervising... you can start to see we've accomplished a little bit.

Actually, we did end up using hand tools quite a bit as well. Seems like every time I try and use some new tool, spend the money, learn about using it, spend more money on the fuel or time on getting a part... I end up realizing that you could have done it by hand.

You can see we did actually manage to make a bit of a dent in the side of the hill, but it's only about an eighth of what I had imagined we could have gotten done. ah well. it's a learning experience. And we had fun.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Deer are encouraging the Freezer project....

Observant readers will remember that I battled goats to get an old propane fridge from an RV to make into a freezer at some point, so we'll have more food storage capabilities. It would seem that the deer are interested in getting me on this project.

Here's a beautiful loquat tree, given to us by Melissa's father, who grew it from a seed in his backyard. Loquats are a bit like apricots... it looked like this yesterday when we left to go to San Jose for the night.

Now it looks like this:

I now have more deer fencing, and tomorrow will be covering the last 3 trees that don't have it yet. Then, I think that freezer needs a looking at.
Moving Concrete....

As many of us hippy-new-age-scrounger-cheapo-environmentally-conscious builders know, a great way to get free 'rock' for foundations and help the environment by not overly supporting the concrete industry and keeping stuff out of landfills is: *urbanite*! aka, broken up concrete that folks are always trying to get rid of. I've been scrounging loads for a little while now, and have managed to figure out that this stuff is heavy. Here's me, running back and forth to unload a mere 1500 pounds of the stuff:

That pile above, and a close up below, show a total of 6 truck loads. doesn't look like much, huh? and, while my truck science isn't exact, I try and fully load it every time, which means each load is 3/4 tons, or 1500 pounds. Thus, that pile is 9000 pounds of heavy. Probably need twice more that before I'm ready to start.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Moving the generator...

it takes a while to move the generator around. In fact, it takes a day or two. Here's the last push (pull, really) where we used pallets, 2x12s and plywood, as well as block and tackle and a lot of rope.
Chipping chipping chipping...
here's a big pile of branches that needed chipping:

Here's the too small of a chipper, and that pile, done. took most of a day to do. I did 5 of those piles.

$1 tool rescue

Had a moment last week, so we strolled the flea market. A woman had a pile of rusty tools "anything $1!" and so I dug through it ...