Monthly Archives: August 2015

Loft Build Step 6 (8/28/15)

After a successful week with John and I doing most of the loft and roofing, Sheralee and I headed up with some projects to complete.  We wanted to finish the roof and loft sheathing, finish house wrap on the loft and roof, frame in the stair structure window and door wall, and sheath and wrap that.  No pun intended, but lofty goals.  I am pleased to report, all of those projects….COMPLETE!

We headed up Friday after work to find that the entire ranch had been recently drenched with rain.  The evidence was everywhere.  The ranch road had gotten worse, water collection areas everywhere, and the road to our property was a mess.  We were tooling along and got to one of the low spots that definitely looked muddy, but I continued on in 2WD.  Mistake.  We soon were spinning tires and sunk in the wet mud.  4WD we went to only be able to barely back out to drier road.  Whew…that could have gotten ugly.  Thankfully, there is a back way in our property which is pretty much on either uphill or downhill roads so no standing water.  We got there without further problems, just a muddy jeep, again! haha  Unfortunately, no pictures of that road, I was too busy trying to get us out of there.  We did go out that way yesterday, and the road was just a little soggy in that area, but no 4WD needed.

When we arrived,  you could tell the entire property had been under a deluge of rain, everywhere.  The most disappointing part was that our loft had water in it since there was a portion of the roof that wasn’t finished.  It did dry out just fine over the weekend though.  The better part of that rainfall, our tank is now about 900 gallons!  woohoo!  Wait until we start collecting from the roof.  We might need that second tank before the schedule of next year.

We started Saturday morning early, up with the sun.  After coffee, time to finish sheathing and wrapping the roof.

20150829_075230 (Medium) 20150829_075242 (Medium)

Again, I am lucky to have someone with me that does the height thing without blinking.  whew.  Saved again!  Sheralee was a rock star this weekend.  We were able to finish off the roof and just as soon as we were ready to house wrap the roof, of course a major thunderstorm started our way…nothing in rain, but the wind was horrible, which made that wrapping very very difficult.

Just a quick note on our new friends around the propery, the lovely praying mantis.  Sheralee really doesn’t like these guys, but I find them so fascinating.  Since we have hummingbird feeders, we now have these guys hanging out underneath them picking off the bumble bees as they come to try and get nectar.  I mean, these guys can really eat.  We saw some interesting things…first there was a brown colored one on one of our feeds.  Later found out that they adapt their color to match their environment.  I went back to look at him again, and guess what? A bigger green mantis was devouring the smaller brown guy.  So, he was gone.  Then another big green one was being devoured by an even bigger green one!  wowza.   These things will eat whatever they feel like.

20150829_173914 (Medium)
This is a picture of that green one eating the other green one.  It took him 2 days to eat the entire thing.  Insane!!

Ok, back to the days.  The first night we hung out in the yard taking in the sky and pending sunset.  When I turned around, we had a great moon just over the Eastern horizon.
20150829_191546 (Medium)
Of course pictures don’t do it justice.  You can see one of cows in the lower picture.  Oh this band of rebel bovine were crazy all night.  We had them eating right outside the window…munching, huffing and puffing.  They are insane.  Moo’ing all damn night and making noises.  I will have to double my trips to McDonald’s to help remedy this situation.

Sunday we wanted to finish sheathing and framing everything.

20150830_124221 (Medium) 20150830_124229 (Medium) 20150830_133430 (Medium) 20150830_152109 (Medium)

I was able to frame in the stair structure, both window wall and door wall.  Then sheathed it and wrapped it.  I had to have Sheralee help me wrap it as the wind was insane! hahaha.  Not easy with a big time wind.  While I was doing this, Sheralee was spray foaming and insulating the loft.  It really looks amazing to see the progress.

20150830_124250 (Medium) 20150830_124319 (Medium)

And check out the views…so incredible.  We truly have some wonderful views.
20150830_161606 (Medium)

This coming weekend, great 3 day weekend, we are installing 3 windows, a front door, and sliding patio door in the loft.  Wish us luck!  It is a first for us both!

Loft Build Step 5 (8/21/15)

Some very exciting news from the ranch this week.  I had my good friend John come down for a three day weekend of building, and we were able to accomplish so much.  Things that  we accomplished this past weekend I couldn’t have done alone in one weekend.  Unfortunately for John, his co-worker this weekend has Acrophobia, fear of heights…or lets call it was it is….wussy that starts to knock knees above four feet!   Whew…thankfully John was there to do the heavy (height) lifting this weekend.  Thank you John, couldn’t have done it without ya!

Now on to the progress.  John and I headed out late Thursday and got to the ranch around midnight.  On a normal day drive there isn’t a lot to see, imagine it at night…nada!  After a short night we were up bright and early busting out some framing.  The week before we installed the loft sub floor,, so this we had the floor ready to frame.  We started with the West wall that will not have a window or door.
20150821_091848 (Medium) 20150821_091855 (Medium)

It was just amazing to see the first wall up.  The view on the right, with me taking the picture is looking that wall to the floor where our stairs opening is.  Then we moved on to some walls with windows.  The North and East wall both have windows and after some measuring and framing for windows, they went up pretty quickly.
20150821_110822 (Medium) 20150821_111047 (Medium) 20150821_134756 (Medium) 20150821_135041 (Medium)

What we didn’t show was the South facing wall that will have a sliding patio door to our loft deck area.  Got that all framed in.   What I had thought would take us at least 2 days, we knocked out in the first day.  So, we needed to set a plan on what to do next and what materials we would need.  We opted to sheath the loft, house wrap, and add the roof joists.  We headed off to a Home Depot run in Prescott, AZ.

Once we arrived on the ranch, around 1pm, we set out to sheath the loft.  We worked until at least 8pm, and for those of you don’t know our sun sets much earlier like 7pm or so and that meant we finished in the dark.
20150822_143918 (Medium) 20150822_143938 (Medium) 20150822_175711 (Medium)

I got up early Sunday and took this picture….showing the South patio view and the little sheathing we had to finish off.
20150823_064504 (Medium)

Once we were up and running, we began our house wrap adventure.  With a 9 foot roll, both of us thought it would be a little bit tougher to manage, but once we got a rhythm, it went smooth, and we ended up with a white box loft.  So very cool to see!

20150823_091140 (Medium)

While I made breakfast, John finished off the patio door wall house wrap and we were set to start the loft rafters.  John and I were in sync and the task moved right along.  We used 2″x6″x12′ as the loft rafters.

The first picture you see is my original Sketchup model in how I thought things would look, or what I wanted to see.  John and I had a great plan and the roof rafters went up.

First..Sketchup model:

Now, reality:
20150823_131626 (Medium)

It is absolutely AMAZING!  The loft looks great, and John was able to sheath three sheets, so that will need to be finished, but almost there.  We will be collecting water off of this roof as well and have it drain to our main tanks.  How very cool.

Again, i want to thank John for coming down and helping me.  We accomplished in one weekend what might have taken Sheralee and I about four weekends!!!!  Thank you!!!!

Loft Build Step 4 (8/14/15)

Monday after a successful weekend on the ranch.  What a warm and physical weekend.  whew.  We made some significant progress this weekend in moving towards a finished loft area that will be our bedroom, tv room, and second floor deck.

Before I move into our progress for the weekend, something has to be said about the wild life, specifically the hummingbird population at Rebel Ranch.  These guys are too much, and we could spend hours watching them. This is how it worked out.  Earlier this year we purchased a single hummingbird feeder for the ranch to see if there were any hummingbirds at all.  Nada, nothing, zip.  So, we took the feeder back home to Henderson, maybe we could attract one there.  Then, the next week…boom!  Hummingbirds looking.  Since that time we are up to six feeders, and have created a hummingbird gang land. ha.  If you don’t know, hummingbirds are very territorial by nature.  Two weeks ago we thought the humming bird season was coming to a close, but how wrong we were.  As soon as we arrived, and Sheralee filled the feeders, we had mayhem on our site.  So fun to watch and at times there are 10-12 birds buzzing about.

20150815_183928 (Medium) 20150815_183926 (Medium)

You seen see a short hummingbird video here!

After the hummingbirds, yesterday morning we realized we had a couple visitors around the camp.

praying mantis (Medium)

These guys are just awesome, well that is my perception.  I love em.  Wade…..not so much! hahaha  First two of them hung out on our door, and then one left to hand underneath one of the feeders….because there are a lot of bees there trying to get nectar. Well, this guy just devours them, we watched that happen.  The Silent Assassin!!   Tool Cool!

The other cool thing we saw was a huge butterfly sit and feed off of the hummingbird feeder, not once but twice.  Great thing is that the butterfly is probably bigger than a hummingbird and they just let that thing feed.  For as aggressive as they are, they had no issue with the butterfly.
20150815_095147 (Medium)

Back to the build.  Saturday morning we started off with laying some laminate on the stair structure floor.  We had finished the subfloor last weekend and after some debating, we decided to lay down laminate before we installed the stairs.  This way we would have it there and not worry about the stairs laying on the floor.  So, down went some laminate and we covered it with house wrap and plastic for protection.
20150815_095257 (Medium) 20150815_114149 (Medium)

It turned out great!!!!  On to the stairs.  We are using 2×12 risers with metal stair cleats with unfinished stair treads.  The stairs are steep, but manageable so that we can have a 30″ door open inwards.  It all worked out great.
20150815_162716 (Medium) 20150815_143842 (Medium) 20150815_181253 (Medium) 20150815_181301 (Medium)

We used the stairs the rest of the weekend and it sure does make it easier to go up and down with material or tools.  Great job Wade!!!  Now you can really make out the area for storage and when you walk in and move around.

We also started the loft sub floor late Saturday and continued that work Sunday.  We added insulation between the joists and then 3/4″ T&G sub flooring plywood.  Heavy duty….with emphasis on the ‘heavy’.  whew.

20150815_164746 (Medium)

Once we got the second piece put on, we had to cut two holes in the container roof that will act as air ducts between the first floor and the loft.  It won’t be forced air, unless we had 12 volt fans to help the warm air rise, but it is just pass through to allow the warm wood stove air to rise into the loft.  This was fun, our first major grinding/cutting into the skin of our container.  We used our grinder and cut through the 1/8″ skin…a learning experience for us both.

20150816_121114 (Medium) 20150816_121118 (Medium)

We made two holes, one on each side.  Then we attached two 10×4″ floor registers, taped around and foam insulation.  Then laid the pink insulation on top and added the remaining sub floor.

20150816_172052 (Medium) 20150816_172055 (Medium)

Only one small piece and the floor will be finished.  This coming weekend my friend John is coming to help raise some walls, so very exciting.

Loft Build Step 3 (8/7/15)

We headed up to the property this weekend, with ‘lofty’ goals.  Yes, that is a pun, and definitely intended.  We made it out of town in a record time and the drive was pretty uneventful, until we got close to Seligman, AZ.  Massive thunderstorms overhead and a wall of water coming down from the sky…pretty cool to see, but maybe not to drive through.  No worries, made it ok.

As we drove into our property, we ran into a group of three Javelina, kinda like a small wild pig…but not quite.  Very interesting to see…we didn’t even know they were in Arizona, but apparently they are.

Since we loaded up the trailer with plywood subfloor, we had to run into town to fill up our 65 gallon water tank early Saturday morning.  Someone tried to wrangle in a horse on the way out of the ranch, but no success once again.  They really don’t want anything to do with us.
20150808_083737 (Medium)

After heading to the water station we realized we weren’t the only ones for an early morning fill.  We had to wait little bit for someone to finish filling what looked like a 1,000 gallon tank on the back of an old U-Haul pickup truck.  For us, it is an easy $.50, and we are off.

Heading back up to the property it was time to get started on a couple projects.  We wanted to insulate the stair structure flooring, so we used 3/4″ foam board and then spray foamed the cracked and any remaining areas.
20150808_162803 (Medium)

That was just about it for Saturday.  We also purchased a nice sun shade umbrella, which Sheralee got setup for us, and I did some wood cutting with my new chainsaw blade…oh what a difference.

Sunday morning we hit it hard early finishing the sub floor of the stair structure.
20150809_084750 (Medium)

We set up our riser boards (2×12’s) to see what our new stairs would look like…and to get a feel of the area in the entry.  All seems to be going according to plan.
20150809_133805 (Medium) 20150809_133815 (Medium)

We added some house wrap on the subfloor as we don’t really know when we will add the outside walls of the structure.  The other project we did was made a temporary tent foundation, which I don’t have pictures of, but I am sure it looks great.  This way whomever sleeps in our tent will be up off the ground and the tent won’t be subjected to any water…which there seems to be a lot of this year!

I started some wall framing, did the easiest one first of course.  The front will have a 30″ door, and security door, and the back will have a 36″x12″ sliding window.  That framing is coming.  This picture really gives you and idea of how the space will work for us.

20150809_162156 (Medium)

Speaking of rain, yes those are dark clouds coming, and yes right after this we got some major rain that came through.  We think it was remnants from a big time thunder cell that went through Chino Valley a little earlier.  We quickly packed up and headed to the water shed, which is a great rain cover.  Sat in there for some adult beverages with chips and salsa….what a way to watch a nice thunderstorm roll through.  A benefit of the storm though, we had some nice rain captured in our tank…and man that rain water coming in is cold!!!!  So very cool to see.

That is it for this week.  We are up again on Friday for some more project stuff.  Hopefully loft sub floor and stair risers!  Until next time!

Loft Build Step 2 (7/24/15)

Wow, I just realized my last weekend blog update was July 2nd.  Since then I took a trip to the Philippines, and weekends just haven’t worked out, but alas we made it back to our beloved place on Earth.

We headed up for our second week long vacation on the ranch.  Headed up after work on Friday and back to LV on Saturday.  Got a lot done, in waves, and really took advantage of the week to plan the future home and property layout.  So exciting for us!

First things, how the ranch fared after the past two weeks of major rain in N. Arizona.  The drive up to our property, on the larger ranch roads were sketchy.  I mean the road was really wiped out after heavy rains.  In some parts traveling was very slow with a trailer of material, as the top level of smooth gravel and dirt was gone and nothing but rocks remained.  Some parts were down to a one vehicle width and river washes down each side.  Incredible!

The second part of that great rainy weather is that once we reached the property, we discovered our rainwater tank is now just about 600 gallons full.  I love it!  So cool to see.  The other part is that after a very sunny four days up there, we started to get some weather, and afternoon thunderstorms.  The first rainy day gave us more water in the tank for sure.  We both just listened and felt the water pouring into the tank.  So cool!  Love collecting rainwater!  We arrived to a green field and greenery around everywhere.
20150724_192313 (Medium)

On to the project stuff.  I wanted to finish off some of the loft floor framing and work on the stair structure that we will have on the outside of Rusty.  I started with doing floor joists work on the new stair structure.
20150725_104433 (Medium)

I found that the bottom of the container, the skid part, was a perfect match for a 2×6.  I attached those with 3/8″ self tapping bolts.  Worked great!

I also finished the top side header joist, which I used some left over 2×10’s to overlap the existing railing and tie into the 2×8’s I used as my floor joists.
20150726_155525 (Medium)  20150726_155536 (Medium)
I think it will work great, and I know it worked great.

Oh…if you haven’t noticed yet, Rusty got a paint job.  We wanted to stop the rust affect of ‘Rusty’, so we invested in some oil based metal primer to stop rust.  He is now a true ‘rust’ color….for now.
20150704_125907 20150725_170633 (Medium)

Also, in the right hand photo you can see a massive shade tarp Sheralee worked out.  Very cool.  It had four 10′ poles in concrete and then buried in the ground for stability.  Well, it worked well for us the first 2 days…until we got 30 mph wind gusts! hahahahaha.  That was enough of that….it just couldn’t survive no matter how we tied it down to tries and staked it to the ground.  So, down it came.  boooooooo

Just threw this in there, we had some incredible meals this past week.  I mean incredible….fried chicken, burgers and homemade fries, mahi mahi, ribeye steaks, sausage and peppers.  So good.  We joke that we eat better there than here.  Probably true.
20150726_192531 (Medium)

We also did some work from up there….this is our onsite office setup:
20150727_100445 (Medium)

Oh…and we setup our badminton/volleyball net….and did some of that to try it out….
20150729_135613 (Medium)

Then laundry day came, and it became something else…
20150729_151703 (Medium)

So, back to the loft / stair structure build.  I wanted to finish off the floor framing and then continue down to the ground in preparation for the stair structure framing this weekend.  I added some extra support.  Sheralee poured some great concrete foundations that we set concrete blocks on.  Worked great.
20150729_165519 (Medium)  20150726_155546 (Medium)

20150729_124914 (Medium) 20150801_082538 (Medium)

Now we are ready to do some actual wall, window, and door framing this week.  Also, laying the sub floor on the stair structure with insulation foam board underneath.  Can’t wait.

Also, finally got to use my 30w solar panel to charge our two pump batteries there this past week.  Worked great, even during the cloudy days.
20150729_135508 (Medium)

We also decided that once we are onsite, in the future, we are definitely installing a wind turbine, 12v Wind Turbine to supplement our 12 volt solar system. There is certainly enough wind speed there to generate up to 400 watts.

I think that is it for now…more coming after this weekend!!!