Author Archives: timsim00

New Floors Part II (9/30/2016)

Hello All.

Not a lengthy blog post this week.  We did get some good stuff done, but yours truly wasn’t ‘johnny on the spot’ with the camera, so I will have to tell you about the happenings instead.

Made it up Friday after work, arriving just after sunset.  The stars were amazing, especially with a new moon on Friday.

Saturday, got the rest of the floor planks installed, and managed a stain coat before she had to leave for work.  Yup, Oktoberfest in full motion in town on Saturday.  After dropping her off I returned to do some framing around our connecting doorway, and added some insulation.  Not a whole lot done on my part, but it will help with the wind/cold…hopefully.  In the late afternoon, I ventured into town to enjoy a dinner with my favorite restaurant goer!  It was a good time, and GREAT service!

Saturday, Sheralee started on coats of polyurethane on the floor.

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It looks awesome after 3 coats as of Monday morning!  So close to moving our sleeping operation over there!  Can’t wait!

I started the shower pan/plumbing on Sunday as well.  Sheralee had drilled the whole for our shower pan, and I finished leveling it, securing it, and started the plumbing.

I added a 2″ drain pipe into a p-trap, which I don’t have pictures for. ha.  I will continue on…and eventually it will tie in the bathroom and kitchen sinks for our grey water reclamation.  That will be cool.

Solar Update:  Everything is working great still.  We are afraid to touch anything. ha!

Since there weren’t a lot of other ‘action’ photos, I wanted to add a couple really cool sunset pictures.

This one was taken Friday before I got there:

I took this one Saturday, driving back from dinner:

This one was taken Sunday evening as we were heading down the hill:

Until next weekend’s update!

Returned For Some Work, Finally! (9/23/2016)

After a few weeks from some serious work, we updated some things this past weekend.  It has been a while.  Sheralee came into LV for a weekend, and then we kinda took a weekend ‘off’, just doing some maintenance type things for the next weekend.  This weekend we had a chance to get back to working on some projects.

It was a rough week for Arizona weather, and transiting to and from was not easy.  We were first hit by hurricane Paine, out of the Pacific and off the coast of Mexico.

I had made it up the weekend of the 9th, but we just did some small things.  I took some good pictures Saturday night, as the sun was setting.
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Very pretty.  Then we got up and went for a hike up the hill behind us.
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You can see the ‘compound’ in each picture.  What a great ‘relaxing’ weekend.  Then Sheralee came to the ‘big city’ for a weekend, which was really nice for all of us.

This past weekend, after the rains, I made it up Friday after work.  We headed out early Saturday morning for a materials run into Prescott.

Some things I needed to work on was repairing a malfunctioning water pump and miss-behaving chainsaw.  First up, was the pump work on Saturday, once we got back.  I had purchased a new Shurflo 3 gpm pump.  I decided to go ahead and create water pump v4.0.


This time I decided to stay away from Pex, spigots, and anything else that was permanent.  I found some great plastic adapters that thread directly on a Shurflo pump (1/2″ M) and change to a 3/4″ garden hose thread.  Brilliant!  Why didn’t I think of this before? doh!

Works like a champ!  So now, I just added on some garden hose extenders and off we go.

* No, the lighter is not needed for the pump to work. ha.

The lighter was used for Sheralee’s new ‘instant shower’!  This thing is awesome!
Basically, you head up the water using a common camping propane cookstove, then pressurize the tank, and off you go.  So nice!  Thank you Mario and Ainslee!

The real projects started Saturday afternoon, and Sunday.  We purchase the materials to finish out the 2nd container framing and complete the new wood floors.


In the other container, we went with large plywood pieces, 1/2″ on top of 1/2″ foam insulation.

Wood Floors Part II (2/20/16)

This time we cut 6″ pieces and are using a different stain.  We cut all the pieces Saturday afternoon.  What a fun job with 2 people and a small table saw. ha!

Sunday, I finished out the framing so we could lay the new floor.
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While I was doing this, Sheralee was staining  the first batch of flooring.

After she put a coat of polyeurathane on, we installed the first section.
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I will say this, IT LOOKS AWESOME!!!!  We were so happy with the say it was turning out.  Great color, great width for the floor.  Just awesome.  We continued on with the next section.

This new container will be our bedroom, with the TV, wall shelving, wood fireplace, and a 53″ TV for football! ha.

We are slowly re-working the other container that will be our kitchen and eating area.

I think that is it for now.  Hope to have the floor done next weekend so we can finally move the bed over and get that container insulated and warm for winter!

Tool Shed Completed (9/3/2016)

Made it up to the property this past weekend for the long weekend.  Main goal, install another window and finish that dang shed.

Saturday I wanted to get the second bathroom window in so we could get out of that ‘cave’ look in there.  I had purchased another casement for the bathroom, but it was broke on arrival, so now I had it and it was time.  The window is a32″x16″, same as in the shed.  This allowed me to install it and finally finish the siding for that wall, although the final trim piece won’t be added until we can remove the water barrier on the roof.  All in good time.

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I think it turned out really well, very exciting for us both.  It is hard to see in the following picture, but it really makes the bathroom even better.

On Sunday, we started with the shed.  We had to finish the siding, then the flashing, and then finally the roofing.  Saturday was all about siding.
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This is pretty much as far as we got on Saturday.  You can see the sky, the weekend was beautiful.  Sunday I finished the roof flashing, roofing, and gutter.

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Yes, some of the trim is dirty, for now.  Eventually, it will be washed and painted the same color as our other structures, then it will look even better.  Some of those trim and siding pieces have been sitting under a tarp for over a year.  So nice to use them.  Still not sure about adding trim around the shed windows…kinda up in the air.

What finishing the shed did for us was to allow us to clear out our second container.  It was sooooo needed.  Not only was it needed in order to progress forward, but man it really showed us how we collected all kinds of project leftover things.
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Sheralee did an awesome job organizing the new shed.  We do need to add a couple more shelves, but so far so good.  It is definitely doing what we wanted.

While I was on the roof of the shed, I took this panorama shot…not sure how it will turn out.
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Tool Shed III (8/25/2016)

Another weekend at the ranch, but unfortunately, we had some weather events that hampered our progress on the new shed.

I went up early Friday morning, taking a long weekend due to Sheralee having Friday and Saturday off.  I arrived with the intention of installing the two windows and house wrapping the shed.  I got all I wanted done on Friday.

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All went well Friday.  Then Friday night, the rains came, and they came, and they came.  I should have added pontoons to the new shed, just in case.

Our plan was to head to Prescott Valley early Saturday morning for a shed material run.  That plan was quickly put on hold with the soggy ground.  Saturday day ended up a little warmer and eventually some sun broke through, which was good!

We tested out our new mud/snow chains on the jeep.
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They actually worked really good.  Sheralee put them on herself, and then drove us around.  To the point she took them off again and drove us back in 4WD.  All went well with that test.  Felt good.  What didn’t feel good is the lack of work done on the shed. ha.  Saturday night it rained for about 15 mins….and then it stopped.  Woke up Sunday morning to a gorgeous blue sky.  So nice to see.  That is a great thing about where our property is.  It might rain hard, but more than likely the next day will be beautiful, or close to.

Sunday, we made it into Prescott Valley for some needed materials.  I got what I needed to finish the shed, but unfortunately, not enough time left in the day to get started.  So, this coming weekend I hope to wrap up that project.

Oh, another modification made my Sheralee when I was away, and man it looks great.
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Originally we saw an idea where someone used an old toilet tank to store their dry material.  Sheralee kinda went with that, but with her own design.  It is awesome.  We just need to get some walls in there and boom, that sucker will be great!

Tool Shed II (8/19/2016)

Another productive weekend at the ranch.  We had some more weekend guests, great to see such interesting in checking things out, checking out exactly what it is Sheralee and I do each weekend! ha.  Ainslee and her friend Mario joined us, as they were down from Portland for a long weekend.  It was great having them both.  Sheralee, Ainslee, and Mario headed out Friday early afternoon to the property, and I followed them later on.  Of course, being monsoon season, the weather was not the best Friday, but we all managed to arrive safely.

Saturday we started in on our projects, Sheralee rebuilding our outdoor cooking stove and myself continuing on the new tool shed.

Outdoor cooking stove.  It was time to put a rebuild into our stove.  Sheralee moved it a little bit and we added a base of gravel to help with the slow, but steady, movement of the cinder blocks.

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Now, I will say that I forgot to stop to take pictures of the final product, but we aren’t quite finished yet.  Sheralee is still modifying it and we should have something more ‘permanent’ this coming weekend.  I promise to take more pictures.

I started off working on the tool shed, finishing up some window framing.  On both sides, there will be a 36×16 casement window.  The are almost 6 feet off the shed floor.  Got those windows in this week, so that is a next week project.
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On Saturday I was able to finish the back wall sheathing before the rain came.
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You can see some of the blah clouds in the background.  That storm had quite some power, but thankfully it never made it directly over me.

Sunday, I got a lot of work done, completing all of the sheathing.
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I took some inside pictures for Sheralee, as they had left previously.
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This was just before I finished off the roof.  Then this one was taking from within our second container, facing South, just past the solar panels.
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That was about it for me.  I got out of there ahead of any rain and headed back to the city.  Can’t wait to get back up there and continue on…this weekend is windows, housewrap, siding, and polycarb roof panels!  Waterproofing time!



UPDATE:  The Outdoor wood stove

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Tool Shed Beginnings (8/12/2016)

Sheralee and I were at the property again this past week.  We were up the weekend of the 5th, but Sheralee met me there after detouring in Phoenix with Baylee.  Unfortunately, we had some water/leaking issues to deal with over that weekend.  When we removed the loft we basically removed our roof from the add-on bathroom.  We weren’t very smart about that, and it rained a couple inches of that week.  I arrived on Friday, after work, and mud-going the whole way up.  When I got there, we had water leaking in from between our joined containers and the bathroom had been soaked, from water running down the walls.  We spent that weekend draping thick plastic over the entire roof.  Soggy stuff man.

Anyways, on to this past weekend, the 12th, we arrived after sunset.  I had hoped to catch some of the Perseid meteor, but no luck.  I did see one shooting start just before we headed to bed.  That was it.

Saturday morning Sheralee and I started work on our new shed, which will store all of our tools/hardware…hence creating some space in our container to install our wood stove and rearrange our living quarters.

The shed base is going to be a platform we put together last year for people to sleep on with a tent.  It was never really used, so I thought why not put a shed on top of that.  We planned out the materials we would need to level out the shed base (platform).

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After some shifting of gravel and leveling we finally go it right where we wanted it.  It is nice and sturdy.  Then I started off on the rear wall.  All of the material was coming from the loft we removed in past weeks.

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Turns out I should have done the construction opposite, making the front wall taller…having the rain water run off the back, but what does it really matter? ha.  The tallest wall ended up being the back wall and the water will run off the front.
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Since we have a left over pre-hung door we decided to use that in our shed.
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That was it for Saturday.  We had some company arrive at the ranch Saturday, Sheralee’s father Jerry and Baylee came up from Phoenix to stay the night.

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Sunday I continued on with the shed, working on the two side walls, measuring out for the windows that will be installed.

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I installed a couple of the ceiling joists, with the material/joist hangers on hand.  I got a lot more done than I thought I would, which was nice.

Sheralee created some new bench seating around our firepit, which is awesome!  We plan on having some visitors soon, and this will help with that

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What a great concept and thought out.  I was most proud of the use of the materials we have on hand.

That was about it for this weekend.  There seems to be a lot in play right now with things….around our ranch, so we might have some news next week.  We shall see.  Love up there and can’t wait to get back.  Should get most/all of the sheathing up on the shed, and I know Sheralee will be happy about removing items from our containers, once and for all! ha.

Loft Be-Gone (7/29/2016)

We made it up again this past weekend after a two week ‘moving’ hiatus.  Whew, glad to be done moving and able to visit our ranch once again.  We arrived Friday evening, right after sunset.  Not much we can do in the dark but enjoy the peace and quiet our property brings.  The sky was a mix of clouds and stars, with more and more stars as the night moved on.  I thought it would be a peaceful night’s sleep, but a nice storm rolling through had something to say about that.  Not much in the way of rain, I think it just missed us, but more wind like a storm was coming.  And then it just stopped.

Saturday morning we woke up and after a peaceful cup of coffee,  we got started on bringing the loft skeleton down.
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Our idea was to fix two ropes to the West and North sides headers and corner posts.  Then, attach those to the back of the jeep, taking up the slack.  Then we removed all of the big screws attaching the footers to the loft floor.
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Then we slowly pulled away and with ease the loft skeleton came down.  Just like that.
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Next it was time to start claiming all of that lumber/materials.  We ended up with a lot material, enough to construct our new storage shed just South of the containers.  This will allow us to clear out all the tools/hardware we are storing in there and start the wood stove move process.  We are truly happy the loft is down.  Sorry John, but now we don’t stand out above the tree line and currently have material to move on to other ‘pre-winter’ projects.

While I was working on clearing out the lumber (screws and nails) Sheralee moved our kitchen items from our outside storage shed, which served is so well, to a rack inside the container.  This will keep our stuff clean and easier to access each day.  It is like another ‘baby step’ in this big process, but a nice one.
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For us, this is huge….just nice to have our stuff inside!  That was pretty much it for Saturday, although after we emptied that little plastic shed, I moved it over next to the container to hold our dry material for fire building.  In doing so, I uncovered this little guy.
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I have seen tarantulas in AZ before, and they were always bigger down near Yuma.  This guy wasn’t huge, but he had a sweet spot under that shed.  Well, it was eviction time and he had to move on.

One other thing happened on Saturday.  With tearing down the left, we seemed to have disturbed a bee’s next somewhere, possibly either in the space between our loft floor and the container, or under the container…not sure yet.  Anyways, at first it was a few here and there, and then more…and then more. hahahaha.   Soon enough, both of us got stung.  So, we laid a trap for some of them.  We put out a bull of sugar water, and then a 1gal jug with some of the stuff in the bottom.
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These pictures don’t do it justice. The bowl on the left was drained after about 20 minutes….and bees lined all sides.  Then they moved to the water jug.  We capped it and I believe we sacrificed close to 150 bees in there.  Done!  Yup, we disturbed them again Sunday morning, but something we found that ‘might’ work as a natural repellent, is mint.  Who knows, but it coincidentally worked on Saturday.

Sunday, we were awaken by a pack of coyote’s really close to us.  No, not moving illegals across the border, the four legged kind.  I was hoping they would cross right in front of our patio door, but no such luck.

I continued reclaiming material from the loft, and Sheralee worked on bringing down our old chimney support with a goal to remove our wood stove from inside.  She pulled the stove out and started the cleanup of it, which will lead to a new paint job.  Sheralee also added an RV type vent that we purchased a long time ago, giving us a vent (with a DC fan) right above where the fridge will sit.

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That will be where the fridge goes, as this will eventually be our kitchen.  The RV vent fits perfectly.  All we have to do is mount it with some self-tapping screws and then caulk the crap out of it. ha.

I also added a ‘temporary’ water catchment off of our material shed, so we catch some of the rain from this week.
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I am not completely happy with this, so I am going to re-do it with PVC pipe and drain directly into the white 35 gallon tank that is there.

All in all, another great weekend, and the weather was actually really nice!  The heavy rain was just settling in as we left.  On our drive into Seligman, there was a lightning strike right off the road to our left and then the thunder from that scared us both…it was insane!  There should be good rain up there this week, so we are excited to see what kind of water we have after this monsoon week.

De-Construction Continues (7/8/2016)

Sheralee and I made it to the property just after sunset this past Friday, really with one goal in mind…to remove the 48×36 window that remained in our left.  Turns out, we did a lot more than that and if it weren’t for the damn wind, we would have finished the job.

Saturday morning we got up and got started on removing the siding on the North face of the loft.  This side still had the 48×36 window we want to use in the container, so it needed to come out.

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Once we had the siding off, and that Tyvek house-wrap, we could get work on removing the window.
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Turns out we had used so much spray foam in the loft, this was no easy task, but we marched on.  Eventually the window was removed, safely, and since we had started the process…we moved on to other things.  Starting with the roof panels.
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After we got those removed, Sheralee went to work on all the high siding screws and I removing the lower ones.
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Turns out, that at some point, we created a nice haven to enjoy a cold one.
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Before proceeding on the roof sheathing, the wind had picked up quite a bit with some major gusts.  I had to call it, enough was enough for one day.  We hoped to get up on the roof the next morning before the wind started whipping again.

That night we had some great chicken sausages and corn on the cob…great dinner…and then a great sunset with spectacular stars.
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Sunday morning we woke up, after sleeping in our favorite bed, and wanted to get an early start.  Turns out we probably slept in a little later than normal.  Darn!

Sheralee had bought another hummingbird feeder to hand outside of our newly installed window.  It is perfect.  This sucker is 32oz of hummingbird heaven, and one little guy tried to defend it all day.  Here is landing on the makeshift branches we added.
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Before we got started on the roof sheathing, I had to make some immediate shoe repairs.  I should publish and entire story about how to use tape instead of replacing, hence my gloves
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from last week’s posting.   This time though it was the ‘crafty’ man’s idea on repairing shoes.
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HVAC tape cures all…trust me!  Only 100mph tape works better.  That is duct tape for you non-military people. ha.

It was time to get started.  We did the roof sheathing first, and then attacked our last siding wall.  I tell you what, when start removing the roof and wall sheathing, you start losing stability.  Yikes.  That left framing was swaying pretty good in the afternoon with 20mph winds, which gusts to 34mph.
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Funny story with this last picture.
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It was almost a year ago that my friend John and I spent a weekend at the property constructing this loft. (see here)  I laugh because as Sheralee and I sat in our chairs on a break, looking at this structure, I recalled how last year when it was at this stage of construction I had sent her a picture of this saying “Wow…very exciting”.  I shared this with John last night on the phone, now we are like “Wow…very exciting”, but for the opposite reason! ha.  What goes up, must come down…right?  Good thing is, we have great hopes for all of that material when we do get it down.

We won’t be back up to the property until the last weekend in July, as we are downsizing our living place (moving basically) and getting some daughters situated here and there.  So, until then…enjoy!

New and Rebuilt (7/1/2016)

Happy July!  It is here, whether you like it or not, and with July comes monsoon season in the Southwest.  As you will see later on…it did come down Saturday afternoon.

Glove retirement!  Yes, finally it was to put my faithful leather gloves to rest.  There is only so much duct tape can do.
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Water Pump Rebuild v3
So, we first started the long weekend by arriving early, and attempting more work on the water pump rebuild.  I realized that my previous week’s work, using all 1/2″ PEX wasn’t going to cut it.  Too many 90 degree elbows in the mix and just not enough volume.  I decided to go from the pump to the 3/4″ garden house, but found out that the 1/2″ adapters I bought to come out of the pump didn’t fit right, or thread right.  Luckily I had some spare 1/2″ threaded barbed connectors and could snuggly fit the PEX onto those. Turns out, that was a great idea, yes by Sheralee.  It was coming together, but darkness and the new threads slicing my hand determined it would be finished in the A.M..

Saturday morning when I got back to the pump, it seemed to all flow together.  We ended up with a different mounting, for the pump, and it works much better now.

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The pump idea works great….hopefully for quite a while.

Now came the start of our Saturday projects.  I would start removing siding and the 48″x24″ window, that would be used later in our container.   Sheralee started rebuilding our indoor Loo.

Loo rebuild
Sheralee determined there were a couple drawbacks to our indoor Loo build.  First is that it was large…roughly 44″ or so.  It also had a big material tub that without a lid let the moisture out and drying out the material.  So, she decided to make it smaller, taller, and our material will be stored next to it in a closed lid container.
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Unfortunately, I forgot to grab pictures of it finished…as it wasn’t finished until Sunday.

While  Sheralee worked on the Loo rebuild, I was tearing down some siding from the loft, and removing the 48″x24″ window.  The process went rather quickly, it helps having another container next to it to stand on. ha.

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Well, this was about as far as we got, because around 1:45p the rain came…and boy did it come.  We settled into the bedroom to watch it rain.  Here is a short video I took out of the patio door.

Then I took some follow up pictures.
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What a mess!  Good thing is though, we are very thankful for the rain…because it brings a tankful of water to use!  Love that part.  This pretty much took care of our Saturday.  The rain ended after a couple hours so we were able to get out and enjoy the evening, even with hot food and a good fire.

Sunday brought a sunny morning with some clouds in the afternoon…but no rain.  We clumped around taking care of our projects.  Sheralee wanted to rebuild the bed frame to make it thinner and put it on wheels, making it much easier to move around when making it and working around it.  I started removing the framing and insulation where I was going to cut the window opening.

Bed Rebuild
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What you see in the pictures above is the slimmer bed version, but we opted to go with a straight 2×4 connecting the bed posts, instead of the 4×4 blocks you see here.  The overall height of the bed increased, but man it is nice!

Next came the funnest thing, cutting holes in our container.
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Once the opening was cut out 50 5/8 x 26 5/8.  I framed the opening with 2×4 studs, and then framed the window opening with 2×8’s to account for the depth of the container.
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Then we finally mounted the window, caulked it, flashed it, and spray foamed from the inside.
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Overall, we are so so happy.  This will eventually be our kitchen window with a sink underneath.  We had to compromise on the height of the window and it turns out there are more short people in this world than big birds like me.  So, the window is at the top of my gaze, but I can deal with that.

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I promise to get pictures of the Loo rebuild for next week.

Sunday, we had some visitors around dinner time.  Obviously they were aware we were not having burgers.
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We finished our long weekend with some manual labor. We are going to try and divert water around some areas…well started with that.  Really a test to see what is possible.  By walking around in the rain Saturday, we determined the water will flow wherever we want it too.  What we really need is a back hoe, someday, but until then.  Testing is a must.

I think that is it for this time around.

Weekend of Doors (6/24/2016)

It was truly a weekend of doors.  Over the past weekend, we moved two doors, and completely re-did our bathroom ‘barn’ style door.  All three turned out better than we could have hoped.

Saturday morning we got up and got to work right away.  My job was to remove the front door we have been using and demo that framed in wall.  This was installed by the person we bought the container from originally, so he had put in a not-so-great 4×4 window, and a decent pre-hung door.  We wanted to install that pre-hung door in the entrance of our new container, facing South.  While I started the demo, Sheralee started reconstructing our bathroom ‘barn’ style door.   We had already installed a version, but after some thinking, Sheralee came up with a much better style door.

First though, our morning started watching this little guy try and eat a bigger moth that just couldn’t get off the ground.  Well, this little lizard was way over his head.  He tried several times to take this moth away, but no doing.  The moth was just out of his league.
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Not much we could do but watch.  Eventually the lizard moved on to other less daunting creatures, and I moved the moth to another location.  I am sure he ended up the breaks for another lizard in the end…because there was a larger one watching the whole scene playing out. ha.

First, the door removal and demolition.
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This was not the easiest demo, since there was a lot of wood glue and spray foam used, on top of a nail gun and screws. ha.  It took a while, but I finally got it all cleared out.  Next, we brought down the patio door that we had removed last weekend.  Just a note, patio doors are NOT light, even though they are just vinyl and glass.

I framed in the new patio door in a great way.  I used the two studs our guy had bolted to the container wall, and then since we were not centering the door, slid it over to one side and framed around it.  Perfect!

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That pretty much took up our Saturday.   A full day, but very very product.  Now we have a complete floor to ceiling view of the hill behind us.  It is awesome!

Sunday morning, we first attacked the barn door hanging.  Sheralee had completed the door on Saturday, so that was all ready to go.  I just had to remove the metal track, and rework some studs to accommodate where the track would reside.  It seemed to go really well.  We had to go with the bigger lag screws that came with our kit, but that just made it easier.  It is sturdy as can be, and looks AWESOME!
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Sheralee used the 1/4″ plywood we had originally used, but she added 1×8 common board around the inside of the door,  as a frame, and then stacked them on the outside of the door.  Just looks wonderful!  We are much happier with version 2 of the door.

While Sheralee finished up the door with trim along the sides, I got to installing the pre-hung door in the new container.  I had framed it out months ago, so that made it easier.  I just had to make two small adjustments, but overall the door just fit right in the space.  I mean, after a fiasco of a time with our original front door, this was a piece of cake.  Couldn’t have been happier.

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We ended up with a great door and finished it off with some sheathing.  Door wise, we are set.
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Next weekend is all about windows, or a window I should say!  Very exciting times.