Category Archives: Pasture

Cats On The Move (12/10/2016)

Well, it was finally time!  Time to move the cats to the ranch.  Sheralee and I left early morning Saturday after swooping up some cats for our 3 hour journey.

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All in all, it was a good trip, and somehow they arrived alive…whew.  Being at the property is a first for all of them.

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They were a little anxious at first, and still run for cover under the container or shed, but for the most part one….Theo…is very adventurous and loves to just take off.  The other two, not so much.
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Theo on the prowl…and he does chase birds…very unsuccessfully, but we won’t tell him that.  Of course this much ‘outdoor’ activity leads to some serious down times.

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The days of Saturday and Sunday were spent charging batteries, which are in poor shape overall, and I am sure we have lost some longevity with them, but the charger is working and working hard.

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Right now I have two separate battery banks and two inverters.  I am not using the old battery bank right now, just trying to get them all maxed out, which is taking some serious charge/reconditioning time.  To Sheralee’s angst, I ran the generator pretty much all weekend.  Still more charging time ahead, but it is a good thing.

I also did some more work on the cat house, and am close to building the front door and finishing it off.  We are at a quandary with with windows right now as the ones I purchased aren’t even close to what we want…so looking at other options, which slows us down.

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I did get the cat door installed, as you can see in the two pictures above.  So funny, Theo was in and out of that thing, and actually snuck out of it before I realized what had happened.  Solved that for now.  Bad kitty!

I will try hard to finalize that thing this weekend, at least enough for the grand opening.  Once we have windows in there we think the cats will love to hang out in there and scope things out.  Well, we hope anyways.

Another thing I did on Monday was to take a couple more drone pictures.  This is helping us plan out our pasture area.  We also did a measurement of the outside fence and it is just under 1500 feet.  We believe we have the fencing planned out and are excited for that phase.

Here is the small drone picture, linked to the larger one.

I think that is it for now.  We have some crazy travel times to and from the ranch in the next few weeks, but then we are on to a new year and animals…of all kinds joining the ranch.  Very exciting things ahead.

Oh yeah, one other thing I almost forgot about.  So, some of you know we have two compost bins on site, and one we filled up early this year, and the other we have been using since then.  Well, both were full…and it was time to add another one, a project I wasn’t ready to proceed with yet.  So, my lovely wife had a great idea.  The one that has been sitting for almost a year, why not move the compost out and use that one, so she did.

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She moved the compost out, covered it with a tarp, and it will stay there until we have things to plan next spring.  Very exciting!  I know…kinda ‘crappy’ to some, but hey…we are excited!

 

Solar and Snow (11/25/2016)

Hey All.

We were traveling around quite a bit this past long weekend.  To the property, then to Phoenix for Thanksgiving, then LV to pick up a bed and stuff, then back to the property.  Saw a lot of the same…terrain…over and over. ha.  All worked out.  We had a lot of things going on this past weekend with being here and there, my working remotely now and then, and Sheralee’s daughter expecting…it was a busy one.

We were at the property again on Saturday, and the first thing I did was add 4 new batteries to our solar battery bank.
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Well, adding more batteries didn’t make live all that much better! ha.  Found that out over time.  Let’s just say…’when you think you have a grasp on solar technology…YOU know NOTHING Jon Snow’!  (sorry…Game of Thrones reference for those of you that actually don’t know..ha)

I have too much power in the batteries and right now my panels can’t charge them enough.  NEED MORE POWER!  So, we are working through that right now, trying to figure out the best approach.  More than likely we will remove some of the batteries in order to try and get them ‘close’ to full.  Lots to think about.  On top of that, we are dealing with ‘cold’ batteries.  Cold batteries don’t want to charge as quickly either..brrrrrr.  We are going to try keeping the batteries warm with a low draw electric blanket.  Might just work..we shall see this weekend.

We did have a good ‘brats’ dinner Saturday! ‘nom’, ‘nom’, ‘nom’!
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While dinner was one…we were treated to some great sunset views, once again.  Just so pretty up there when the sun sets.  For those of you in Oregon…the sun is that bright orange thing you see in the sky during July and August.
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Other than that, we didn’t do much.  We waiting for a snow event to come in over night Saturday, and it didn’t hit.  What did happen though is it started right after I dropped Sheralee off at work.  We got about two inches on the ranch that afternoon.

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Very cool to be inside and see that happen.  Although, we are still dealing with cold right now..but we just purchased this awesome ‘wood stove fan’ to try.

Nickel Ecofan AirMax 812 wood stove fan
Caframo Ecofan AirMax

This thing should move air nicely, and is powered by the heat radiating off the wood stove.  We shall see! ha.
PUPPIES are here!

If you didn’t know, Sheralee and I put deposits down on two Great Pyrenees dogs from a breeder in Texas.  We are getting one male and one female, and we have names picked out but not saying until we have them in the Jeep heading home.  Anyways, early morning on Monday…the expecting mother gave birth to 5 boys and 3 girls.

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They are just 4 days old in these pictures, but sooooo exciting!  We will be driving to Texas in January to pick them up.  Can’t wait!  Well, we can because we have kennels to construct prior to that! ha.

Anyways, this is a quick one for now.  More going on this weekend moving forward, but this was a transition week for Sherlaee and I…logistical kind of stuff, but so good and the progression is still towards our ranch future!

Take care all!

Frodo’s Return (11/18/2016)

Hello All!

Made it back up to the ranch Friday evening, it get’s dark so early now, nothing to do but enjoy my wife and a cold beer.  This past weekend, with winter coming on quickly, we wanted to get the wood stove installed and operational.  That was the big push, and even though I knew we would run into snags, I thought it would take about half the day on Saturday. ha.  I was way off, again! hahahaha

Started out good.  Sheralee had already made our new wood stove (Frodo) table, so we confirmed the height to see what adjustments needed to be made.  Turns out, we were about a half inch off I think…so not bad.  While she cut down the table legs, I worked on the ceiling hole.

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This was the table before I started cutting.  I took our chimney ceiling box, and made a center hole, and then marked out the radius of that whole on the roof.  It was 10″ across, so drilled some guide holes and got the grinder out.

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We actually ended up with the best circle hole to date, with a grinder.  Unfortunately, first snafu was here.  Somehow, our hole and inside ceiling box didn’t line up.  We really couldn’t figure that one out, but oh well.  We adjusted.  It was either cut the hold 2″ wider on one side, or cut down the ceiling box. We opted for the ceiling box.  Then we had to account for the concrete backer board we installed, so off we went.

This process took us just about all day, and were finally lighting a fire before sunset, working great. I sealed the hold around the external chimney with some LocTite Roofing sealant.  We lite a fire and ah man…so nice to have Frodo back up and working.

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This time we went with a single-wall interior stove pipe instead of the double-wall pipe we did last year.  What a difference it makes in internal heat.  We also opted to go from the back of the stove this time so we can use the top to heat up water and pans.  It really works well.

Sunday morning, first task was to seal up the roof opening and install this high temp silicon boot we got for metal roof flashing.  We purchased this boot from Amazon.


It is specifically designed for metal roofs so I thought it could work with ours, and sure enough…it did.  This thing is amazing!

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I used indoor/door silicon sealant underneath the border, which is made of the boot and aluminum to conform to your roof contours.  I then used self-trapping screws around the base and more sealant on top of that.  It is awesome…I can’t say that enough.  If you are ever going to install a chimney through any metal roofing, this is the way to go.

Sure enough, Sheralee had rain Sunday night and Monday, a good amount of rain, and no leaking!  That is another first for us! ha.  We are learning!

Sunday I had a list of things to accomplish, which I can’t quite recall what they were, but one of them was installing our new wall heater in the kitchen container.

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I got this thing off of Amazon as well, and was rated #1 small space heater in some website like ‘electric heater reviews .com’ or something like that.  I added a little Honeywell thermostat to go with it.  It will run off 120V and should heat our space nicely. This is really being added to the kitchen side as the cats will soon be living up there and thought they might need heat during the evening while Sheralee is at work.  Haven’t fired it up yet, as the new batteries will be installed this coming weekend.  I have to still terminate the circuit in the breaker box too.

That brings me to the other great stuff.  As you know we have been working on getting four acres cleared just south of our house.  Well, it is done.  The first batch of pictures was from last weekend when there were still some trees standing near us, but still it was such a shock when I saw it.

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Now, all of that is gone!

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WOW!!!  Huge difference.  So now, we have four acres cleared.  We will still have some more work done in the coming weeks.  Our man on the spot will bring his grader back up there and try and even things out and scrape off the remaining wood and rocks.  Very exciting.

So, along with that is I was able to borrow my bosses DJI Phantom 4 drone this past weekend.
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Let me just start with….this thing is AWESOME!  I was able to get it up and running Sunday, with a slight learning curve.  I will show a picture here, and then link that to the larger picture.  Also, I will post a movie that I made…quite on accident, but it turned out really really cool.

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Here is the link to the larger image…(click here)  You can actually see Sheralee and I under the tree to the right…trying to shade my phone so I could see where I was flying. ha.

Here is a movie (125MB), but soooo cool!  (click here)

We want to map out the acreage using the drone…give us a better overhead view of what we want to do.  So, here is what is on the horizon.  We are putting deposits down on two puppies, that we will get in January.  That is very exciting for us!!  I will officially be working from the property Monday’s and Friday’s, every other week, starting this coming Monday!  This is huge for us.  Oh…we just had HughesNet satellite internet installed this past weekend too.  Very cool!

We will be going here and there this holiday weekend…Ranch to Phoenix, Phoenix to Vegas, and Vegas to Ranch.  Good times!  Very exciting things happening!

If we don’t talk to you, everyone have a safe and thankful Thanksgiving.
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More Pasture Area (10/28/2016)

Back again.  Made it up Friday after work.  I love it when Sheralee comes down from the property to pick me up.  I am wearing shorts and flip-flops and she has the heat cranked in the jeep with a coat and pants on! hahahahaha  Awesome!

We didn’t do a whole lot this past weekend, just trying to work out some details in things to come…more on that in a bit.

Saturday I added some outlets for our headboard.  These were from the loft and I wanted to get them added so we could get rid of the dang extension cord on the floor.  These beauties are hard to install, but so worth it.  They have normal 120V outlets and two USB outlets to charge our phones and tablets.  Very cool.

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Not much else done on Saturday.  Sunday morning we got up and hiked up the hill behind us to get a better view of the pasture area.  It is really taking shape.  Here are some pictures of what we can see….you get an idea of the rectangle area, about 4 acres.

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Below you can see the remaining area that will be cleared.

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You can see our driveway on the left hand side, which is the East side.  East is left in the pictures and you are facing South.

I also wanted to add a couple pictures of our bathroom, as the layout has changed again, but oh for the better.

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Yes, that is the temp shower that Sheralee is using…a tarp to cover the walls! ha.  Straight-up hill-billyish!

So, the new ‘news’ is that starting next month, yours truly is going to start living at the ranch, and working remotely on Monday and Friday’s. I will stay in LV two nights a week.  Very exciting!  We have some projects to work on to make things ready for winter and for the cats, but overall…better than ‘The Jeffersons’.

Pasture Area & Headboard (10/21/2016)

Hello All!  Another update from this past weekend.  Since Sheralee was in the ‘big city’ last weekend, this was my first trip up to our property.  This past week we started having some acreage cleared for our future farm animals.  It is very very exciting to see the transformation.

Let me post a couple pictures, and describe what has happened so far.
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The above picture is looking just SW and West.  You can see our little shed and then follow our driveway road to the West and then heading South.  Where the curve in the road is, just last week that was full of trees.  Amazing.

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Our Saturday morning walk of the new pasture.  At this point we were two days in of ‘dozer’ work.  As I write this, day three is in process, and probably about 2+ full acres to go.  Just a note…looking at 4 acres cleared, is pretty daunting and a lot larger than I imagined. Ha.

Our other projects for the weekend were stabilizing and fortifying one of our compost bins.  You can see in the below pictures, the bin was starting to slide to one side, mainly due to no support on the two front posts.
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I have a long term idea on that, but for the interim, I added some stability on the inside, and also braced against the other bin there.
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This will definitely work for a while, but I am thinking some metal fence posts pounded into the ground at each front post, tying the posts to that metal post.  That should do it.

After this was done, Sheralee and I turned to building our new headboard.  We are using 2×6’s left over from the left.  It will be boarded on the side towards the bed, but open on the other side for shelving into the closet/office area.
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* not sure why the blurry pictures….but you get itl  We had to lay out the design first to get our bearings on how the install would go.

Once we had it figured out, we started with the side that would be mounted to the wall studs.
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There is a gap in the shelving, so we can look North from our bed through the window that will be there.

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So far, it is turning out great.  We now have to add the base cover on the back side, and create the rest of the shelves.  Currently, our stock of 2×6’s are all slight warped, which makes for a lousy ‘flat’ shelf. ha.  We also have to run some 120V and 12V for two outlets and some cool ambient led lighting in the headboard/shelving.

Doing that, I also had to finish some electrical panel additions, and wiring one side of the bedroom container.

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Electrical is truly fun, as I told Sheralee.  It is fun, until you get shocked, which (knocking on wood) hasn’t happened yet.  For the bedroom I still have to wire in the headboard outlets, 12V led lighting, and two ceiling lights.  Gonna be great.

I think that is it for this entry.  We will have more acreage pictures soon. Very exciting times!