Category Archives: Property / Land

Ranch Re-Visited (finally) 6/17/2017)

Hello all.

Well, six months has passed since we departed Rebel Ranch, on not such good terms! ha.  It has been a while for a reason, besides life changes, we left the ranch with a sour taste in out mouth and were not too anxious about returning.  With some subtle inspiration from my lovely wife, we said we should take the time and make a quick run to see what we find.  We were prepared to stay the night, or just come back home if things were terrible up there.

We set out early Saturday morning and pretty much drove straight there, no dragging our feet.  The ranch roads were in pretty good shape, but what was amazing was the road into our place was pretty much grown over and you could tell not a lot of traffic had been through there.  It was pretty surreal heading up past our pasture area and getting our eyes on Rebel Ranch in six months.

We were absolutely blessed.  I mean, the only things that happened were the wind took it’s toll by tearing up our roof protection and strewing paper all over the place, but other than that, pretty fair shape.

 

We have this plastic storage shed that was outside, and apparently the wind had it’s way, throwing all of our stored burnable paper everywhere.  Also, pretty much everything that was under our outside kitchen got tossed around.

You can also see what the wind did to the tarps we had on the roof.  Thankfully, one of the tarps was ripped off, twisted up, and dangled off one corner.  This really saved that one and I got to re-use in on the roof.

The interior was pretty much just as we had left it, although a lot of mouse ‘gifts’ about…but thanks to having power the vacuum kicked right in to help with the cleanup.

We spent Saturday cleaning up the odd debris and then getting some shade time with Ruby.

The sun was a bit much for Ruby and it is fly season for sure up there.  Our dog cannot stand bugs landing on her! ha.

We also took in a quick outdoor shower, although the ‘garden sprayer’ we were using as a shower head didn’t make it through the winter.  The plastic piece that keeps it attached to the metal wand cracked from the cold.

Oh well, it was still a great shower, since temps over the weekend were at 100 or above.

Ruby got to check out some cows too…didn’t really get any pictures of her trying to talk to the bigger ‘dogs’ with horns.

All in all, a good time.  We got some more cleanup/repairs done Sunday morning and feel pretty good with the way things are now.  PLUS…our 1500 gallon water tank is full to the rim, that is the first time we had seen that.  Not too bad.

Not sure when we will be up again, but that feeling is there…at least as an escape from the city.

Getting Caught Up (1/19/2017)

First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It has been a crazy end to 2016 and start of 2017.  Going back to December, the last two weeks of the year, and let me start there.  I worked remotely the last two weeks and spent that time on the property with Sheralee.  The first weekend was wonderful, got to work on the cat house some more, making it really ‘usable’.

It turned out pretty good, but still some more ‘sealing’ to do to protect it from the weather elements, and siding on the two walls.  It has some visitors early on.

All in all it started out well.  Then the rain came…

Now, rain in Northern Arizona is not like Oregon rain.  Of course it is wet, but the ground is completely different in N. AZ. It is just pure clay.  When clay gets wet, look out.  It rained for about three days, then we caught some sun breaks…and then it rained more, before snowing.  We tried to get Sheralee out Christmas eve, with an epic fail.  The Jeep had mud/snow chains on the back and still failed.  We just made it back to our house and shut it down.

That night it snowed..

We got about 6″ of snow, which definitely made it easier to get out the next morning, except when we packed up to leave, Christmas morning, the mud was frozen around my wheels and the Jeep wouldn’t move.  We had to chip away at frozen mud/clay until we were freed up enough to leave.  We did finally make it out that morning and back to Henderson for a nice dinner and that was it.  I drove back the next morning…and it was beautiful.

It was gorgeous…frozen and super sunny.  So nice.  Sheralee then joined me the following morning, before it got above freezing, so getting in and out of the property was easy.

Then that all melted over the next week before New Years.  More on that in a second.

One other thing I got done was added a solar combiner box.  I will have two parallel strings, which go over the amperage allowed for my 10 gauge wire, so I added a combiner box and put each run on a 30A breaker.  Then they go off to the solar charge controller.  I only have strong on right now, but it worked out great.  Coming out of the breaker box is 6 gauge wire I think, which is rated up to something like 55 Amps.  Solar future looks good.

One thing we realized, not enough panels!!  We needed more power Scotty.  So, we ended up purchasing another 400 watts of panes, basically 2 190W panels, but have yet to mount them.  This will be the second string.

So, back to the story.  That lovely 6 inches of snow melted, with some rain helping it.  Yup, it started raining again for about 3 days.  Absolutely so frustrating, but overall we learned if you have to get off the property, then this rain is NOT good.

We decided at this time to try and get out and get back to LV to settle in again.  Re-think our approach to everything.  The dream lives, but we have a lot of thinking and planning to do.  We packed up the cats and what we could in the Jeep and barely got out on January 2nd, and I mean barely.  The Jeep is  BEAST…best vehicle we could own.  Still not sure how we got out of there.  We only brought what the Jeep could hold, which wasn’t a whole lot! hahaha  We figured we could get back up there and get what we needed.

Well, yesterday we had an awesome weather window to get up there and get out.


You can see how sunny it was…and not much wet mud.  Well, that changed today…

Yup, snowed up there last night and supposed to get up to 8″ through Saturday morning.  We had a great window provided to us, and we took it.


This is our bed, wrapped up for protection.  We got all of the goods/clothes we wanted and made it back to Henderson.  We actually slept on our other queen bed that was up there.  ohhhhhh so nice.  No more air mattress! haha

In these two weeks, which seem like an eternity, we settled back in Henderson, in a house, and are learning that all over again.

No, the dream is not dead at all…but being up there yesterday all of that seemed like another life.  We have some good planning to do for the future, and  A LOT of mulching to do…and I mean A LOT! ha.  Thankfully we have downed trees all over the place.

Until later this year…

 

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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Inside Work (11/4/2016)

So, I had a list of thing to get done this past weekend, which included some ceiling framing with the remaining 2×3’s we had on site.  Some more electrical work in the kitchen container to accomodate a soon to be installed wall heater, some more outlet wiring, and then wiring in our 12 volt fan above where the stove will be.  Also we wanted to continue with the head board shelving.

When I got there Friday, Sheralee had installed some headboard plywood right below the start of the bed.  I thought it looked pretty amazing, but in doing so we decided our outlets would be better facing away from the bed.  So, Saturday morning I removed the plywood and worked on the outlets.  I switched out our combo 120 volt/USB outlets with normal two plug 120 volt outlets.  They are easier to work with.

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While doing the outlets, Sheralee thought of an even better headboard item.  She stained some 1×6 boards we had and added those, with some great spacing.  I think it turned out awesome!
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This is the final look…well not really.  We are adding shelves still, but right now it is awesome and such a solid structure.

Saturday I finished out the framing in the kitchen container, 2×4’s, and added the remaining 2×3 ceiling studs in the bedroom.

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We need a little bit more 2×3’s and then a big time insulation push!

Below you can see some wiring being done in the kitchen container.

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I need to add a couple boxes, but most of the runs are done.  We will have three ceiling lights in this container, above the entry, above the table, and above the sink.  Then we are having open shelving on one side, with this great reclaimed alligator juniper wood planks, and running 12 volt multi-color LED lighting under the shelves. It is going to look great!  The electrical runs are almost done, probably two or three more runs, but then that is it!  So I say now. ha.

This coming weekend we are all about insulation.  Making a materials run into Prescott Valley to get 2×4’s, 2×3’s, and rolls of insulation.  Getting closer and closer to winterizing.  The cats only have a few weeks left in Sin City…then off to the farm with them.  Although, when I was younger a trip for the family pet to the ‘farm’ meant something completely different….right mom?

The pasture area clearing continues as I write today…very exciting.  Until next time!

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!

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.
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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:
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I took this one Saturday, driving back from dinner:
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This one was taken Sunday evening as we were heading down the hill:
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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.
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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.

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

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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YIKES!

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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