Thursday, January 15, 2015

Imagine my surprise when I found that somehow Google had automatically magically created a panoramic shot of my dirt piles from 3 individual pictures I took!  Pretty cool...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Excavation done... well, done enough for now.

After 104 hours on the backhoe and about 3060 cubic yard of dirt moved, I now have a place to put the barn.  Still have to dig for the foundation after the engineer and I decide what I want.  I'll be seeing him tomorrow night.  Here's some pictures taken during the "dig-out"!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Getting real close!

Here is the latest clearing progress from last weekend.  I have a backhoe reserved for the day after Christmas to New Year's Eve to do the excavation.  Sure would be nice if my beast of a crawler/loader would stay running.  Renting the backhoe for a week will cost about $1200.  I've got my concrete contractor lined up, my steel Perka frames have been ordered and should arrive sometime in January.  I've planned on building a barn for years and it's about to become reality!  Thank you God, thank you Nia...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hmmm, First post since January.  I guess the old blog is being neglected.  Sorry about that y'all, life happens.  Here's the progress for my "real" barn.  Of course this is all subject to change as it appears that happens to all things that I come up with in my head before they materialize.  At the moment I'm looking at something like this...

I'm having a hard time finding a contractor to build the barn for a reasonable price.  I have been haggling with vendors since early summer and the last one I have been in contact with keeps promising a quote but we are now five weeks since first contact and no quote.  I have basically scratched them off the list and now I'm thinking about designing and building a pole barn myself.

Here's some pictures of the 134' x 100' patch above the runway that I am in the process of clearing. You can see the start of the runway near the house in one of the images.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Where Things Are Now

A little over a year ago I wrote about the start of my barn.  I have to admit that I got a bit discouraged when things didn't go as I planned or as quickly as I planned.  I decided that my ambitions were a bit lofty for the resources available at the time and scrapped the barn plans before I really got started.  In June of last year.  I chose to build a 12x12 lean-to shed instead of a 24x36 barn.  I also chose to build the shed at ground level instead of on a post foundation.  I'm sorry to say that the shed is not yet finished.  I still have to mill some 1-by lumber for the remainder of the siding and roof decking.  I've been clearing more of the area designated for my runway and the suitable trees for milling are now sitting by the mill.  I plan to cut them up in the near future and continue the construction.  Here are a couple of shots of the shed.  The post in the middle on the front is temporary until I get the corner braces installed.

I acquired a new piece of equipment last November.  It's a very tired, well used 1970 John Deere 350B crawler/loader with a backhoe attachment.  With it's help, progress on the runway clearing is progressing nicely.

Also in November I added a wood-burning outdoor forced-air furnace.  It still just sitting on the pad which I managed to pour between the rain showers during the week of Thanksgiving.

I have way too many irons in the fire and everything seems to be a priority.  I work when I have the time and there is never any shortage of things to work on.  Speaking of irons in the fire, I have plans to build a propane forge and eventually convert it to using wood gas.  Like I say, too many projects, too little time but at least there IS progress!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Frigid cold...

I know what cold is.  I lived in Michigan for the first 20 years of my life.  I remember wind chills in the -30s while waiting for the school bus on top of a hill with no wind breaks to be seen.  It's one of the reasons I ended up staying in the south after I left the army in 1986.

It is COLD here.  We have been caught up in what the media is calling a "Polar Vortex".  The thermometer on car instrument panel said 13 degrees and never wavered from that on the 50-mile drive to work.  Wind gusts were blowing the car all over the road.  I'm thankful we didn't have snow!  It's not supposed to be like this in Alabama!

I feel for the folk up north from Idaho to Maine.  It is outrageously cold there, -20s not mentioning the wind chill.  May God bless you all...

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Life changes...

Well, as you have all probably noticed, I haven't really been maintaining the blog as I once did.  Again, there have been some serious changes in my life.  Last year around Valentine's Day I met a wonderful woman whom I married on April 26th of this year!  I now have two new children, a warm-hearted 11 year-old boy and a beautiful 8 year-old blonde angel.  We don't live in the house highlighted in this blog, but work is still progressing.  I am at "the farm" daily, taking care of business and we all spend weekends there and take care of business together!

Missed the fly-in...again.

I just realized that for the second year in a row I missed Mark Smith's annual ultralight fly-in in Mount Vernon, Indiana!  I was aware in mid-June that I wouldn't be able to make it this year but just now realized the event, which is held the last weekend in June, has now passed.  It's a great time and I hope I can make it next year!

Monday, July 01, 2013

A bit of progress toward the runway.

Over the weekend, I cut down 17 trees that were growing in the area that my runway will occupy.  Most were under about 6" in diameter, but I had a couple of Oak logs that were large enough to mill into lumber.  I also had a pine log or two that will be large enough to make some siding for the house.

It's good to see progress towards the ultimate goal, but these days it is few and far between.  In the coming months I'm going to be cutting down a bunch more trees.  When I turn the larger trees into lumber and burn the smaller ones to dispose of them, the cut and fill and grading of the runway will begin!  It's been a long time in coming, but the end is close enough now that I can see the light!

Below is a view looking from the east side of the house towards the end of the runway.  In this picture I still haven't dragged the logs off to the burning pile.  See that single tree in the "V" shaped opening?  That is near the end of the runway.  My phone camera doesn't show much depth but that will be near the end of the runway.

The picture below was taken after all the trees were taken to the burn pile.  Oh yeah, you can see my newly acquired tractor in the photo as well, a 1988 Ford 3910.  It's a great little tractor and the clearing I've been doing wouldn't have been possible without it!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Barn

I was just looking over some of the pictures from July 2007 to now, mostly the images that document the construction progress of my home. Of course, the house looks basically same on the inside and the outside as it did in 2009. This can be somewhat discouraging, but as usual, a chain of events is in progress to help me get to the point where I can really start to finish up the house. I'm building a barn out of Southern Yellow Pine that I'm harvesting from trees on my own property. Last month I cleared a spot for the barn and poured footings and installed posts. Last weekend I milled my first beam, a 6 x 8 timber that will be one of six used as a foundation for my barn. The main reason I am building the barn at this particular point in time is that because my house has become full of "stuff" that I own and had to be moved somewhere as I moved my possessions from my ex-wife's home to my place. Now that stuff takes up the bedroom and most of the upper room. In order to have room to work on the house, I have to move it all somewhere, so my first project building with wood that I mill is a barn. Then I can store my stuff and concentrate on finishing the insulation upstairs and start to think about siding out the outside and paneling & flooring on the inside. I'm ready to make some significant progress. It's taken me years too long to wrap this thing up. I'm ready to be able to concentrate on preparations for ultralight flying once again, which was the reason I first created this blog. Funny how things tend to come full circle, isn't it?

Friday, June 29, 2012

No fly-in for me this year...

I just realized that this weekend is the annual ultralight fly-in at Mark Smith's Posey Patch in southwest Indiana!  I'm a bit bummed that I won't be able to go this year.  I thought about it earlier this month and decided not to go, but now that the day is here, I wish I had chosen differently.

I have been busy doing other things, like milling some lumber for my hardwood floor with my brand new TimberKing 1400 bandsaw mill.  It's a lot of work, but it's really cool.  The sawing isn't the hard part, it's the cutting of the logs into sections, getting them on the mill and stacking them to dry that will work you to death!  At age 50, I'm in good shape, but I have some issues with my back an shoulders and the work required causes me some pain, but still, it's a good way to stay in shape and have a useful product when it's all said and done!

All-in-all, I'd rather be flying more than anything else.  Believe it or not, the sawmill is all part of the flying "plan" so to speak.  I'll be cutting the pine near my chosen airstrip site and milling it for lumber to build more of my house, to mill siding and interior wall covering, and to build... get this... a hangar!  Once all the trees are cut I can call in the earthmoving equipment to cut and fill in the required places and I think I'll be able to get 400-500 feet in length to be able to fly from my property!  Sadly, this is a couple years down the road as I have other things to deal with first.  Still, it's a dream and a plan!  We can't really live well without them, can we?

Monday, June 11, 2012

I had the opportunity to visit a local small sawyer on Saturday.  He was sawing some small black cherry logs on his old Wood-Mizer LT30 sawmill.  It was a great experience and the only time I have actually touched a band-sawmill.  The lumber was going to be beautiful when it dried.  I wish it was going to be mine!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Post and beam barn? Why not?

I'm having grand visions of constructing a huge post and beam structure now that I will have a way to cut large timbers for cheap.  I'd like a huge gambrel roof barn, but I think I'll have to settle for something a bit smaller and simpler.  I've ordered some books on post and beam construction and I'm hoping they come in today!  You know that it has been said that the first 40 years of childhood are the toughest...

Monday, June 04, 2012

Forget the chainsaw... How about a bandsaw?

Back in the 90's, I did a lot of digging for facts about portable band-sawmills. I came to the conclusion that I didn't have the funds to buy one, nor a good source of trees, nor a customer base to support the cost of owning one. I also had too many costly hobbies already and I could barely afford to keep enjoying them.

Again, in the mid-2000s, I did the same thing and came to the same conclusion. It's now 2012. I now own 60 acres of trees, I'm building a house in the country that exists without siding, needs a wall finish and floor finish on the interior. A few weeks ago a storm blew over 6 or so large pecan trees on the property of an acquaintence of mine and he has agreed to let me cut them into lumber for only the cost of a few of the boards. Sounds like a perfect time to make the investment in a mid-sized bandsaw mill to cut lumber.

I have done about a month or so of research and after narrowing it down to three different models from three different companies, I have chosen to buy a TimberKing model 1400. I plan to order it today and expected delivery would be sometime in early to mid-July. I don't even have the mill yet and already on facebook there is a friend of a friend asking if I can saw some wood for him! Isn't that a blessing! I'll post more when the mill comes in!

Here's a link to a video that shows the same model in operation... TimberKing 1400 in action.

I'm excited! please fogive the cheezy music in the video...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm trying to decide if I want to start milling some lumber from my property or other wood that I've discovered and I'm kicking around a bunch of ideas, including buying a bandsaw mill or a chainsaw mill. I have kicked around building my own chainsaw mill using hardwood. This is what I've come up with so far...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Encouragement from afar!

Today I had a message in my inbox from a person named Lars with a message subject of "You". Normally I don't even open a message like that, assuming that it is spam but fortunately, I did open this one. Lars is a guy who lives in Berlin, Germany. He says he has read my blog from start to finish. Wow! That is quite a bit over the last 8 years! Lars sent some encouragement my way to continue plugging away at my goals for home and airstrip completion. I appreciate his comments very much and consider them a blessing!

Lars is currently working on building an Easy Riser ultralight in his apartment. He didn't say how close he was to being finished, but after I requested them, he sent pictures of the glider he designed and constructed. The workmanship looks excellent! Keep it up Lars and thanks again!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The "Post Delete" exercise went well!

Successful removal of post in the center of the room. The roof structure didn't move a bit. I'm rather pleased with my back-woods engineering skills!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Not quite yet...

Well, the intended post removal did not happen last night. I got called by my praise band friends to run sound for their practice. They are going to be doing something special at the church on Sunday and they needed my assistance. Unfortunately, I've got plans for tonight and tomorrow and church on Sunday so I probably won't be able to see if it works until Monday. Once again it seems that life is getting in the way of much forward progress on my house. I was supposed to have all the insualtion installed in the upper room already. Oh well, life can't stop just for the house, can it?

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Will it work?

I have a support post right in the center of my 2nd story room. When I designed the house, I intended for the room to be a recording studio/music room. Because the upstairs has the best view in the house, I'm thinking it's going to be a bedroom. The post didn't present any problems with the room as a studio, but as a bedroom, it's a big problem.

Over the last two weeks, I turned the roof support structure into a truss that I'm hoping will be able to handle the roof loads without the center post. I couldn't seem to find a structural engineer who didn't want to charge me an outrageous amount, so I decided to engineer it myself. I'm not really qualified, but I'm very mechanically inclined.

I finished constructing the truss last night and now that the glue has dried, tonight is the night I'm going to remove the post and see what happens. Last night I cut away the part of the post that attached to the new truss, but not removing it's supporting ability. I was able to make the post move slightly by tapping it with a hammer, indicating that there doens't appear to be much weight on it. I guess we will see tonight!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Praise and Worship at Centerpoint

I was invited by a new friend of mine to attend a praise and worhip service at Centerpoint in Prattville last night. It was really an awesome, powerful expression of God's people. I was happy I went and look forward to the next time! Thank you Athenia!

Working, working, working....

Had a productive Saturday working on the house. Of course as it the routine on Saturday, I had to go into town for breakfast before anything. I like to eat a Waffle House, which just happens to be very close to the Home Depot where I buy building supplies. I got up at 7, but didn't leave until 8. By the time I ate, put gas in the truck and returned with building supplies, it was 11:30. Oh the joys of living 25 miles from anything!

I worked constantly from the time I got home until about 5:30. I completed one small section of siding on the shed dormer end wall. Hopefully, this will take care of the water infiltration that has been plaguing me since I constructed the upper floor. I know it doesn't look like much for six hours of work, but working by myself slows me considerably. At least I'm making progress!