ffj's early retirement

Where are you and where are you going?
George the original one
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by George the original one »

500 watts? Maybe. He's got less than 3' of hydro-head, so the power is going to be annoyingly low. However, building it out of scrap is cheaper than buying a solar panel.

Really, you want 10' or more of hydro-head. That's when you can start generating decent power.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@jacob

Thanks for the book suggestion and helpfulness. I am probably going to buy it.

@George

I'm doubtful too. It is a clever design though.





Progress on the property. One of my issues with my driveway is that although it is 500 feet long, it still isn't long enough. It abruptly ends just as the property opens up and if you want to drive further, especially to the barn, than you take your chances by driving in a field. If its dry out, then you are good to go, but when it rains, not so good.

My buddy Mike came out yesterday and fixed that issue for me. We extended the driveway another 300 feet so that it makes a nice, slow arc to the front of the barn, with a small parking area in front of it.

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You can see my black horse fence in the distance, and that is where the old driveway ends.

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He also graded my old driveway to flatten it as well as make it look so much better. While he was working on the driveway I worked on the fence, re-nailing it and replacing rotten boards. Horse fencing looks so nice but my goodness it's prone to decay.

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I got to play with the skid steer too. I consolidated all of the brush piles in the field into 5 large ones for burning. I've never used one of these before and I have to say it was pretty fun.

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ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

My wife has chosen a house design off of the internet,

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and some of the details were vague from a construction standpoint, so I decided to make a model of it at 1/12 scale. I basically converted the measurements to one inch equals a foot so everything you see is proportional. I was a little confused on how the 3 different roofs lined up from a builder's perspective as well as the exterior trim details so the best way for me was to build it identically and work out the issues. It should save a lot of headaches once the real building begins.

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The top floor which consists of two bedrooms and a bathroom. The landing will overlook the great room.

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The bottom floor which consists of the master bedroom/closet/bath, utility room, mudroom, guest bathroom and consolidated kitchen, dining, and great room.

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And the shop just for visualization for both placement and to make sure I was getting my proportions correct. It will be a simple rectangle with garage doors.

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Tomorrow I will inquire about building permits and start working on putting foundations in place. My friend Mike will dig the footings for me and I can build the forms, bend the rebar, and pour the concrete. I will most likely hire a block layer as although I can do it, I am just not that good at it. Unless the price is way too high of course. ;)

To date my expenses have been (after the purchase of the land):

$900 to fix the barn, which included $100 to pull out the dump truck driver

$360 for the purchase of a chainsaw to clear the land

$250 for the new driveway (it's good to have friends)

$40 for the plywood for the model house ( I had a lot of material already on hand )

$500 for scaffolding and a walkboard (found an awesome deal on Craigslist and these will be essential once I start building)

$2200.00 for lumber to build the shop ( another great deal from Craigslist)

I don't plan on adding up the man-hours I've put in, or the cost of insurance or property taxes, etc.

My expenses have been low so far but that will dramatically change here soon. Everything so far has been paid out of pocket but again, that will not last. I feel really good at the moment however.

jacob
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by jacob »

This book shows how to build a bicycle generator (like J_'s) complete with wiring diagrams and uses an alternator as a generator. (Again, I'm not sure it's the best solution or even a practical solution, but there it is.) The book also happens to have an internal diagram of the alternator. It does have field coils but those are energized by the battery using a light bulb to regulate the current, so that solves that problem. The alternator also has an internal rectifier.

Caveat is that the book is focused around the zombie apocalypse, so lots of zombie talk :-P ... but from a practical perspective, it's more about home automating and building things with a few pieces of scavenged junk and a few pieces of uncommon consumer electronics.
https://www.amazon.com/Makers-Guide-Zom ... 593276672/

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Thanks jacob, that's right up my alley. I read through the free pages and I think this is what I'm looking for as I don't need or want to become an electrical engineer to perform some experiments. I'm good at following directions. :D



I managed to spend another $700 yesterday and all I have to show for it is a piece of paper and 5 boards. :( Six hundred and fifty was for the privilege of obtaining a permit to build a house. A bit of a racket if you ask me.

The boards went to finishing up my 500 foot fence that needed repairs. Once it warms up everything will get painted to hopefully make this last for many more years.

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In the two months that I've owned the place I've completed the land clearing (phase 1), repaired the barn, repaired the fence and gate, and built a new driveway which clears the way for what I really want to be doing: build a house. My goal was to complete these tasks before the new year and that happened today with the fence repair. I'm excited.

What does this look like to you? Looks like a bridge to me. When I have some down time I plan on making this into a crossing that doesn't require the balance of a gymnast. That's a cherry tree and something I have found on this property is that I have quite a few and they all grow really crooked. I don't know if it would be worth trying to make furniture grade lumber out of it, maybe it's better as a bridge.

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Everyday almost I frequent a local Amish store down from the property for a sandwich and drink. A little snapshot of their daily ride.

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Here's to a new year!

GandK
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by GandK »

Looks like you're all set up for a great one! :D

Cheepnis
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Cheepnis »

That model looks great, how fun! Is that $650 the entire cost of the permit(s) or just one portion? I'm not sure what's federally mandated or state mandated, but here new structures or additions require multiple permits and the cost can end up being a significant portion of the total. What's your background in construction? Any parts of the process that you're going to completely hire out?

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Thanks K, I'm ready to start building and stop repairing.


@Cheepnis

Yeah, the model takes the guesswork out of a lot of details. My alternative was to spend $1000.00 plus to buy this particular set of plans, in PDF form nonetheless. I've worked on enough houses to be able to fill in the blanks from a few sketches, and I modified the simple floor plan provided. My biggest issue was how to frame three separate roofs coming together in the front, and the model provided me an answer. The angles and pitches are identical.

The $650 is for the privilege of constructing the building's foundation and framework, which includes a foundation inspection and a framing inspection. I still have to get a permit for the installation of a water meter which I don't know the cost of yet, then $650 for the installation of said meter. I have to have an electrical inspection, plumbing inspection, and HVAC inspection and I'm not quite sure what that will cost. I also don't know what the electrical company is going to charge for their work installing the underground service. I think I am going to start an entry that tallies all of the costs, for me as much as anybody else that is curious.

I started out as a young person in woodworking and cabinet-making, as well as furniture making. So I had a background early on but where I really learned how to work on houses was when I bought an old house and renovated it. Sort of like buying an old car will force you to become a mechanic. I am now qualified to do most everything, including plumbing and electrical. I'll hire out the HVAC for sure as well as large concrete pours but everything else is within my range, and if someone can do some of it for a fair price than that's alright too. I will need help even if I still do most of the work though as some things are near impossible for a single person to accomplish, such as installing large roof panels. I have an Amish community nearby that I may utilize too for additional help.

Tomorrow my goal is to get the water meter permit and visit my lumber suppler who will draw me up a set of plans for free assuming I buy the lumber from him, which is no problem. I don't really need the plans for framing, but I want to pick his brain over HVAC and plumbing issues, especially any code requirements that I am missing.

henrik
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by henrik »

ffj wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:22 pm
Progress on the property.
ffj wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:58 pm
My wife has chosen a house design off of the internet
I really like your model-based approach to planning this! Looking forward to more updates now that the bureaucracy has begun to settle.
Happy new year!

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@MEA

Oh you haven't seen this stuff left alone. It kills everything underneath it and literally takes over everything. In central Kentucky, there are large thickets of this stuff that is damn near impenetrable. I've killed all of the large stuff and pulled most of the small stuff, literally thousands of them, but there's more seed lying dormant in the ground. This is going to be a multi-year project to eradicate them all, but I've made a good start. Couple that with the hundreds of wild grape vines I've killed and finally these woods can breathe. This Spring I will start planting trees that are beneficial and maybe even an orchard of fruit trees.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj3wpTuDmu8



@henrik

Thanks. It will probably change a little as far as the interior layout as we are working with the lumber supplier now and he is drawing up a set of plans. He's done this many times before so he has suggested some minor changes. It's nice to have someone to discuss these ideas with who's knowledgeable. A nice guy too which I appreciate after having to get my plumbers permit. What an unpleasant experience. Have you ever walked into a building or office and just felt a bad vibe?

I had to fill out an official form, get a notary to witness my signature (why?), and rush back to the office before the most unpleasant person I have had the misfortune to deal with in a long time left (who wouldn't wait for me) to pay a fee. Since he is the guy that will be inspecting my work I couldn't just tell him to fuck off with his hateful attitude so I took the unprofessionalism with a smile. Glad that is over and thankfully it was only $45.00 for the permit.


It rained all day yesterday so I thought I would work on the bridge. I don't have a ripping chain on the saw so it is painfully slow to cut with the grain. Progress though, and better than sitting at home doing nothing.

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Igotgoals
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Igotgoals »

As someone who enjoys watching you build all the things you build, I cannot thank you enough for buying this property and taking us along for the ride.

The bridge is going to be a beauty.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

I'm surprised you are on city water and not a well. Unless you need a meter for the well?

Will you get an lp tank or be connected by pipe?

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Igotgoals

Thank you so much. I'm afraid the bridge is going to be kind of plain however as I just need a flat surface to keep my balance. I thought about a handrail but I don't know. One thing I do know is that my ladder bridge, although it works very well looks out of place, so it's probably leaving once this is done.


@Gilberto

Yes, I have city water. But not from the nearest town, it's from the furthest reaches of the next community down. Go figure. I'm afraid my water pressure is going to be lacking however.

No LP or natural gas. Actually, natural gas isn't even available so I'll probably stick to all electric.



Started laying out the buildings yesterday.

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This is the old tried and true 6-8-10 method of squaring up your lines. I love simple solutions and it reminds me of ancient levels and that if one had the ability to form a right triangle then they could make a level.

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ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

I met with the lumber supplier the other day and we agreed upon this floor plan for the downstairs. It's pretty close to the model I built.

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We made a couple of changes that we liked better and now he is going to draw out the upstairs to match the footprint of the floor below. In the meantime I have laid out the footprint of both the shop and the house and placed them where we think they should go. The front of the house will face due East for the most part and this is based on roughly the property line behind the future house. It was the reference point that was the most logical.

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Now I am in a waiting game of the right weather and equipment available to start digging footings. Currently I have beautiful weather but no equipment and in 2 days we are supposed to get 3 inches of rain so I am going to wait out the rain. There is no use creating a muddy swimming pool that I can't place the rebar into or pour the concrete. So I finished my bridge today. Simple but it works.

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theanimal
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by theanimal »

That is a beautiful bridge. Well done.

Riggerjack
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Riggerjack »

Six hundred and fifty was for the privilege of obtaining a permit to build a house. A bit of a racket if you ask me.
Wow. Your hillbilly permit mafia has some learning to do. :D

Almost a decade ago, I paid $2300 for the permit to turn an unfinished basement, into a finished basement. Electrical was a separate permit, from the state. :shock:

At rates like that, how can your county even have an economy? You folks must have failed to drive off or sink any other businesses competing with the county for employees.

Must be wasteful, having multiple employers in the same county. You get yourselves some proper planning, and an effective tax system, that won't be a problem for long, though! :D Maybe drop some hints about granola shotgun, next time you are in the planning office, give them some ideas on how to plan for success! :twisted:

But seriously, I'm loving the new place!

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@theanimal

Thank you, beautiful is too kind a word, but it is a whole lot more interesting crossing the stream these days. I made a step for both ends out of log cutoffs so it's easier getting on and off since the picture. Once everything greens up again it should look pretty neat.

@rigger

Haha, my neighbors moved from Washington State where they lived on some island off of the coast and they've been buying property left and right around here. I think they are in a bit of shock of the prices compared to back home.

I've paid $700 in permits so far and I still have some independent inspections to go, such as the electrical and HVAC. I'm not sure what those will cost.

I spoke with the electrical engineer today and at the end breathed a sigh of relief. They have to install over 300 feet of underground service to a transformer in my yard. He quoted me $2,200 and change if they did all of the work, including hooking up the temporary. I said do it, as it wold cost me $1000 just to rent the excavator, not including the cost of the conduit and work required. I was thinking this was going to cost much more. Now I will still have connect to the finished house at some point but it will be a much shorter distance.



All:

Anybody dealing with Ash tree die-off? I was trimming around a couple large ones on the property and it looks like they have a lot of dead limbs. I am going to have to wait till Spring to see the real damage but I've been reading about an Asian emerald beetle killing all of the ash trees. What is scary is that they were first noticed just in Michigan in 2002! Eighteen years and millions of trees dead.

ffj
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Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

I thought I would keep a tally of the house for perspective and for those interested. I'll be updating this entry periodically. My goal is to build the house and shop for $100,000 or less. We'll see what happens.


To date my expenses have been (after the purchase of the land):

$900 to fix the barn, which included $100 to pull out the dump truck driver

$360 for the purchase of a chainsaw to clear the land

$250 for the new driveway (it's good to have friends)

$40 for the plywood for the model house ( I had a lot of material already on hand )

$500 for scaffolding and a walkboard (found an awesome deal on Craigslist and these will be essential once I start building)

$2200.00 for lumber to build the shop ( another great deal from Craigslist)

$650 building permit

$50 replacement fence boards

$100 ground stakes and misc. for foundation layout

$45 plumbing permit

$650 new water meter installed by water company

$63 fence posts for marking property boundary

$447 water line and yard hydrant to establish water on property

$2046 fee for installing electrical service

$392 gravel

200.87 temporary electrical meter

$8.67 post for meter

$343.97 trencher rental

$55.77 fuel for trencher

$75.00 truck rental

$71.84 check valve for water line

$814.93 rock

$70 electrical inspection

$600 excavation work

$477.06 rebar

$838.50 rock for driveway

$450.00 excavation of house and shop
Last edited by ffj on Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:43 am, edited 5 times in total.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

I am familiar with the ash borer. Cities planted ash as street trees back in the day and they are now dying. The cities are now having most of them cut down though the really prominent ones get treated. Locally even the ones that are not yet dying are cut down because there is a fear that too many will die and become a hazard at once and there won't be capacity to cut them down fast enough. It is the golden age for upper Midwest arborists.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Gilberto

I met my neighbor the other day who owns the field behind my future house. Really funny older guy and in our conversation he mentioned all of the ash trees he's lost to the borer, so yeah, my trees are probably on their way out which is unfortunate as these trees are pretty big. There is a sawmill I've done business with in the past that buys standing trees so it might be worth a phone call to see if they are interested as these trees have a lot of potential lumber. I'm guessing though that there is a glut of ash trees available so maybe I make my own lumber out of them?





I rented this beast yesterday to install my water line, all 550 feet of it. It was kind of neat using this the first hour, but by hour three I was ready to get off of this ride. The code requires the line at least 32 inches deep which meant I had to dig deeper because a lot of the dirt falls back into the hole, especially if the ground is a little wet and clumps.

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My next job is to install the yard hydrant so the entire trench can be inspected, which requires me to dig a large hole by hand. I did enough hand digging yesterday to clean the trench that I am not looking forward to it.


Oh, and I got a large part of the new driveway covered in rock.

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Now if I can keep all of these asshole drivers on the actual driveway that would be nice. It's almost comical at this point how many service drivers have rutted out my grade work because they haven't figured out the turning radius of their vehicles or they just don't give a shit where they are driving. It's all fixable so not a big deal but it frustrates me because it is so preventable. Oh well.





I decided to have a real go at this mushroom venture. I'm experimenting with several varieties in addition to the ones I've already worked with, and I'm hoping I can develop a system to grow at least 4 varieties consistently and well. Right now for perspective I have one variety locked down as far as production so the next few months will be interesting.

Here they are on the agar plates:

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Right now I have dozens of bags of inoculated medium in my closets waiting for them to fully colonize. If this works, I am going to swimming in mushrooms. Something else I am experimenting with is using the spent fruiting blocks that have exhausted their fruiting potential. Basically this is nothing more than treating wheat straw with pickling lime for 24 hours in a water bath and then packing the drained straw with crushed fruiting block material into a 5-gallon bucket, whereupon the mycelium should grow on the new substrate and grow mushrooms out of the holes drilled into the bucket. We'll see if it works.

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