ffj's early retirement

Where are you and where are you going?
ffj
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

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.

MEA
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:54 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by MEA »

My opinion on invasive species is contrary to most. I see it as evolution in action.

I also want a bike generator.

henrik
Posts: 766
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:58 pm
Location: EE

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
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

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
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:18 pm

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
Posts: 1394
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:23 pm

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
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

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
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

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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Location: Gates of the Arctic
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by theanimal »

That is a beautiful bridge. Well done.

Riggerjack
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Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:09 am

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
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

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
Posts: 2046
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
Last edited by ffj on Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:36 pm, edited 4 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
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

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

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Small victory yesterday.

I finished plumbing my water line, with a surprise $72 check valve purchase I didn't know I needed :x , and I passed the plumbing inspectors inspection :D .

I installed a yard hydrant at the beginning of the future front lawn and I plumbed a tee into the system for future access to the water system for the house. This way I will have water close to the construction site, especially for the concrete work, and still be able to keep the construction zone clear.

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The hole around the hydrant will be filled with gravel as it has to have a way to drain the pipe once the valve is closed. This prevents it from freezing. I'm waiting however until I can verify that none of my joints leak as I don't like digging unnecessarily, especially twice in the same spot.

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My first plan was to do the foundation work myself but recently I started thinking that maybe I should hire that portion out as my skill sets lean toward actual carpentry and finish work. So I had a contractor bid out the concrete work and stem walls of both the house and the shop. When the quote for the work arrived I nearly fell over, as I feel I have a pretty good handle on prices for various work. His quote was $23,000 more than I expected. :o


Sooooo, it looks like I'm back to just doing the work myself unless I can find a reasonable contractor. I'm starting to get frustrated with the various entities I am having to deal with as neither my electric or water meter have been installed after they have already been paid for their services, after several weeks. Add to the mix a ridiculous bid and the weather and I'm starting to get irritated with my lack of progress. But I have a home to go to each day and really no time constraints so everything's good if kept in perspective.

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Ego
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Ego »

For what it's worth we are having similar experiences with contractors here. High prices and lower quality work where I've got to look over their shoulders as the jobs get done. May be a sign of the booming economy?

Are they requiring pre-payment? You might have a little more success if you send your next messages to them through yelp. Scratch that. I realized it was for public utilities.

Good luck.

ffj
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Ego

If the prices are too high then I will just do it myself. It's one of the reasons I've learned how to do so many things to a house, because I didn't want to pay huge costs for basic work. And I am enough of a perfectionist to do it right the first time. But I'm trying to balance the time issue here with my unwillingness to pay a premium. There is always a cheaper alternative if one is willing to hustle.

I spoke with my lumber supplier yesterday and he is going to provide some more names for me for foundation work. My original plan was to pour the footings myself and hire a block layer but then I started to get the fancy idea of poured walls 100% contracted out. Since the the block, or concrete walls, are going to be covered in a stone veneer it would make sense to use the cheaper block anyway. I can grout all of the open cells to make it a solid wall that will be very strong, just not as aesthetically pleasing.

ffj
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Progress.

The electrical company came today and installed 300 feet of underground cable and also installed the transformer box on my property. I didn't get any pictures of them working because they didn't inform me they were going to do it today. I did catch the tail end however.

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Here is a look inside for anyone curious:

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My job today was to install the temporary meter so that I can have power. Before the connections are made to turn the sub panel "hot", it has to be inspected which will happen tomorrow, for a $70 fee of course. Basically I had to dig a hole for the post and brace it, then dig a trench to the box for the wire, and pound an eight foot grounding rod into the earth, then mount the box and grounding wire. Tomorrow the inspector will make the connection after passing my work, after which the electrical company will make the connection to the live feed. So I will have power soon! :)

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I met with another contractor today in regards to the foundation and I came away very hopeful this time. He came to my attention highly recommended and he should have a bid soon for my approval. I have a bunch of Amish people around my new property and as we were talking he let it slip that he was raised Amish but left the group when he was 17 years old. Now he runs a crew of Amish workers that build houses, but what was interesting was his response when I asked him about the circumstances around his departure.

He said that he announced on Thanksgiving day that he wanted out and left with the clothes on his back as his family shunned him. He lived in the woods for a week before he found a place to stay and had to get a SSN and a drivers license for identification so he could get a job. He also said the reason he could still work with the Amish is because according to their rules, since he hadn't been baptized, they couldn't shun him as a group. And that to this day his parents still won't communicate with him, although some of his siblings will, all of which are still in the organization. It was an interesting conversation and it reminded me of the Jehovah Witnesses, of which I've been friends with several over the years. You are either in or you are out.

Now to get my water meter installed!

ffj
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

The other day was extremely busy at the farm. While I had my friend grading in a new driveway, the water dept decided that this was going to be the day they finished the job ( I wasn't complaining ) and the electrical inspector decided to show up too. I had machinery and digging going on everywhere.

So, I now have water, and since my temporary meter passed inspection, I have the green light for my power to be hooked up. My new driveway provides a way for the big trucks to turn around as well as provide a staging area for materials.

The rock haulers showed up yesterday and once again proved they are incapable of following simple instructions. Long story short, they didn't spread the gravel the way I wanted which means I get to do it myself. I really need a tractor with a front-end loader or something similar and I have a friend that has already offered to lend me his tractor. I may take him up on it.

Anyway, pictures:

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Notice how nice my pile of topsoil looks in the background. This makes me very hopeful for the ground behind the barn where my gardens will be placed.

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Fish
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Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:09 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Fish »

I always wondered what the insides of the transformer boxes looked like. I’m following along and loving the pictures and stories. Also impressed that you have the vision and energy for such an undertaking. Best of luck with the project and please continue with the updates.

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