Update (again) on Schedule for rest of 2016

Well, looks like I won’t be able to stick to the schedule I made back in August: I’m a little behind; so here’s the issues:

  • Surprise! The city still charges $5,000 to hook up water, power, and sewer, so no change there.
  • The annual “burn ban” for our county is still in effect. It was supposed to expire on October 1, but there is a very bad drought going on right now (don’t laugh, Utah friends, it is shockingly dusty out at my place (I circled our county in blue on the map below: “Extreme Drought”. captureThis means I can’t burn any of my brush piles- and they are getting big. I don’t know when we’ll get rain. We are having record setting heat- in the upper 80’s

It is the end of October. Records that stood since 1926 are being broken. It is hot, hot, hot, and dry, dry, dry. It’s throwing a few things off, but helping others, I guess- without rain, there’s no mud. It’s great for hauling logs. It’s also great for inhibiting mold and fungus growth.

I’ll revisit the schedule with some updates:

  • On my original schedule, I’ve completed the July goals.
  • August, I had planned on having enough trees (53) to start the build. But as I noted in my last post “crooked logs”, I realized a lot of my logs are too crooked, so I upped the number I need to 65. I have 51 on racks right now. So I need about 15 more. Plus, I’ll need some for RPSL’s, and everything else.
    • Luckily, I just cut a tree on my property this weekend. I measured it, and it looks like 48 feet of it are usable. All the trees on that part of the property are the same age (and height), so this is great news- we can use them for our build.
  • September– I was going to peel all trees- that month came and went. I spent a week welding the forks on my tractor, while my wife did the tedious job of scraping bug “dirt” from the bark beetles off of my logs (if you just peel them, the bug poop stays on there and gets hard- making it so the borate doesn’t penetrate as well), so I’m behind there.
  • October, I was going to submit plans, get my water hooked up, etc- that will probably be November (which starts this week!) Still working on modifying the stock plans- it is now a bottleneck to progress- I have no time to work on it:
    • I’ve committed every night after work during the week to working on the property. When I get home, I play with my 4 year old because I’ve been gone for 12 hours. I don’t believe just being near her while working on the computer is good for our relationship.
    • Saturday morning, I give my wife the day off- I stay home in the morning and work on my truck (broken head gasket) early before anyone gets up. If we both feel up to it, we spend Saturday afternoons working on the property till dark, then do any shopping we need.
    • Sunday would be ideal – church doesn’t start until 11, so I have at least 2-3 hours in the morning to myself. I’ve been modifying the stock plans during this time. It’s slow, but I’m making some progress.
  • November– I was going to lay the first logs- That might now be December or January.
  • Get the roof on: was supposed to be January or whenever I have funds- probably tax return season is when I’ll get that done. So, I’m still sort of on track. Hanging onto the schedule by the skin of my teeth.

An interesting side note: my neighbor used to work for the city, and knows a thing or two about the sewer system on our street (he surveyed and designed it). He says the limit on where I can put my house (how far back on the property it can go) is governed by the grade- 5%. This means for every 100 feet of horizontal, I can go 5′ vertical. So, we took his little golf cart for a spin over to my property to measure the sewer depth- it’s 6.5 feet down. So, according to him, I can only go back about 160 feet. But I just talked to a guy who built a house himself (brick!), and he says that figure has been updated- the pitch of the grade is now preferred to be 1 inch vertical for every 8 or 10 feet of horizontal (graphic explanation: if the water flows too fast, it doesn’t take the poop with it, so now they want the flow to slow down and carry the poop). Bottom line: it looks like I can set my house as far back as I want- which is preferred, but more expensive.


As far as materials,

  • I got all the plywood for my piers. Need to build them, now.
  • Still need the rebar (not sure where to get this from, still looking).
  • 2 3-ton chain hoists ($160)
  • rebar cutter ($150) or chop saw blades ($50?)
  • styrofoam for roof (I don’t know- probably $200-500)
  • roof panels (probably metal roof – $3000)
  • T&G roof decking ($2000)
  • plywood roof underlayment (I don’t know)

And I still stick by this statement from my last post about my schedule:

It’s obviously very ambitious for one person, not to mention one person that has never done this before. I’m sure there will be delays due to finances or hassles with the city, equipment breakdowns, etc. But if the schedule needs to be adjusted by two or three months, that’s ok- I need to wait for a tax return for a boost to my finances anyway.  It still appears that I can “git-r-dun” within my goal of 2-3 years.

4 thoughts on “Update (again) on Schedule for rest of 2016

  1. Thanks! Yeah, I think the rebar will just show up- soon. I have thunderbird email set up to get RSS feeds for construction materials on craigslist- so I get an alert anytime someone posts stuff for sale. I have alerts for tools, 2×4’s, plywood, rebar, foam insulation, etc. I’ll be sure to check construction sites- there is one going on 2 blocks from my work…..


  2. I see you are close to the Al/Tn border. I live in Georgia and used to have a place close to Jasper, Ga; 43 acres with a large stream through; nothing but hills and hollers. I moved an old cabin in pieces and finally got it back up with some new logs worked in where needed. My wife did the draw knife work for skinning. We had a spring fed water system with a 750 gallon reservoir tank on a hill that gave us around 30′ head. Had some problems with air locks developing in the line. Dearly loved the place but got older; now 89, so moved five years ago closer to family on Lake Lanier.

    I used to get over to your area to the Decatur chemical, plants and the paper mills further west doing start=ups and field engineering for industrial measuring instrumentation. .

    Your story is challenging and I’m sure inspires many others as it doe me.
    We wish you, your family, and your project well – Dale & Mel


    1. This is the kind of amazing story that keeps me motivated- others have done it, so maybe I can, too! thanks for sharing.


  3. Brian, you are doing great! 53 logs! By yourself, none the less. I can see the need for more logs, but it seems they have been provided. I love that you take the time for your family in the midst of all of this. It is definitely a hard balance. Hey, look for someone in your area that helps with larger builds, as in large companies, where they have done some construction with some alterations. There may be rebar leftover that you can snag for a deal~~ Sounds like you are rockin’ it! Keep it up! Love to hear of your progress!


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