Off Grid...Chapter 106
Mike and I have been moving right along in between this crazy weather. It's time to take you back to show you what we have been up to.
As you know from last week, we installed our new wood stove. Unfortunately we are not happy with it's heating capability.....so Mike has a plan. Today he wants to take the firebrick out of the inside of the stove. He hopes that by doing this the stove will get hotter. Crossing my fingers that this will work. In order for us to do this we have to take the stove pipe back out.
Mikes starts out by going up on the roof to cut away the caulking that is around the pipe on the roof. Then he he comes back inside the house. Next we put a small piece of 2x4 on top of the wood stove and use another small piece of 2x4 to pry the pipe out of the stove. Yay..step one is done and the pipe is raised. Now Mike can reach in through the top of the stove and take the top brick out. Then he takes the fire brick out from inside the stove. After that, we put the pipe back in and Mike re caulks it. Now we will see if this helps.
While Mike works on the fire I call around for prices on propane. Our propane dealer will match any prices for us when we order. I called four local places and got 4 very different prices per gallon. I got $2.29, $2.49, $2.90, and $3.13. Wow that is a big difference....you can guess which one I got. They will deliver our propane tomorrow.
OK, time for some outside work. Mike and I load up the Jeep and hook up the trailer. Time to go get some wood. We have a huge tree that fell last year and it should be easy for us to get to. On our way down the driveway Mike lets me out to shovel off some of the cow presents.
Here we are just past the barn. This is the big tree that came down. It's a heartbreak when we lose trees.
Mike cutting from the tree.
While Mike cut from the tree, I picked up the pieces of wood and put them on the trailer. We only spent about an hour cutting wood. We still have to decide where the permanent home for the wood will be. For now we brought it up top and loaded it along the front of one of the wings on the house.
Our next project for the day. We want to scrub the roof so we can apply the rest of the roof coating that we have leftover from last year.
Mike hosed off the roof while I scrubbed.
Done. It should be dry for tomorrow.
Today we are waiting for our propane delivery. We are hoping they can get their big truck into our property. We'll see. While we wait, Mike cleans and organizes his building a little and I mow the lawn. Mike opens the roof coating and it is hard as a rock. It must have gone bad over the winter. I'm glad we didn't have much in the bucket.
Finally...the propane man is here and he made it in. Woo hoo. He said "wow, you guys got a good price"
Later on we loaded up the trailer with all kinds of stuff and went to the big dump.
That evening Mike, Niki and I walk down the driveway to clean it up. Mike uses the blower while I use the flat shovel. We want to clean up any gravel debris and cow messes.
Mike starts out up top blowing the driveway with Niki.
Getting farther down and Niki is running away. She doesn't like the blower.
Looking back up...ah nice and clean.
Yeah...Mike is almost done.
Ahh!! Done...now we have to walk back up.
We have had a lot of rain lately and this is the washout at the end of our pavement.
We will have to do something about this.
The tub is nice and full. There is so much water flowing out of our property.
Ugh!!! the dreaded walk back up. We take a few breaks because Niki has a tough time.
Mike is still having a tough time with the wood stove. It just isn't heating the way it should. We are thinking of looking for a new one if we can sell this one. Oh..what a pain. He is still working on it.
Mike taking out the grid tiles.
And replacing with solid ceiling tiles.
We did this once before when we thought we needed more air circulation. Now we need to trap the heat.
Ahh...poor Niki girl doesn't want to get up.
Next we decide to cut some more wood before the storm comes in. On our way down we see a new calf in the rock ditch line. He is OK so we leave him. Maybe his mama left him there. Anyway, this trip down to cut from our big tree did not go so well. We got set up and the chain saw did not want to cooperate. It has the same gas mix as the other day but it keeps stalling. Mike will fix it when we get up top but for now we will do what we can.
Here we are back at the big tree.
Small load on the trailer.
That's all for now. Mike really has to fix the chainsaw.
On our way up we see that the calf is still in the ditch...not good. I get out and try to help him but he is too heavy and the rocks are awkward.
Mike lifts him out and pushes him onto the driveway.
Sure...now the mother comes after us. Maybe she should have watched her child more. At least the calf is safe.
Mike found a piece of PVC pipe...finally we are going to cut it down and use it as our hose reel. Yay...we have only been thinking about this since last summer, lol.
Wow...looks like we made it. There is a horrible crazy hail storm going on. The hail is huge.
Hail on the hill. The poor cows.
Mike finishes the grid above the stove for now. He is planning to cut out a solid piece of metal and a decorative ring to add to the pipe.
There is not much we can do with this crazy weather. Mike is planning an inside project for us.
OK, it's clear enough to check the damage. We drive down the driveway to our worst area which is where the pavement ends and the gravel begins. Oh yeah..it's a mess. I drive Mike to the barn to pick up the tractor...hope he remembers how to use it, lol. He gets to play on the tractor while I get to shovel and rake. What's wrong with this picture. Yeah, I really need to learn how to drive the tractor this year.
Here are the ruts in our driveway.
The water is flowing on the side of the driveway.
The water comes out of here so fast that it washes the gravel away.
I tried raking some of the gravel off the grass to put back onto the driveway but it is too heavy. I start shoveling the gravel onto the driveway. While I work on that Mike scrapes the gravel onto the driveway.
Mike grading the driveway. It's looking better.
The edge of our driveway and the gravel.
Mike is making a ditch to hopefully divert the bulk of the water before it washes out the whole driveway.
Eventually this problem will be solved. We will have to bury a drain to let the water flow off to the side instead of down the driveway. This will do for now.
We checked the pond and the water flowing out is unbelievable.
Back up top. We are having some water come down our wood stove pipe. It is either a very small leak or condensation. Mike fixes it.
First he cuts the seal around the collar.
The gap where the water may be getting in.
Mike re caulks it.
And then paints on the roof coating.
It should all stay dry now
Over the weekend we had to run some errands for our next "indoor" project and we visited Mike's daughter.
On Monday it snowed and we moved some furniture around...that will be the next story. I hope you enjoyed this chapter and I will write again soon.