Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chapter 12...Cows, Solar Panels, and Drylock

Off Grid...Chapter 12

Hi everyone. We had a crazy day yesterday.
Along with work we got a flat tire and Mike lost his wallet. He found it on the lawnmower at the other property last night about 9pm. We were so lucky. OK onto our story.

Ah, our first morning waking up on our property. It was a great night because we got to sleep with all the windows open and enjoyed a beautiful breeze all night. We got up about 6am went outside and had our coffee. The calfs were right up at our frence this morning.
We introduced our dog, Niki, to the cows and that went well. I can't believe how many birds we hear. I'll have to put out some bird feeders and see what kind we have.

OK, back to work. Mike and I went to town to pick up some electrical parts and patio block. They didn't have the exact parts for the electric so Mike had to make his own 30amp plug to hook our motorhome into our portable generator. He is doing this because the motorhome generator runs on diesel and is very loud and smelly (fumes). The portable one runs on gas and is much quieter. While Mike did that I started raking
"again". I am trying to get our backyard done.

After that we started working on the area behind the house where it caved in from the rain. First Mike added more dirt with the tractor, I raked it out, then Mike packed it with the 4-wheeler and again with the tractor.

We left the dirt about 6 inches from the siding on the house and then added a few inches of gravel. This will keep the dirt off the siding and keep the house clean.

We also added patio block on the side of the house.
This is where Mike is going to put our box of batteries for our solar set up.

Our campsite

Now that we are settled in and working really hard things should start comoing together quickly. Mike has to get all the solar set up which is a priority and then we can really start working on the house.

What a beautiful morning. It's nice and cool and all the birds are singing. Niki and I saw wild turkey and deer this morning. Mike and I started out by moving 12 batteries and the storage box next to the house. Then Mike hooked all the batteries together.

I had to go to town and while I was gone Mike started working on a ditch line along the side of our road. We have to put in a ditch and some culverts to divert the water when it comes flying down the mountain so we don't have anymore washouts. He also got to clean out his building a little and started making the brackets for our solar panels.

I picked up 2 bales of straw so when I got back I put the straw on top of my seed to keep it protected and moist. While I was doing this a couple of the cows came to investigate and then a few more came. You would think with 40 acres of fresh grass they wouldn't bother me but nooo.. they want the dead stuff. Go figure. Mike turned on the sprinkler to chase them off.

We had to take it slow the rest of the day because it got really hot. After dinner we went out and worked on our ditch line. We are starting at the top of our drive and will work our way down. We are going to do about 50 feet a day. At that rate we should be done sometime this century. Ha, ha. It's not a hard job but we have a lot of road.

We start out by cutting the ditch with the tractor.

Then we rake it, shovel it into the bucket, dump the dirt along the house and dig it out again.

After we did about 50 feet we packed everything up and came inside.

As I was uploading pictures I looked out the window and saw the cows in the ditch line, by the fence, and by my new straw. Not good. Mike had to go out and chase them away. I really hope they don't come back tonight while we are sleeping.

We got up this morning and guess who was there?

We ignored them and eventually they went away. Mike tightened the barbed wire on the fence. Then we started to work. We started to seal the concrete walls on the inside of our house with a product called Drylock Extreme. It is a masonry waterproofer that is mildew resistant and also reduces radon gas penetration. This stuff is really thick almost like a paste with sand in it. Mike started rolling it on and I followed with the paint brush making sure all the holes in the concrete got filled. This was a job that seemed to take forever. Mke was done long before me so he started working on the solar panels. 

Mike set up a scaffold for me to use because the walls are 10 feet tall. I got on the scaffold and I was too shaky and nervous. I did not like it at all. Mike called me a weenie. Real nice. Anyway I went back to using the ladder and painting about 4 feet at a time. We used 10 gallons of sealer and we weren't even halfway done.

Tonight we had to make a Lowe's run to get more drylock and electrical parts for the house. We also picked up the shower for our house. Since our piping for the shower is already in the cement for a certain shower we thought we should get it in case the shower is discontinued. You never know.

This morning we started out finishing the 1st and 2nd coats of drylock on the walls. Mike finished rolling and it took me about 3 more hours to finish brushing it on. While I was doing that Mike brought our shower down to the house and started working with that. He wanted to make sure there were no problems with our pipes. It was all good and everything fits.

This afternoon we had to go back to the old property to mow. Oh joy! We did really good. Mike was flying, that's how his wallet bounced out of his pants, and it only took
us 2 hours. Then we came back and Mike rolled the 3rd coat of sealer on the entire house. After many hours and over 20 gallons of Drylock I think the house is sealed.

It's been a really long weekend and we have a busy week coming up. We are finally going to start working on the house again. Yeah!

I hope you continue to enjoy our story.

Lisa and Mike


  1. I'll bet those cows would make some mighty fine eats!! That would solve your cow problem. :) OK ... so I was just kidding. ;-)

  2. LOL....I have threatened them before, lol. Last summer they tore out all of my green beans in the garden. I was not happy with them. Can you say steak, lol?