Sunday, February 17, 2013

Chapter 15...Niki Meets The Cows & Spray Foam Insulation

Off Grid...Chapter 15

Back to the week of July 28, 2008
To start off with I just want to share a couple of pictures I got this morning.

This is Niki with #65(tag). They have already met.

Niki meeting #6b for the first time.

All of them together.

I just thought those were cute and had to share.

OK, back to our story.

We finally got back to doing some construction on the house. This week we are having spray foam insulation done so "we have" to close up the house. We only have the eaves left but we have been so busy that we never got back to them. We were determined to get this job done "today" unfortunately it was a Murphy's Law day. Things just didn't go right. Nothing went well for Mike and he ad all kinds of problems with drills and screws. While he was definitely not having fun I just kept quietly helping him. We had to measure and cut the boards, then Mike would climb up the ladder with the drill, and I would hand him the board to install. I stood at the bottom of the ladder with a pole raised above my head and held the board in place while Mike screwed it in. It wouldn't have been a bad morning except Mike had a bad drill bit and it gave him trouble all morning.

Installing the eaves.

We finally finished that job and went inside to get out of the heat. Later that day Mike's daughter, Nicole and grandson A.J., stopped by. A.J. is 10 and he wanted to know where the rest of the house was. I think it must be hard for kids to visualize how the house will be when there are no walls up yet. Howard's granddaughter also thought it was small. We had a nice visit but we had to rush them out because Mike and I had to get to our other property to mow. We left to go mow and as soon as we got to town the sky turned black(rain) not a good thing so we had to turn around and come home.

While it was raining Mike and I went back down to the house to change out one of the electrical panels. It kept popping fuses so we changed it to a 60amp box and Mike re-did all the wiring. This should have been a quick job but of course it took longer than expected.

Mike started the day by getting the other 3 solar panels and the two brackets and put them on the roof. We decided to bolt the panels to the brackets right on the roof. This way we wouldn't have to carry all 3 of them together and then have to lug them up on the roof.
Our set up for installing the brackets to the panels.

We were short 3 stainless steel washers so we had to drive to David's and pick them up. I hate it when you run out of something so small. When we got home we were able to finish the job. We finished bolting the solar panels to the brackets, then siliconed and drilled in bolts from the top of the roof to the inside. Then Mike went down inside the house pulled the bolts tight and put washers and nuts on. We finally have all 6 panels on the roof (this is all we have right now).

A picture of our panels and wind generator taken from the roof of the motorhome.

We also picked up two 60amp fuses and Mike put them in the box. He is running his circular saw from our own power and we didn't pop any fuses. Woo Hoo.

Here is a picture of our wind generator spinning. I wish I knew how to show it to you while it is moving.

It is really cool and I love the sound it makes.

Mike also graded the walkway on the side of the house, again. 

Everytime it rains we get ruts in the walkway. We aren't sure what we are doing with that section yet. For now I guess we will either put curlex on it or add some gravel just to keep the walkway from washing out.

Mike then took the tractor down to the house and loaded everything from the inside of the house into the bucket of the tractor. We have to empty the house out because the spray foam insulation is being done in the morning. While Mike was busy doing that I started painting (primer coat) the eaves that we installed. This ws not fun at all. First of all I had to be 10 feet high on the ladder, which you all know I don't like, and then I had to paint above my head. This is a definite recipe for disaster and what does Mike say to me? "Don't get paint on the ladder". I'm worried about falling off the ladder and he's worried about the paint. So I covered the ladder with an old sheet to protect it. I got about half done.

Mike told me to take a break because we have to go mow in a few hours.

Later that afternoon we finally got over to our other property and we were able to mow and weedeat. It seems to take us about 2 hours each week just to do the minimum. Mike hates having to go back there and do this but we have to. When we got back home we made it up our whole road without 4-wheel drive. It's time to celebrate. Our roads are getting better but of course they still need a lot more work.

This is a big day for us. The spray foam insulation is getting done, then our house will be completely sealed and we can start on the interior construction. YTat's our favorite part of building. Then you can really see things getting done.

The insulation company showed up on tiome, actually a little early and they got to work right away. While Mike and I emptied the house with help from one of their crew, the rest of them got everthing set up. They covered our doors and our electrical with plastic to keep it all protected from any overspray and they got all their equipment set up.
This is one of them just starting to spray in the insulation.

The material we are using is called Apex Earthseal Foam 1.8lb which is a closed cell insulation. That means it drys "hard", is waterproof, and it is a vapor barrier. It is the highest renewable resource content of any spray foam, adds structual strength, decreases energy costs by 60%, improves indoor air quality, eliminates air infiltration, and more.

It's pretty amazing stuff. This is it on our ceilings.

The front wall and ceiling. Check it out.

Once again we got lucky with our contractor. They did an excellent job even more than expected. They were testing a new spray gun and we actually got more insulation than planned. Thank you Clay. Good job and "Happy Belated Birthday" if you are reading this.
They also did a good job of cleaning everything up after they were done. They scraped all the floors and took all their garbage with them.

During that time I was back up on the ladder trying to finish the eaves.

Ahh. Finally done.

It was a really good day. The house is sealed up like a drum and now we can start working on interior walls. Mike just has to order the lumber.

After dinner Mike and I took our first walk "together" since we moved here. We have been so busy working that we haven't gone exploring. We started walking the fence line to the front of the property. At times it got steep but we made it down through the woods and to the front gate. We have tons of apple trees and some blackberry bushes. From the gate it's a long way back to the top. We started walking up our road, passed the cows by the barn, and started picking up rocks and throwing them into the ditch. About 1000 rocks later we made it to the top of our hill. If we did this every night we would be in great shape.

That's pretty much what we did for the past 3 days. Mike said we could take a day off now that the house is completely sealed up. We'll see. He already made the lumber list and it's "big".

We hope you are enjoyiung our story. Have a great day.

Lisa and Mike


  1. Shutter speed. In order to slow down the action of turning of the windmill you need to slow your shutter speed down on the camera. Depending on your camera you could try 1/30th of a second shutter speed and that might show the blades in motion.

    1. Ha, ha...thanks but you lost me. I am not tech savvy at all, lol. I will check it out though once I get this blog running smoothly.