Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chapter 55...Making Concrete Forms And Fencing

Off Grid...Chapter 55

We had great weather Saturday and Sunday but now that seems long gone. We are now expecting anywhere from 2-6 inches of snow today and tomorrow. Yuk. Isn't this supposed to be spring?

Monday 3-30
We got our concrete quote this morning for the poured wings on the house, a front patio, and a pad for the 2 shipping containers with a floor in between the two. It came in almost double of what we expected so we need to re think this.

We went to David's and picked up ten 8 foot poles so we can start working on our perimeter fence around the house. We also looked at some concrete tank covers that were 3x3. We thought we might be able to use those under the corners of the shipping containers rather than doing a whole pad that would mostly be hidden. They were $120.00 each and we would need 8 of them.

Tuesday 3-31
It's a cool day out so we are not working outside. We did get a load of gravel delivered to cover the spot in the driveway that we tore up last week from the culvert.

We went to town and stopped at the masonry supply to see what they had for pads. They had a ton of stuff just nothing we could use. Concrete blocks aren't strong enough.

Wednesday 4-1
It's cold and rainy and we are stuck again with no work.

Thursday 4-2
Finally it looks a little nice out. I had to go to the dentist and Mike started working on our fence.

He started redoing the fence around our house. Originally we had our single corner posts and 2 strands of barbed wire. Last fall we started to add a 4th strand of barbed wire but we never finished it. We are also going to install the extra poles we bought next to each corner pole and make corner braces. This will make the fence stronger and hopefully keep the cows out.

Mike started working on the first pole next to our gate and he installed the cross bracing. This is what Mike did today.

He said he missed me and hates working without me. Ah isn't he sweet?

Friday 4-3
It's really really windy and cold out today. No work again!

Saturday 4-4
Yeah. It looks like we are going to have a nice day. I see blue skies. Woo hoo. First thing we do is load up the trailer and go into town to the building supply. We picked up 8 boards for our cross bracing some 2x4's and also 320 pounds of concrete.

Once we got home we got all of the tools together and started working n our first fence corner. First we have to take off the existing barbed wire so we can start working. After that we can start digging the poles in.

Here is Mike digging a hole for the pole.

Mike and I take turns with the post hole digger and our metal bar. It goes much faster when we work together.

First pole is in.

Next we have to measure and cut the boards for the crosses to brace the poles. Mike is measuring the board to be cut.

Mike installing the cross boards on the poles.

Here I am screwing in the eye bolts to hold the barbed wire.

We like using the eye bolts instead of staples because it is so much neater and it is also very easy to tighten later on. The staples always look very messy and they are a pain to repair if you ever have to tighten your fence lines.

Both poles are installed on both sides of the corner pole and the bracing is done. Now we just have to paint everything so it looks really nice.

After that we reconnected the 3 strands of barbed wire that we took off and we added 1 more wire to the fence. The first section is done.

Howard, Ivalee, and Eric showed up to clean some wood out of the barn that Mike said they could have. They think 1 cow will have a calf within a couple of days. They will be back each day to check on her. Eric told me that if a cow lays down to have her calf with her back going down the hill she can't get up on her own and she can die there. I thought he was joking but he said he's seen it happen before. The cows won't roll over on their own.

Back to work. Mike decided to make our own pier blocks for underneath the shipping containers. We need to make eight of them 4 under each corner of each building.

We are making them 2x2x4 with rebar in the concrete for reinforcement.

First we cut up the 2x4's to make our forms. Here is out first form board.

While Mike starts cutting the rebar into smaller pieces I start mixing the concrete and shovel it into the first form.

Here is the second form with concrete and rebar in it.

We made two concrete pads now we just have to wait for them to dry. We used two 80 pound bags of concrete for each 2x2x4 form. Each pad cost about $10.00 to make as opposed to $120.00 for the ones at David's for the pre made 3x3's and we won't even talk about what a full pad would have cost. Now that's what I call a deal. We only have six more to make.

For a very bad week at least we had a full day of work. I am holding off on Sunday for next week. I'm afraid with all this bad weather coming in I won't have a story for next week. Keep your fingers crossed that the forecasters are wrong.

I will leave you with this picture of the sky last night.

I hope you all enjoyed the story. 



  1. Why am I not at all surprised that Mike decided to make his own forms. :)

  2. I'm still surprised that he didn't build the furniture!

    1. Mike loves to build "big" things but he has no patience for building furniture. He likes to see a lot get done at one time and furniture building is a very detailed and much slower process.