Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chapter 63...More Big Equipment And Moving Things

Off Grid...Chapter 63

Hi everyone. It has been such a busy week here that I have to split this chapter into a part one and a part two.

Monday 5-18
It is freezing out this morning. Isn't this May, lol? I have been covering my poor little veggie plants and seeds at night.

Mike talked with our grader, Jimmy, this morning to see if he was coming over to work today. He said he got backed up because of the rain last week so he can be here on Wednesday.

The next call Mike makes is to our concrete man, Jim. He said he could squeeze us in between a couple of jobs to do our walls and patio. He will be here on Wednesday and Thursday. Uh oh that means we have to get the block out before then so Mike has to call Jimmy our grader back. Mike told him the situation and Jimmy says "no problem I'll re-schedule my guys and make sure you have the track hoe and some help tomorrow. What a guy. Jimmy always comes through for us.

Finally after getting all the contractors lined up Mike and I venture out of the house. First we stop at the dump and on the way back we stop in at the Farm Supply. I decided to buy the pressure canner that they have because I'm afraid if I wait too long they will be sold out.

We talked to David and his daughters for awhile. They are planning a "huge" garden. They are doing 3 or 4 big gardens. They are all pretty funny to listen to because the girls both said they wanted a smaller garden than they had last year. Well David tilled up more land this year, lol. It looks like they are going to be very busy. Now that I have a pressure canner I told them I'd be more than happy to take any extra vegetables off their hands. They said no problem.

It starts to get a little warmer and Mike says we should go over and mow the other property in case we get stuck with all the contractors and can't get there this week. Sounds like a plan so we load up the trailer and head out.
It must have rained really hard here. The ground is saturated. Oh well we will just have to do the best we can. After about an hour I was up by the road weed eating and Mike comes along with the mower. Next thing I hear is this really load sound. Uh oh Mike hit something with the mower blades. It turns out he hit a stump that he has never hit before. He hit it this time because the ground was so saturated that the mower sunk in lower. Sure enough he bent the blade.

Oh well. Time to go home and fix the mower. We make it home and Mike takes the mower off the trailer. He puts our homemade ramps under the front wheels and I help him unbolt the blades.

Finally we get them off and Mike bangs out the dent, sharpens them, and we put them back on the mower.

While Mike was sharpening the blades I started moving some of our leftover wood and tools away from the building. We need to clean up the yard so the track hoe and trucks can fit in here and move the buildings around tomorrow.

It's supposed to be 32 degrees tonight so Mike helps me cover the plants.

Tuesday- 5-19
Woo hoo. Today is a big day. Mike and I get up at 6:30am(which is so unlike us, lol) to get ready to help out today.

Well it turns out we ended up waiting on the contractor but that's ok because at least he showed up. One of Jimmy's workers, Eric, showed up and brought the track-hoe to the top. Woo hoo the "big boy" is here.

First on the agenda is to pull out all the block from the front of the house. We put all the blocks in originally to hold the dirt and keep the hill from washing away. Unfortunately between the weight of the dirt, the rain, snow, freezing, and warming temps. the blocks slid forward. Another lesson learned. If you do a berm house make sure you "pour the wings."

Mike tells Eric to start on the left side of the house. Mike wants him to pull these block out from the top so that Eric doesn't have to ride over our septic tank and gas line.

Mike is hooking the chain to the block.

Eric turns the track-hoe and brings the block to the top.

He will stack all the block up top and later they will load it up into a dump truck and haul it out of here.

After about 5 trips back and forth the last block from the first side is coming out.

Onto the other side. This time Eric has to bring the track-hoe down front because the solar panels are in the way.

Taking the first block out on the second side.

Mike hooks the chain to a half block and Eric starts to lift it. Uh oh, it's a miss and they lose the block and it starts to roll. Oops!! Thankfully it didn't hit the house and no damage was done.

It seems like we disturbed the home of a little mouse. He is really cute "as long as he stays outside, lol."

Now that Mike and Eric are closer to having all the block removed I need to hustle. Both of our shipping containers have to be completely empty so that they can be moved. Oh yeah did I tell all of you Mike changed his mind? He didn't like how far out our green container was so now he doesn't want to do the "covered garage" plan.

We are going to swap the containers. First we have to pull the green container out. Then we are going to put the gray container where the green container was but we are going to turn it in the other direction. Does this seem a little familiar to you? That's because this is where we had the gray container "originally" last summer, lol.

Ok, back to emptying the buildings. We hooked up one trailer to the Jeep and hooked the other trailer to the 4-wheeler and we backed them both up to the gray building. This will make it easier to get everything out of the way.

Mike and I are just about done when reinforcements arrive. It's Randy 1 and Randy 2 to with a dump truck for the block. They are also here to help move the buildings. This time we know how to move the shipping container the easy way. The guys hook up the chains to the top of the green building and attach it to the track-hoe.

Randy is able to lift the whole building with no trouble. Cool. I love the power of big machines.

Now that the green container is out of the way it's time to move the gray one. They can't lift it yet because the gray one is too close to the fence.

Here they are pulling the gray container out.

This is organized chaos. I have to show all of you what this looks like from the top. I hike up the back hill to take a picture of our yard. We are so lucky we made this much flat land last year, lol. The buildings kind of look like 2 trains.

Once the gray building is out of the way they lift up the green one and carry it back to spot.

We put it on the piers and level it. Yay one container is done. Next we go back to the gray building. The spot needs a quick re grade because we are now turning the building the other way. That gets done and the chains a hooked again. They lift the gray building, set it on the block, and get it leveled.

Yeah. Both building are moved and are in their final(I hope) locations and leveled. Woo hoo.

Just as we are finishing up Jimmy shows up to check on things. He is just in time to help us move the big wind generator, lol. Of course the breeze picks up as soon as we are ready to take it down.

We get the chains hooked to the pole and the track-hoe.

Jimmy and I stay on the ground to help guide the pole when Randy pulls it out with the track-hoe. Mike is on top of the track-hoe making sure the blades don't get damaged. With the power of the track-hoe, the wind generator, pole (concrete and all), is lifted right out of the ground. We get it down and Mike and I take it apart.

We decided we are going to use just the solar panels. The wind generator produced power for us during the nights in the winter when it was windy out but it wasn't consistently windy enough to produce much power. We would be better off with more panels if needed but I think we are just fine. Right now the panels can get us through 5 days with no sun so we are happy with that. The panels are also easier to maintain and we don't have to worry about them falling over, lol.

Now that everyone is gone we can start putting everything back into the buildings. Mike is in charge of the gray building and I get the green building. It's been a long day so for now we just want to get it all inside in case it rains.

Wednesday 5-20
Today is the day our concrete crew is supposed to show to do the footers for the walls. Mike starts out by digging out the hill by the house. The concrete crew needs 4 feet to put the footer in.

Mike is digging out the dirt.

All the block is gone and we are ready for the concrete crew. So much for last weeks picture of the front of the house, lol.

Unfortunately we get a call and the crew won't be here until tomorrow. That really stinks because because Jimmy got over here last minute to help us with the buildings so we would be ready. Oh well at least we got it all done.

Mike and I go up top and finish cleaning the yard area. We load up all of the wood onto the trailer and take it to the barn. On the way we stop off at the burn pile and we get rid of some of the real junk pieces. Now you know it has to be real junk because Mike and I never get rid of anything, lol.

Here is the yard all nice and neat except for the tore up grass.

Mike and I spent the remainder of the day organizing the buildings and grading and raking the yard.

Well I am going to stop here so this part of the story doesn't become too long. We are in good shape for the concrete crew. I hope you all enjoyed this first part of the chapter.


P.S. Sorry for all the words in this story. Mike hates my stories when it is just too much reading, lol. I'll have more pictures and less words next time, lol.


  1. I don't know why ... but I thought the solar panels were at the back of the house. I gather that is not the case. I notice they were not there in one of the pictures and I think I had a peek of them on the one side of the house in another picture. What made me think they were at the back?? I'm getting confused I guess.

    Still loving the stories thought. Like I said before ... I am living vicariously through your adventure. OH ... to be young again. :)

    1. LOL...Mike has been striving for perfection with the solar panels since day one. They were on top of the back of the house..then on the side of the house....then we moved them to the top of the shipping container. Guess what....Mike has a new plan and larger solar panels for this spring....then I quit, lol. Not really.

    2. LOL ... it's all about trial and error. Dang ... I knew I say those panels at the back of the house at one time. Or maybe I am going crazy. LOL I am loving your adventures ... truly a remarkable couple.

    3. I just wish someone else did all the trial and error before us, lol. This whole process has been one big learning adventure and truthfully that is the best way to really learn it.