Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chapter 9...Siding, Curlex, Fencing and Cows

Off Grid...Chapter 9

Hi everyone. Back to the week of July 7, 2008.

We just wanted to give you a quick update for the reasons why we are constructing this home the way we are.
1. The main purpose for the 10" thick concrete walls, the 4" concrete slab, and backfilling dirt on the sides and back of the house is to cool the house without the need for air conditioning. The earth stays at approximately 50 degrees year round.
2. The white metal roof is also an aid in cooling. The white reflects the sun and will keep the house cooler. Unfortunately this was not our first choice but a necessary one.
3. Also during the winter, the earth around the home makes the best insulation.
4. The house is 1140 sq. ft. We made this house small because it wll be easier to maintain. Remember this house will be wind and solar powered.

This morning we loaded up our trailer with trash and went to the County Dump. Usually we are in and out of there in a heartbeat. This time there was a line and it seemed to take forever. After the dump we went to the local building supply to pick up 3 more sheets of T1-11 and 84 feet of 1x4 trim for the siding and around the patio doors.

Finally, we got to the property. Ahh, peace and tranquility. The first thing we had to do was unload the trailer and bring all the lumber and our equipment down to the house. It used to be much easier when the house was open and we could just slide everything down the back of the house. Just getting everything ready to "start" work can make you tired.

Mike started by finishing the siding from yesterday. We were short 3 pieces. Then he started to measure and cut our pieces of trim to fit around the patio doors.

Mike made angle cuts on the trim so it looks nice and clean. When Mike finished testing and fitting the trim pieces I painted them with a primer coat. After I finished painting the trim I started to paint the front of the house using a roller and a brush to fill in the lines on the siding. The painting was easy but I was a mess. I had paint splattered all over me and I probably looked 10 years older with the white paint in my hair. I don't get it, whenever Mike paints he always stays clean and it drives me crazy. I don't know why but I am the world's sloppiest painter but I get the job done.

We got all of the trim up around the doors

And also on the siding

Mike was going to start caulking but it started to rain. At least we got the trim up and the house painted.


I know it's a lot of white but this is just a protective coat. We will be adding a color when we are up to the finishing touches. Any suggestions? We have to keep the color light and we like neutral colors. Also as you can see we have about 2 feet of concrete wall on the sides of our walls. We will eventually cover that with some kind of stone work. We will also have a deck along the front of the house- but that is for later, much later.

Today wasn't a hard day just a lot of up and down on the ladders and a lot of measuring and angle cuts for Mike.

When we woke up it was raining. This was not a good thing. We decided to pick up the trailer from the property and go to the local Farm Supply. We saw David, the man who helped us with our metal roof delivery, and his family. Hi guys. We bought some supplies and went back to the property. It stopped raining but now it was hot and humid. Mike got on the tractor and started working on our road. He was grading out some of the ruts since our last big rainfall.

I started working on another hill along side our driveway. This is how it looks before I did anything.

I used a rock rake first and then a finish rake to smooth it.

We will be mowing this area eventually and we don't want to hit any rocks. After I raked the hill then I seeded it, unrolled the curlex over it and started stapling it all down.
I usually love doing this but it was way too humid out.

Mike came up to the top and we took a break. After our break Mike went down to the house and started caulking. I went back to my hill. Just as I was finishing and taking pictures the cows showed up. I tried to tell them to go away and keep them off the area I just finished. Cows don't listen. Just as the cows started walking on my "new hill" and I am yelling at them Mike shows up. He thought it was pretty funny because I was surrounded by cows.

Mike shooed them away and I was able to put in some posts and string to protect my hill.

This is my hill with a view

I need to get more curlex to finish my hill. We started to put everything away and then it started to rain. That really stinks because Mike was caulking. I hope the caulking is ok. If not Mike will have to re-do it.

We got to the property and found a mess. The cows finally figured out that our white string around the house and around my hill from yesterday is not electric. I think the cows must have had a party. They knocked over all of our string, walked all over the curlex, left some marks on the front of the house(I'm glad we only have the primer coat of paint on), and left us some personal presents.

The first thing Mike did was get out the T-posts. We will be fencing off the entire top of the house site. Now maybe sooner than later. We will be using corner posts, T-posts, and wire for our fencing.
This is Mike banging in a T-post

We will put in a few each day. This way it never seems hard. For those who don't know what I am talking about this is a T-post

We put in 5 today.

We went down to the house and started working on the siding for the front of the trusses. We measured and cut the boards and I painted them.

While the paint was drying Mike went to clean his building and I went back to my hill and did another section.

After the paint dried on the boards Mike and I went back down to the house. We got up 2 boards and the sky started to change. We put everything away and waited inside the house for the rain to pass. Well it didn't pass and it started to pour. Unfortunately, we had to stop working for the day. Of course now that we are back in the motorhome it is beautiful out.

That's our story so far. Enjoy.

Lisa and Mike


  1. Michelle CrawfordMay 5, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    I was wondering when the cows would get a clue about the string fence! I am loving your story. My dad built/remodeled a few homes and this is all just taking me back, remembering. In my memories though, there were a lot more cuss words.

    1. I am so glad you like our story. Thank you so much for writing in. Not many cuss words here. Mike and I are pretty calm:)