I am building my first home. Lucky me because it is in the woods! It is an adventure I surely will not forget.

Me with Rory

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another tree tagged for dropping

Barry, the well digger, came out and looked everything over. No surprise that there is still one more tree to fell. The boom has to go up 40 feet so the branches are in the way. He says having limbs fall on you from 30 or 40 feet in the air is not good. (I picture them turining into killer spears as they fall).
I had asked him out to the property a while back and I asked his advice on everything for the well. He happily shared with me his knowledge, he even threw in advice on building and excavation. Every time he speaks to me I get a little insight into his world. The one where he says no one asks his opinion on the site, as I had, he says he is 'just the dumb well guy' (mimicking customers) and that they just point to where they want the well and say "over there".
Wow, I cracked up because he is second generation well digger and he use to help his father all while he grew up. I can't image not asking his opinion! He told me all the depths of the wells around and to not go up the hill with it (keep it low), make sure it is 25 feet from the house in case I need to have the house sprayed with pesticides, keep the well area accesssible for repairs, etc.
Yesterday he came out and checked things over again, saw a small tree that needed to come down, went home and got his saw, came back and cut it and then cut into the other tree to mark it for felling.
He says there is still too much mud and ruts right off the road, but let's wait for it to freeze up. Next time he says use huge course stone first unless we do use the shale from the mound like we had planned originally.
It is snowing again, so I will have to go back out and shovel tomorrow.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Heave ho

Spent many hours shoveling out the roadway this past week. The well truck needs to get in and there was too much snow and it was way too wet. I am hoping that getting the snow off it will help to dry it up and let it freeze. Temps have been unseasonably high, so even with lots of stone for most of the road there are still muddy areas. What was dry two weeks ago and didn't need stone, now are mud pies.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Toyota truck goodbyes

Here she sits at the dealership when I visited her a week ago.
My loyal Toyota Tacoma has been taken off the road forever as it failed the frame inspection on XMas eve. Toyota had a recall (really and extended warranty problem, something or other) on the frame and has been inspecting 95-2000 Tacomas to make sure they are safe.
So my black beauty failed and will soon be on its way to a .... insert sad face...crusher.
Daughter got me a Priceline.com ticket for about $200. to fly to Georgia to buy this truck. I drove the beauty all the way back up North and have been bonded to it ever since. My little friend, Blondie, rode in the back; my niece and nephew rode in the back; and Smiley and his friend rode in the back all '4 Wheelin', sans the 4x4 part, to or from my campsite!
Most recently my boss heard its wheels spin on his voice mail as I tried successfully to get it up the hay road to check on my campsite while taking Smiley and his friend on an adventure.
Remembering the day Jeff pimped-my-ride with the rain guards he put over the windows.
Remembering the time the squirrels ate through the harness and it cost me $$$$$ and BIL's skillful hands to replace it.
Sad day, but as daughter reminds me ...now I can get a 'new' truck and have fun looking for one, also I am happy to get a 4x4 this time for all my off-roading.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Muddy play

The culvert is in. One truckload of stone has been spread on the new roadway near the stream. Smiley is over there today finishing up but I am missing the action 'cause I am here at work. 

Hay Road

Quick clean up because Smiley and helper had down time while waiting for the power company to finish up with the poles. We were all there waiting to start work on putting in the culvert.
I pulled up to the hill road and there were about 6 or 7 power company vehicles, two pick up trucks, a trailer pulling an excavator (Sammies crew), plus my girly truck! 
All this on the little narrow road at the top of the hill at the turn! What a site! Yellow lights were flashing, cones and flags were out, crazy. And people think living in the country is quiet and peaceful! 

This tree fell on the hay road blocking access to my fort!

This is across the main road.

Tuesday morning

Six days from the storms onset, here are the power companies contractors, all the way from Michigan.

Donated culvert

Jeff gave me this culvert! Yeah!

Power lines

Here is the route into the property I am building on. This is what delayed getting the culvert in. I think it is so funny that Bro and I were so worried about knocking trees onto the lines and then a couple of weeks later this storm broke the cross bars on two poles and had trees hung up in the lines all along the access roads to the well site!
 Of course if we had done this it would have cost us TONS of mulla, but since it was Mother Natures destruction we were off the hook.

Ice Storm

Here are a few pictures from our first real winter storm.
These are each from coming up over the hill from the north to south near H's pond.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ice storm

I'm headed out to the property in a few minutes to check on things. Sammy was going to put in the culvert yesterday afternoon or this morning, but we had an ice storm, so I don't know if it was possible.
The neighbor is without water, power, and heat! She wants to stay there, though, and not go into town. I put a call in to the town to see what's up and found out they have a warming center at the grange and the senoir center.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Save $

Daughter sent me this cool link to an article on building a home.


The well digger, Barry, left me a message yesterday saying he is going away until the 18th and then finishing up a well he already has started. Right after that he is coming to do mine! So by the third week or so in December he will be pounding it. Yeah! So it looks like my major Xmas present will be drinking water!

Friday, December 5, 2008

I am dreaming about M & M ['s]

Yummy, but no, not that kind...Eminem! Yes, the rapper. I dreamt that I was hanging out with him at Ma's and I may have been interviewing him, but it was very casual. There were other people around like friends and his family.
I asked him if he used MacSpeech Dictate when he wrote his memoir. He looked at me in disbelief (at that moment, he knew I knew and so did I) and it took a while for him to formulate words. He asked why I would think so and I told him because
1. he mentioned in his book that he doesn't like to read
2. the writing is as if he were speaking the words
3. lastly, because he is in the music world and musicians use CuBase
It would only be a natural transition for him to one day ask "isn't there a way I can digitize my voice the same way we digitize music from a keyboard in a program that turns it into key notes and turn my voice into editable text"?
Reasonable right? and yes, in my dream he confirmed my psychic notion.

I think I should really buy MacSpeech Dictate now. What do you think? I mean if Eminem uses it in my dream, then I should too.
Afterall, I am writing my memoir.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nice surprise

Guess what welcomed me yesterday as I pulled up to the property?
It was wrapped around a stick right smack in the middle of the new entrance.

I believe it is a sign of things to come!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Here is another pic of the new roadway made for the well truck to access the well site.

Bro fun

Bro came home for Thanksgiving and it was one of the nicest ones I've had in a while. He and I played loggers in the woods for three days. He did all the chain sawing and I did 95% of the clearing.
You can see the last one with the huge root system he is cutting, that is by the swampy area, near the well site. Look to the left and see the long cleared roadway. This is what we were clearing for the well truck to get in.

Final well site

Yes, I have picked it, finally after weeks of torturing myself. I am confident now, that this is the right spot.
It is down by where the stream floods out (near the old goat field).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I need to get the deed form at the legal supply place, get two tax forms from the county clerks office, get survey, subdivision through the town, possible title search, pay Ma, and bring signed and notarized deed and the signed (buyer and seller) tax forms back to the county clerks office. I'll have to check and see if there is a filing fee. The county clerks office notifies the assessors office of the purchase.
This is what I will be doing during the cold winter months.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I finally chose the spot for the well. After careful (too careful) deliberation with myself, dreams, God, the trees, the fairies, snakes, and spiders in the woods, the dowsers, friends, and the well driller it has been decided.
Drum roll please...The lower spot! That is it. The first intersection of veins June and Betts selected two months ago wins!
Now that I have made the decision the torture is over. At least for this big decision. We'll see about the next one.
The well drillers contract has been sent back to him, signed, so we are getting close.

Bro home, Great Aunt died

Bro came home last night and it actually worked out if you can say death worked out...that Great Aunt passed and the wake was today. The part that worked out is that Ma has him there to keep her company since Great Aunt and Ma were so close.
Ma is sad and it is a comfort to know Bro will keep her active and in good company.
We went out to lunch at the Lebanese Restaurant after the wake today. Bro is taking her out-of-state for the big turkey day.
As for the 'project' Bro is going to clear some trees with his trusty chainsaw. I swear he comes home just so he can use it. He loves the smell of gasoline vapors and grey smoke blowing up his nose.
I marked off, yes, more string in the woods, the areas to clear. 110' x 75' for the leach field and the roadway for the well truck.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Don't forget the junkyard

Bro had a great idea I must act on. He suggested I contact his buddy, the junkyard guy, and ask if he has a culvert! I have been looking on freecycle and re-use-it on the Web but, duh, what about old school? The junkyard is where so many treasures are waiting to be loved.

I mailed Barry, the-well-guy, the signed contract. So baby steps forward.

I erased myself off of whitepages.com today. They have an easy way to take yourself off. After a conversation with Sis, it was decided I need to get my phone number removed from as much as possible before the identity theft bandit is arrested. He is Internet savvy, after all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bandit caught

The identity theft bandit in my life has been identified. (Thanks to my detective work and the help of all the many vendors that have been calling my house, and the companies that have been billing to my phone number). The detectives questioned the perp and he admitted to doing it. They let him go and now will arrest him soon. I have changed my phone number, so if you want me you can post here in comments or email me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


6", 8", 10", 12", 15", 18", 36" plastic culverts are available for the intermittent stream.
12" = 165.00 15" = 215.00
18" = 319.95
20 foot sections.
Delivered $15.00.
I'm going with the 12". If it ends up there is even a ton more water in the spring we will double it up.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Sammy is coming by to check out what Barry wants in terms of culvert and tree felling in order to get his truck in. Cool. Sammy will put in the culvert, etc. I hope this coming week.
I spoke with June this morning, I suppose I was really looking for reassurance of which great spot to put the well. We have two dowsed spots, one up and one down. The one up has a really strong pull on the rods when you walk past the vein, the lower spot sort of floats to a crossed position. There is definitely energy disturbance in both areas, even I feel it with my tiny rods. I must decide without delay, so that we can put the culvert in and dig the well this next week. I am going to go meditate and pray on it on-site tomorrow. Please lead me God.
I am excited because once the well is happening it all becomes so real!
Yikes and Yeah at the same time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Well pounding ready to start

Barry Berger came out on Sunday (rained Saturday) and it all went great. 
He had a cancellation and said he can start pounding as soon as I am ready! So I won't have to wait until the beginning of next year, as he had first thought. Yeah!
He is going to mail me a contract. I am moving forward. 
He wants 2 grand deposit when he arrives and starts pounding, 2 grand minimum (in case he hits water at 50 feet he can still make his costs, etc. for prep, pounding, set up, etc.), that seems fair, and $75. for shoe that goes around the casing and seals it at the bottom of the casing, plus pump. 
Pump cost is subject to need, ie: half horse power pump or one and a half horse, etc.
He said the well can be any distance from the house (no closer than 25' because if the house needs any pesticide, there is a 25' minimum). He said if the pump can pump 800' up from the earth it can pump hundreds of feet across to a house and up inclines.
The cost break out is $25.00 a foot for pounding depth, $18.00 a foot for casing (40 foot minimum) plus the shoe, plus the pump = total (2 grand minimum). 
In addition, after the home gets erected, Sammy will need to dig the trench for the pipe from well to house, and Barry will come back out, at separate cost, to do hook up at each point.
He was extremely helpful, gave his time, expertise, and advice. He was very clear about everything. Of course, growing up helping his Dad do wells his entire life helps, and the fact he knows all the wells around the property because he dug them, his father dug them, or he has repaired them. 
He said for me to not consider going any further up the side road away from Mom's with the well than the mid way point June found. He said the water was more toward Mom's.
He said most of the people up the Hill had very deep wells (this is what others told me too, and matches up with the dowser that the upper end of the property didn't have anything).
He works with dowsers and is supportive of that ideology.
I need to have the culvert dropped into the intermittent stream in order for him to get his truck in. I also need to get some more trees down (only 2 big ones ) rest are all small.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Well tour

Saturday the well guy, Barry Burger, will be out to look things over. I asked him to come and tell me what terrain and space his truck needs. Truck is 20-22' long, pounder goes up to 40' and when it is lowered it can get under most power lines. Best for him to come and look so that Sammy can clear out any trees that are in the way.
Prices are $18 a foot for casing and I forget $20 or 22 a foot for dig. This guy has a good reputation for being honest and stopping when he hits water. 
I also rode the school bus with him all through school.
I'm going with a pounded well as my research tells me they are the best to let the digger know they hit a vein. 
Drilling can go right past a vein and you may never know.
Oh, and he has a history of working with dowsers.
He isn't available until after the first of the year, but it is worth waiting and having someone I know and trust do the work than to bring a stranger in.
It will give Sammy time to clear the way and for me to finalize the building site which is leaning heavily on the mound. High and dry, and beautiful.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sand price.

First sand quote: $11.00 a yard. 20 yards per truck. Truck is a 10 wheel dump truck. Price includes delivery, but I forgot to ask if it includes tax. 
The vendor has approved sand and will guarantee it to perk. He also will deliver it to the town.  
I never realized it is like pizza delivery...you know some places won't deliver to your house depending on your neighborhood...like that, some won't deliver that far out.
Did I mention that after the thousands of dollars in sand is spent, that the county comes back out and percs the sand, after the entire sand created leach field is in place? If it fails, the sand has to be removed and new sand brought in. This is why it is important to get a guarantee on the sand.
Who would have thought?

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I'm having a little identity theft problem over here.  It all has to do with my phone number, not my name, social security number, or address! Anyway, I am a bit tied up with straightening it all out now. The police will be able to take it from here. Hopefully this will be the end of it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Coming to work this morning I saw snow on the mountains in the hilltowns. I was hoping to get the foundation in before it got too cold, but it may have to wait 'til Spring. We'll see. One step at a time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

These are wetland type leach fields. Plant life decomposes the waste, cleaning it, and then filters it back into the environment. This is more natural, more condusive to the environment.
Many have liners or cells underneath it all. Bacteria in the tank decomposes the solids. Only the already broken down liquid is piped to the wetland area, for further cleansing, before it releases back to nature through evaporation.
The tank does it's job, and then, instead of leaching into pipes buried under 800 yards of sand it would leach into this controlled wetland area.

More septic info, in case you haven't had enough

Picture all these fields in a sand mound 4' above the ground.

I placed a couple of calls to some engineers I know through work, no luck. Then it dawned on me that I know the town engineer from next door, so I've left him a mesage.
After that I called a friend at the town hall that knows everyone. He told me to stop over because there are 3 engineers! I hope to find out if it is worth paying an engineer for the septic design instead of the almost free county one.
Now, you are asking, well, why pay for an engineer when the county does it all (perc/layout/inspection), for one price? Because the county quite possibly over designs, whereas a qualified engineer may have better and more affordable ways to design the system.
For example, the county only will do a mound system with me. Well, there are a lot of other kinds, like wetland or marsh systems. Whether it is appropriate for this location considering the amount of shale, I don't know. It is worth a phone call, though.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Dowsing for water.

More water veins

I am ready to have the well digger come out - now that the septic field placement has been solidified - so I asked June to come out again to dowse some more. She dowsed around two more prospective building sites. I like the knoll the best, now, but I wanted her to 'feel' around in the pines also. This is the water vein she found up on the knoll. Two veins together, one over the other. One is about 100 feet and the other 300 feet down. She said it actually had the strongest pull of the three areas of veins she has uncovered so far.

I marked it with two stakes with red flags and the white bucket, way back (which I switched out with some rocks).

Too Pretty

To give you bearings on this pic, this is almost to the main road, facing west. At the horizon line is the ridge that slopes down to the main road.
This is such a pretty spot. Too pretty to picture oozing septic! This is the spot, though, that the leach field will go. The trees have to be cut flush to the ground rather than knocked over with the excavator. 
This was one of the spots I originally selected for the house. After some consultations, I realized that putting a driveway so far back in, would be really costly and I also realized that the pretty site would no longer exist if it had a house in it, the trees would have had to go. Anyway, as fate would have it, this will be the septic field. Suzie said it will now be called a glade. Good idea. She called it G...z's Glade. 
Suzie definitely gave it a positive spin. She said I could put my garden on it and have a nice view from the knoll.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Right in the Middle

When Mom said I could buy the property she said she didn't want to have a chunk cut out of the middle. I didn't either. I wanted the upper end, the older woods. 
The way the whole project is going, though, the middle is the only place the county says we can put the septic. I'll have to speak with Mom to see if this is acceptable to her or not. 
Wish me luck! Pray for me, please, if you'd like.
The septic area has to be level, away from water, and of course away from those dang power lines. If it is graded then I would have to bring in tons more dirt (if it is allowed by the county) and then the cost would skyrocket with dirt and labor. Dirt is really a ton of $ when you consider we're talking truck loads already, with the existing top soil. 
So, the county was looking for 110' x 75' level land for the leach field, 100 feet from intermitent stream (now called drainage ditch, haha), 100 feet from well, and 25 feet from the ridge of the main road, only leaves one spot. Right in the middle!


I left a message for Betts and June to come out again. June had offered to come out and dowse again before I have the well dug. Double checking the land and confirming everything. I look forward to it. Not only is it practical, but it is way fun!

Crow Architect

I spoke with Crow Architect today and she confirmed what I thought. She said we can do a barn conversion in the town we are in. I told her that when I asked the building inspector if I could live in a barn or garage, he laughed at me and said no. I realized later that perhaps I wasn't clear. I wanted to know if they allowed me living in a converted barn. 
Crow was really empathetic and said not to listen to him, because it is totally acceptable. 
To do the plans she would come out and do an on-site measurement before the barn is dismantled (I figured this from my movie experience), draw it up, and then I'd submit drawings for the building permit. 
No word on whether or not I am getting the barn, which is all good. I just want to be prepared. I need to get all these other matters settled first before I have any house plans done anyway.
She said if I do a basement (which I wanted) that there is a lot involved with a barn, due to the structural elements. She explained these to me and said we can do it if I want, but it is more complicated (that translates to $). 
Crow told me it is easier and less expensive to do a slab for a barn. That barns are built to go on the ground. 4' footings, 2' pads for under the breaks? (I think those are interior vertical supports), and the slab with control joints. I forgot how deep the slab is, but I know she said we need mass. She told me the slab and walls of foundation would be insulated to keep it from getting cold. 
I asked her about radiant heat, then, and she said it would be good in this scenario. 
We'll see what happens. At least I know that I can do the barn conversion in the town.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It perc'ed

But don't get too excited, while that is all good and I am definitely pleased, County Guy said I have to bring in 4' of sand.
4' doesn't sound bad right? But remember that is 4' high over a huge amount of land.
The entire outside area dimensions will be about 110' x 75' (but the sides will be sloped).
500 yards of dirt, he said, with 30% compression which ends up being 800 - 1000 yards of septic sand, at possibly 10 -12 $ a yard.
Plus clearing the land, septic pipe and tank, and oh yeah, don't forget labor...

25 feet away, if that.

At first I thought I saw a dog, and right when I said to County Guy, "I think that's a dog up there" I knew it was a coyote. Having never seen one up close and personal before...I said "Do you think that's a coyote?"...in my disbelief.

Thank goodness he was walking along the ridge of the knoll (yes, the one where I want the house) and we were sitting at the bottom of it, at the most 25 feet away. The coyote just went along its business, headed uphill.
Earlier this morning, Neighbor was at the site with me and we watched a partridge with delight. What fun.
Now the coyote, well...that's another thing.