Thursday, July 30, 2015

Permit Day!

On January 9, 2015, I walked into the county planning office and submitted a set of home-made plans for a little 888-square-foot bungalow.

Today, six months and twenty one days later, I walked out with my shiny new building permit.

I admit I was a little disappointed in what it looked like - it's just the application I turned in back in January, with one difference: on the last three lines on the back side, there are three beautiful signatures, next to the word "Approved."

My pal DJ in the county, handing me my permit at last.

Let the fun begin!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Thought sure I was going to get the building permit on Friday.  Sat with the county engineer and went through his latest markups and he finally signed off on the plans, then went to a technician whose job was to check off the list of all the hoops I've had to go through, and she got to the last item and found a problem.

I had been told that I have to put a little ten-foot strip of asphalt between my dirt driveway and the county road. God forbid I should track my dirt out onto the street...  Well that little job takes another permit (and about $1000 in fees), and I hadn't applied for it.  To make it worse, an inspector has to come out to the property and approve the location of the driveway before they'll issue the driveway permit, which I need to get the building permit. Following all this?

Welcome to my world.

After three phone calls and an email, I finally spoke with the inspector, and she offered to come out today.  That was nice, because I had been camping out there for a couple of days, playing in the dirt with an old tractor, and I wanted to be there when she did the inspection.  Good thing I was, too, because she was at the wrong driveway when she called to say she had arrived.

Happily, she approved the location, after making me promise to cut down a little scrub oak that was interfering with visibility coming out of the driveway.  I had the chainsaw and loppers in the truck, so I went right to work on the tree.

Here are some before-and-after shots

The little tree is on the far left of the first picture.  I had to move the driveway closer to it to avoid crossing the corner of my neighbor's property. Only a stump remains after today.  You can see the quality of street pavement that we're trying to protect...

The drive before.  

The drive today.  Money permitting,
it will be covered with gravel
when construction is finished.
The turning circle when I bought the place.
The turning circle after I "Zenned" it up.

I camped in a cozy little stand of oaks at the top of the property.  It provides shade in the afternoons, so I'll probably make that my temporary home when I move out to the property during construction. 

Stay tuned for the building permit!
(I've been tuned for eight months!)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 12, 2015 - We have power! (sort of...)

I have this generator that weighs almost 250 pounds.  It will pump water, run power tools, and charge my trailer batteries during construction.  I'll need it for all power until the solar system is installed, and even after that, it will be my backup.

I've hauled it out there for well testing and for working on the outhouse and it's too heavy for me to get in and out of the truck by myself, so I've driven a lot of miles with a big ol' generator in the back.

No more.  It now has a little house of its own out on the property, and even has a wire buried in a shallow trench out to the well.

The box is bolted to buried concrete blocks and now sports a big padlock, so a thief will have to work a bit to get at it.

Ace - assistant gen-box installer
Exhaust comes out of the front of the genset and enters that recess in the door. It's deflected downward and exits right at ground level in front of the box.

Cooling air comes in the back from a similar recess, the machine's own fan moves the air over the engine and it exits out the front along with the exhaust. There is also room for some heat to escape from under the lid, even when it's closed.

The reason for all this diversion of the cooling air is to reduce the noise level. On a 90-degree day the temp under the lid was well in the safe zone, but I might install a little fan inside anyway to help make sure the exhaust doesn't collect in the box.

Here's the generator's previous home, parked out at the well:

Friday, July 10, 2015

July 10, 2015

Ok... one more "finishing touch" and then I'll stop going on about the outhouse.  Poor country folks couldn't always afford some of the luxuries we city folk take for granted, including out back in the John. Once a year a free copy of the Sears Roebuck catalog arrived in the mail, and out back it went.  Its pages provided reading material, and then served other...important purposes.

Once the catalog pages were gone, things got a little rougher....

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July 8, 2015

Still waiting for the county to respond to my third-round plans submittal - hopefully with a building permit this time. I gave them all the engineering and other malarkey they asked for, so fingers crossed.

Spent three hours with a weed whacker yesterday knocking down some of the growth brought on by the spring rains, and put the finishing touches on the outhouse.

Found a couple vintage outhouse signs and hung the crooked smokestack.