Thursday, June 25, 2009

Busy Work Week

It figures. I have my building permit. It has actually been issued to me last Friday, but I did'nt even realize that until Monday. But like I said, work was supposed to be busy for the first part of this week, I'm still givin'er. Had to go and pick up a cattle liner in Edmonton that the boss bought at a Ritchie Bros sale, and then busy with hauling equipment to the new road job that just fired up today. Once things are all in place, supposedley, things should slow down for me again. I hate to say it, but going to work is actually like taking a paid holiday to me from what I have been doing lately, although, I would still rather not be at work right now.
Before I start to build, I do need to get some things straightend out. It sounds like I need to have an engineer design my foundation drainage system, (because of the wood foundation). I also need an Alberta based engineer to either stamp my rafter plans or draw something up for me. (Something like that, I'm not even sure at this time). lol. I'm not real sure who to even phone and find out these things yet. I am just trying to find a spare moment to get this stuff done. I have to work in the morning and hopefully I will be done for a while. I am planning to get on this stuff tomorrow afternoon (June 26) hopefully. I don't really want to get started digging until I talk to an engineer or who ever, because if I have an engineer on the line, I just might even change my whole foundation plans all together. It sure would be nice to go with the simpler, less expensive post type foundation for my minature mansion. I did phone my permit guy the other day. I had a pile of questions for him, and he was actually quite helpful. Seems like a pretty good guy actually. I totally understand now the reasoning behind the permit system. It does make alot of sense, although in a perfect world I would still rather bypass it alltogether and just build. Sometimes that would make alot more sense, but in my case, where I am, it just would'nt.
Well I have some pictures of my paid holiday from this week so far.
This is the cattle liner the boss just purchased for me, he must have forgot that I am trying to build a house. lol. It was a nice drive to Edmonton. I like these trips once inawhile, it is relaxing and gives me alot of time to think about everything on my mind.
Lots of buggies are required on the new road job. Lots of wheels to haul them too. This one is a 631E Cat motor scraper.
The D9N Cat Crawler.
And a bunch of other goodies and a dawg. So anyway, I enjoyed this little run of work for this week, but I really do hope that it goes away now. Not for everyone else, but just for me. Enough already. Time to build real soon.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Already starting to learn things.

Well today I talked to a permit man from Calgary, who did'nt like my foundation plans. They're not up to code. lol. I really think they enjoy saying that, "you can't do that". lol. That was the first one of those I heard out of probably many more to come. I guess my plans simply made too much sense. It is too logical to put a simple treated wood post foundation under a cabin in Alberta, I guess. No, they want to treat my little cabin, like it is a mansion or something. If I had my way, she'd have skids under it. If ever it decided it wanted to shift or sink a little I would take a jack, and level it. If I decided I did'nt like the spot where she sat, I would drag it somewhere else. It's going to be 16x24, and it needs a perimiter wall type foundation of some sort. The footings need to be 4 feet below grade. By the time I build those walls 4 feet and then the additional above ground, I almost should go with a basement. After all, I am building the walls anyway. I'm not real sure, but I think thats what they want. Then I can get the thrill out of paying more annual taxes. It kinda all goes against everything that I have been planning though. Makes sense in away though. Well here I am with all this smoke coming out of my ears, my brain is working overtime, and my guts are gnawing away at me. I have decided not to be in a hurry anymore. It seems the more I want to get after things, the more that obstacles keep jumping in my way and it is stressing me out. Things are at a stand still until I draw up some different plans for a foundation and get it faxed to mr permit guy. Today, I was at the public library looking up building codes and all that. I'm thinking about throwing some good money out there and purchasing some internet rights to all the codes, but the damn things arn't really written in the same language that I speak anyway. A bunch of mumble gumble. I did'nt come across it, but I'll bet that there is a code of which way to hang the toilet paper roll. I think I'll look that one up.

Anyway the foundation change is just a small obstacle, but already an obstacle, kinda makes me wonder whats next. I could go with the foundation that I had drawn up, but the way I understand it, is that it would have to be drawn up (or designed) by a professional building engineer. Or something. I phoned a couple of those, and did'nt seem to get a whole bunch of help. I guess it's not a big deal, but it is more cash, and it is also another delay as I have to re-educate myself now, quickly before I know what to fax the man. I'm thinking that the new style foundation could be alot better in the long run though and I am getting closer to knowing what to do all the time. Any good advice would surely be welcome.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A New Bird Changes My Plans.

So I was just about ready with the camper, all I needed was a truck to back under it. I was thinking about cleaning out old red where she sat so that I would'nt interupt too much of the robins life with the eggs and all. I wanted to just quickly borrow the truck and back it under the camper real quick, then I was going to return it to the mother robin. I thought I would just lift that tailgate a bit and have quick peak first.
Well, I guess we'll go to plan "B".

I was real busy the last few days. I have been camping out at the acerage most of time. Thought I would come home tonight as I do have business in town. I have been working till about 10pm every night, but I am so cozy in my camper most of time, that I forget to get a real early start on things.

I know that all this waiting around for permits and all that, seems kinda stupid to alot of people out there. Thats all I can do. I have been told by many people in the past that this is the way it is. I have been told to apply early, because it takes along time. But with me, it was a quick decision. If I could do it all over again, I would do all the things that I am doing right now, and then apply for the permits in the fall. I did'nt decide to start with things until I realized that we could be pretty slow at work. So far, so good, with the slow at work thing, I hope it stays that way for awhile. So far, the other driver has been keeping up. With my luck, it will speed right up about the time they approve things. lol. I sure do hope not. If I were to take a leave of absence, it could be a leave, period. There is alot of drivers out there looking for a job. Of all the things that seem to give me any anxiety, it is usually that stupid cell phone, when it rings. What ever happens, happens I guess.

I do have the building spot all cleaned up, and kinda ready for action. The only problem, is that I will be the one supplying all that action, or most of it anyway, and I am not real experienced at it all. I have been doing alot of research. I have an idea, but, all the little things that need to be done just right. My foundation, all the drain pipes and how they go to the septic tank, wiring, the mound. I sometimes wonder if I'm too close to the bush line. I guess they'll let me know if I am. One thing that I am confident in, is that my little 16x24 foot shack, will not be too small. At least thats what I am thinking now. lol. I am actually gaining space. Outdoor space. Who needs inside space when you got all that privacy outside. And then I also have a little garage. I guess I don't have that where I live right now. I am actually gaining space.

The price of permits here in Alberta, is the way she goes. You gotta live with it, or move into a den with a grizzly bear. It is a small worry for me. That is just the way it is. It is a one time thing, until you go to add on, build something else on your propery or something. If you don't mention it, there could be fines. If things ar'nt up to code, it could have to come down possibly. I did put alot of thought into how I was going to live on my chuck of land, and do things totally different from what I am doing now, but the more I researched things, the more I learned that you just can't go and do any old thing that you want. I am sure that there are alot of new lessons coming my way also. I know that when it is all over, I will be alot smarter. Maybe not alot happier, but alot smarter for sure.

Well, here it is, pushing 2:00 am on my clock again. Better get off here for now.

Friday, June 12, 2009

How daily plans can change.

What a day. Seems evertime I make a plan, something out of my own control seems to change things for me. First I had this big plan in my head that I was going to move the old camper, that is going to be in my way when I start to build. It has been sitting there for awhile. So I thought I would put it on an old blue ford that I have sitting around out there doing absolutely nothing.
First I had to scrounge of a battery. I was'nt sure what I had kicking around that was any good. The one in old blue had a lose positive post. I could almost pull it right out of the battery. I found a battery in the back of another pickup. I did,nt think it would be any good, so I tested it. It read a little more than 12 volts. When I think about it, I remember this battery. A guy at work threw it away sometime last year, because it was no good. Well is sat outside all winter with no charging, and still has 12, so it can't be all that bad. I put it in old blue. She fired up, then quit. I tried again, and away she goes. I made her my new ranch truck, just then. I was so proud. I cleaned out the back of the truck, is was pretty much full of wood, metal, junk, etc. I even swept it out with an old broom that was in there. I never sweep the box of truck. lol. The old truck ran good to every different location, and when I went to start it up to go to the camper, it totally refused to start. I don't have time to diagnose this old truck. So, I thought I would grab old red.
Old red also needed a battery, so I took the one out of old blue and put in there. Old red also needed to be cleaned out as she to, was full of junk, wood, and metal items. So I did my rounds, metal pile, good wood pile, junk pile. As I was approaching old red from a distance and from behind, I noticed a nest on the back bumper. I lifted the tailgate a bit and had a little look. There were four litte robin eggs in there. I think they were robin eggs. So this plan changed again. I kinda thought the mother bird must be kinda wondering whats to become of her eggs. So I immediately took the truck back to where I found it. I walked a way from it and watched, as not to long after, a robin, swoops down and under the tailgate of the truck. My plans changed again temporarily. I was'nt sure what I should have done. I think, I might finish cleaning the truck out, where it sits, and get the camper all prepared to put on. Then I might have to steal it from the robin temporarily and quickly put the camper on. I could just move it with one my good pickups I guess, but I would like to leave things stacked for now. I've got too much junk laying around.

In other news, I am still waiting on my building permit to approve. It should'nt be too long, they tell me. A few days yet. I am still doing a bunch of prep work, and cleaning up junk out there. I finally got my backhoe out there from my brothers place. I did a 7 hour job cleaning out his corrals for him before I took it away. There was a alot of cow manure flying around for awhile there. I've been getting a bunch of othere little jobs out of the way as well. It sure seems that the long days I put in, sure do go by fast. And alot of the time, little seems to get accomplished.

The developement permit was $100.00. The building permit and private sewage permit combind was $800.00 plus. I asked her how much for a normal sized house. The building permit on a normal house would range from around $2500-$5000. Already, I feel as though keeping it small has paid off. Taxes will be alot less also.

I hav'nt read any other blogs yet, for a couple of days, it's now almost 2 am, so gotta go.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June 3 2009 update.

Last Friday, May 29, I found my developement permit in the mail box. That means that now I can apply for a building permit. I have been going over some last minute things before sending my building permit application. Just want to make sure about some things before commiting myself to the exact spot that I chose to build on. Some things on my mind, that I am trying to figure out are, high speed internet (can I get connected if I build there?). Insurance. Is insurance to run a wood stove, and propane space heat in a small shack, with alternative power going to be worth it, or will it be reasonable. I guess it is quite possible that things like that could make it hardly worth being off the grid when you could hook into grid power. I guess the reality of everything finally hits a man right in the head. lol. I love solar energy. Just experimenting with it and learning about it. I guess you can't put a price on education. I'm pretty sure that I am going to go through with it, but like I say, just want to make sure that everything is going to be right. It will cost me atleast $8500.00 to hook into the grid. I can buy some pretty good solar equipment with that. My power system is going to end up costing more than that. That is to be expected, and I don't care about that. I'm sure it will pay for it's self in the end, I hope.

And then I get thinking about things like, if I decide to add onto my house in the future, I did'nt leave much extra room for that. Hell with it, I don't need to add on. The bigger it is the higher the taxes, the more the insurance, the more to heat, the more to clean the more to maintain. Thats why I chose to keep it small to begin with. Some people still think I'm a nut job, but I no longer give a shit what other people think. I actually get a real kick out of watching the expressions and comebacks from other people when I tell them what I am up to. Some think that I am totally whacked. These are the people who live in the big houses with the attached heated garage, the same people who, if you were to take there salary away from them for a month, they would be totally screwed. Yip, I'm the nut job. Anyway, I did'nt come on here to run people down, just thought I would throw that out there though.

So, now I need a building permit, then I will need electrical, plumbing, gas(propane), private sewage disposal permits, and also a permit for installing a wood stove. For now, I am going to get the building permit and see how that goes, I am undecided yet if I am going to put in the electricity and plumbing myself or not, but I think I will do it myself. I have been doing alot of research on some of these topics. I guess if everything is done to code, thats all that matters. I will be sending in the building permit real soon.

I have been a very busy man lately, and I even had alot of help from my mother. Cleaning up the building spot, and I built a 8x12 power shack for all my electrical goodies. (Batteries, inverter, charge controller, generator(s), etc.) I have also been doing alot of research and educating myself on things. All the while my pay job had a bit of a splurt there, but now I think things are slowed down a bit again. It kinda sounds like work will be pretty slow this summer(I hope). lol. There are two of us truck drivers that haul all the bosses equipment around from job to job. The other driver will be doing what he can to keep up and sometimes I may have to come into the picture when he can't keep up to things.

I hope that once everything is under way and all the building starts, that there will be very little work interruptions. I can't wait to start building, but it might be a few days just yet. I still have alot of prep work I can be doing, it seems to never end. All the legal issues, and permits are tough, just because I don't know the routine, but after this one, I'm sure it will all be second nature to me.

I have been spending alot of time out there, and living in my rv quite alot, so I hav'nt been keeping up to many other blogs lately. The weather has been pretty good here, I need to take advantage of every bit of time I can. (And here I am writing a blog. lol).

Here are some pictures, they are nothing special, but I'll put them up anyway.

I had this old horse trailer for awhile now, it will never be road legal again, finally it is paying for it's keep. All this wood came off the building spot. It is not the best quality fire wood ever, but I think it could be pretty valuable in a pinch. It might even save me from burning the deck someday.
The building spot before the cleanup.

This is the building spot, cleaned up alot from what it was. That used to be a big pile of wood, all the way from the front of the truck canopy to the bush. We bucked any burnable wood up and either put it in the wood shed or the horse trailer, depending on the quality. The trailer and wood shed are now pretty much full. Here is the power shack. That is the plan for it at this time anyway. I insulated the floor, and the door is going to be insulated when I build it. The rest will be insulated, if need be, when the time comes. Alot of the work I have done out here in the last while had all kinds of weather interruptions. Just get started shingling and then the clouds pop out from nowhere. Thats the way it goes.

My mom had a little bit of old paint laying around at her place, so she decided to bring it on down and paint the inside of the outhouse. It had no paint inside at all before. She since painted the inside of the door a really neat blue also. I did'nt argue. Paint away momma. It actually looks really nice, a big improvement to the establishment. She also hung some wildlife pictures. Now I can kinda picture what might be waiting outside for me, as I leave the leu.

They said, "more video". Well, not in so many words. lol. So here is another video. I thought I should film this incase something should happen to me, they would know what happend. Well ok, I lied, I just wanted to see myself in action again. lol.