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Friday, November 25, 2011

After The Root Cellar

There is life after the root cellar. I was beginning to wonder because once I started on the cellar it dominated so much time that I was almost overwhelmed for a few weeks.

The day after the root cellar was in the ground, covered with dirt and we thought it was done we started digging again. This time it is for a "Gray Water" drain system.

Cute Huh, this is the little digger I borrowed from Tom that I thought I was going to use to dig the root cellar hole. It digs a maximum of six feet deep and will only lift about 4 feet above ground level. I would have had to hand dig a vast majority of the cellar hole. I had to hand dig a portion of the outhouse pit and also the gray water hole I am going to show.

This is me hand digging.

Here are two 55 gallon plastic barrels. These barrels are drilled full of 1" holes all over them on the bottom and sides. Then they are completely surrounded by hundreds of rocks that are 2" to 4" diameter and then smaller stone and sand on top of the big rock. The smaller rock is to stop the sand from filtering down into the barrels.

These barrels are piped together and the pipe goes back into the cabin. We will find time to "plumb" the sinks and shower into this in the near future. This will eliminate drain buckets and having to put a pipe out the window for a shower drain.The tops of these barrels are about 42" below ground and hopefully will drain all winter. This system will only take shower and sink water. Maybe someday I will build a cesspool for a real flush toilet, until that it is still the outhouse.

This side yard really took a "diggin" after I had it all ready for grass. Now we will have to spend hours next spring picking up all of the rock that has been dug up and spread threw out the soil. We will also have to roto-til and mix in some top soil before much will grow. The rocks had all frozen in the night after we finished this. We were pushing the edge of winter freeze to get this stuff done.

There has been a real evolution taking place on this property. Here are a few pictures from our arrival on 6-10-2010

And now here it is just 43 days after we had arrived.

And now at 17 months, do you notice any difference?

I do have a goal that I want to achieve. I would like to be able to snap pictures virtually anywhere within 100 yards of the cabin and not have a blue tarp in the picture. Since about 2 days after we got here we have had something covered with a tarp somewhere. I don't know if I can ever get totally away from it because there is always 4 wheeler's to cover or snowmachines to cover or a rogue wood pile somewhere. It sounds like a pretty hefty goal after I type this out. That is going to take a lot more buildings.
The reasons for all of the clearing around the cabin are many. We now have a fire break in case of a forest fire. We have separation from the trees for "Blow down" as happens so often out here. Now they won't hit the cabin if one falls. Also and probably #1 for Myra is BUGS. With getting the forest this far back we will have a greatly reduced bug population right near the cabin.
We also have plenty of room for snowmachine turn around and snow shedding off of the buildings has a place to go. I still have to get the shop built farther away from the cabin because we don't have enough room for snow between the cabin and shop. By February the snow is piled very deep in that area.

And then,, there is the view. This was the view looking toward the river when we got here.

And here is our view today (late October 2011) from about the same angle.

We have a pretty nice little piece of Gods' world to enjoy today.

I have moved the water supply pump and pressure tank into the root cellar and we are pumping water from there now, instead of from a barrel upstairs. The hope is to not have to haul or pump water up to the barrel upstairs in the cabin. The only problem I am having right now is the pipe I ran from the cellar to the corner of the kitchen needs insulated differently. I built a 2 inch Styrofoam box about 12" square and packed it with fiberglass insulation around a 2" plastic pipe. It goes down about 7 feet total from the cabin to the 90 where it goes into the cellar. I then piled dirt up all around the Styrofoam box as high as I could under the cabin. I then ran a flexible high pressure nylon tubing threw the 2" pipe to serve as the water supply line. The water line keeps freezing about 18" below the bottom of the cabin. It is a good thing the line is flexible and I left slack in it. I just pull it up and flex it around to break the ice, then run a little fan on it for about 5 minutes and poof,, we have water again. I should be working on fixing that problem instead of typing this but,, Oh well.
On a little side note of the water,,, What a nice thing it is to have 33 to 34 degree water coming out of the tap for drinking water. This root cellar thing just might work out really well.

It has been Great sharing with you again today.
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. We went to a Neighborhood dinner at Bentallit Lodge with about 20 other people and had a good meal and a good time.,
Enjoy your day or evening,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Root Cellar

I showed a Preview of the hole for the Root Cellar in the last post. Now I am going to give you an In Depth view of what we built. I know I had told people that I was going to put the cellar under the cabin but that changed once we started digging and discovered the conditions of the sub soil. If I had dug a hole big enough under the cabin the cabin would have fallen into it. This soil has no compaction, it is all sand and rocks and caves in very easily.
The first thing I must say about the process of digging the hole got very much easier and I must give out a big Thank You to my neighbor that got a new (used) excavator this summer. Thank You ERIC, you saved me weeks of labor.

How neat is it to live 65 miles from a road and have a neighbor show up to the cabin with this.

Now that the big shovel showed up I got to show you a few more pictures. I had just recently cut down 3 trees that were right next to the cabin on the south side. I was originally going to dig the hole for the cellar on the north side of the cabin but once the trees were down and the yard was cleaned up it just looked like it made a lot more sense to dig on the south side.
This is the side yard the day before the excavator showed up. I had cut the big tree near the back door and the two trees near the fuel oil tank at the front of the cabin. The roots of the front two trees are still under the leaves near the fuel oil tank. The trees here grow very different than in Ohio. The roots of even the biggest trees only go about 2' to 3' down, they just spread out very very wide and thick just under the surface of the forest floor. I had cut a bunch of roots from the back tree and tilled the yard preparing it for grass seed next spring. This was a finished project, just before Eric had offered to bring over his machine. I was going to start hand digging the root cellar hole on the north side with-in the next few days.

It took me about 5 hours to cut and dig the roots from the back tree stump to make the root ball as small as you seen in the last picture.

It took Eric about 20 minutes to dig up both root balls on the front trees and carry them away.

Take a good look at this picture. We are digging exactly where that back tree was at. There is no sign of any roots going out of the hole, they were all on the surface. I had cut the roots to the point that when Eric got to the stump with the excavator he literally just grabbed the top of it and picked it up and carry'd it away.

This is (what was) my groomed side yard that was ready for grass. This was just a couple of hours after Eric showed up.

Now for the Building of the Cellar. I had bought the treated plywood but all other wood had to be made. This picture is of the "Alaska Mill" attachment on my chainsaw. I cut trees, pulled the logs to the yard or milled them where they laid in the forest depending on the situation. You see an example of slabs coming from a log.

In this picture you see logs stacked in the background, slabs of wood leaning up against the front of the wood shed, the table saw and circular saw set up and cut finished boards laying on a rack to the left.

The process; cut the tree trim the branches and take what is usable for firewood, cut the log into required lengths for the length of boards I need to make, decide what thickness of slab is best suited (and needed) to calculate how many boards I can get out of each log then cut the next log as needed, cut the starter flat side on the log using a guide, then Mill the slabs off of each log. Repeat the process for the next log. Now take the slabs, cut the first straight edge on the slab, set the table saw for width of boards and cut the actual boards. Now, sort and stack the boards until all are accumulated to do the job. For this job I had to apply a treatment to a lot of the boards that were going to be in direct contact with the ground. You will see "Green" color on boards in later pictures, this is the preservative.

Now I have made all of the boards and start building the cellar.

Notice the floor is built inside of the walls instead of on top of the walls. This is so the floor pushes out on the walls for counter pressure against the dirt that will be pushing in. The roof trusses are also cut to set on top of the walls but also down inside the walls. The roof trusses are 8" deep and notched down 3" inside the walls to push against wall studs. (I forgot to take a picture of that.)

The box is built and the roof trusses (joist) are in. We are wrapping it with Ice and Water Shield to try to stop moisture penetration.

Eric came back over, (he had left the machine here) and picked the box up and put it in the hole.

I am helping the machine, lol

This sure beat trying to build it down in the hole.

Notice how deep it is below the surface of the ground as it sets now. You will see the mound over it later.

We set it in here then I put a couple of temporary sheets of plywood on the top. Eric back filled a few feet around 3 sides of the box and kept setting dirt on the top that I hand shoveled into the side under the edge of the cabin. Once we have it set and filled so that it won't move I have a lot more work to do.

I had to build the ladder shoot and finish water proofing.

Sure looks pretty in this picture huh!
It rained for 3 days straight after I got it all buried.

I found that it leaked like a sieve around the ladder shoot. I had to dig it back up, wash it down, torch down the water shield and add more, then covered in visqueen and re-buried it.

No more leaks as of yet, but it froze shortly after this.

I have the roof finished over it now.

I have working lights and an outlet in the cellar now.

It has been sub-zero temperatures for several days now and down to as low as -30 below and is currently -15 as I type this. I just went to check the temperature inside the cellar so I could be very accurate. It is 33 degrees in the cellar. I have 150 gallons of water in there and no signs of ice anywhere right now.

It will be interesting to see if we have a refrigerator or a freezer before winter is over.
The cellar is over 42" under ground and no frost has gotten that deep yet, I am not sure where the cold temps are coming from inside. I have some insulation on the two trap doors and the roof inside the ladder shoot. I think I am going to have to add more and maybe keep blankets on top of the inner trap door.

I have more pictures of other projects that I will post in the near future. We have taken out many trees with Eric's help,and I put in a gray water drain system outside. We still have to do the drains system inside plus we are going to try to do the kitchen remodel this winter. I still have not gotten the outhouse built, just using the pit and we have other things to do.

Thanks for visiting, now go build your own root cellar!
See You soon,

Friday, November 18, 2011

OK, I know its' been a while

Since the last time I posted a lot has taken place as you might guess. I am not going to try to put it all in this post. I am going to start with a quick update of "today" and then go back into September. I will do some catch up with each post for a while.

Today: 11-18-2011 It is currently -16 degrees outside @8:00am, we have about 15" of snow on the ground. The high temperature forecast for the next 7 days is 11 degrees and the low temp forecast is -13. The forecast low for last night was minus -1 and we are minus -16, you can only guess how cold it is going to get. We have virtually no snow in the forecast. The sky has been clear and gorgeous for days and looks to continue.
The river ice stopped on 11-9, I went to the post office on the snowmachine on 11-15. The river is not in good enough condition to go to town comfortably yet and we need more snow to cushion the ice.
Myra and I have been care taking North Woods Lodge since 10-26. This is the same Lodge we took care of for a month last year. The owners son should be back tomorrow and we will be able to go home. I have been going to our cabin almost everyday to do work on one project or another and take care of the cats and keep the power on etc.
Today, life in general is pretty normal and smooth.

Back to September:
Oops, first I guess I should clarify that; Myra made it home! She had her knee surgery the first of September and recovered very well and fast. She got to the cabin on 10-5. Thank you to everyone that sent their thoughts and prayers.

OK, now September. I went Moose hunting for the first time, with a friend of mine that has a cabin down river. The hunt was successful but Nope, it's not my moose. Craig Saunders is my friend that got this one. In this first picture is me and Chad. Chad is a son in law of a brother in law of Craigs' just incase you are keeping track of who is who.
This is Craig with his moose.
Craig taught me how to field dress this large animal. It is similar to but different than White Tail. These things are huge. This is about the smallest Moose that is legal to shot during the "open season" hunt. Its' antlers were only 1/2" above the small limit. Trying to maneuver this big animal to get to where you need to cut is not easy and just the gut sack weights over 100 pounds. I cut the antlers off along with the crown of the head using a chainsaw. Taking the whole head and neck is a 200 lb option if you want to have it mounted but this one obviously was not trophy size.

I moose hunted for a few days with Craig then a couple of days around home but did not have any luck. Craig is a very good "Moose Whisperer" and can call them straight to him. He shot this one about 20' away, he had called it so close. I guess I need some more practice. I will be hunting again in a month or so up in Denali National Park for the "Residence Subsistence Hunt". Any male moose is legal for this hunt it does not half to have 50" antlers like the open season limit. It takes a special permit to do the residence hunt and for the National Park permit you must be a "Remote Resident" to get the permit. The city folk won't get to join us. I am looking foreword to this next hunt. We will be going on snowmachine and will camp in the park for a night or two, until one of gets a moose (I hope).

I finished the wood shed (at least for this year). It has the tarp roof on it that was on the barn that collapsed from the snow last January. It won't be hard to put a permanent metal roof on it when needed in the future but I had the barn roof material so why not use it until it is no good. I did not take a good picture of the shed right after I finished it so this one was taken a couple of weeks ago when in first started snowing.
I did not get the shed full of wood until the day this picture was taken. This day (the picture was taken) was my last day of cutting wood and we got 6" of snow before it stopped. I "Cut" that one close huh.

I harvested the garden in September. We have not planted a garden since our second year of marriage (over 30 yrs ago)and I did not remember a thing. I had never grown potatoes before and I think those buggers grow pretty cool. We got over 60 lbs of potatoes from about 5 cut up old potatoes that has started growing in a storage bin. How cool is that. Then we got Little carrots, Little green onions, cabbage, cauliflower,lettuce, broccoli and a few tomatoes. It was fun eating fresh salads and I had a couple of boiled diners. I enjoyed that a lot. I did not can anything and the root cellar was not done so I am afraid that some of the stuff went to waste but I ate as much of it as I could.

I took the boat out of the water after the moose hunting trip to Craigs' cabin. I think it was Sept. 26th that I got it out of the water. The timing was about perfect for the low water last chance. That was the last time I had been anywhere outside of our little neighborhood until I went on the river this week. I have not been to town since September 9th. We are doing pretty good on supplies all except for dog food. I had #200 lbs of dog food and thought 50lbs a month but I under estimated them eating to put on winter weight. We have ordered some dog food to come out on a transport plane that is bringing items and a person for a lodge. It was supposed to be here Wednesday but the windy weather wouldn't let them fly. Hopefully we get some tomorrow. We are down to about 10 lbs.

October was Really busy, I had a wood shed to fill and holes to dig and a cellar to build and snowmachine's to get ready and a yard to clean up and more.
I have had several "Stupid Chickens" hanging around the cabin this summer. They have been driving the dogs crazy like it is a game. I have several pictures of one that is the exact same location as the one I blew up last year. I chose Not to shoot this one right next to the cabin. This one day in particular a bird hung around all day. The video is after I had taken several pictures, walked it around the cabin and talked to it for better than 10 minutes. It just did not want to leave.
I think this picture is awesome. I hope you are able to click on it and it blows up big enough to see, The Grouse is in the center right of the picture flying and there is a perfect silhouette of it in a shadow on the back wall of this hole. The hole is for the Root Cellar. I will show that in the next blog post. (Take note of the size of the hole. That is a 10' step ladder leaning against the back wall of the hole.)

Thank You for checking back with us on the blog. I have gotten many request to keep it up and "Get Back at It". Sorry it took so long.
It is a privilege to be able to share with you today.
God Bless and Take Care,
Talk to You soon,