The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 71-77)
Day 71. (TFC Waking Up At 2.37 A.M, Hammering Out A Customized Linux Distribution Before Dawn, Backing Up Some Data & Doing More Odd Jobs At The Homestead Proper)
Since I fell asleep so early last night (and probably will again tonight) I woke up super early and although I could have easily gone back to sleep...I instead made some espresso and then got my post from yesterday finished which thankfully was already written and only required some minor editing.
With the posting not taking that long (because my internet connectivity works flawlessly now that I have that other router in operation) I then got the twelfth volume of my Say It In Pictures project posted to Steemit which also went rather quickly because I haven't been doing much that is really 'worthy' of taking lots of pictures. As a side note I have discovered that doing odd jobs does not make for interesting content nor pictures but at least I got the stuff done that needed doing and generated just enough revenue to be able to insulate the walls of the shelter, cover them with some plywood and hopefully be able to afford to get more fencing so I can expand my dog yard a good bit.
Anyway after doing that stuff and with many hours left before dawn I once again bent my attention to working on building/customizing my own Linux distribution (operating system) by following that other method that I mentioned in a previous post. Whoa was it a lot of steps to do but by dawn I had a fully compiled ISO file (for a Live CD) and although the process was rather complicated I just took my time with each step and the 'cheat sheet' that I previously made came in super handy. I am by far no Linux 'expert' but I feel proud of myself that I was actually capable of accomplishing what I set out to do. The way I am looking at it is that it is a many step process and I have finally taken the first step but still have a long way to go to achieve my goals with the project.
I wanted to test my newly created Linux on my 'good' laptop and since I have not dumped all the data off it in several years I decided it was time to back up all the stuff from it and free it up to act as my 'testing' computer. All the sorting and shuffling of data onto external drives took me several more hours but I eventually got everything backed up and was able to install my new Linux and woot it fucking worked really well so that is awesome!
Anyway by noon the temperature finally got up to a point where it was comfortable outside so I gathered up some tools and set off for the homestead proper to do more of the odd jobs I have been working on. Today's main project was getting some house wrap installed on the old outhouse and then applying the rubberized roofing sealant to it's roof as well. Thankfully that was the last roof that needed it (until I apply another coat in the spring or summer next year) and I no longer have to breathe anymore of that foul stuff any time soon!
Well I don't have much else to report at the moment other than it has been a really long day for me and I am fading fast so I better wrap this up and do the editing before I accidentally fall asleep yet again. I blame my lack of naps for that last bit but hey I sure as hell have accomplished a lot lately! I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.
Day 72. (TFC Going On A Supply Run, Expanding The Dog Yard & Carrying A Bunch Of Building Materials Back Into The Woods)
I didn't get out of bed nearly as early as I have been of late even though I was tempted to several times when I awoke long before the sun was up. I figured that since I had a big day ahead of me that a few more hours of rest would do me good and by the end of the day I was definitely thankful for those few extra hours of sleep.
Early this morning I set out with some of my fellow homesteaders (and a guest of theirs) on a long trip to a sort of close by town to do some shopping. The primary mission was for them to get some stuff they needed from a building supply store and for me to get some building materials (to finish the interior walls and insulate the shelter) as well as getting a hundred feet of welded wire fencing so that I could expand my dog yard.
While we were in town I also got more coffee and another month's supply of dog food so that was good because I really dislike running low on either of those things. I have yet to get on a solid routine with my monthly supply runs but somehow I have so far not managed to run out of anything except good fasteners and building materials so I am not going to complain overly much in that regard!
Once we got back to the homestead I immediately started working on expanding the dog yard because having such a small fenced area has been getting on my nerves and since it is currently hunting season and I keep the dogs cooped up (for their safety) I have been feeling rather guilty that they didn't have the sort of outdoor freedom that they have grown accustomed to.
Anyway I was lacking some good fence posts so I used my electric chainsaw to cut up a twin trunked tree that was collateral damage from when we felled all those big trees. I am unsure what type of tree it is but it is some kind of hardwood so perhaps the posts that I made with it will last until I can find some black locust posts to replace them with. I more or less just did a quick installation on the fencing knowing that I will have to give it more attention later as well as finishing installing the remaining sixty-odd feet of fence.
Although I did not utilize all of the fencing material yet I did use the four posts I made today to install about forty feet of it and repositioned my existing fence so that the dog yard is about double the size it previously was. Previously I had a section of the dog yard fenced with a three foot tall piece of fencing and the dogs could easily jump over it so I couldn't leave them unsupervised in it without at least one of them (usually my boy dog) leaping over it. So now I can put them in the dog yard unattended while I empty out the shelter and install all the interior sheathing and insulation.
It was getting close to dark by the time I was wrapping up the fencing project and the temperature started dropping rapidly as I hauled all my newly purchased building materials back into the woods from the homestead proper. I was also the only person here so I didn't have any helpers for that phase of things but hey I am well accustomed to doing things on my own.
Out of the six sheets of osb plywood that I got today five of the sheets were four feet by nine feet (you read that right there is now four by nine sheets of plywood!) and one of the sheets was a standard four by eight sheet. The larger sheets were not all that much heavier to carry or anything and were only a dollar more than the normal sized sheets and I figured that with the excess I will have (after doing the wall covering) I can make some much needed shelving inside the shelter.
I also got three bags of that blown cellulose insulation that I like so much and I stored them as well as the plywood under the greenhouse to keep them dry overnight. Hopefully tomorrow I can get all the insulation and interior sheathing installed in the shelter and will for the first time in many years have a fully insulated (and sealed) shelter to spend the winter in which is absolutely awesome and makes me feel really good inside that my life is indeed getting better!
Well that is about it for now and I am going to wrap this up and call it a day well spent. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.
Day 73. (TFC Having One Heck Of A Long Day, Working In The Rain, Insulating The Shelter & Installing Interior Wall Sheathing)
After checking the weather last night I was rather dismayed to see that it was going to potentially rain for much of today so I got up super early and made a rapid start on the day's projects in the hopes that I could do everything before the rain started. Although I thought that I could do it the rain started much earlier than it was forecast to and never really let up until well after dark.
Since my plan was to install insulation in the walls of the shelter and add plywood to the interior walls I had to basically put everything (including the bed and dogs) outside so that I could work inside which would not have been a big deal except for the rain. I wound up cramming the bed and box springs (I am currently using two box springs) into the little arch room that I made at the rear of the shelter and the majority of my clothes, bedding, propane heater and some other random things on a table in the dog yard and covered it all with the plastic that I removed from the interior walls of the shelter.
As a side note when I was removing the plastic I noticed several damp spots in the walls where a 'double vapor barrier' had been created between the internal plastic and the house wrap on the exterior and the temperature difference between outside the building and inside the building was creating a lot of condensation that was thus being trapped between the two barriers. I knew there was the potential for that to happen but damn that was way more condensation than I thought there would be.
Anyway with the shelter emptied out and the dogs mostly staying beneath the shelter I set to work adding a bunch of deadwood (nailers) to various places along the pallet walls and also shimmed out the walls in several places where the pallets lacked slats and basically prepped the walls for both insulation and interior sheathing.
Yesterday I had gotten three bags of blown cellulose insulation and figured that I could add the bottom piece of plywood and then stuff the wall cavity (from the top) with the insulation by hand. This process turned out to go very slowly because although stuffing the wall was easy enough...breaking up and 'fluffing' the compressed cellulose insulation was extremely time consuming and tedious. I also only managed to get about thirty-two square feet of wall filled per bag instead of the forty square feet a single bag should cover because I just could not fluff it as well as a machine can. In the future I will probably opt for renting the machine that fluffs and blows the insulation just to spare myself the time and to maximize the coverage. The bright side of doing it the way I did makes it where I basically have R-60 insulation in the walls for the bottom four feet. The tops of the walls I filled with bats of fiberglass insulation which means the top two feet of the walls are done differently and have a lower R-value but it sure made it simple.
I got all the walls insulated and sheathed except for directly below the window and the wall adjacent to the door but hopefully weather permitting I can get those finished tomorrow. The nightly temperatures are going to plummet over the coming days and it will be a nice opportunity to see how warm the shelter stays in severe cold. It already feels warmer inside and much more homelike now that there is more than just black plastic covering the walls! All around it just 'feels better' and I am at a loss to describe it in words any better than that.
Well it was well after dark by the time I got the bed and other stuff moved back inside the shelter and all total it was about a ten hour time investment to get done what I did today and although I didn't really take any breaks I did drink several large cups of espresso to keep me working through the cold rain and not stop until I got everything that I set out to accomplish finished. I know I push myself pretty hard sometimes and today was definitely no exception to that!
That is about it for now and I better get this all edited before I doze off curled up with the dogs in my 'even cozier' little shelter. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.
Day 74. (TFC Getting Off To A Slow Start On A Chilly Day, Discussing Some Big Projects For The Homestead & Finally Getting The Rest Of The Shelter Insulated)
It was a chilly morning but with all the work that I did yesterday getting the shelter mostly insulated (and the interior walls covered in plywood) it was much warmer inside than it previously has been in the mornings even on days that were not quite as chilly. Last night I did not even have to use the propane heater all that much and between the single light bulb being on and the body heat of me and the dogs the place stayed quite comfortable even though it was well below freezing outside last night and stayed that way well into the morning.
With the cold weather I was slow to get started working on stuff this morning which worked out fine because the person that actually owns the property has been visiting and we finally got a chance to walk around, see all the progress so far, talk about potential projects and plot a course for accomplishing some of the larger goals here. All of which is stuff that I thoroughly enjoy doing with a property owner and especially one that can actually follow through on stuff and clearly communicate what their 'vision' for a place is. Suffice it to say that some really cool projects are in the works and I am looking forward to seeing how things turn out as those projects come to fruition.
It was well past noon by the time it actually warmed up outside and I was finished going over stuff with the property owner and although it was still chilly it was as warm as it was going to get for the day so I got the tools out, dismantled all the shelving above my writing table (as well as moving the table itself outside) and basically clearing everything out of the corner of the shelter where I needed to finish insulating and installing plywood. All in all that particular process went rather smoothly but damn I really dislike doing anything that changes or rearranges my writing desk area! It is pretty much a cornerstone of my day to day life and where I spend the majority of my evenings and even the smallest changes to it (or it being temporarily unavailable) just annoys me to no end!
Anyway I had to do more shimming and adding more deadwood (nailers) to the sections of the walls that I had to finish but having had plenty of practice doing it the day before it went rather smoothly. I wound up stuffing the bottoms of the walls with the remainder of that cellulose insulation and then using the fiberglass bats of insulation to do the rest which once again seemed like the simplest way to do it.
Since the walls I was working on today are mostly covered by my writing table and shelving I wound up using a bunch of my 'scrap' plywood (leftovers from yesterday's activities) to piece together the wall sheathing and did not overly concern myself with how piecemeal it came out. Although I had one full four foot by nine nine foot sheet of plywood leftover I determined that I would only cut into it if it was absolutely necessary to do so and between it (because I did not cut into it) and the other leftovers I now have plenty of material to do all the shelving that I am in need of so that I have more storage space. I still have yet to decide exactly how I want to do the shelving but I think that I will figure it out when the time comes to do it.
Well that is about it for now and I better wrap this up, do the inevitable editing and whatnot before I doze off for the evening. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.
Day 75. (TFC Taking A Day Off & Enjoying The Cozy Shelter)
I slept well into the day today which was really nice especially since the shelter does a good job of dampening outdoor sound and it stays really warm and cozy inside especially during the day when the sun's rays are shining on it.
Last night I stayed up super late tinkering with fine tuning that custom Linux distribution that I have been working on and although the system works well enough for what I am designing it for (to handle all things Steem related) I also want to play a few video games on it which ultimately has lead me down a rabbit warren of installing stuff, configuring the system and endless testing! The good news is that it has been well worth the time that I have invested and I am getting closer to working on another version with lots of new customizations.
I am unsure what time I actually woke up today but I quickly set to work finishing off several odds and ends inside the shelter like finally securing the propane tank for the heater, anchoring my writing table in place and installing a makeshift window sill from a piece of hardwood flooring to name a few.
It really was nice to just take the day off and enjoy the place that I have been striving to create over the previous seventy-five days. I feel like it was quite the accomplishment to get everything to the point that it is before the first really intense cold snap of the season which will arrive in a few more days.
Well that is about it for now and I am going to wrap this up and call it a day. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.
Day 76. (TFC Resting For A Second Day In A Row, Building A 'Broom Closet' In The Shelter & Installing An Exhaust Fan)
I fell asleep super early last night and failed to awaken again to do my evening writing so here I am at four in the morning getting the writing taken care of before my day really gets going.
Surprisingly I was up early and although I probably could have worked on more stuff outside (because the weather was nice) I opted to continue tinkering with that Linux distribution I have been working on of late. Mostly I have been testing various configurations after installing the system and trying to figure out what updates and/or upgrades that I should do after the installation to ensure a blend of good performance and security which is entirely subjective and difficult to gauge (as far as performance goes) because I am after all working with a clunky old laptop. I have been considering getting an actual desktop computer to do stuff on but when it comes down to it I like how little space a laptop uses and am unsure if I want to devote that much space to a desktop just to gain a little performance.
On a different note the way I have the propane heater mounted on the wall in the shelter was blasting heat towards my writing table and keeping the shelves above the table overly warm especially near the ceiling which is where I have the twelve volt batteries that operate the fans on the heater as well as an LED light. I have been trying to figure out a solution to keep the temperature in that area down (especially so the laptop does not overheat) and what I came up with was to install a roughly two foot wide divider wall between the area where the heater is and the writing table and shelving. The wall is at an angle so when the heat from the heater collides with it it then gets redirected towards the bed and more specifically towards where I sit on the bed to work at the writing table. The wall also creates a nice little broom closet between the shelving and the shelter door so that is rather convenient.
The next thing that I did to help control the temperature in that area of the shelter (and to be able to circulate more air inside the tiny building) is install a small exhaust fan in the lower portion of the window. Since I did not want to cut a hole in the wall to accommodate the fan I thought that mounting it on a piece of plywood and closing the window on it was a rather good solution especially since the place that I installed it puts the exhaust fan adjacent to the laptop which should help keep it from overheating. The fan works really well but it is rather loud so I might need to figure out some way to quiet it down a bit.
Anyway that is about it for now and I am going to wrap this up. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.
Day 77. (TFC Wiring Up An Exhaust Fan, Fabricating Long Rafters From Short Ones & Making Some Progress On The Greenhouse)
This morning I had to really fight the urge to sink into my winter downtime mode and do some stuff instead which is becoming a little more difficult to do as the days pass and the weather grows colder.
The first project I worked on this morning was wiring a switch and an outlet onto that exhaust fan that I installed in the window yesterday. The way the fan was before the wiring for it came out a small port in the side of it's housing which would be fine if it was permanently installed somewhere but for my setup with it (where it is directly beside my writing table) I thought it wise to protect the wires with an electrical box.
At first I was just going to wire up a switch (in an electrical box) and have the cord (that powers the fan) wired into the switch box but upon further consideration I decided that using a single electrical box for a junction box, switch and supply would result in a very full box of wires. So I opted for one box to work as a junction for the wires from the fan and the power cord and a second box to house a switch for the fan. I also added an outlet to the junction box that is unaffected by the switch. It all worked out rather well and I now have two more outles to work with beside my writing desk which is extremely convenient.
As far as the fan itself goes I noticed this morning that there was a lot of condensation on the metal housing and ever since then I have been thinking of ways to insulate the fan's housing and perhaps stop (or inhibit the condensation) and it may also help make the fan a little quieter to boot. Ultimately I think that I need to build a small wooden box around the fan's housing and stuff it full of insulation. I am thinking that the cellulose insulation (that I used in the shelter) would work really well for that.
Anyway late in the afternoon I decided to experiment with making long rafters out of some short rafters that I had. At first I thought about just laying the rafters next to each other and screwing them together (which I did) but then I realized that tying the rafters together with some small pieces of two by four lumber and some long screws would work really well also so I did that too.
I only needed two rafters to finish the rafters on the greenhouse so I only made those two rafters today and was able to get them installed without too much difficulty. Since I am going to be installing roofing metal and solar panels on that end of the building I might add more rafters in between the ones I installed today just so that part of the roof will have extra support. We will see how that turns out because I am still debating on the various options of making the roof 'strong' there.
Well that is about it for now. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 8-14)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 15-21)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 22-28)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 29-35)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 36-42)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 43-49)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 50-56)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 57-63)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 64-70)