Saturday, July 30, 2011


It was a damn hot day on the mountain today.  The pups and I were up there by 9:00 this morning to meet dad and Johnny.  This morning was dedicated to some much needed welding on the loader.

[Barley doing what he can to keep out of the heat.]

The cross member that supports the bucket on the loader has seen its fair share of lifting boulders, digging stumps and dropping trees since I started working on the mountain over 8 months ago.

[Dad cleaning up the cracks on the cross member.]

After the paint was cleaned from the cracks, dad and Johnny started cutting out the old welds.

[A two person job cutting out the old welds.]

Once the old welds were cut out, Johnny started working his magic to ensure problems like this never happen again.

[A closer look at what it takes to cut out the old welds.]

I know what you're thinking and my response is "no; I didn't spend all day taking pictures!"  After I got these shots I headed up the hill to start bucking the timber that Aspludh dropped so AEP could install the power lines.  Once I get all of the timber bucked into manageable pieces, we're gonna rent a chipper to break down all of the branches and limbs.  This ought to make for some good mulch when it comes time to landscape.

It was a short day due to the heat - almost 97F.  As I started packing up, I heard what seemed to be a hornet fly right by my head and land on the side of my pickup.

[At least a sounded like a hornet.]

[Just two critters hitch hiking, ha!]

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


"This is God's country," well that's what the guys working on the foundation had to say this morning.  That's right, the blocks are down for the garage and porch beams; things are moving along as planned.

Friday, July 22, 2011

footers and seeding

Although the footers have already been poured for the garage, Rob and his team have started preparing the footers for the home's foundation.  From what I can tell, only a few inches of gravel has been laid down where the foundation has been excavated.  I bet they'll have the footers poured by this evening.

As you can see, the rig is still on site but the crew is in the final stages of preparing the well head.

[A look at the site and well rig last night.]

I've also noticed that preparations are underway to bury some corrugated pipe on the eastern side of the house to help carry water away from the foundation.  In the picture below, you can get a closer look at what's been done to the foundation; as described above.

[A closure look at the corrugated pipe.]

This weekend I'm gonna try and stabilize the slope on the southwestern side of the house.  Right now its a combination of dirt and more dirt, ha!  I need to do some minor grading first, then I'll spread some top soil.  I'm hoping by Sunday Steph and I can seed and spread straw.  The forecast is calling for upper 90s as well as a chance of rain - the perfect combination for germinating some rye grass or German millet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

got power. got water.

Yep, that's right - there's power and water on the site now!  I saw AEP on my way to work this morning and they were heading toward the mountain.  Talk about efficient - in one day they installed the poles and in one more they ran the lines.

"There's water in them thar hills!"  The well crew was hard at work this week.  Monday, the crew setup up the rig and began drilling.

[Setting up the well rig for drilling.]

[By Tuesday, 350' and no water.] 

By the end of the day, the well rig had reached 600' before running into some problems with the drill bit.  Good news though, they found water and they're estimating flow rates of 1 gal/min.  From what the crew and Rob had to say, we won't be installing an irrigation system but we'll have plenty of water for normal household consumption.

From what I can tell, the average household uses 60-100 gallons per day.  Provided the well is drilled to a reasonable level below the water table we'll be able to supply ample water to our house on a daily basis.  All and all, I feel a lot better about 1 gal/min. after reading stories of .25 gal/min or less at some households.

Bottom line, there's water and we'll have a pressure tank that we provide sufficient water flow to our faucets so let the building resume!  If anything, its definitely raised some awareness.  I think Steph and I will revisit our shower heads to ensure we've selected low flow options - showers will be our biggest water waste without a doubt.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

water and power

Wow - that's definitely the first word that comes to mind.  It looks like Appalachian Power (AEP) was busy today.

As Steph, Barley, Telli and I surfaced on the mountain tonight we quickly noticed that AEP had installed all of the poles.  I couldn't believe it - six poles installed in one day!  They even had time to install the transformers and run a line to my temporary pole.  William, the AEP project manager, told me they'd have power installed in three days once they had a chance to start the project, but honestly, I didn't take him seriously - boy was I wrong.

AEP wasn't the only one on the mountain today.  We quickly noticed that the well rig was on site and ready to drill.  I imagine they'll start drilling tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I left the video camera at home today but I was able to download some pics from the game camera.  Since the well rig was a little too far away to trip the sensor, we only picked up a few shots when the gravel was delivered.


materials and footers

And we're off!  The home site has been laid out and the materials started arriving Friday.  Today, Structures broke ground - let the building begin.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Let it rain.  Isn't it supposed to rain during the spring?  You'd think.  I went up to the mountain tonight to set up the camera and the skies opened up.  I managed to squeeze in a couple shots of the driveway before I got soaked.

Last Friday I was able to install two 4x4 posts, a heavy chain and the "smile, you're on camera sign."  Stay out, keep out or else!

[Blood, sweat and tears; well, mostly sweat.]

Today, Rob set the construction sign, delivered some materials and marked the home site for the footers.

[Construction sign installed; we're getting close!]

[A future Specht home.]

Rob was up on the mountain this after and was able to set up the construction sign, mark

Thursday, July 7, 2011

site and security

Sorry for the delay, a lot of long weekends on the mountain lately and there hasn't been much time for blog updates.  Wait, that's not the right attitude to have now is it?

A couple of weeks ago I had Bob Matzen join me on the home site with his skid steer and we were able to wrap up all of the initial grading.  Since then we've had some rain storms and the site appears to be holding up as we intended.

Before Bob started on the mountain we met to discuss a game plan.  As we talked, we walked towards the dozer to check things out.  At first glance, everything seemed to be intact.  At secondly glance we noticed that someone had been on the site and stolen the exhaust pipe and lights off of the dozer.  Really?  Yep, someone had the nerve to swipe these parts and take off.

Maybe I was naive, but not anymore.  I never thought we'd have to worry about anything happening on the mountain, but I was wrong.  Needless to say we've taken steps to discourage this activity in the future.

We've got a camera on the mountain now and I'm monitoring activity, traffic and critters.  I've posted signs and installed two posts with a heavy logging chain hung between them to restrict traffic on our property.  Instead of catching the crooks, I've opted for deterrence.  I hung one of those, "smile, you're on camera," sings at the driveway.

From what I've seen so far, people are just driving right on by; but now they're looking for the camera.

["Smile, you're on camera."]

[The possible culprit for ramming my neighbors gate.]

[And here's a shot at ground level.]

I try to move the camera frequently to avoid someone seeing it.  It's really hard to find the perfect spot.  Sometimes it takes hours to convince yourself that the camera isn't visible by someone looking.  Its almost better to set it out and just go with it.  Ultimately, the sign at the driveway is doing the most work; "stay away, or else."

Anyhow, the forms for the footers should be onsite next week as they start with the well and things will take off from there.  Steph and I are spending some time over the weekend selecting materials for the house.  More to come, and yes, I'll start videoing soon ;-)