The past two weekends I made quite a bit of progress on the property.

Pumphouse with solar power

Pumphouse with solar power

Last weekend I did the lion’s share of the solar electric installation. I got the battery box hung on the north side (out of the way of traffic), the control panel set up inside, and the solar panel connected. It was on the ground all week since I didn’t have time to mount it on the roof.

I also got a door installed on the shed. We found this door in a dumpster. I bought a door frame kit from one of the home stores and the installation was really easy. I had better luck with the door frame kit and a salvaged door that I had with the second-hand pre-hung door we got for the pumphouse. It needs a deadbolt and threshold but otherwise is good to go. (more…)

Benji, Alice, LE, and Wifey taking a break

Benji, Alice, LE, and Wifey taking a break

Labor day weekend (Friday and Saturday actually) were slated for putting on the metal roof. Only this time wifey and LE were going to come, along with Benji and Susan and baby Alice. We were going to try this construction thing with the kids around and see how it would go. I would head out Friday to set up a safe place for the kids and maybe work on trim painting, and everyone else would come on Saturday to help with the roof.

Alice is about six months old and more or less confined to a seated position, either in a piece of baby furniture or her parents’ arms. Now LE, on the other hand, is currently sixteen-and-a-half months old and perhaps the most inquisitive and headstrong toddler I’ve ever met. She wants to explore and handle everything, and it takes her a while to figure out that “No” actually has meaning. This is particularly unnerving for us parents when sharp objects, jumping cholla, rattlesnakes, choking hazards, and toxic chemicals are involved. (The fact that I have yet to see a rattlesnake on our property is no consolation.) (more…)

Wifey facing ladder anxiety

Wifey facing ladder anxiety

Friday I went out to finish the wood trim, and Saturday wifey dropped off LE with a friend to come help paint and, as she would discover, face her ladder anxiety.

“I’ve jumped out of an airplane and that wasn’t scary, and I really want to go bungee jumping, so why can’t I handle being on top of this ladder!?”

We had some fun priming and painting. We picked a very light cream for the walls, which made it hard to tell if we were using white primer or paint (at one point we poured primer in the paint pan by mistake). We also picked green for the trim, a shade we hoped would match the surrounding vegetation… I think we got it a trifle bright but oh well, we like it anyway.


Homestead in late July, 2008

Homestead in late July, 2008

Here is how the homestead looks in July. It is amazing how the monsoon rains, in a matter of weeks, have turned a dry, thorny moonscape into a thriving, lush scrub of mesquite, acacia, tall grass, and wildflowers.

I’ve started working on the trim for the pumphouse. When that is finished we will be ready to paint.

This past weekend was the biggest thunderstorm of the season… residual from Dolly. I was thankful for that because the driving rain showed me where all the leaks were, around two windows and the door. I was able to beef up the flashing before I put on the trim, so now it shouldn’t leak.

In the photo you can see most of what is left to do: trimming off some extra material, adding trim around the east gable window, adding some other trim on the walls and corners to cover plywood seams and create a board-and-batten look, painting, and adding the metal roof. I also intend to add gutters and a rainwater storage tank.

I slept in the loft for the first time this past weekend. It needs a mattress. The coolness factor doesn’t quite overcome the fact that sleeping on a plywood floor is about like, well, sleeping on a board. Ow.

I spent the 3rd and 4th of July working on the pumphouse roof. Dennis and Matthew came to help again and as usual were lifesavers! (more…)

So I decided that this past weekend would be the walls, and the roof would come later. It was a tough call; in retrospect I probably should have done it the other way ’round. The monsoon season decided to start a little early so it has been raining some. (more…)

Well the building madness has begun.

Last week wifey and LE left for Kansas. So for three weeks I am a bachelor. What shall I do with my newfound freedom? Why, build something of course!

Undeterred by 109-degree highs in midtown Tucson I started building our pumphouse, which is the first structure (other than the Potty House) to rise from our homestead. It’s a simple post-and-beam shed of about 96 square feet. But it’s more than a shed. Inspired by Tumbleweed Tiny Houses and photos of similar structures on Tinyhouses.net, I decided our little pumphouse was going to resemble a real house, just in miniature. (more…)