Friday, August 03, 2018

I just happened to go to my blog today and I noticed that for some reason all of the pictures I uploaded with my last post, they have all disappeared!  They were hosted on Facebook so maybe they killed the link.  I'll have to investigate, otherwise, I'll have to make another post.  They were good pictures!

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Happy New Year!

Most manufacturing companies shut down between Christmas Eve until just after New Year's Day.  This year we returned to work today.

In the summer of last year (2017) I planned to make use of the time I would be off during Christmas shut-down by renting a bulldozer and leveling out the piles of dirt that I created when excavating for the foundation of my barn during the same shut-down in 2014.  I just got tired of the cramped spaces where I was driving/parking and having to deal with the less than adequate drainage issues.  Of course, I also wanted to get started on the runway project that I've been planning for so many years.

The dozer was delivered on Friday, December 22nd and I started to work immediately.  I spent just over 20 hours in the driver's seat.  I rented the machine for a week (40 hours over 7 days) but had to forfeit about half due to my poor time-management.  I hadn't really prepared the area beforehand.  I had to move vehicles and equipment that I really should have done weeks before.  I also didn't have a clear idea of how much I wanted to accomplish, so I wasn't really driven to accomplish any specific amount of work.  I also had to take breaks in the dozing to run the tractor and box-blade over the area I had been dozing to check for grade and slope.  I wasn't really skilled enough in dozer operation to get a smooth surface with the dozer blade.  This took about 6 hours that could have been spent grading.  I've got about half of my runway roughed-out and a clear idea of what needs to be done to finish.  In any case, the results look good...



It hasn't rained any substantial amount since the dozer was taken back to the rental company.  I don't know exactly how drainage will work, but the ground slopes at least three feet from the barn to where the fill ends.  I'll have to fine-tune the slope as the puddling water shows.  I'll also be planting pasture grass seed this spring to ease erosion problems.

I'm going to prepare the remainder of the land that needs to be cut/filled over the coming year so I can finish out the runway after Christmas next year.  I've got trees to fell, lumber to cut and a backhoe to repair so that I can be prepared by next December.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Wow.  I just logged in to my blog and noticed that I haven't posted in over two years, completely unintended, but I'm going to break that dry spell now...

So, guess what I'm doing after Christmas and before New-Year's this year?

Well, I'm going to be in the driver's seat of a John Deere 450 bulldozer starting to flatten all that mess shown in the photo of my last post, dated January 15th, 2015.

But, to bring everybody up to speed, here's what's happened since that last post:

First, I dug the foundation and put in the forms for the concrete slab.

Then I hired a crew to place the slab.
Then my son and I erected the steel and wood structure and and put the roof on the barn.


Then, I fell 16' off the barn roof after the very last panel had been put on.  Broke my right wrist and flattened my pelvis from breaks in two spots.  Spent 8 days in the hospital, 1 month immobile in bed, 1 month in a wheelchair and a month on crutches, all of which time I was out of work.

 After I was cleared to walk, my son and I put up the sheet metal on the sides of the barn.


 After being back at work for 5 months, I got laid off.  During my non-work time, I constructed the end walls, sheeted with metal and installed the 24" diameter fan on one end and the 14' wide x 12' tall roll-up door on the other end.

Then I had 1"(min) of closed-cell spray foam insulation installed on one-third of the inside of the barn so I could construct a loft in that space.  I then constructed the loft. And...Just yesterday the insulation on the remainder of the barn went in and finally...

I get to post something related to what this blog is about!  Ultralight flying!  I'll be working on the runway for at least 40 hours with the dozer.  It's supposed to rain much of the week that I've rented the machine.  The place should look really different after that 40 hours.  I will definitely post pictures!  Thanks for reading y'all!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Imagine my surprise when I found that somehow Google had automatically magically created a panoramic shot of my dirt piles from 3 individual pictures I took!  Pretty cool...



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Excavation done... well, done enough for now.

After 104 hours on the backhoe and about 3060 cubic yard of dirt moved, I now have a place to put the barn.  Still have to dig for the foundation after the engineer and I decide what I want.  I'll be seeing him tomorrow night.  Here's some pictures taken during the "dig-out"!












Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Getting real close!


Here is the latest clearing progress from last weekend.  I have a backhoe reserved for the day after Christmas to New Year's Eve to do the excavation.  Sure would be nice if my beast of a crawler/loader would stay running.  Renting the backhoe for a week will cost about $1200.  I've got my concrete contractor lined up, my steel Perka frames have been ordered and should arrive sometime in January.  I've planned on building a barn for years and it's about to become reality!  Thank you God, thank you Nia...











Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hmmm, First post since January.  I guess the old blog is being neglected.  Sorry about that y'all, life happens.  Here's the progress for my "real" barn.  Of course this is all subject to change as it appears that happens to all things that I come up with in my head before they materialize.  At the moment I'm looking at something like this...


I'm having a hard time finding a contractor to build the barn for a reasonable price.  I have been haggling with vendors since early summer and the last one I have been in contact with keeps promising a quote but we are now five weeks since first contact and no quote.  I have basically scratched them off the list and now I'm thinking about designing and building a pole barn myself.

Here's some pictures of the 134' x 100' patch above the runway that I am in the process of clearing. You can see the start of the runway near the house in one of the images.











Thursday, January 09, 2014

Where Things Are Now

A little over a year ago I wrote about the start of my barn.  I have to admit that I got a bit discouraged when things didn't go as I planned or as quickly as I planned.  I decided that my ambitions were a bit lofty for the resources available at the time and scrapped the barn plans before I really got started.  In June of last year.  I chose to build a 12x12 lean-to shed instead of a 24x36 barn.  I also chose to build the shed at ground level instead of on a post foundation.  I'm sorry to say that the shed is not yet finished.  I still have to mill some 1-by lumber for the remainder of the siding and roof decking.  I've been clearing more of the area designated for my runway and the suitable trees for milling are now sitting by the mill.  I plan to cut them up in the near future and continue the construction.  Here are a couple of shots of the shed.  The post in the middle on the front is temporary until I get the corner braces installed.



I acquired a new piece of equipment last November.  It's a very tired, well used 1970 John Deere 350B crawler/loader with a backhoe attachment.  With it's help, progress on the runway clearing is progressing nicely.




Also in November I added a wood-burning outdoor forced-air furnace.  It still just sitting on the pad which I managed to pour between the rain showers during the week of Thanksgiving.


I have way too many irons in the fire and everything seems to be a priority.  I work when I have the time and there is never any shortage of things to work on.  Speaking of irons in the fire, I have plans to build a propane forge and eventually convert it to using wood gas.  Like I say, too many projects, too little time but at least there IS progress!




Monday, January 06, 2014

Frigid cold...

I know what cold is.  I lived in Michigan for the first 20 years of my life.  I remember wind chills in the -30s while waiting for the school bus on top of a hill with no wind breaks to be seen.  It's one of the reasons I ended up staying in the south after I left the army in 1986.

It is COLD here.  We have been caught up in what the media is calling a "Polar Vortex".  The thermometer on car instrument panel said 13 degrees and never wavered from that on the 50-mile drive to work.  Wind gusts were blowing the car all over the road.  I'm thankful we didn't have snow!  It's not supposed to be like this in Alabama!

I feel for the folk up north from Idaho to Maine.  It is outrageously cold there, -20s not mentioning the wind chill.  May God bless you all...

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Life changes...

Well, as you have all probably noticed, I haven't really been maintaining the blog as I once did.  Again, there have been some serious changes in my life.  Last year around Valentine's Day I met a wonderful woman whom I married on April 26th of this year!  I now have two new children, a warm-hearted 11 year-old boy and a beautiful 8 year-old blonde angel.  We don't live in the house highlighted in this blog, but work is still progressing.  I am at "the farm" daily, taking care of business and we all spend weekends there and take care of business together!

Missed the fly-in...again.

I just realized that for the second year in a row I missed Mark Smith's annual ultralight fly-in in Mount Vernon, Indiana!  I was aware in mid-June that I wouldn't be able to make it this year but just now realized the event, which is held the last weekend in June, has now passed.  It's a great time and I hope I can make it next year!

Monday, July 01, 2013

A bit of progress toward the runway.

Over the weekend, I cut down 17 trees that were growing in the area that my runway will occupy.  Most were under about 6" in diameter, but I had a couple of Oak logs that were large enough to mill into lumber.  I also had a pine log or two that will be large enough to make some siding for the house.

It's good to see progress towards the ultimate goal, but these days it is few and far between.  In the coming months I'm going to be cutting down a bunch more trees.  When I turn the larger trees into lumber and burn the smaller ones to dispose of them, the cut and fill and grading of the runway will begin!  It's been a long time in coming, but the end is close enough now that I can see the light!

Below is a view looking from the east side of the house towards the end of the runway.  In this picture I still haven't dragged the logs off to the burning pile.  See that single tree in the "V" shaped opening?  That is near the end of the runway.  My phone camera doesn't show much depth but that will be near the end of the runway.


The picture below was taken after all the trees were taken to the burn pile.  Oh yeah, you can see my newly acquired tractor in the photo as well, a 1988 Ford 3910.  It's a great little tractor and the clearing I've been doing wouldn't have been possible without it!




Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Barn

I was just looking over some of the pictures from July 2007 to now, mostly the images that document the construction progress of my home. Of course, the house looks basically same on the inside and the outside as it did in 2009. This can be somewhat discouraging, but as usual, a chain of events is in progress to help me get to the point where I can really start to finish up the house. I'm building a barn out of Southern Yellow Pine that I'm harvesting from trees on my own property. Last month I cleared a spot for the barn and poured footings and installed posts. Last weekend I milled my first beam, a 6 x 8 timber that will be one of six used as a foundation for my barn. The main reason I am building the barn at this particular point in time is that because my house has become full of "stuff" that I own and had to be moved somewhere as I moved my possessions from my ex-wife's home to my place. Now that stuff takes up the bedroom and most of the upper room. In order to have room to work on the house, I have to move it all somewhere, so my first project building with wood that I mill is a barn. Then I can store my stuff and concentrate on finishing the insulation upstairs and start to think about siding out the outside and paneling & flooring on the inside. I'm ready to make some significant progress. It's taken me years too long to wrap this thing up. I'm ready to be able to concentrate on preparations for ultralight flying once again, which was the reason I first created this blog. Funny how things tend to come full circle, isn't it?