Friday, June 15, 2012

Baby RR / Septic / Grub Shack / Solar

Stepped out the door night before last to find this little guy slithering along. At first it looked like a real long worm, but then I noticed it was moving to fast for that. It was actually a baby Red Racer snake. (They're good snakes because they are shy of humans and they eat rattlesnakes and rodents.) I let it go free. Its easy to see why they call them Racers. Even the baby ones move like lightning!

The septic system got installed yesterday. AG the installer couldn't find any loose dirt on this property because its pretty near all rock as can be seen in the pictures. It could be used now if I had it hooked up, but that will take a little time.  The county will be bringing out gravel Monday to fill it in and then the debris (Rocks and Dirt) will be dumped out back on this property. More on that in a later post. The larger Ocotillo (seen in front of the tractor) that got hit by the flying steel siding some time back is next to the drain field and is doing well even though I though it was a goner. I have a feeling with it being so close to the drain field it will grow pretty big pretty fast. I just won't be making anymore tea out of the blooms. ;)

Added another 160 watts of solar to the main array and will be adding a lot more as I get the chance. This time I faced 80 watts worth toward the east to get a quick start to charging in the early morning and another 80 watts toward the west to take advantage of the late evening sun. By the time I get all panels connected up there should be around 1500 watts of power which would run a small refrigerated AC. That sure would be nice right now! Wow! I'll really be up town with indoor plumbing and refrigerated air!

Clouds coming in before last night's storms. There was another 3/10th inch in the gauge this morning and night before lasts storm brought 1/10th. There's a 30 % chance of more storms today and tonight and I think the same for the next few days. Its slowly adding up!

Grub Shack Closed AGAIN!

Yep the Grub Shack is closed again. There are conflicting stories on this to so I won't be posting either one since I don't know which is true and which isn't. Now its back to the 46 mile round trip to eat out for us in this area. What a BUMMER!


  1. You've come a long ways in the last few months. It must feel good to be building something from basically nothing.
    It looks good!

  2. Great progress - SO happy for you. Mebbe you also need to get some rain water storage?

    Care to share the details of your drain field installation?

    Pity about the grub shack :(

    How's the arm?

  3. Pretty nice septic from the grant. Did not realize you were totally approved. Let's see... VA fixed, Arm fixed, Septic fixed, Solar fixed... sounds like your doing quite well. Does look like a relatively small septic tank and field but it will get the job done!

  4. Well Done! We have a couple of eating places here, that you never know if they are open or not, so,,guess what? No one goes there. Guess it can't apply to you, tho, having just the one.

  5. rj thinks it is small, so just don't eat as much. . . seriously, your place is looking good.

  6. Rubye Jack, My wrist is still pretty painful so I'm still limited to what I can do. Its still hampering the construction. I still have a problem with the front pearling on the roof not being screwed down and have it tied down with nylon straps until I can figure out a way to do it permanently. I can't put in the door until that's done nor finish enclosing the top of the front and sides.

    Dani, Hopefully a catchment setup won't be too long in coming, but there is a lot of other stuff that needs to be finished before I start on that.

    Can't share much about the septic system since I don't know much about it. With looking at the pictures you know about as much as I do. AG had his hands full just digging to put it in. He had to use the jackhammer attachment on his tractor a good bit to break up some mighty big rocks.

    rj, its a 750 gallon tank and I suspect will last a long time before it has to be pumped out. (Especially considering I'll normally be the only one using it) According to what I was told 750 gallon tanks are the smallest allowed.

    TnT, I don't know if the GS will reopen under a different owner or not? Probably not unless some things change though.

    DD, I don't eat much as is. If I cut down any more I'll blow away in one of the wind storms down here.

  7. One Bad A__ storm out of the east. I think I'll set it out in the Jeep. Its windy as hell and cooling down fast so I figure there's some hail out there to come.

  8. Bout an hour of really high wind and its dies down a good bit now. I'm back in the trailer and its a slow steady rain now. So far no hail.

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  10. Man I had no idea you were this far along. I've been following along, albeit a bit sporadically. Really though... congrats on the progress.

    No real idea what's up with the grub shack? I figured JW would have mentioned that one. We were just in there a week ago. The place seemed alive and well.

    Look forward to meeting in person some day soon. Sorry I haven't been more active in commenting, but we've been reading!

    Chris Miller - One Family's Journey To Finding True Happiness

  11. Chris, I've been here for nearly three years now and things have really been happening in the last 6 or so months. That is mostly due to good friends and family or I wouldn't be as far along. Actually now things seem to just be happening and seem to be happening too fast for me to keep up with.

  12. Well roll with it man and do all you can while you can. We'll be moving down full time within the next 12 months and it's going to be a huge challenge with kids, homeschooling, a business, etc. We're not just moving into a house either. We're going to have to do just like you have from the ground up - probably starting with one of those buildings from Ron Mohr as a start though. We're looking forward to it though... we've wanted this for a long time.

    Chris Miller - One Family's Journey To Finding True Happiness

  13. I'd highly recommend moving down here in the early spring or fall to give you time to get used to the heat or some times very cold. Its too hot to do much of anything after noon in the summer.

  14. Congratulations on your septic and additional solar. You have come a long ways David!

  15. Come a long way and have a long way to go MsB.

  16. Lookin' good up on top of the hill Dave! I hope your septic folks put a little water in the tank to hold it down. IF-big IF- it rains enough to fill up that hole, the tank will pop out of the ground like a cork. Don't ask me how I know. First rounds on us when we get back in the Fall -- Andy and Kathy

  17. Andy, believe it or not they put 600 gallons of rain catchment in it. Wish I had a way to exchange that with CB mine water and keep the rain catchment for the swamp cooler. No way to do that though. I've seen septic tanks pop out of the ground before. Happened to Ring and Raye Vern's (Brother in law and little sister's) house after the installer there failed to fill it up.

    Summer hasn't even started yet. That's the 20th of this month so fall is a good way off. Hard to imagine that we've had almost constant 110 and up temps and summer hasn't even started yet.

  18. Good! Sounds like they did it up right.

  19. David, looks like great progress has been made here, just need to get personal health out of the way, and you will be ready to make more progress quickly. Hang in there brother.

  20. SUERTE, I just need to get on the ball, bear the pain of the wrist and get stared again. I've about figured out how to handle the loose roof problem so I can get busy again. Hopefully after the septic is finished I can get started again.

  21. Bravo, that's the spirit!
    Sorry to hear about the GS.

  22. A real approved septic system, Nice!
    More solar panels are always good if you got batteries to store the juice. I posted on my blog a few weeks ago with a link to a friend of mines web site who is selling solar tracking actuators and controllers. I asked him about the hard core wind storms of west Texas and he said he is working on a beefed up actuator tracker to hold several panels.
    Hang in there with the wrist and keep doin any rehab therapy you can.
    Keep the improvements goin!

  23. JP, there isn't any way to do tracking with the panels I have because there are so many and a mixture of sizes. They range from 20, 25, 30, 40 and the biggest ones are 50 watt.

    For now all of the panels are laying flat other then the 4 I just added which are facing to the east and west. as the fall and winter sun moves further south I'll angle the flat ones more to the south.

    As for enough batteries. I only have four T105s which are good for 420 AH, but they should do ok as far as running the AC during the day. (With it mainly running off the solar panels) If I want to run it much at night I'll have to run the gas powered charger.

  24. David,

    We ended up going with the T105's too. They came recommended by the local solar shop here. I posted a little post on how our system is coming along:

    We're trying to get that one part worked out before we get there since we're coming with 2 girls, 2 dogs, and 4 lizards. Power is important. We're going to grow it slowly and power more and more here as we go. Hopefully we'll eliminate the electric bill here within a couple of months.

    Right now I am struggling with a way to mount our new panels without spending a lot of money or making anything too permanent since we'll be moving it down there soon. I need it to be secure though. I've just got way too much tied up in this already.

    Chris Miller - One Family's Journey To Finding True Happiness

  25. T105s are excellent batteries and 4 is a good amount of power.
    Who is doing the install on the septic system. I have never seen a drain field like that but haven't seen many approved desert systems. Any info on who is doing it would be helpful.

  26. Red Racers are awesome, see one almost every trip to the Ranch.

    Looks like a nice septic system. If possible, I would also like info on who is doing the work, as that is coming up on the project list.

    1500 watts of power! I'm jealous.

    I can't believe the GS is closing...AGAIN! After is went through all that trouble of getting a septic in and then selling and then closing again. BUMMER.

  27. Chris, probably best to get the system setup before you bring it down here.

    JP, the installer is A.G. Hays

    A.G. Hays Equipment
    P.O. Box 634
    Alpine, TX 79831

    QKid, see above for who installed the septic system and contact info.

    The rules are changing down here and eventually everyone will probably have to have an approves septic system.

    Hopefully someone will reopen the GS, but I'm not going to hold my breath until it does and if it does then the new buyer probably won't run it long either.

    1. So does the GS have financial problems due to low sales?

  28. rj, the people running the GS were doing great and had plenty of business. From what I hear it was a problem between them and Jerry. That's about all I can say about the problem.