Monday, November 2, 2009

A New Leaf

Ok I've decided that I need to move on and start posting something positive for a change other than all of the gloom and doom. I'm turning over a new leaf. Not to say I won't post any other problems I may run in to along the way though. Below are a very small number of projects I've done within the last few years, but missing are a few go carts from scary fast to small utility vehicles. I don't have any of the pictures of that stuff here. Or the wind generators, solar panels and stuff like that I've built. Maybe when I can get my other computer here I can find pictures of those. Better yet maybe before long I'll be able to build more for the land.

I built the small chopper sitting by my X shadow some years back. Sold it as well as most of the other stuff some time back.

Built this from scratch to and sold it a while back.

Had a lathe which I sold before the move because it was too damned heavy to bring with me. One of the projects I did with it is the billet replica of a .50 cal machine gun round. The picture below that is of it and the real thing I modeled it after.

My X neighbor and friend's son named this thing "The Thing" of all things. I wonder why. It would have been great for helping clear the road and land, but unfortunately I cut it up and scrapped most of it to make room in the moving truck. I hadn't counted on the road or lack of it when I did that or I'd have probably left something else behind so I could have brought it. I actually built it for that reason because I was trying to buy land around the DFW area and missed the bid on it.


Forgot the PVC Greenhouse so here it is. I used it for the last two years and it worked great. I had to use mesh to cover it because of the squirrels, but it would probably be good to keep other rodents and more snakes out.



  1. Now that last photo is a great one. you could drag your road all day long with something like that. I see your a welding fabing kind of guy. You should be able to get yourself set up with no problem.

  2. I'm no professional welder by any means, but like to weld and like to build weird stuff. Eventually I hope to have my welder and all my other tools on the land so I can put them to good use.

  3. What are your plans for your 10 acres? farming, build a house, live in a teepee? I am excited for you :)

  4. Scavenger, Live there for sure. Plans are to build in stages and I do plan to grow a few veggies and maybe a pomegranate for fruit and maybe some wine. I hear they like the desert. I forgot to post a picture of the greenhouse I built back where I came from. I grew tomatoes, jalapenos, bell peppers and tried a few others, but the others didn't do so hot.

  5. So what are your plans for a house? If budget is an issue I would suggest a 30ft shipping container - they can now be had on ebay from Houston for $999 (no I am not the seller). My father(RIP) built our cabin in central WI from what was once a 10' x 10' chicken coop and the next year added an addition to it. I am sure there are enough resources (abandoned or cheap)to get setup in short order. It sounds like you got it right though building in stages. As for the greenhouse it looks good and hopfully you can grow in all four seasons (in WI we have only 2 season - winter and construction).

  6. Guy, email me at I'm looking into logs since I stumbled on the verticle way to build. Im working with a company and they are gonna get back to me and let me know what kind of price for the 20 footers are gonna be.

    looks like $40 for 20 footers 8" tops round.

    a 14x20 cabin will take 40 20' logs for the walls and roof
    you can do a earthen floor ( cobb/adobe) people in terlingua doing it.

    rafters from logs

    only thing you need to buy is windows doors metal roof and some 1x4s and insulation and a few pieces of OSB/plywood. then you would have a finished inside and outside shell. I figure it will cost around 3,000 to do this with logs and another 1700 for a real small power system. 1000 for a water tank to catch water from roof.

  7. Scavenger,
    I'd been watching the prices on the shipping containers for a long time after seeing some really cool houses built out of them. That was way before I stumbled across John's blog. I'd thought about coming up with a couple of 20 footers and having them coated with pickup bed liner both inside and out. Seems a little ambitious though because that stuff doesn't come cheap. Big problem with those though would be the shipping from Houston to here. Also the shipping from there to here would probably be the killer. My thinking was to have them coated to handle moisture and rust problems and berm up the outside walls to get the insulating properties of the earth.

    Now I've settled on stick construction and eventually build two matching 16X12 buildings about 18 feet apart and then sandwich one of the cheap carports between then. Close in both ends with 1/4" screen to keep critters and snakes out and have it as a garage and hangout. Should get a good breeze through it most of the time and be shaded in the summer. Maybe have some inside panels that can be closed in the winter time. The second 16X12 would be for guest only. I figure that would be as far as I ever went with it because of the overhead for supplying wind and solar power to anything larger.

    You might be better off buying telephone poles. They are pretty cheap and are treated. I had thought about making a pole barn/house, but have about given up on that idea.

  8. Oh Yeah... Looks like the state and county mounties are already out there. One woman at the store told me one woman had already been ticketed by the state troopers out past the grub shack and I saw the sheriff's department towing what looked like a mobile control center in while ago. Glad I can get the rest of what I need within walking distance. I guess I'll put off any trips to the mailbox until they all go away. Anyone know when that is? (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of next week?

  9. Stick construction is an easy stand by because it is what most people are familiar with; its the devil we know best. I have spent WAY too much time studying this stuff but have learned several things about the pros/cons of what to build in your area and I am sure what ever you build will be decent.

    Earthbag building - very,very cheap but super labor intensive.
    Ferrocrete - not too expensive, check out Trevor at Earthlanguage blog and his structure he claims will only cost around $3000 when complete. But still it looks some a good deal of labor.

    Shipping container - here is a link to a sweet setup (NOT MINE -I wish)
    I bet this didn't cost much and went up quick.

  10. I know a lot of houses are being built with shipping containers, but they are a little too narrow to me. They could probably be set side by side and be welded together and part of the sides be cut out. (with a support beam welded in), but I wouldn't want to do that. The link to the site was pretty cool and I did look up the blog.

  11. How about strawbale construction. If you can access some wheat straw cheap you can build a well insulated structure pretty cheap. Lot of wheat fields in west texas I bet.

  12. I guess I should just do a container worship site as i do have a ton of material. Any how there is one other type of quick and inexpensive housing worth mentioning. I found this on some treehugger type website and thought it is worth discussion. It is call ABODE, its made by the good people of Iowa and geared toward the third world (Africa in particular). Now since the USA in now trending towards that with this "new economy" we are experiencing, I thought it would be relevant ;) The cost for one of these units is I think around $3,000.

  13. 12x16

    $ 64.08 - 36 studs for outer walls
    $ 52.36 - 7 2x6x16
    $ 94.35 - 17 2x6x12
    $ 24.50 - 14 2x3 studs Inner walls
    $196.62 - 6 Sheets 23/32 plywood (floor)
    $ 37.98 - 6 Sheets 7/16 Plywood (roof)
    $234.92 - 14 sheets siding
    $139.60 - 20 sheets Sheetrock
    $176.00 - 8 Sheets Galvanized roofing 12x26 covers 24 wide
    $269.60 - 5 bags insulation

    $6.80 per sq foot (no doors or windows, no taping, bedding and paint.)

    $8.00 Finished

    12x16 = $1,536
    14x14 = $1,568
    16x16 = $2,048
    20x20 = $3,200
    24x24 = $4,600
    32x32 = $8,192

  14. $1,300 just can argue with that :)

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  16. I can knock 10% off of that because I have a niece that works for Lowe's.

    I hate that I can't edit posts when I screw up!


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