Moving

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mtngun
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Location: Where the Salmon joins the Snake

Moving

Postby mtngun » Sat Feb 23, 2008 8:13 pm

from the old forum:

The good news is that the Pocatello house sold. The bad news is that, due to complications with the buyer's credit rating, we had to close sooner than anticipated and then I got evicted from my own house, before I was ready.

But that's over and done and now I am in the midst of hauling stuff to the cow pasture. On the first trip, I saw turkeys, elk, coyotes, whitetail deer, and elk in my neighborhood. The road up the mountain is a son of a gun, though. It'll take two or three more trips to get everything up there.

When I went to the Whitebird post office and inquired how to go about receiving mail at the cow pasture, they directed me to the Cottonwood post office. So I drove the 30 or so miles to Cottonwood. The Cottonwood post office said that they could not deliver my mail until I went to the courthouse over at Grangeville and got the county to assign me a street address. It only only took half a day, but eventually I was assigned a mailing address and they even gave me an unoccupied mailbox that is close (only a mile) to the cow pasture. Mail is delivered when the road is open, April 1 - December 1, or thereabouts. The rest of the year, I may have to snowshoe or ski into town to do mail.

Later that day, I bumped into a UPS driver and inquired about UPS deliveries to the cow pasture. Much to my surprise, UPS will deliver when the road is open (surprising because the 25 miles from Whitebird to the cow pasture takes about 1 1/2 hours each way and the one lane dirt road is little more than a glorified goat trail).

Idaho County has no building code or building permits, however, when I asked the electric utility about hooking up power, they said they would not connect power until I had a sewer permit from the state. The utility also refused to connect to a temporary 100 Amp construction panel for reasons that they would not elaborate on, and instead insisted that we connect to a permanent 200 Amp panel from the get-go. The utility hinted that they would prefer to locate the panel next to one of the existing power poles and then run underground conduit to the building site. An underground installation would make their job easier and my job harder, because I would be responsible for digging the trench.

The sewer god was out of his office the day I was in town, so that issue is still unresolved.

I picked out a building site that is ideally located for shooting. The back yard of site #1 would look out at a hillside about 200 yards away, and the morning sun would be at my back. Naturally, the ideal shooting site is the worst possible construction site. It is bordered by a wet meadow on one side and a ditch on the other side, which rules out a septic system at that location (I'd be perfectly content with an outhouse for now and maybe a composting toilet later on, but it remains to be seen if the sewer god will see things my way). Site #1 is about 200 yards from the nearest power pole, so it would take significant time and money to run power to it. Some road construction would be required just to get to it. Be that as it may, site #1 is still my first choice because, after all, the whole purpose of moving to the cow pasture is so I can shoot in my back yard.

If the sewer god vetoes site #1, then site #2 will be closer to the hill that I plan to use for a shooting backstop. The soil drainage appears to be good at site #2, and it is closer to a power pole, and no major road building would be required. It is the logical site that most people would choose. However, site #2 is poorly situated for shooting. I might be able to squeeze in a 50 yard range or maybe 100 yards at the most, but I prefer to test rifle loads at 200 yards.

If the sewer god forces me to choose site #2, then I will probably construct a heated shooting shack at site #1 so I will still be able to shoot at 200 yards in comfort even in the dead of winter.

The next week will be dedicated to appeasing the sewer and power gods and throwing together an 8 x 12 shed. The shed will be used to store valuables and also as a sleeping area while the shop is under construction. Long term, it may be used as a shooting shack, as previously mentioned, or it may be used for bead blasting, bluing, and other dirty jobs that I\'d prefer to keep out of the main shop. Either way, a shed seems like a good idea (and no permit is required to build a shed :D ).

By the way, I am using a borrowed PC at the moment. It may be quite a while before I'll be able to connect to the internet from the cow pasture.

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mtngun
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Re: Moving

Postby mtngun » Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:20 pm

Second trip to the cow pasture

Got the shed/shack/cabin built -- well, mostly built. It still needs paint, insulation, and a little TLC, but it's functional nonetheless.

The sewer permit was approved, even though I don't have a sewer. A sewer permit is required before electricity can be connected. The permit cost $450 and required digging a hole six feet deep so the sewer god could classify the soil's drainage properties.

In order to qualify for the sewer permit (even though I don't have a sewer) I had to locate the building site halfway up the hill, on what was originally intended to be my shooting backstop. The resulting shooting situation is not ideal -- now the morning sun will be in my eyes, and the backstop is not all that safe -- but I can work around those problems and still end up with a 250 yard range.

I hung a 200 AMP combination meter/disconnect/breaker panel on the back of the shack, and dug a trench two feet deep from the panel to a nearby power pole (one good thing about the hillside site is that it is close to a power line). I ran PVC conduit from the pole to the panel. Then I pounded two 7 foot ground rods into the ground and connected them to the panel's ground bus. The utility company hung a transformer on the pole and ran their wires through my conduit to the panel (the utility charged me $505 for their work). Things were looking up.

However, they are not permitted to install a meter until the state electrical inspector does his inspection, so I am still without power. I haven't been able to reach the inspector yet so I don't know when he will be able to get to me. He lives a good 3 hour drive from my cow pasture.

I found a local satellite dealer who reluctantly agreed to install a satellite ISP at my place. Reluctant because they don't get excited about servicing remote locations like mine. The speed is only 512 kbps but that's still much better than dial up.

I have one more load of stuff to haul up, including a freezer full of moose meat, so I sure hope the electricity gets turned on soon.

Once the moving is done, then I'll have about a week's work constructing an outhouse and rigging up some kind of cistern with the hope that the cistern will supply most of my washing and cooking water.

Then I will be able to start work on the shop.

I saw deer and elk most every day. One morning I woke up to find about 20 head of elk in my pasture. However, the local rancher is moving more cattle up to the summer pastures and that seems to be pushing the elk out of the area.

Yesterday I woke up to find a coyote in my neighbor's pasture. He was about 150 - 175 yards away. I took a shot with a 22 LR but it either missed or else had little effect except to hasten his departure. In retrospect, I probably was holding too high and perhaps zinged the fur on his back. A proper coyote rifle is on my wish list.

The neighboring rancher gave me permission to shoot coyotes on her property. Most of the property in the area is privately owned and posted.

Once the electricity and ISP are hooked up, then I will post some pictures and more updates.

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mtngun
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Re: Moving

Postby mtngun » Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:24 pm

Finally I am back online -- except I cannot send emails yet. I may have to make a trip to town (2 hours each way) to get that sorted out.

It took several weeks to get the electricity turned on while waiting for the state electrical inspector to show up. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it say that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong (not with the wiring, just with the bureaucracy).

While waiting for the inspector to show up, I had to drive to town every other day to buy ice for my freezer full of moose meat. Naturally, there was an unseasonal heat wave going on at the time...... something about Murphy's law.

My ISP refused to make the long drive out to install my satellite until the electricity was hooked up, even though I can run the computer and satellite off an inverter that plugs into my truck's cigarette lighter. When they finally made it out today, their installation server was down (did I mention Murphy's law?), so the installer couldn't do the software setup, and he refused to make a second trip out to finish the installation, leaving me to sort things out for myself. That's why my email isn't working yet.

I did get the Wild Blue internet connection working after several hours of fiddling, and it downloads at 520 kpbs despite a raging storm going on outside. The advertised speed is 512 kpbs, so no complaints there.

So the past couple of weeks have been spent mainly dealing with bureaucrats and utilities, trying to get my utilities turned on, and making runs to town for ice. That slowed down construction.

The outhouse is built and is functional. It still needs paint, door latches, a window, and other minor conveniences, but those things can wait.

The shootin' shack is wired, except I need to add a temporary welder outlet. Even though the shack is tiny, I've squeezed in a bunk bed, a cooking table with hot plates and a microwave, my desk and PC, a couple of drawers for clothing, and lots of shelves, so it is actually fairly comfy.

The next big task is excavating the shop site. Since I had to locate on a hillside to make the sewer inspector happy, a fair amount of excavation will be required. The good news is that half the shop will be below grade, which will help to keep it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The bad news is that I can't afford a backhoe (that sort of thing is pretty spendy at this location because it takes approximately 2 hours to get here on a very dangerous one lane road) so I am excavating by hand. I have been digging for 5 days and have at least five more days to go.

The excavation is difficult and slow -- the ground is mostly sticky clay, except when it is rocky. I save the topsoil for backfill, but haul the clay downhill where it is being used to construct a backstop for the shooting range. It has been raining for several days and is supposed to continue raining, so that does not help. The wet clay sticks to the shovel, to the wheelbarrow, to the truck bed, and to me. But you can't build a house without a foundation, so I keep digging, rain or shine.

The excavation forced me to lay out my shooting range -- since I had to put the excavated dirt somewhere -- and that worked out pretty decent. I have swinging targets set up at 50 yards. The 200 yard target will be adjacent to my driveway. I am still debating the location of the 100 yard target -- whether to put it inline with the 200 yard target, so that only a minor rest adjustment is required to switch from 100 to 200 yards, or put it adjacent to the driveway, where it will be more accessible. The morning sun will be in my eyes, but that could be fixed with an awning -- or if I build a sound diffuser, the diffuser should serve to block the sun.

The move was hard on vehicles. Both rear spring shackles broke on my tandem trailer somewhere along the way. There was no way to fix it in the middle of the move, so it rode at least the last 500 miles with broken shackles. :shock: (That's why I need to get a welder outlet rigged up).

I was proud of my ancient 3/4 ton pickup for making 3 round trips while pulling about double its rated GVW. It ran just great the whole time. However, now the TH350 tranny refuses to go into reverse or nuetral, so it may be fried. That's hardly surprising, since the TH350 is not the hot setup for heavy towing, and a partially clogged radiator probably contributed to the problem. I absolutely gotta have the 3/4 ton to haul construction materials, so the tranny has to be fixed. While I'm at it, I'll have the radiator rodded and add a tranny cooler so maybe it won't happen again, at least for a while. Rebuilt trannys aren't that expensive, but to change the tranny, you either have to pull the engine or else the transfer case, and the NP203 transfer case is one heavy son of a gun, so I think I'll pull the engine instead, and as long as I'm pulling the worn out engine, I might as well swap it out, too ........ and all this in the middle of a cow pasture.

Did I mention Murphy's law?

I guess I can forget about a new coyote rifle for a while ........

Despite the problems, construction is actually right on schedule. I figured there would be vehicle problems (if you saw my vehicles, you would understand :D ), I figured the utilities would take a while, and I figured the cow pasture would be rainy and muddy at this time of year.

For a while I was seeing deer and elk every day. One morning I woke up to find about 20 in my pasture. But now that the weather has warmed up and the cattle have been moved up to their summer range, the deer and elk stay away. They do get into my neighbor's wheat though. She has had to set up propane guns to keep the elk out. Gee, maybe I should plant some wheat !!!!!

I'll post a few pictures as time allows. It's going to take me a few days to catch up on my computer stuff.

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mtngun
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Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:45 pm
Location: Where the Salmon joins the Snake

Re: Moving

Postby mtngun » Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:27 pm

Here's the view out the window of the shootin' shack.

Image

Here's the infamous shootin' shack itself. The whole site is messy and disorganized, as construction sites tend to be.
Image

Here's the building site.

Image

The permit for this cost $450. Image

Here's what I will eventually see from my living room. Image

Here's another view from the living room. I do have one neighbor over the hill, but only their barn is visible from my place. Behind the barn is Getta Canyon, which flows into Hell's Canyon. Image

User avatar
mtngun
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Posts: 1638
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:45 pm
Location: Where the Salmon joins the Snake

Re: Moving

Postby mtngun » Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:29 pm

That's one beautiful place man... too bad that barn messes the one view up... LOL

Ian

henryb
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Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:10 pm

Re: Moving

Postby henryb » Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:12 pm

Nice place there. I have a sincere appreciation for all the work you are putting into it. You are living in God's country there.....


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