Lollyland

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Re: Lollyland

Postby Lollykoko » Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:17 pm

Driveways are an important part of our infrastructure. I hope that yours is protected from high water events since the city changed your runoff direction.

Several years ago there was a large group that had arrived at Lollyland on Friday night, anticipating a good weekend of fellowship and learning the land. I had only owned the place for a couple of years at that point, so we were still learning the layout of what is there. The drive was located at the very north edge of the property, but wasn't up to snuff (I'd gotten bogged down in mud more than once). I had ordered another 10 tons of gravel, and we spent all day Saturday spreading and packing down, to make the entry from the road more user friendly. Saturday evening we sat around the campfire and talked about how soon to order more gravel and what prep work would need to be done before hand.

Late that night, the sky opened up and dumped several inches of rain on top of us. When I got up Sunday morning, everything was wet, no wood dry enough to start a new fire and brew coffee, so I jumped in the truck to run to the general store a few miles away. I followed the drive path out of the wooded camping area, around the bottom of the woods, then headed north to get out onto the road. Imagine my surprise when I found the field closest to the road under water!

You see, the hill on the property slopes down into that field, and about 5 acres of hillside all run directly down that slope into the basin, which has a high water table and several underground springs. Later that year I talked with one of the farmers that used to own the land and he suggested moving the driveway closer to the ditch, because the land was more compact there and has a slightly higher elevation. I started the process of learning ... where to buy culverts, which company offered the best price for aggregate, how the Romans built their roads ...

This photo is from that timeframe and shows the driveway after we added new stone. Note the standing water to the right (south) that is a combination of runoff from my hill and the farmer's field to the north, combined with a high water table.
Image

Well, I can't afford to hire a legion to put down seven layers of various sized stone, so my relocated drive probably won't stand up for 2000 years like the Roman roads did, but we haven't been flooded in since. :lol: This year I would like to be able to slow down that water on that west facing hillside with some intentional contouring as we remove mature pines to give more sunlight through the canopy. And since the field is lower than much of the property, it seems to be a good spot for one of those ponds I hope to get excavated soon.
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Re: Lollyland

Postby GrahamB » Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:30 am

Yeah, ours is blacktop on top of a concrete base. The spillway is about four feet deep where it hits the side of he driveway and then turns under the road. We've had some pretty good gully flushers coming down the road and although its cut some of the soil away just up the road, the concrete system performs perfectly. Every day we come home from school and stop at the bottom of the driveway so our son can jump out, and check the mailbox across the road. As we ait for him I always look down into the gully to look for snakes. Our big black snake is sometimes laid out in there sunning as it gets quite hot in there.
No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.
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Re: Lollyland

Postby Lollykoko » Tue Apr 15, 2014 2:55 pm

Guess who bought a portable sawmill? ;)

Brother in law Terry has been talking about how handy one would be, given the hundreds of trees that will have to come out and the various outbuildings that will need constructed. After a couple years of discussion, I started doing some comparison shopping. My wallet wasn't thick enough to afford one of the models I've seen demonstrated at the MEN Fair, but the model sold by harbor Freight had good revues and the cost was within my income tax refund for the year, so ... :lol:

Right now it is in the back of the truck, crated up in plywood and steel banding. I have plans to ride up to the farm tomorrow with my friend who does the mowing. My brother is driving down to meet us so that we have plenty of hands to safely pick this 750+ package up and get it to the ground. Of course I am counting on the fact that there is a backhoe there to pick the crate up so I can drive out from under it. It is nice to know a bunch of retirees that don't have obligations within the 8 ~ 5 period. :D

It will probably be a month or so before we actually get it unpacked and usable, with pictures to share. That assumes cooperative weather and a flexible work schedule for Kathy so that they can come down on weekends to get things set up.

That house in the side of the hill is becoming more real by the moment. :D
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Re: Lollyland

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:15 pm

That is Great news Lolly!!!!! I am so pleased for you. This will be a Huge step forward in your plans to get something built there on your land. Having 'Free ' or almost free lumber could really be a game changer. Be sure to stack it properly and try to get a roof or a tarp, or some kind of covering over it as it dries. Building a roof over the saw mill could be your 1st building of sorts, it will protect the mill, and it is much nicer to work out of the weather. ;) Let us know about your progress, I am really looking forward to hearing about what buildings you decide to build 1st. :)
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Re: Lollyland

Postby mannytheseacow » Tue Apr 15, 2014 4:20 pm

That is awesome, Lolly! Good investment.

The guy who mills my lumber has a little shed with clear PVC panels on the South walls and a well ventilated eave. He didn't spend more than $1000 on this little building and essentially has a solar kiln that dries his wood in one summer. Imagine the possibilities!
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Re: Lollyland

Postby Lollykoko » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:28 pm

I talked with Kathy a few minutes ago, to see if she was off this weekend, allowing them to come down to camp. Some time ago Terry and I were discussing used axles, and I asked her to remind him of the conversation. It would be nice to make this thing easily portable, since I know some folks who would love to be able to borrow it at their site. Eventually we want to have a serious workspace, but don't have a location in mind yet. Until then, we will be storing it in the pole barn that will use the first planks created. We had about 40 logs set aside (from one of those government projects that my taxes are paying for), but after this wet winter ... Well, I can be hopeful, right up until the time I know for sure, eh? I have about 100 white pines that I want to get off the west facing hillside, so they should take care of my lumber needs in a couple of years. And if/when those outbuilding fail due to using native timber for construction, the folks in charge at the time should know whether it was a good location or if is should be relocated 100 feet to the west. :lol:
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Re: Lollyland

Postby matt walker » Wed Apr 16, 2014 3:11 pm

Lolly, this is so exciting, I'm just thrilled for you! I always love the journey that the endeavors of this lifestyle take us on. In this case I think it's going to be a lot of work, but a whole lot of fun and incredibly satisfying.
I loved Manny's post a while ago about the things he has around his place that he has made from lumber milled from his own place. The stories and soul that are entrained in every part of that stuff. So very cool, can't wait to see it in action.
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Re: Lollyland

Postby Lollykoko » Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:32 pm

Well, Shag (the friend who does the mowing) and I made a trip to the property on Wednesday to off load the sawmill. :) The backhoe wouldn't start. Dead battery. Comedy of errors trying to find the right tools in what is left in the cabinet after multiple people have rifled through and forgot to return because they weren't their tools. :( Jumping wouldn't work either. So we pulled the battery out for charging and headed home.

Second trip up was on Friday. The backhoe still wouldn't start, though we did hear a clicking sound that doesn't come from the starter. I called my favorite mechanic and adoptason, who is going to try to find time to make it up there this weekend.

So we put the battery in the tractor and discovered that it is fully charged. However, the tractor wouldn't start either. The first problem was that someone had drained the gas tank! I sure hope that 8 gallons of fuel made a difference in their situation. :x But the gas station is only 5 miles away ... Unfortunately, fuel wasn't enough. The engine would catch, but wouldn't run for more than a few seconds. Now we are on the hunt for a new distributor cap and rotor for my 62 year old Farmall. Thank goodness we don't have to start mowing for a couple of months yet, since I don't think those will be available at the local NAPA store. :lol:

Still, I had nearly 800 pounds that needed to be unloaded. No neighbors were in a position to help out. And I sure didn't want to drive back to town with the crate still in the back of the truck. :( We made a trip to the farm store 15 miles away and spent a little money to get the job done. I am sure that the tool will come in handy in coming weeks/months.
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Re: Lollyland

Postby matt walker » Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:36 pm

Well, I'm glad you finally got it unloaded! That would have frustrated me to no end Lolly, I feel for you. The good news is the backhoe is really minor. Adoptason will know, but it's either the large cables/connections between the battery and starter, either corroded or loose, or it's the solenoid on the starter(sometimes they are mounted elsewhere). If it's the solenoid, you could probably hit it with a hammer if it's hanging and get it to start a few more times, but a new solenoid shouldn't be too much, and it's an easy fix. Can't wait to see the sawdust flying!
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Re: Lollyland

Postby Lollykoko » Sat Apr 19, 2014 3:22 pm

You are right, Matt. I am reasonably sure that the backhoe won't take much coddling. I learned to drive long ago, and my father made sure I knew enough to keep me from being stranded along the road and how to tell a mechanic what was wrong. I found a small metal box (on the side opposite the starter) that has several wires coming in/out with spade connections under the screws. No, I can't remember what the thing might be called/ but I am sure there was one on the firewall of my 60 Chevy, and that little box controlled everything. Anyway, the connections have some rust on them and I'm reasonably confident that my problem is somehow connected to that. Since I had my camera with me, I was able to take a few photos and sent one to Brian with the note that I brought the manuals home with me. Hopefully the picture will give him an idea of what the thing is so he can call the local dealer for part availability.

The problem is that all this stuff takes time, and I don't have 3 clones to help out! :lol: I just have too many irons in the fire right now. I need to get off the computer and get back to work on my house, making room for my son's family (three adults) to share my space. Of course I have had 17 years to fill it up, and I've never been accused of being a minimalist. Sometimes I wish I had spent my working years buying travel cruises and motorcycles instead of houses and land!
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