Can a city boy build his dream homestead on a mountain, by himself and with no mortgage?

Little to report but more free lumber!

It’s been several weeks since I’ve updated y’all on my progress. Well, there ain’t much!

My paid work has dried up and money is very very tight. I’m sticking close to the city right now and looking for more work. The picture above is from last Christmas.

There was about a foot of snow up on the mountain 2 weeks ago when those big storms pushed through California but it’s melted by now. I’ve been scouring CraigsList looking for railroad ties and insulation. I need about 200 more running feet of R-15 and R-21 fiberglass to cover the interior (I have lots of R-13 left over from installing the window wall).

Since it’s going to be a wet winter/spring here in SoCal, I need about 8 railroad ties to build a small diversion wall to re-route any mud slides that may come down the driveway. When it rains, the water now washes down the driveway and misses the cabin but with the “el Nino” storms coming, I want to take the advice given to me in one of the earlier blog comments.

The cement block base of the future deck should keep any water and mud away from the door side of the building but I probably won’t get that deck built until after I finish the interior.

I DID manage to procure an enormous stack of 4′ long 2×6 and 2×8’s (and some 10′ 4×6’s)!   A good friend was tearing down a movie set and offered me the free lumber. I should have enough to completely finish the entire deck using the 4′ lengths as top decking. Since the base frame will be sitting up on concrete blocks I’m confident the untreated wood will work fine. I’ll simply use plenty of Olympic deck stain to seal the wood before I build it.

I bought a power inlet from Grainger that will allow me to plug the male end of an extension cord into the generator and the female end into the cabin! This will also keep the cabin UN-attached to any utilities and therefore, still legal in the eyes of the law!

I’d like to wish everyone reading this a VERY Merry Christmas and a successful and healthy New Year!

Thanks again for reading and for all your supportive comments!

peace out,


8 responses

  1. ed swope

    We have been waiting for weeks to hear how the orange stain turned out. Sorry to hear about your work drying up. Hope things get better for you and all the rest of the under/un-employed,

    December 17, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    • I am too Ed, haven’t been up there since! (if it’s anything like the sample I painted, it’ll be gorgeous)

      December 18, 2009 at 10:43 am

  2. Phew, sounds like you are keeping yourself quite busy! Glad to hear you’re using Olympic Stain again. 🙂

    December 18, 2009 at 8:06 am

  3. Mo

    Cool Blog. I enjoyed my visit and look forward to more updates as you progress.

    December 20, 2009 at 6:31 am

  4. Hey Urban Rancher, I built a shed last year attached to my house and did exactly what you plan to do WRT electrifying the shed. I got all of my components from the ReStore and it works like a charm. You can read about it here. Next year I plan to build a Cabana at the end of the garden and might ‘steal’ some of your ideas….

    January 3, 2010 at 8:51 am

  5. knifemouth

    Hello, total stranger popping in -been following Small Living Journal since it’s inception, thought I’d have a look at some of what the blogs look like for the contributors that I am unfamiliar with.

    After getting caught up here w/much of it zinging over my head, I am just whole-heartedly / damned impressed with the basic tackle and execution. Nice feeling to have such friends as well, I imagine.

    Initially I was going to simply comment w/humorous Q: ‘How many women have thrown themselves at you since you started this venture?’ but I don’t want my smart-assical approach to cause any sort of ‘uh-oh’ …for so very many reasons.

    Thank you for laying down the facts in a clear and simple fashion, especially since the zoning and so on isn’t just complex: I feel like it’s symbolic of a whole lot of what’s wrong in the USA. I feel like CNN and them would like to have us think it’s a bunch of specific issues that they choose to trumpet, when for me it’s much more the tangle of bureaucracy that has thrown a stranglehold on the true aspect of freedom & the core of America’s dream.

    (Not to disregard the need for some of this ‘n that to keep the rusty Meth lab trailers from plopping down and setting about killing folks. Etc.)

    Far too long a comment as it is, so one last time to say that taking in your process and hard work, your generosity of time for sharing your knowledge: much appreciated and admired.

    January 3, 2010 at 5:08 pm

  6. Kyle

    I have been thinking about this kind of outlet for a long time. I didn’t know such a thing existed! So glad I found your blog.

    June 28, 2011 at 5:17 pm

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