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

Archive for December, 2010

it’s gonna be an ELECTRIFYING winter!

I was planning to write a wonderful holiday post, filled with glorious winter pictures of my mountain compound… and then the rain started.

As you’ve probably heard, Southern California was just visited by 6 days of Biblical style rains. Sadly, all of the access roads to my mountain have been flooded, washed out or covered in mud and boulders. Although the rain has finally stopped for a full day now, access to my land is blocked until after Christmas.

Last week, before the rain, I started building the “Carmen A. Garzo Renewable Green Energy Generating Plant” (in honor of my best friend Garzo’s generous Christmas gift of a solar panel kit).

I decided to house the solar panels, battery bank, wind turbine and gas generator in a separate structure. After scouting the areas near the cabin, I thought it best to put the power shed next to the tool shed. There is ample clearance for wind, close access to the cabin (50 feet) and an unobstructed view of the Southern sky. I would only have to remove one large nasty bush and level a 6’x8′ area. The building was to be small, 4’x6′ with a small cantilevered closet on the outside. Since I can’t store the gas generator in the same room as the batteries (KABOOM!), I’ll add a “garden box” style closet to the left side of the shed, just large enough for my generator.

Bush removal and leveling the piers took all afternoon and after a few beers, I called it a day. After building the cabin, I learned it was best to draw up a simple framing plan. I checked the wood pile for resources and happily I only needed to buy 3/4″ plywood for the floor and 5 sheets of OSB for the sheathing, all the rest of the lumber was in the pile!

Framing was fast. The shed is only 4’x6′ with a simple slope roof, angled at 15 degrees and facing due South. Lots of online research on mounting solar panels told me exactly how to orient the panels (due South at 15 degrees, LOL). It turns out that with an 8′ high front wall and a 7′ high rear wall on a 4′ wide building, I get a roof pitch of 14.7 degrees!

Since the shed is so small, the sheathing went on without a hitch.

I had plenty of leftover 30 lb. roofing felt to cover the shed.  BTW, you can see the cantilevered 4×4 skids sticking out the left side of the shed, this is where the generator box will sit.

Since I did not yet round-up any roofing panels, siding or a door, I tacked extra roofing felt over the door opening. I was planning to run up and finish construction the following weekend but I got a fast little commercial job and then the rains started.

I’m hoping to get up there and complete the exterior as soon as I open my Christmas presents, but with another round of rainstorms coming, I’m gonna have to put my faith in good old asphalt soaked roofing felt (“tar paper” if you’re old school).

Until then, I pray that everyone has a safe and joyous Christmas!

Ho Ho Ho and peace out…