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

April showers with a 40% chance of winter wonderland

The weather report was for sunny skies and weather in the 60’s so last week, I ran up to the mountain to do my spring chores. Fences need to be mended, posts replaced, brush clearance needs to begin, front siding still not done on the power shed, repainting winter-worn wood, solar panels and wind turbine to be installed, the list goes on!

Day one went as planned with a 40 foot length of rotting wood fence torn down and 2 new fence posts set into concrete, a new mailbox post installed, and gate posts were repainted. All in all a productive work day mixed with a few naps and tree-gazing sessions.

Day two was not so fun. Rain started at 10am and continued all day, temps dropped into the low 40’s and I retreated into the cabin to stay warm, drink hot cocoa and read. The rain was not letting up so I headed into town to buy comfort food and more beer. Driving back up the mountain I noticed a light snow falling and the temperature gauge on the truck was flashing “ICE/32 degrees!”.

Upon return, my land has a sweet dusting of snow, it is adorable but work is over for the day. I retreat, close the curtains, crank up the Lil’ Buddy Heater and fall asleep watching a movie on the laptop.

7am my eyes pop open and the cabin is ccccold inside! I stumble to get the heater back on and lift the blinds on the side window. This is what I see…

Apparently it snowed all night, dumping a full 8″ on the ground! Winter f-ing wonderland!

I bundled up, grabbed the camera and ran outside…

Needless to say, I had coffee NOT on the outside bench. The thermometer said 30 degrees outside and I couldn’t have been happier!

Although I cancelled my chores for the week and headed home early, a week later I’m still thrilled to have been completely surprised by the snow.  I guess this is one of those little things that only happen on one’s own mountain, all alone, when you least expect it.

as does so much of life!



5 responses

  1. Hey There. It’s been almost two months since the last time you wrote. For some reason I just couldn’t think that snow would have been an issue. I know. I’m dumb.

    It’s good to see your place again, and such wonderful photographs. Maybe not quite spring, but that is an extended winter I could live with.

    April 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    • It has been a few weeks but I’ve been busy working in LA and only going up there to relax. I really didn’t have much to write about, LOL. The weather had been gloriously clear, cool and crisp, perfect for March and April… until the snowstorm, of course!

      April 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm

  2. Dan

    I came across your site while researching small housing. I’m interested in your structure design, but have one concern. I have land in the far west Texas mountains where high winds are a fact of life. 70 MPH is not uncommon. How has your cabin responded to high winds? Thanks for the site. Dan

    May 10, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    • The cabin has proven to be rock solid so far, even when I first tested it by body-slamming the interior walls. I have no engineering experience and winds here rarely get up to 40mph so these suggestions are just my humble novice opinions…

      I did use Simpson ties to hold the rafters onto the top plates. For extreme wind, I probably would have also notched out the rafters with a bird’s mouth cut to hold them extra tight to the top plates. The galvalume roof panels were screwed down every foot along each edge (as well as generously on the middle seams. My walls and framing were done to standard building code specs, nothing extra for heavy-winds. I suppose using thicker OSB sheathing and Simpson ties between the wall studs and the bottom plates as well as all 4 corners would make it more wind-proof.

      We do have earthquakes in Southern Calif and I worry a bit that the skid would slide or bounce off the concrete blocks. Fortunately the mountains rarely get big quakes and even so, I could move it all back with a heavy-duty car jack and a chain tied to my truck. I suppose a 70mph wind could blow the whole thing over so I would definitely consider bolting the whole cabin onto concrete piers sunk at least 24″ into the ground or a standard perimeter foundation, also sunk into the earth.

      My large windows have pretty thick tempered glass so I don’t worry about them breaking under stress, unless of course a tree limb or large metal object were to be flung at them by the storm.

      Anyone else out there have any other suggestions?!

      May 10, 2011 at 10:05 pm

  3. kristen

    Great post, beautiful snow!

    November 10, 2011 at 6:10 pm

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