Double Your Fun ….

Finally, work has been done on building 2 new yurts.  These yurts will be 25″ across and be about 475 sq feet of living space.  This time around we decided to buy 2 roof kits as opposed to the complete kit.  By purchasing on the roof kits only, we could get 2 delivered on one truck saving in shipping.  Also, I had to buy 2 roof kits to get the roof metal in any color other than silver.  We received the roof kits in April of this year.  We then had to save up some “scratch” and wait for my helpers Gator and JT to free up from previous commitments.

 

This is pad site 2 before any dirt work had been done.

I had Buck put in a circular drive and pad sites for both pad 1 and pad 2.

This is pad 1 when finished.

Pad Site 2
Pad Site 2

We then had to start laying out the pads for the piers and start the monumental task of drilling the piers.  This lasted about 30 minutes…. Then the call went out to Buck to bring out his hammer to break up the limestone shelf so we could try to auger the holes.

After the the holes were positioned and dug, forms were built, secured and leveled.  This took about 2 weeks.

After the forms were in place we poured 8 yards of concrete.  The truck could reach about 4 or 5 of forms.  After that, it was on JT’s back (literally) to wheelbarrow the concrete from the truck to the forms.  This was a long day!

Pad site 1

Pad Site 2

Cordwood Prep

Last summer we purchased a large number of Eastern Cedar tree tops (about 140).  We removed the limbs and used a high power pressure washer with an oscillating nozzle to remove the bark.

After the power washing was done, the logs were carefully cut to 16 inch length.

Then the larger logs were split to help speed up the drying process.

We then stacked the wood to dry. (About 9 cords)

 

Rinse and Repeat…..Opportunity is knocking!

Planning is now in full swing for our next cabin.  We have an agreement with an industry expert and author of Cordwood Construction: Best Practices, Richard Flatau, to host a building workshop at Eureka Yurts and Cabins here in Eureka Springs Arkansas.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn (hands-on) about Cordwood construction from one of the worlds foremost authority on the subject.

This workshop will be held on September 9th, 10th, and 11th.  Here are the links to register:

http://cordwoodconstruction.org/img/Cordwood_Workshops_2016.pdf

http://cordwoodconstruction.org/img/Cordwood_Workshop_Registration_Template2016.docx

This workshop will fill up fast.  Don’t miss this OPPORTUNITY to be apart of Eureka Yurts and Cabins!

I have an agreement with a local family to clear 40 acres of cedar for use on the cabin.  The Eastern Cedar I am desperately trying to make arrangements to kiln dry the wood in preparation for the workshop.  The trees must be cut, DE-limbed, and skinned of all the bark in preparation for the drying process.  No help will be refused!

For those who have not heard of Cordwood construction, we have some examples in our Possible Building Styles album at the top of our home page .  Here are some places you can vacation now. Cordwood Vacations

Here are some examples of what we are going to do on a cabin scale.

Cordwood House
Cordwood House

cordwood-construction-1

Cordwood Vacations paul-harney-cordwood-wall-5 Richard Flatau blog

Wrap, Wrap, Wrap it up….

Well, winter has come and is giving way to the early reaches of spring.  The trees are starting to bud, and we are putting the final touches on the yurt.  The windows have been trimmed out.  The in-wall internet has be fully installed and tested.  The kitchen received its final monster cabinet, counter tops and back-splash.

Trim-out.

I was having a problem trimming out the windows because there was a bend between adjacent windows where the panels met.  After going over some of the possible solutions.  My neighbor Terry suggested to use all the scraps to create a butcher block pattern that could follow the contour.  So, that is what I did.  Here is the final result.

Trim Detail 2
Trim Detail 2
Trim Detail 3
Trim Detail 3
Trim detail
Trim detail

Also, while I was in the “Use all your scraps” mindset, I decided to use the floor tiles for the counter top.

Counter Backsplash

So, here is how the main living space ended up.

Living Room 2
Living Room 2
Living Room
Living Room

 

Play ON!

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It has been quite an adjustment moving from a 2900 sq foot suburban home with 2.5 car garage, fenced backyard with a dog run, outdoor kitchen and sports court to 930 sq ft self built cabin.  The things I miss?  GARAGE! Holy Moly, I have forgotten how much nice it was to have a simple garage.  Also, miss a guest bedroom, fenced yard, and my favorite Chinese take out.

Well, one problem solved!

Having 3 Great Pyrenees, it is quite a chore to walk them 4 times a day.  Rain, sleet, or snow, they need to exercise and do their business.   And their ‘business’ can really pile up!

So the requirements:

Goal 1: Safe and Secure, Always, Always.

Goal 2: Low/No maintenance.

Goal 3: Self Service.

Goal 3: Ascetically pleasing and fitting in with the rustic theme.

I have always been in awe of AstroTurf dog runs.  But the cost of 13$ a foot plus installation was way beyond my budget / benefit balance.  I did my research and made a lot of phone calls and finally found my answer.  Reclaimed Turf. For about 0.75 cents a foot (delivered), I bought turf that was salvaged from the University of Missouri Western State’s football field.

So after 3 trips to Kansas City, we finally had all the turf.  So now what??  Very long story short, after wrestling with a 30 ft 2000 lb anaconda, I finally got it down. Woot! (Sorry, Juan).

Turf Beginnings

looking down the slopeTurf positioned fence poles in

Terry always laying down on the job

Turf under the deck to provide shade

Next step, build the ramp from the deck to the yard.  I called in my trusty carpenter and his sidekick and in 2 days we had the ramp in and it was all down hill.  Or, maybe too downhill??!? What??

Ramp Construction

The next week we had 3 days of torrential downpour.  And, with the 12 percent grade and the circular drive sloping toward the back yard, the water tunneled under the turf and cut a gorge under the turf.  When I un-seamed the turf, it looked like the Colorado river cutting through the desert of Arizona.

 

So, I bought some more 5/8ths base rock and had a friend regrade the driveway and put in a small diversion ditch to channel the water away from the the back yard.  I filled in the Grand Canyon and seamed up the turf.

The final product:

Finish from deck Finished from yard

Summer, come and gone. Whaaat???

How time flys when your having fun.  Could not be more true this summer.  The first summer in Arkansas has been Awesome.  The weather has been superb.  With average highs of 90 and average lows of 68, I thought I was living in southern California.  The lake water temperature was in the low 80’s for most of the summer.

I picked up a little fishing boat a couple months ago, and Melissa and I have embarked on learning fresh water and trout fishing.  skifGrowing up on the coast of Mississippi, I spent my entire life fishing salt water.  Fishing the Arkansas lakes and rivers is a completely different animal.  But with the tutoriage from my avid fishing buddy Mike, we have had some moderate success.

Walleyes

Lunch Break
We often slip away at lunch for a bite and a couple casts.

Cabin Update

The deck is finally finished.  I am pleased with the outcome.

Next, kitchen cabinets…. UUUGGG… what a beating.  After a month of debating what color stain we were going to use, we finally jumped on it with the help of my nephew John.  We sanded, pre-treated, stained, and varnished, varnished and varnished.  So after a couple week the cabinets went from this Upper Cabinets Bottom Cabinets

To this: with the convection oven and dishwasher.

Full Cabinet View

We have also had a double circular drive and a parking area put in.  Now it does not feel like you off-roading just to get home. So, So much nicer!Circle Drive

 

Next, our attention has turned to the dog yard.  We have decided to go with reclaimed astroturf for the dog run area.  We bought 1800 sq feet of turf removed from Western Missouri State’s football field.  The first delivery contained half of the turf in GOLD.  Really?  Did I really have to request that the turf be predominantly green?  Really?

So after some spirited negotiation, and 3 round trips to Kansas City to get suitable pieces for the project.  The next week was spent wrestling with a 16 foot 1500 lb anaconda…. There goes the back!  But with the help of my friends tractor and another friend who drove the tractor, we managed to get the turf down.  We spent the next 2 days with a rented 8″ auger attachment for the tractor to drill 10 post holes.  This is the current progress.

Turf and Poles

We will finish off the fence using 50 inch by 16 foot cow panels which Melissa is painting black to match the finish of the deck.

We will be finishing the fence, adding a doggie door  and a ramp for the dogs.  Then, the last major task.  Clean, Stain and Seal the exterior of the yurt and deck.  Stay tuned the ride is just beginning….

Every Guy Wants a Big Deck!

Realization: “It is fun to move to a much bigger house.  It is the opposite of fun to move to a smaller house.”

Well currently, our yurt looks like you opened the roof like a stein, poured 1.5 box trucks full of our possessions inside and closed the lid.

Space Is At A Premium
Space Is At A Premium

But this is the Payoff.

Sunrise Out Bedroom Window
Sunrise Out Bedroom Window
Better Than An Alarm Clock
Better Than An Alarm Clock
Back Deck View
Back Deck View

Over the last week there has been a lot of organization, spring cleaning, and of course Spring!  And with the glorious emergence of spring, comes focus of a Big Deck!  Our original order was for 1080 sq ft of decking.  But, that did not cut it.  Looks, like the deck will finish out about 1150 sq ft.  This is essentially going to be our back yard due to our goal of No/Low maintenance.

Back Of Deck 50ft
Back Of Deck 50ft
West Side With Lookout
West Side With Lookout
First Railing
First Railing
Bob Installing Low Visibility Dowels In Railing
Bob Installing Low Visibility Dowels In Railing
Luis Pre-Drilling Railing
Luis Pre-Drilling Railing

More Finish Out, How Did We Get All This Stuff ???

Ok, the plan was to quickly weed out the Junk, separate the stuff that we want to leave behind that we think we may need in the future for the next cabins. (Move Out)  Pack and move the rest to the cabin. (Move In)  Keep the stuff in the cabins we will use and store the rest in temporary storage until needed. (Move Out).  Luckily, I have a brilliant woodworker and builder, and now treasured friend in Bob Willmeth.  He has blessed me with very kind offer let me store some of my stuff temporarily at his wood working shop on Holiday Island.

When giving my 45 day notice, it serendipitously landed on March 13th.  Well, that means our official first day of official permanent residency in Arkansas is March 14, (PI day), which is also my birthday…. How cool is that birthday present???

Only one thing stood in the way.  The floors were not even started.  How can we move in and and work on the floors at the same time?

So Bear and I drove the truck and Melissa and the girls followed in her van to make our final move to Eureka Springs.  Then Melissa went back to Celina to finish getting her office ready to work remotely, and I stayed with the dogs putting all hands on deck to finish the floors.

Bear Learning to Drive
Bear Learning to Drive

Here are some pictures from the adventure.

All Paws on Deck
All Paws on Deck

 

Shower Before Grout
Shower Before Grout
Bathroom Floor
Bathroom Floor
Office Floor after grout
Flooring in the rest of the rooms after grout

Wow, when I stand back and take the time to look back in time and relive the steps that have brought me to this place, I have some realizations.

1)  What we do affects other people.  This is a serious responsibility and an awesome privilege.

2) Society and marketing have a bigger effect on you than you think.  If you don’t believe that, move from 2980 sf house to a 937 sf house.

After going through our possessions we ditched the obvious junk and donating a lot of stuff. Then we moved 1.5 loads in an 18 ft box truck, 2 loads in a minivan, and one large 12 ft motorcycle trailer will be on the way soon with our large kitchen table, outdoor furniture and tools.  Oh, and by the way we still have a 20′ x 8′ storage unit in Celina with extra things we still have to go through or use in future cabins.

In order to enlighten myself and gain a new perspective on this, I have subscribed to 3 blogs that have helped me change my perspective.  This is a slow work in progress.  I find the KEY to this is to always move forward.  Look backwards ONLY for knowledge, experience and GOOD memories.  Nothing Else! If you can not move forward, guard with all your strength not to go backwards.  It is better to do nothing and hold your ground than to go backwards.

http://www.theminimalists.com/

http://bemorewithless.com/

And my favorite, a guide to financial freedom:

Home

3) How did a family with a covered wagon make this trip.  With best case scenario, it would take about 18 days to make this trip.  And that would take care of the pickup load. (Maybe)

4) God is faithful to provide what you need, when you need it, if you just rely on him. (Full story to come later)

 

Finish out begins.

With the water and electrical infrastructure in place, and the walls, electrical, and plumbing installed. It is now time to start the interior finish out. We have installed green certified sheet rock. We hand cut all the joints and electrical box openings. We also applied the skip trowel texture entirely by hand. Our choice of paint was the same low VOC paint we used in our last house. Its something we could both agree on.

Make sure you click Read More.

Sunrise
Sunrise
living room from office
living room from office
Bear loves the shower before the water is connected
Bear loves the shower before the water is connected
Paint going on in the bedroom
Paint going on in the bedroom

Bedroom

Water Heater
Water Heater

Office living room

Eureka Yurts and Cabins