Electric Meter Structure

It was a beautiful day today! We went out to the land to install a structure for the electric meter. We’ve got it up and ready for the electric company to come!

Zipper’s first time out on the land! He had a blast and it’s a great place for him to get his energy out. Here he is hanging out with his boy. It was awesome!

Horse Creek’s Jade Meadow Zipper

zipper8wksSqHorse Creek’s Jade Meadow Zipper-


Zipper was a birthday present for our youngest son.  He had been asking for a brown puppy for years.  We drove down to Oklahoma to pick up this little guy and surprised our son a few days before his birthday.  He was one ecstatic kid.

jaxzip3 jaxzip1 8 Weeks

Angel & Zipper

Meet our first farm animals! We got Angel for Easter and Jax got Zipper for his birthday!



Children’s Play Area

poleswingsetWe’ve talked about different things to build for the kids out on the land.  All four of our children love to swing.  So the first thing we’d like to do is build a swing set from some salvage metal pipes that we can get from Kev’s work.  We need at least four swings for our children and we’d like two more for friends that come over, or mom and dad even.  And the options for swings have exploded.  I’m sure we will not end up with six common swing seats.

We’ve also wanted a sand box forever.  We actually have had the sand for awhile now but we just didn’t have the right place for it.  Now that we do I’d like to go along with our tire theme!  Here are a few ideas with sand that would be a blast near the swing set.  Add to that a tree house with a zip line and a slide inside the house and we’re golden!

tree house

Getting Tires!

Kev after the 1st load!

Kev after the 1st load!

Yesterday was chilly but still a great day to get supplies for building our farm. We’ve decided to start by building a root cellar where we can attach our electric meter. It’s small enough that we don’t need a permit but big enough to camp out in when we are working on the house this summer. It will be fairly easy to build and will cost us very little. Getting our permanent electric meter in now will save us money in the long run and we can submit our solar application to KCP&L sooner. It takes 90 days to get approved so the sooner the better.

So last week when Kev took his car into our favorite mechanic, he asked about getting their old tires. We had heard that auto body shops have to pay to dispose of these old tires. They said that there has to be a paper trail to an approved disposal company to get paid to take them. But they’d happily let us have them for free. So yesterday after his morning work Kev borrowed a full size van and transported 3 loads of used tires from our mechanics to our 34 acres. He counted them up in the end for a grand total of 116. We need 185 for the root cellar so we just need two more loads! It’s a great start and it feels good to be doing something. We are anxious for the weather to get better so we can do more out there.

“Earthship” Buildings

How do you build a building with tires? Here are a few examples from other websites.  We will be sharing how we do it this summer.

Deconstructing Deck for Wood

Kevin’s parent’s own a house that they are selling and it has a gigantic deck in the backyard that the new owners don’t want. So Kevin is deconstructing it and we are going to use the wood for a tree house! How great is that?! Free lumber!
Above are some pictures after a couple hours working and below is a picture from several hours later. After many stripped screws, the rails are all down, and he got started on the floor. 😀


Playing in the Meadow

The children and I went out to the meadow today.  To review the home site placement and figure out barn placement.  We had a picnic, played with toys, walked, ran, and climbed hay bales.  We had a blast.  And to end the day perfectly Kev showed up to surprise us in between his meetings.  It was a great day.

Ideas for Our Barn

There was a post on the forums of Keeping a Family Cow and Kelsey posted pictures of her milking area.  It was so pretty I pm’d her and asked about her barn.  Below are the pictures and her reply.  Thank you Kelsey!

“Our barn is a simple post and truss building – the slab was poured after 6×6 posts were set every 4 feet of outside wall in 2′ holes to a floor depth of 5.5 inches (we live in a temperate climate with virtually no frost-line.) The tops of the posts were tied together with 2x?’s and then trusses were put on top that had a cross-section that included loft space. The barn is basically 24×24 but with an extra 8-foot slab out the back with the loft running over that 8 feet. The back half has 2-12×12 stalls, and the front half is divided into 3 spaces – an 8×12 tack/feed room, an 8×12 aisle, and an 8×12 milking room. The cow walks through one of the stalls (where she is brushed) to get to the milking room. The extra post for the built-in stanchion was set with the others. Off the front half on the tack room side there is an 8×12 greenhouse.

We avoided hollow walls by using 2×6 tongue-in-groove on the outsides of the posts to avoid having rats. The floor joists of the loft are also accessible by our barn cats. There is a fold-down ladder from the tack room to the loft, which is 10×32 and holds 6 tons of hay.”

image image

stanchion stanchion2

Where to Start

We are purchasing 34 acres!  It’s owner financed from our parents but it’s beautiful land on a hill top with pasture, trees, and a spring.  It’s outside city limits and the building site is not near the main road.  So where to start? We walked the land on Friday to scope out our home site. It was chilly up on the hill top and we got sprinkled on a little. The kids ran everywhere and it is really peaceful to be out on land.

  1. Get an address from county! 3/14/13  Got it!
  2. Order the temporary electric meter 3/14/13 (So we changed our minds on this.  We are just going to get a permanent meter so we don’t have to spend an extra $300 to upgrade it later.)
  3. Collect tires part 1 3/22/13  Got 116!
  4. Collect tires part 2
  5. Dig out cellar
  6. Build cellar
  7. Order permanent electric meter
  8. Submit solar panel application to KCPL
  9. House plan to an architect
  10. Work with septic designer
  11. Dig trench and run water lines
  12. Move dirt to level out home site
  13. Dig footings
  14. Get tires part 3
  15. Transfer and stockpile building materials (tires, old sliding door glass, used boards, cardboard,
  16. Stack and fill tires for foundation of house
  17. Pour footings for house
  18. Building house frame and get roof on
  19. Trench electrical line to barn
  20. Pour barn footings
  21. Build barn frame and put on roof