Providence strikes again – Paint Sprayer Discount

pntspryrI’m constantly amazed how often the things I need come to me free or cheap when the time is right.

All you have to do is have patience and wait.  They say good things come to those who wait.  I think it is totally true.


sdngI put off starting a big project of replacing the siding on the front of my house for so many years.  It was starting to rot where the water splashes on it from the porch roof.  It needed to be done before I go to sell the house and time is getting short so I decided to get it done.

I got the bright idea to buy a paint sprayer.  I could totally do this with a brush but next year when I’m building my new house, I’ll need a sprayer anyway.  The best thing I could find would be a good looking Graco sprayer from Home Depot for $260.  Fine.  Totally worth it.

Today I gen an email from Harbor Freight with a coupon to buy one almost exactly the same for only $169.  Dude!  Love it!  The reviews are good and I’ve never had any problems with HF stuff.  It even uses the Graco sprayer tip and parts.   I’m going to pick it up this week.  Noice!



Land Clearing – On the Other Side

Today I was scheduled to meet with the man who is going to use the big equipment to clear out the brush on my new property.   He cancelled because it was supposed to be rainy.

Rather than cancel my scheduled day off, I decided to keep it.  It has been a long time since I’ve had a vacation day.

Since it was cloudy and sprinkley, I decided it was a perfect day to be outside since the relentless sun was taking a break.   I loaded up my car and headed out there.

My fist stop was at the County offices where I asked again to make sure that I correctly understood that there were no building codes or permits required to build a house except for a driveway permit and a septic tank permit.  I already had the driveway permit so they gave me the paperwork for the septic.  This is good!

I headed out to the property where I was able to park on the driveway entrance since it now exists.  First time parking off the street!

I first trimmed a few bushes right at the fence entrance area to make it more open.  Nice!

My mission today was to use my brush cutter blade on the weed-eater to smooth down all the tiny tree trunks to avoid tire damage and allow me to use a mower to keep the weeds at bay.

I doused myself liberally with bug spray to ward off the little Red-bug beasts.  These no-see-um’s will get your ankles and waist area and itch for two weeks or more.  They are much like mosquito bites.  Perhaps worse.  Want to avoid that.

Fortunately, the hot summer sun had baked the weeds to death so they hadn’t grown much since my last visit.  I walked around and had at all the stumps that I could find until the ground was smooth and tire-safe.   I used my regular weed-eater with a heavy duty tip to cut down the rest of the weeds in the area.

Snake!!!  I cut off his head with the machine.  First snake!  Scary!  Need to be careful!   Sorry Snakey but, No Snakes!   I’ll have to put up a sign.

After a few hours of work I was satisfied with the smoothness of the shave so I brought my car all the way in.  YAY!  Not having driven on this dirt before I was worried about sinking in and getting stuck but it wasn’t a problem even with the moisture.  It wasn’t muddy per se.  The dirt is a bit sandy so I don’t think “Mud” will ever be an issue.  Once it packs down it will be even more drive-able.

I’m satisfied for now.  We are rescheduled for next week for the guy to come clear the rest.


RV Starter not working – FIXED!

On months where I don’t use my RV I try to go to the storage lot and start it up to let it run for a few minutes.  It’s good to keep the parts moving and the juices flowing.  During the summer months it’s far too hot to be out in the world so it may sit for 5-7 months at a time.  You scoff but when it is 102 degrees outside, it’s best to stay home.

A few weeks ago I tried to start it up and all I got was a click.  Great!  The battery is both new and connected to a solar charging system but it is my first suspect.  I took it out and brought it home to charge it.  As soon as I connected it to the charger, the blinking light indicated that the battery was fully charged.  Great!  It must be the starter.

I searched starters for a 1982 Ford E350 engine and they are fairly cheap.  $45-100.  Wow!  Gotta love old American stuff.  I still wasn’t 100% sure though.  More testing would be required.

A few weeks passed until I had some time to go back.  I took the battery and some tools out to the storage yard and reconnected the battery.  Same result.  Just clicks.  It sure SOUNDS like low voltage but the battery is fine.  It could be the starter.  I went underneath the RV and rapped on the starter with a wrench.  Sometimes that loosens it up if it is stuck.   Still the same result. My instincts tell me it is still an electrical problem due to the weak clicking sounds.

 I noticed a little corrosion between the wire and the battery terminal clamp.  It didn’t look bad but it could be an issue.  Removed the wire from the clamp and brushed away the corrosion before replacing the wire.  I was glad I had all the tools I need.  I keep a good set of tools in the RV’s toolbox for emergency repairs.  I highly recommend you do the same.

I went back into the cab and turned the key fully expecting the same result.

The starter powerfully sprang to life and the engine started right up.

Yeee HAW!  Damn I’m good!

I wouldn’t have minded replacing the starter because it was cheap and easy to access but not having to do it is even better.

I think I’ll get myself some conductive grease to protect the connection.

Driveway Culvert Done!!

It was a cloudy Sunday morning so I decided I would try to beat the sun and get some work done.  I hit the road and headed out to my property to see if I could get some of the gravel spread over the new culvert pipe that was delivered yesterday.  Even though the sun was threatening to come out from behind the thinning clouds I set to work.

I probably spent about an hour shoveling and raking while taking a lot of breaks.  The humidity was 88% so your sweat really doesn’t evaporate.  I kept stopping to towel off and drink some cold ice tea.   I got quite a bit done before I admitted defeat for the day.  I’m going to be sore tomorrow.

Before leaving I decided to walk into the property and rest under a shady oak tree.  I took off all my clothes and hung my sweat-soaked underwear on a tree limb to dry a bit while appreciating the breeze.  After a few minutes I heard some heavy equipment coming down the street.  I had a good feeling so I got dressed and headed out to the road.

A neighbor ad seen me toiling and came to my rescue.  Alfred, my next-door neighbor who owns 15 acres, made short work of smoothing out the pile with his Kubota tractor.

Alfred is a really nice guy.  We talked for a little while before he had to go pick up his wife from Church.  I gave him some money because he saved me so much time and work.  It was really nice to meet him.  The people I’ve met out here are the best people ever.  I feel more and more like I belong here and have been totally out of place living in the city for 50 years.  I knew this but was not in any position to do anything about it until now.

The culvert and driveway entrance are now done.  I can cross that off my list and stop thinking bout it.  Now I can at least drive onto the property.  It’s a relief to finally get it taken care of.

My next step will be to have someone come in and clear the rest of the land.  I found a guy who will do it for around $1400.  All the saplings will be shredded and I won’t even have to gather and burn them.  I think I will have that done next month.  I’m already impressed with what I’ve gotten accomplished.  I wish I had more time and cooler weather.  Stupid sun!


Culvert Pipe Installation

I didn’t expect to get this much done today.  It was a Saturday and my Mom, Sister, Aunt and Uncle were wanting to see my land.  I picked up my mom and headed out to the country.  We picked up my sister and then stopped at my Aunt and Uncle’s house nearby.

My Uncle has a 16 foot trailer so we went to D&D supply. (Not what you’re thinking.)  They had a pipe in stock.  The price was $199 plus tax.  We loaded one up and took it out to my place.  It was as simple as taking it off the trailer and kicking it into the ditch.

I took them on a tour of the land.  All I’ve cleared so far was the driveway but from there they could get the feel of it.  It was getting hot.  It was 102 degrees today so it was good that we got an early start.

I called a sand and gravel company nearby not even sure they were open on a Saturday.  They answered and had what I needed and were able to deliver today so I went with it.  The price of 10 yards of Flex-Base fill was $280 including delivery.  More than I expected but worth it to get it over with.   About an hour later they called and I met the truck there.  It took only a few minutes for the guy to dump the load right on top of the pipe.

At least I don’t have to worry about someone stealing the pipe now.  I’ll come back either one evening after work or next Saturday morning and see if I can get it spread out and leveled.  It might take a few trips for one person to do that.  We’ll see.

Now that I know for sure where the driveway entrance will be I’ll cut the barbed-wire fence and should be able to drive onto the property.  YAY!  That’s a big step.  It’s nice to have this much taken care of.


Slowing down my retirement plans a little

slwsnThe more I think about it, the more it seems like the right idea.

I just bought my 3.5 acres of heaven in the country last month and I have been rushing to get things done in preparation of starting my new life in January.

I’ve done a fair amount of brush clearing myself but is is now officially WAY to hot to be outside in Texas.


Temperatures are soaring over 100 degrees and it’s only May.  Does this portend a very unpleasant summer?  Possibly and most likely.  As an alternative I planned to either rent the big equipment or pay someone to do the job.  Either way is expensive and I hate not doing things myself.

There’s much more to it.  For everything to be in place, I would need the driveway culvert installed, the water hook up, electricity hook up and the foundation slab engineered and installed all by January.  Technically it could be done but it would be a rush and a pain.  Had my land purchase happened quickly it could have been easily accomplished over last winter.

Alternatively, I could push back my new life just one more year.  I really wanted to end my suffering in the city quickly but I guess if I lasted 50 years I guess I could go one more and still be retiring early while I’m still relatively young enough to enjoy it.  OK.  I’m talking myself into it.  One more year of sufferage.  It will suck but it may be best.

Starting in October or November, when the planet begins to cool again, I can get out there and get the rest cleared out.   Then I can just enjoy the land for a bit.  Park my RV out there and have weekend getaways while having the water and power installed.  That will also give me time to buy a truck and manage other preparations.  I’ll also have another year of salary in the bank for good measure.  There is still much to do to prepare my old house for sale as well.

Over the next summer I can get plans in place for the foundation and get that done by mid winter.  If done earlier, it can sit and wait for cooler weather.   In the Fall I can start framing on weekends and stick it out until the end of the year for my bonus check then sayonara suckers!

I think this will work.  Best not to rush things and waste money unnecessarily.  It’s also better for my stress level.  Make it so Number One.


Say hello to Mr. Land Owner!

Hooray!!!!  Today was finally closing day on my land purchase in the country.   I took the day off work and drove to my new small town.  I stopped off at the department of roads and bridges and turned in my paperwork for my driveway permit.  Only cost $25.

I was over an hour early for the closing so I went to the Library.  They have a newly built modern building so I wandered around looking at all the books.  I went into a reading room and read a few magazines to pass the time.

After an hour had passed I headed to the Title Office, signed all the papers and handed over my cashier’s check for $87,000.   It might have hurt to hand over $87,000 but I’m not really giving it away.  Just converting it to land which is always a good investment anyway.   Besides, it is what I’ve been working towards my entire life so it is totally acceptable.  Besides,  I’m selling a little more than half for a higher price so I will actually have only paid $30,000 in the end.

The driveway permit people gave me a little white flag to put in the ground so I headed over to my new property to stick in it.  I hadn’t actually planned to visit it today but now I had an excuse.  After putting the flag in the ground at the location of the driveway I  wandered in through the brush again just to appreciate the fact that it was now MINE!

It is quite overgrown with Mesquite tree-lings that I plan to attack with my brush cutter on Saturday.  They are still thin enough to be handled I think.  Tomorrow I’m going to buy some boots for snake protection.  I haven’t seen any yet but I was warned to watch for rattlesnakes.

I made my way through the brush to a small copse of trees and stood there for a while as I drank in the silence.  There was no incessant roar of traffic.  No motorcycles being driving at high rpm by madmen with a death wish.  No thumping of music by passing cars driven by future deaf people.  Just silence…..  Mmmmmmmm.

I heard the wind rustle the leaves.  I heard cows and chickens in the distance.  The peace was almost overwhelming.  I experienced it with all my happiness.

I stopped at the road office again and asked where I could get a schedule of permits and inspections and was told that all I need is a septic permit and inspection.  Nothing else.  I can just build whatever the heck I want.  This was exactly what I wanted but didn’t count on it because everywhere else I had looked required all the red tape.  People usually look at me like I’m from Mars if I tell them that that is what I want. I still couldn’t believe it and can’t wrap my head around it.    I’m still going to have to verify it some more.  Driving down the street a little turned up a few houses that were obviously built by amateurs so maybe it is true.  Mine will be to code anyway because I want it to be.  I just don’t want somebody telling me how and when.  YAY!  This will make things a little easier if it is true.

My next step is to find an architect to turn my drawings into blueprints that I can follow.  That should cost around $2000 but will be worth it.  There are a few things that I’m not 100 percent sure on like the roof design.  Hopefully he can also answer my questions about codes, permits and inspections.  The Title lady said she knew of two architects and would send me their info.

So….YAY!   The prophesy is beginning to unfold.  It will be a wonderful place to die.