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.



New Water Heater for my RV

rvwtrhtrOn my last few trips I’ve noticed that the water heater in my RV was not firing up.  It wasn’t a big deal because the places I’ve been staying have showers nearby.

I plan on using my RV out on my new property while I’m building my house next year and I’ll be needing warm water for showers to clean off after a hard day of building.

I was going to order an exact replacement but I happened to find that there’s a newer model that does both gas and electric for just a little more money.  I like the idea of using the free electricity at the campgrounds rather than my propane so I went ahead and ordered one off of Ebay.  It was only $325 plus free shipping.  I like!  Ebay’s price was at least $100 less than Amazon and it is new and guaranteed.  I’m all for that.

Youtube indicates that removal of the old one and installation of the new one should be easy.  The electrical panel is just above the water heater compartment so wiring for the electrical supply will be a snap.

Buying stuff really does make you happier.  Installing it makes me even more happier.  OH OH OH!


10 More Solar Panels

slrpnlsI’m jumping ahead in time a little bit but now that Donald Trump has decided to place a tariff on solar panels, I thought the time might be right.  Personally, I think that’s not a good idea.  Solar panels should be granted free trade because cheap energy is the prime thing that the world needs.  Who cares what country they come from.

My Ultimate Plan seems to be unfolding so I’m going to go ahead with advance preparations.  If all goes well, I will be starting to build my new house next year and I plan on moving my existing 10 solar panels to it as well as double it with 10 more.  Good prices are hard enough to find now much less later after the tariff.  It will also be a little less painful now while I have a job with disposable income.

I ordered 10 300 Watt panels that I’ll store for now.  At $140 each, the total cost is only $1400.  I also found a great price on installed, but not used, Enphase M250 micro inverters at $50.00 each.  They usually cost $125 each.  I went ahead and ordered them too.

How exciting!  I’ll have a 4KW system set up on my new house.  That should be plenty to cover the Split System very high efficiency air conditioning system I plan to use.


Siding lift for replacing siding on a 2nd story wall.

The bottom of one of the siding panels on the North side of my house was starting to rot from the bottom.  The old siding is made of what feels like cardboard.  A number of years ago I got involved in a class-action suit against the siding manufacturer and receive un-remembered thousands.

It’s actually lasting fairly well except certain parts so I’m just replacing what needs replacing with Hardie cement board siding.  This particular one has been on my mind for a long time marked as rather difficult because it is on a 2nd story and I have nobody to help me.

I spent the last few months looking at it and designing ways to do it in my head.  I was set on using a hand cranked winch and using a pulley on the eaves to hoist it up.  The other day, while sitting in the hot tub, I came up with a better plan.

Using two 15 foot 2x4s, cross members and a pulley I could just crank a 80 lb panel up there and slide it right into position all by myself.

Yesterday I built the mechanism and today I removed the old siding and hoisted the new one right into place.  My plan worked perfectly and cost me around $50 for the hoist and $30 for the siding.

Damn I’m good.  Natural born engineer here.  Congratulate me.


Prius brake actuator luck out!

prusbrkactrMy wonderful good luck has helped me out yet again.

The other day a bunch of indicator lights lit up on the dashboard of my 2008 Prius.  I stopped at Advance Auto and they, always being so wonderfully helpful, scanned my OBD and the results indicated that I need to replace my Brake Actuator.

I planned on replacing it myself with a used part since a new one would cost $1200.  I found one on eBay for $189 so I bought it.  It arrived and I got psyched up to work on it but further research indicated that it was HIGHLY unrecommended that it be done at home.  Special tools are needed to complete the installation.  Bummer!  I psyched myself to pay $2300 for a new one plus installation.  I guess I can sell the part again on eBay and get a little money back.

My luck kicked in when I did further searching and found that Toyota has a special extended service warranty on the part that is good until December 30th this year.  Only a month away!  YES!!!   I printed out the Toyota Memo and took it to the shop.  Sure enough, it was covered.  They took the car and gave me a loaner.  They even had the part in stock.  I should be getting it back today if not tomorrow.  No cost.   Damn sweet!

I bought a lottery ticket but my luck doesn’t seem to extend to the lottery for some reason.  Only 1 number.  Oh well.  I saved $2300!  That’s like winning the lottery anyway.



Free Weed Whacker

A co-worker gave me an Echo SRM-210 Weed whacker.  He had used too little oil in the gasoline and the engine had seized up due to lack of lubrication.

He bought a new one but knew I could fix things so he asked me if I wanted it.  I didn’t need or want it but I’ve always been interested in freeing a seized engine so I took it as a educational project.

It sat in my garage untouched for almost a year until recently when I bought some land out in the country.  I’m still waiting for the closing on the deal but when the time comes, there is a lot of brush that is going to need to be cleared.  Searching the internet on means to clear land I came across using a weed wacker with a brush cutting blade.  BINGO!  I have just the thing in my garage!

When I got home from work, I Youtubed freeing seized weed eater and found a video showing how it is done.

I removed the spark plug and filled the cylinder with some air tool oil that I happened to have on hand and let it sit for a few days until I would have time on the weekend.   When Saturday finally came, I emptied the oil from the cylinder and took off the string started unit.  I clamped on some vice grips and expected to have to torque on it pretty good but it almost instantly freed the piston.

No Way!!!    I put the string starter back on and it pulled freely.  I reinstalled the spark plug and put some gas/oil mixture in the tank.  After a few pulls, it started!

That just saved me $219 or more for a new unit.  I immediately ordered a brush cutting blade kit for $44.00.  I’m all set now!

Providence strikes once again.  Things I need automatically come to me.  Sometimes before I need them.  My luck is amazing!


Repaired my Xantrex inverter

Last year I bought a 1500w Xantrex inverter for my RV.  At most I expected to run my microwave.  I was testing it out when POP!  The power went out.  This inverter has a surge current rating of 2000W and microwaves don’t use that much power.  Still.  It couldn’t handle it.  I was sad.  I expected better from Xantrex.

Not knowing what to do I just let it be.  This year I decided I would try some exploratory surgery and see what happened.  What could I hurt?  It was already dead.  Maybe it was just a fuse or something.

Fortunately it wasn’t too hard to open up.  A few screws on the ends and pull out the bottom plate.

Taking the circuit board out would be difficult so I hoped that would not be necessary. There were a bunch of fuses which I was getting ready to test first.

I noticed right away that a capacitor had completely blown up.  There were cap guts all over. It seemed unlikely that JUST replacing this capacitor would fix the whole thing but what the heck.  I looked through my parts bins and found an exact replacement.  A 100 uF electrolytic.  It was used and had short leads but it was on hand.

The remaining plates sticking up wouldn’t hold solder so I had to remove the rubber base and trim down the plates to the leads.  I still didn’t want to take out the whole circuit board so I decided to just solder onto the existing topside leads.

I added some short wires to replace the missing capacitor leads and soldered it in place.  I was lucky. The positive side was marked on the circuit board.

It isn’t pretty but it will be perfectly fine if it works.  No big loss if not.


I buttoned it back up and connected it to my battery.  No FAULT light!  Promising! I grabbed a nearby fan and plugged it in to the 120V outlet.  The fan spun to life!  SUCCESS!!!!!   I just saved myself a few hundred bucks buying a new inverter.

Damn I’m awesome!  You would think women would be all over me.  If only they knew.