Thursday, October 6, 2011

Siding The Outhouse

We were up at our property the last weekend in September to take Joey on the Youth Deer Hunt.  (He did get a shot off, but we lost the blood trail.)  Since we were going to be up there I decided to haul up some reclaimed hickory lumber to side the outhouse.  The goal was to reside it with old lumber after it was built.  I didn't get around to it until now because I never had the free space in the trailer to haul the lumber.  It took me about 4 or 5 hours to do three sides.  The door took the longest.  I still need to do the back side.  That won't take long because there are no angle cuts.  It gave it a rustic look, which, we love!

Our gas furnace died on us while after the 1st night.  It won't ignite.  I'm not great at working on furnaces so, we made a fast trip to Walmart and picked up a nice electric heater.  I'm hoping it's something I can repair easily.  I'm gonna need to google it and see if what the issue is. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Last Visit For the Summer

The family and I spent 4 days at the property this last week.  We mostly rode trails but I did get a chance to work on driving my well.  It is froze up solid and won't drive another inch.  I tried jetting it with water and it still won't drive down.  I'm not sure if I hit clay or hit a rock.  My father-in-law, a retired well-man, thinks it's clay.  His suggestion is to pick a new spot and start over.  He gave me some ideas on how to have more success next time.  Right now I've given up on a well until next year.

My wife and I discovered a new trail to the  north, east side of Tomahawk flooding area while out riding dirt bikes.  I took this picture next to the boat launch.  There was an old abandon state campground there that is no longer in use.  That was kind of cool, a ghost camp ground.  We drove back to our camp and then me and the boys rode back to go swimming in the lake. 

My three sons with their riding gear back on after our swim.  The swim was short and sweet.  They are not used to swimming in a lake and didn't enjoy seaweed or the mushy dirt in the toes.  My oldest, Mikey, only went ankle deep.  Curt and Joe at least manage to dive in once.  This was our last ride of the week.  We rode everyday for three days and still were discovering new trails to ride on. 

Every morning I would get up before the family to read, pray and enjoy the beauty of northern Michigan.  On this particular morning I walked out to a potential cabin site on our property.  I'm trying to get a feel for each spot before we begin to build.  I like the openness of this location.  It was a rainy morning so it had a cloudy feeling but still I sensed a lot peace just sitting, watching and listening to nature.

I grabbed a picture of this sunset on our last ride of the week.  Curtis pointed it out on our way back to camp.

This was taken on our ride back too.  I think Michigan produce beautiful sky pictures as good as any other place in the world.
Our last night we roasted marsh mellows and talked into the evening.   I honestly could have stay a few more days but the boys were starting to get home sick.  We had a great vacation.  Can't wait to go back up.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bears and Cabins

Took the last week off in June and spent it up at the property.  We didn't do anything except enjoy the woods and rode the trails all week.   It seemed we had the state land all to ourselves.  We only passed two others riders the whole time we were there.

Not sure what will be the next project for our property.  I'm putting things on pause until we come to a solid plan.  We are enjoying our camper but we are wanting to put up a cabin of some kind.  Jen and I found a couple of nice locations.  My favorite is tucked on the edge of some hard woods looking into a 5 acre field.  The other location is right on Thunder Bay River because we have about 130 feet of it.  Both maybe.  If we build in the field we are only about 600 feet away from our electricity, if we build on the river we are about 1200 feet away.

My neighbor whose property is kitty corner from ours just had an Amish built cabin put on his property.  They poured a cement slab on Memorial weekend and had two 12x30 cabins delivered last week.  They only paid around $12,000.00.  That's a really good deal.  I've priced these out online and they can run from 16-25,000 for this size of cabin.

Our last night there a small bear paid a visit.  I was coming out of the outhouse and when I shut the door I heard him run.  He was about 60 feet away.  It was just past dusk so I shined a flash light.  Seen it's eyes.  At first I thought it was a raccoon but when I seen the size of it's body I knew it was a bear.  The family was at the fire pit so I yelled for them to get inside.  I think he was making his way to our trash in the burn barrel.  He took off to the west.  Needless to say I burnt our trash right away.

My crazy wife was upset that she didn't get to see the bear.  She's been wanting to see one since we bought the property.  She keeps telling me she going to leave food out for them so she can take a picture.  Of course I won't allow it because of the danger that it could create.  The next morning she found it's foot print.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Nice Shed for Cheap

I was poking around on craigslist and found this 7x8 shed for only $25.00.  I wasn't planning on purchasing a shed but it was so cheap I couldn't pass it up.  I also didn't plan on taking a trip up north but I wanted to have it up there before our next trip in a few weeks and Sunday was the only day I could make that happen.

After church my oldest son and I strap the shed down and headed up.  The trip normally takes about 4 1/2 hours but with hauling a shed it took us 8.  We couldn't go over 55 mph because the shed was on a 4x8 trailer and I didn't want to take a chance of it flipping off .  Also, the leaf spring collapse after we went over railroad tracks and it took about an hour to jack it up and rig the leaf spring with 2x4s.  Eventually, we got back on the road, traveled all back roads to the property and stayed off the highway.  We arrived at 11pm that evening.

We got up the next day, leveled out bricks for the shed to sit on and then lowered it down on the pads.    We have been putting miscellaneous stuff under the camper.  Stuff like, shovels, buckets, boards and so on.  The more expensive items I've been putting inside the camper but now, we can throw it all in the shed.  Also, I can keep my motorcycle up here now.  Before I would need to haul it up every trip.  This is going to be a great addition to our property.

 Strapped down and ready to go from Battle Creek on a haul of over 280 miles.  This was crazy, it wobbled most of the trip but it was fun.

 I used the level app on my iPhone to level out the pads.  I put a 2x4 between the pads and set the phone in the center.  Not the best approach but I was grateful that I downloaded that app today.

 I hooked a come-along to the bumper on our camper and ratcheted the shed down onto the pads.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Memorial Weekend

The family and I went up north for a long Memorial weekend.  We got there around midnight on Thursday and left about noon on Memorial Day.  The weather was perfect. It was sunny and 70s all weekend.  We had one thunderstorm Sunday night, other then that, a fantastic weekend.

We hauled the boy's motorcycles up and spent all day Friday riding the trails.  They had a blast.  This is a first for our family and I think we may make a habit of trail riding, enjoying northern Michigan.  We discovered lakes, sand trails, flowers, mushrooms, pine trees, deep mud puddles that will stop a small motorcycle in it's tracks, logged acres, bridges over streams, jeep trails that go forever, and ticks.  We got lost a few times and had to pull out the compass to reorient ourselves. 

On Saturday my father-in-law showed up to help me drill a shallow well.  He is a retired well-man so, that was greatly appreciated. We drove down about 13 feet and the threads broke so, that was the end of that or so I thought.  My father-in-law left after lunch because there wasn't much more we could do at this point.   We needed to rethreard the pipe before we can go any further.   After he left I went into town and rented a pipe cutter and threader and rethreaded it myself.  By then it started getting dark so we waited until Sunday to start driving again.  We drove down another two or three feet and now it won't drive another inch.  Not sure what's going on but I decided to stop for the weekend and think this through a bit more.  So we spent the rest of Sunday riding.  Not a bad alternative to hand drilling a well.

My son, Mikey, and me hand driving a well.  This was very hard work.  I knew it would be ruff but I had no idea how hard this would drive.  It took us 22 hits with the driver to drive about an inch down.  The reason it's driving hard is because there is a lot of clay.  We here hoping to only have a few feet of it but it doesn't seem to letting up.  Every part of my core body hurt.

This is Tomahawk Creek Flooding Area that we discovered by accident while out riding the trails.  Left to right is, Joey 12, Mikey 17, me and Curtis 14.

The camp site.

Close up of fire pit.  We just added the large stumps for extra seats.  Also, we cut up downed trees and stacked some some wood for future use.  We finished every day sitting around this fire pit.  I love the memories we are making here.
We are the 3rd owners of this property.  The 1st owner was a single woman from New York who received this property from the state of Michigan as a homestead.  We found one of her dump sites and dug up some very old, cool bottles.  A few were old prescription liquor bottles from the Prohibition.
This is my wife, Jenny, her dad and my middle son, Curt pretending to be drinking.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mushrooms and Well Drilling

This weekend up north was more about playing then working but I did manage to start drilling a well.  I took my friend, Chris, up with me and we met another friend, Matt, who arrive before Chris and I.  I gave Matt the keys and he unlocked the place, powered it up and had a fire going in the pit when we arrived Wednesday night.  Thursday morning we went mushroom hunting.  After lunch we went back out and found more.  I think we picked around 300 by the end of the day.
 This was the first harvest of the day.

Matt left Thursday night.  On Friday Chris and I rode the ORV trails in Montmorency and in between the riding I started drilling a well for a hand pump. 
Chris grilling some burgers after an afternoon of riding the ORV trails.
Started drilling for a hand pump.  This about 6 feet deep.  I'm going to move to a lower elevation next weekend.  I started drilling this last weekend for the fun of it.
This is some of the dirt I pulled up.  The auger is about 10 feet.  After I drill down the 1st 10 feet I'll start driving with a screen and well point.  I'm hoping to hit water within 25 feet.  If it's any deeper I may not be able to use a hand pump.  Drilling a shallow well is the project I'm going to try to get done on Memorial weekend.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

2000 Starcraft Popup

Since we purchased our property in 2009 we have not used our popup camper, so I put it on craigslist today.  It's a bit sad because my wife and I remodeled it in the spring of 09 and then took the boys to Yellowstone that summer.    Our dream was to camp all over Michigan with the family but now that we have land up north we don't think we will get much use out of it anymore.  We love camping but being on our own piece of paradise is much better.  Anyway, here's a link to the listing;

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ideas I Am Kicking Around

I'm getting excited about getting back up north to our property.  The weather is getting warmer here in Michigan and I'm so ready to get back out into the woods.

Right now we have a 2006 Gulfstream travel trailer holding us over until we can build some type of cabin up there.  The Gulfstream works but we want a bit more room, as well as, something more pleasing to the eye in the woods.  We are wanting to go the no permit route and I've been kicking around several ideas.  There's a few ways you can do this.  In the county we are you don't need a permit for anything under 200 sq feet, if it's on wheels and not over 400 sq feet it's considered a travel trailer or a park model.  I'm not sure about a portable cabin?  I may be able to do that if it's not longer then 40 feet, but I'm not sure.

Just about everyday I'm searching online what others are up to.  When I'm in the car I'm always keeping my eye out for little get-a-ways in peoples back yard.  Some of my thoughts are add onto my travel trailer a 12x16, side the trailer to help it's aesthetics.  I could build a 12x16 "shed" with a loft for sleeping or two.  That sounds like fun.  Another thought is build on a travel frame my own park model, that way I can get over the 200 sq ft issue w/o a permit.  One of the benefits of this I could move it later if I wanted.  No sure yet.  I don't think I will be doing anything this year but I still love the dreaming part.

Here's some pictures of things I've seen.  Not saying I love them all, but they all generate ideas for me.

 Found this on Craigslist in South Haven, MI.  It's 12x16, built well and he's selling it cheap. It would cost to much to haul 250 plus miles.
Here's an inside pic.  You can stand up in the center without hitting your head and you could fit a queen size mattress on both ends.  This is already wired up too.

 I like these.  This is what I would build on a trailer frame so I have no permit issues.
 A trailer with an addition.  A bit ghetto but still intriguing. I found a whole camp ground full of these in Jackson, MI.  I think it's a 12x16 addition.  This is something I've considered.
Found this park model on Craigslist  It's a 2006 Gulfstream exactly like the one we have on our property.  They put a roof on it and sided it.  This is what I would do, plus adding a 12x16 addition on it.  I would have around 440 sq feet.
 This is my favorite and what I would like most, I think.  This also is 12x16.  The rest of the pictures below are the inside.  My wife says this is what we should do.

Looking forward to our next trip up north.  I'm hoping to drive a well by hand memorial week but I would like to get up there before just to enjoy it.