Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Balancing Act: Leveling a Building in 3 Easy Steps

It has been two and a half months since my Shouse building was delivered. Since that time it has rained a ton and I have been in and out of the building a thousand times or more. Over the course of time the weight of the building has caused it to begin to settle out of level. It became more and more apparent as I began to finish walls, so I stopped and called the builder back out to re-level the building.

Oklahoma has topped California in the number of earthquakes in 2014 and that is indicative of soil that will continue to settle. I am sure that in the future I will again be required to level the building. Just driving around rural Oklahoma, one can see many, many homes that have settled over time with sinking foundations. I feel it is much easier (and a hell of a lot cheaper) to level my building myself each year or so. Hopefully over time the amount that it settles will decrease.

I also decided to put my house up on cement blocks to keep the wood from the soil. Even though the wood has been treated, I live in a moist and warm climate which will take a toll on the building over time. Since the builder was coming out anyway, I requested they bring cement blocks to put the building up on to extend its life by lifting it off the damp soil and replace the treated wood blocks the building originally rested on. The builder offered to show me how to level my house myself to save money in the future.

So, curious how to level a building? Let me show you how to level your building in three easy steps!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Most Essential Tool on the Homestead

Before: New Boots
 Chiggers and ticks and stinging insects, oh my! Broken glass, rusty nails, dangerous machinery, and thousand pound animals too. These are just some of the perils we will face everyday on a homestead and protecting your feet is very important. A good pair of boots are, by far, the most essential tool on the homestead. Stomping, kicking, climbing, balancing - all of these activities need to be done while your feet are well protected. Choosing a good pair of boots will make work around the homestead or farm safer and easier.

Choosing a good pair of boots is an intimate and individual choice. What works for me may not work for you. However, there are some standard options for you to consider when shopping for this type of footwear.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Let's Talk Spare Keys and Where to Hide Them

You know when the worst time to need a spare key is? That's right: When you don't have one or can't find one.

I don't really see or hear many people talk or write about the need for spare keys, but almost every one of us will need one at one time or another. Most of the time it is when we are on the front porch and the door is locked, or when your toddler has hidden your key ring, or, god forbid, when you lost them at the lake on July 4th at the family barbecue.

We all get keys when we change our locks, so let's start by talking about when you should change your locks:

  • After a break in
  • If you suspect someone has been in your house
  • If your purse or wallet is stolen
  • If your car is broken into
  • If you misplace your spare or your key ring
  • Anytime your lock sticks (even after WD40 or oil is sprayed into it), it is hinky, or it fails
  • Anytime you move into a new place

Ok, now let's talk spare keys. Spare keys never really crossed my mind until I needed one. I had a spare set that I left with a neighbor because leaving a key under the front mat is just not a smart idea, However, just when I most needed said key my neighbor was out of town! There is nothing more frustrating than knowing the comfort and security of your home is just on the other side of the door and you can't get in! Ugh! It was this very situation that made me realize that I needed to keep my spare key close at hand, but invisible to others. Research led me to some clever ideas other's have come up with for stashing this most important spare treasure.