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Thread: Finally Bought Some Land

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Quote Originally Posted by hugh View Post
    Freeze don't squeeze. Don't know if your ticks are the same as we have here in Australia, but we use a use a wart freezing spray to freeze them and then they just drop off.

    More info in this video:
    Thanks Hugh.
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    Looks a bit sexier than my LL Bean XL canvas sail bag.

    I can vouch for the Dakine Trail Builder's Pack.

    Backpack1.jpg

    I have the older version, with the bottle holders on the side. It probably will fit a larger saw than my Stihl 026 Pro. I can fit hedge clippers in the same slot alongside the loppers, which I often do. The chainsaw pocket will also fit a gallon of paint for when I'm painting over graffiti. That leaves room for a roller tray and paint supplies in the main pocket. Tons of internal pockets to organize your stuff, and you can open the large compartment from the backside (the side against your body) which is slick when you've packed a saw.

    You could wear this pack, loaded, and ride your mountain bike on the trail to cover a lot of ground, but I think a smaller saw powerhead than my 026 would be more practical on a bike. If you're going to do trail maintenance, this pack is worth every penny. I formerly used a top loader backpack but the chain and spikes tended to chew up the bag, and I couldn't stash it while the saw was hot for fear of melting the nylon. Not a problem with the Dakine design.

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    This is probably the most appropriate thread on here for this... I am not a gun person. Out in Moab we have rattlesnakes on our property. I have used bee spray to kill them, I think, I mean it says it takes 45 minutes and they usually move away so I have no way to check. But after my black lab got booped on the nose by a rattler I decided I needed to be more aggressive.

    While I have 10 acres, a real gun would make too much noise and may upset a neighbor. Also I don't know how safe it is to shoot a shotgun at a target on the ground 10 feet from you, Does shot ricochet? Regardless I needed to do something.

    I bought a Gamo Viper Express .22 cal air rile/shot gun. It shoots tiny shells or 22 cal pellets. Using the shells it can bust apart a water bottle at 20 feet so I figure it'll kill a rattlesnake.

    PY-1020_Gamo-Viper-Express-Air.jpg
    PY-P-485_Gamo-Express-EXP20-Shotshells_1505401543.jpg

    It is also much quieter than a real gun as it is an air rifle.

    -Joe

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    This week I've had to dispatch three raccoons, a skunk, and a possum that treat my barn and the birds I keep as a larder. I have a pellet gun I use for this, and an aluminum bat. But when I find them, anything handy will do. Like a step ladder.

    I also keep cows, and recently slaughtered one using a .22. You have to be spot on for this to work, though, so I've been considering another:Savage Model 42 Takedown: Gun Review | Range365

    Having the option of a .410, which is the smallest shotgun cartridge readily available, expands the size of the impact. The .22 Magnum combination is perfect for my needs. I have a son who I wouldn't trust, so a trigger lock would be required.

    Air rifles are great, but having to shoot an animal multiple times isn't really optimal. I speak from experience.
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Joe, of course you realize your property is the snakes property and you are just borrowing it. ;-) Id suggest calling someone with some herpetological knowledge who might be able offer some gunpowderless solutions. If you have more than the average number of snakes, you might be in an area with more than the average things for them to eat. So reducing those critters - or reducing their habitat like brush or brush piles - might be a better method than a rifle. In fact, reducing cover on the ground might both reduce the amount of available prey and make any snakes on the ground easier to see.

    You should also have a pair of snake tongs and perhaps a snake hook, some gloves with protective gauntlets and perhaps a pair of bite proof gaiters. If you have a lot of snakes, inevitably you will have one where you cant shoot it. Having snake tongs and some protection will allow you to get rid of it by picking it up safely, bagging it (heavy pillow case or snake bag) and taking it somewhere distant from your house.

    The key is that the snakes are there for a reason - either prey or roosting sites or all of the above. Until thats managed, you will probably use up a lot of ammo and still have snakes on your property. And if you somehow could manage to succeed in reducing the snake population to a bare minimum, youd have to expect to be visited by an increasing number of rodents.

    So Id reach out to a local herpetologist to get some sense of what snake behavior you are seeing and what you might do with landscaping or rodent control that would make your property less attractive to the snakes. And get some tools that will allow you to remove any of the locals that show up on the property in a safe and humane fashion.

    If you do decide that killing snakes is the answer, make sure you know the laws protecting any rare species and laws attached to various state and federal lands in the area.

    If your dog got bitten after sticking her head in a hole in the ground, you are never going to be able to protect her from that sort of incident. Dogs will always stick their heads in places, and snakes will always roost in cool dark places. Which again means that you should probably know whether there are times of the year where snakes are more likely to be around or to be found roosting in holes and plan trips with the dogs accordingly.
    Last edited by j44ke; 07-22-2018 at 06:42 PM.
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Quote Originally Posted by ides1056 View Post
    This week I've had to dispatch three raccoons, a skunk, and a possum that treat my barn and the birds I keep as a larder. I have a pellet gun I use for this, and an aluminum bat. But when I find them, anything handy will do. Like a step ladder.

    I also keep cows, and recently slaughtered one using a .22. You have to be spot on for this to work, though, so I've been considering another:Savage Model 42 Takedown: Gun Review | Range365

    Having the option of a .410, which is the smallest shotgun cartridge readily available, expands the size of the impact. The .22 Magnum combination is perfect for my needs. I have a son who I wouldn't trust, so a trigger lock would be required.

    Air rifles are great, but having to shoot an animal multiple times isn't really optimal. I speak from experience.
    It sounds like you have to do a lot of killing in your life. That's unfortunate.

    As a kid growing up I too saw a lot of killing (my father had a chicken farm, and I saw lots of other types of animals being slaughtered too) and it convinced me to try to avoid it as much as possible. Sometimes you can't, and I have a 10-22 for those situations, but often times you can.

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    I don't expect to do this forever. Killing anything doesn't agree with me, but I have a farm, and I eat meat. How one does it matters. I raise cows according to the "one bad day" rule. They have a wonderful life, and end it on the farm as expeditiously as possible. I would not mind the same treatment. My grandparents had a ranch, and I grew up hunting. That no longer appeals- it's a long story.

    I had ten new guinea hens, and now I have two. I blame myself for letting them out of their cage too soon. There are animals that are simply not welcome in a barnyard.
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    I encountered a cop with his gun out eyeing a huge snapping turtle one day as I was heading into town. He was stunned when I picked it up and put it in the reservoir alongside the road.

    I like snakes, spiders and all manner of creatures my family abhors.

    Anyone who likes killing has a screw loose.
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Not to get this thread back on track, but what is the latest with the house and land? this is a great thread. I've enjoyed reading about the journey starting from a blank canvas to wherever it goes.
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Sorry. I have been remiss! I was waiting for some kind of momentous occurrence, like getting electricity run into the site or signing a contract with a GC or pouring the foundation. But the transition from dream world to real world has taken longer than expected, but the results are highly satisfactory.

    In the fall, I was trying to jump ahead and manage the electrical connection with NYSEG. I thought I would be able to get a trench dug and cable & conduit put down, and then NYSEG would come out, put in a pole and connect everything. Then we could get a jump on construction in the spring.

    What I didn't understand is nearly everything. Basically winter is when NYSEG does everything except install poles and buried cable. And the electrical connection is a part of the GC’s “art”, because getting service connected has everything to do with all the magic words a GC learns over years of experience.

    So I didn't have a chance.

    Which is good, because I would have put everything in the wrong place!

    In the spring we met with a number of contractors, and basically we didn't like any of them. We even saw examples of their work, and it was kind of scary. We had 3-4 additional GC's on our list, but they were too busy this year. Which is a problem in Columbia County. The good GC's get hired up and don't have any space in their calendar. The available GC's were probably fine builders of the standard farmhouse reproduction, but we weren't doing that. So we told the architects that if we had to wait a year to get a top quality GC, we would. They agreed.

    In the meantime, we would do some value engineering. We'd gotten costs from several GC's, and even though we didn't like their work product, their numbers seemed to be about market rate and that meant we were over budget. So the architects and the engineers did a lot of redesign to streamline our design without diminishing the integrity of the building. I was resistant at first, but after seeing what they were doing, I realized that this actually made for a better building.

    It wasn't necessarily that the requirements of the design would exceed the skills of the workers, but that the design would be too labor intensive. So the engineer and architect redrew some aspects of the design, increasing the efficiency of the design to achieve an equivalent (or in some cases, improve) durability, dependability, longevity, function, etc.

    Meanwhile, one of the busy GC’s called the architects and asked if they were still doing our house. He'd had a chance to look at the drawings finally, and said, "I've been in business 40 years, so I really only want to build interesting houses and your house is interesting." We made an appointment to meet him at a house he built, saw the house, talked with him and decided he's the guy. Then the architects and engineer began working with the GC on fine tuning costs. This was a revelation to me. A good GC is fluent in the language of technique and product, so he (or she) can look at the design and say, "Well, you could do the foundation that way, but we've had a lot of success using this product that halves your work time without creating any other problems. We've been using it for 20 years and never had an issue." So that's brilliant as long as it fits the engineering requirements, doesn't negatively affect the architects' design and creates an equally durable (and marketable on resale!) end result.

    So the architects and engineer and GC all started churning away. And they were definitely getting along grandly. The GC is what I would call a sage of construction. He has never been demanding or condescending. And we've now met two of his sub-contractors, and both are real people. Calm, smart and patient. And confident. No question is stupid, no idea unworthy, etc. So I think we've got the right guys.

    But the budget was still too high.

    The architects invited me up to Connecticut to see a couple cross laminated timber projects completed by another architecture firm. To review, we were using CLT's for our roof, and that had required a fair amount of engineering to get roof properly supported and the slab foundation sufficiently reinforced. These projects in Connecticut used the same manufacturer of CLT we would use.

    Their CLT's had arrived with fabrication errors, so the architecture and build team had to figure out solutions or face the costs and delays of having to order new panels. The job required a whole host of "just in time" interdependent events, so they (and the client) decided to go with the original shipment of panels. The checking and knotholes in the wood of the panels was far greater in the panels than expected, even on the finished side of the panels. And the joints between panels were larger and more evident. Since the ceiling of our house would be the finished side of the CLT’s, I was not impressed.

    In addition, we were still bumping our heads on the budget. We really couldn't squeeze any more out of the budget, and things still weren't lining up. A big part was the CLT roof. And now we were thinking this company's product was not acceptable, but to get something satisfactory, we would likely need a different better more expensive grade of CLT that would inevitably come from farther away with higher transportation costs. Plus the whole "just in time" factor of needing to coordinate the arrival of the CLT with the windows that make up the house walls and the framing of the cabinetry that acts as support as well as the slab foundation with the steel roof columns - the potential for delays and cost overruns was pretty clear.

    So we said to the architects, "Let's get rid of the CLT roof and price the house design using a conventionally framed roof." To the architects' credit, they did not have nervous breakdowns. They did have aesthetic concerns and there was some back in forth, which is the way it should be in a design process. We pay the architects good money to save us from ourselves and keep us from going down some worm hole that is going to result in a product we won't like, they won't like and when we go to sell the house, won't sell because no one else will like it either. We've all seen those "bad idea" houses. No one wants to build those, own those, buy those.

    So I said, "I've written poems that never quite worked. But I'd keep working on them, because there was this one great line in the poem. From the Gods! So I'd keep reworking the poem to bring the other lines up to the level of this one great line. Nothing worked. Eventually I learned that I had to take the one great line out of the poem and put it away in a notebook. Afterwards, what remained became a much better poem than before. So the CLT is the one great line in our design here, and we are just going to have to take it out.”

    By the next meeting, the architects were happy, the engineer was happy, and the GC was happy. Because we were now dealing with a conventionally framed roof, the foundation could be different, the supports could be different, the "just in time" schedule had significantly greater flexibility, and most importantly the budget was within the target range. We've even added back in some things that we pulled out (lighting designer) or delayed (garage and bike workshop.) Amazing how that works.

    We had a meeting - us, architects, GC, excavator, septic engineer - a week ago at the site and staked out the foundation. The GC set the floor level for the slab with the excavator. He went over the septic plan with the engineer and figured out things there. He asked about trees. I said minimal cut. So he said, "Let's meet in two weeks with the arborist and go over what we have to cut, what the arborist says is a good idea to cut based on age & health and then we can weigh the pros and cons together." Perfect. Done.

    So this weekend we'll be sorting trees. Hopefully by August 15th we'll be clearing and digging the foundation. And then we'll be building.

    Oh and the GC handles everything with NYSEG. That's a big relief.

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    I am glad to hear this. What's the white doohickey in the lower left of the frame?
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Quote Originally Posted by ides1056 View Post
    I am glad to hear this. What's the white doohickey in the lower left of the frame?
    That's the top of an umbrella that covers the table on the patio of the house (converted carriage house) we are renting in Hillsdale. Here's a pic when it was more of a work in progress. Since we expected to be building already, we rented it starting in April and finishing at the end of November. So it has basically been a cycling clubhouse which is not a bad thing. The landlord is very happy we'll still be building next year.

    Last edited by j44ke; 07-23-2018 at 04:44 PM.
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Thats good to hear, its not always that VE produces a higher quality project, but if its reacted to reasonably by the whole team (clients included) It can. For the project I am working on currently, we had some items that were far too clunky, mostly just some sheetrock details, we lost them in VE and I couldnt even imagine them being there now.
    --------------------
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Good tenants are hard to come by. We are out of patience with being landlords, and have resolved to sell several places. I've lost enthusiasm for cleaning up after others, and maintaining buildings. Whatever you do, make the house as free from routine repair as possible. I never want to glaze a twelve over twelve window again, replace a cedar roof, pump a flooded basement- I could go on.

    And mowing is bloody stupid. I like tree frogs, and the myriad creatures that live in a meadow. My cows know not to step on ground nesting birds.
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Quote Originally Posted by s_curran View Post
    Thats good to hear, its not always that VE produces a higher quality project, but if its reacted to reasonably by the whole team (clients included) It can. For the project I am working on currently, we had some items that were far too clunky, mostly just some sheetrock details, we lost them in VE and I couldnt even imagine them being there now.
    One example: we had a lot of all-glass corners, and those went away so glass was straight and then the corner was framing. None of this truly reduced the panoramic view but it did reduce cost in both glass and in structural support for the roof. It also made the insulation better. And glass corners need to be perfect, so our perfection could be a bit less demanding with framed corners. We kept one glass corner, and that is in the master bedroom, which will feel like we are sleeping in the backyard. Hopefully it won't be the same temp as the backyard in the winter, but I think we should have that managed as well.

    One exclusion did not get put back in once we freed up some cap space on a our budget and that is air conditioning. The house is built to suck air into it and location is naturally cooler than the surrounding area. It gets warm, but we decided that we'd put the AC on hold. However, the GC is going to route AC lines to built-in boxes at the top of some of the cabinets for split units & do the rough wiring in the mechanical closet for powering the AC, so if we change our minds, installation will still be possible.
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Cant recallwas a heat pump ever in your consideration? Dad has a heat pump in his admittedly small house and Im surprised at how well it cools the place.
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    We have radiant floor heating and a Morso wood stove for heat. The AC would be a ductless multi-zone system. We have one in the barn we are renting - ac unit outside drives three independent units inside - and it is great. Quiet and cools the house in a blink. I think the one we'd get the house would would have four or five independent units built into the top of cabinets with one large ac unit outside on a pad. Our house is about 2400 sq ft I believe.
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    They're a pain (i.e. $$$$) to install, but ground-source heat pumps are the bee's knees.

    I wish I had one.

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Quote Originally Posted by Mabouya View Post
    They're a pain (i.e. $$$$) to install, but ground-source heat pumps are the bee's knees.

    I wish I had one.
    We looked at those but they moved into the "to be considered later" column pretty early in the process. Seems like a no-brainer and I really liked the system we looked at, but the cost differential was too much. So instead we are getting a conventional LP boiler from Viessmann that is a better match with the radiant floors.
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    I have a neighbor who installed a heat pump at a cost of about 125K. A retired professor who specializes in arms negotiations, the gee-whiz factor sold him. He doesn't use it. Too expensive to run, and in the end, unnecessary. It's easy to build a new home that can be heated with a 1500 watt space heater. More is more when it comes to insulation. I think the use of glass corners will date a house as Palladian windows did formerly. I know architects who use them consistently, but I'd bet most builders look askance at the proposition.

    re mowing: fact of life in New England is that unless one mows every few years, any open land will revert to forest within fifteen years. Brush-hog in August after the birds have fledged.
     

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