Moving house

Tue Sep 20 2022

After six months in one spot, it was finally time to hookup the RV again, but this time our journey was a little shorter than usual!

Moving house
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It's been a little while since my last update blog post, so let me try to get you up to speed with what's been going on and where we're up to. Our lack of updates doesn't imply a lack of progress - far from it, a lot has happened and we've just been struggling to find the time to share it all!

Guest accommodations

We're not exactly set up for guests to come and stay at the moment. Since our remodel 2 years ago, our RV can only seat two at the desk, we have no guest bed and we're still off-grid so splitting utilities for extra people is a challenge.

RV Remodel with Ergonomic Workspace: Before & After

After living full-time in our RV for 2 years, it was time to remodel. We embarked on a big project to remodel our RV and build the ultimate ergonomic workspace.

RV Remodel with Ergonomic Workspace: Before & After

But last week we had a visitor - an old college friend of Diana's - who came to stay with us for a few days, so we had to work things out.

Our only option was a tent - the small backpacking tent Diana and I used to use. Fortunately, the weather in Vermont was co-operative - not too hot during the day, and while it was a little cool at nights, it stayed dry throughout.

While she was here, we went cider tasting at Cold Hollow Cider Mill, and then picked half a bushel of Macintosh apples at a nearby orchard.

We've been experimenting with different ways to preserve fruit, and for the apples we decided to can two batches of apple butter using two different recipes - canning in our new 20qt Kitchen Crop pot is much easier than when we tried atmospheric canning in our Instant Pot!

Apple Butter
Freshly picked apples simmering down on their way to becoming apple butter.
Harvest 20qt Canning Pot
This big 20qt water bath canning pot takes almost an hour to come to the boil on our RV gas stove, but is much easier to use than atmospheric steam canning in the Instant Pot.

In the past we've tried dehydrating in the Instant Pot using the Air Fryer Lid, but we've since upgraded to a dedicated dehydrator and it is much faster! So we put it to use again and dehydrated some sliced apples too.

Dehydrated Apple Slices
We moved our dehydrator outside the RV to dry these apple slices. Healthy, nutritious, guilt-free snacks!

Out with the old, and in with the new

We head out in search of local businesses to buy the supplies we need for our RV remodeling project, plus dehydrating with our Instant Pot!

Out with the old, and in with the new

Buying our shipping container

A little over a year ago we rented a 40ft shipping container for temporary storage on the property.

Renting a Shipping Container

We rented a 40ft high cube shipping container for temporary secure, dry storage for our tools and materials while we build our house, finally freeing up our truck bed!

Renting a Shipping Container

Little did we know at the time how valuable it would turn out to be. Not only were we able to use it to store tools and materials, but we even stored our tractor and sawmill inside over winter. And this year we've been using it as a workshop.

The only downside: the cost! Almost $170 per month!

So this week we sat down to do the math - should we buy our shipping container? Find out what we decided in this blog post.

Should we buy our shipping container?

After renting our shipping container for 12 months, it was time to make a decision - should we buy it or keep on renting?

Should we buy our shipping container?

Power line clearing

A lot of the work we've been doing this year has been focused on utilities, and although I've been talking mostly about the well, we've also been making a lot of progress on the septic system and electrical service.

Well Install: Part 2 - Pump Installation

You might think installing a well pump is a job for the professionals, but we did it ourselves and added some very cool extra capability!

Well Install: Part 2 - Pump Installation

I promise a full blog post series will follow, but the latest work we've been doing is clearing trees. When we first laid out the utility pole positions with our electric company, they identified about half a dozen small trees that would need to be removed as they were in the direct path of the power line. No problem!

But then when the line crew visited, they told us something very different. Any tree or branch within 10ft of the power line (which, remember, is about 40ft above the ground) had to be removed.

Since we have no way of reaching branches 30-50ft above the ground, realistically that meant felling more trees. A lot more trees!

So over the past few weeks, whenever the weather was cooperative (read: cool mornings) we've been out felling, bucking, limbing and chipping again. Having finally taken down about another 20 or so trees (including one of the maples we tapped last year!), we're finally done.

Yesterday morning our contact from the electric company came out and confirmed we're all set for them to come out and install the primary wiring and transformer, then turn us on! Fingers crossed they should be here in the next week or so and we'll finally have power!

Electrical Transformer Pad
This is the 4ft deep fiberglass form that we had to install and is where the transformer will be placed by the utility company when they connect us up to the grid. Around the sides you can see the detectable tape we have installed - one from the utility pole, one going to our backboard, and one on a piece of conduit that will run to our future utility building.

Lumber milling operation

If it feels like we've been felling trees all year, it's because we have. Between clearing the general house site, the leach field and trees under the power line, we've felled well over 300 trees.

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Leach field area CLEARED!

While many of these trees were relatively small, less than 7" DBH (Diameter at Breast Height, a common way to measure tree size) and hence too small to mill, we have a lot of trees that can be milled!

Log Pile
This is our (primarily) softwood pile containing spruce and pine. Behind it is another pile, about half the size, containing mainly hardwoods. To the left you can see one of the many "piles" of logs to become firewood that we need to deal with too.

Ideally you don't want to leave logs sitting around for longer than necessary before milling - the ends can crack, the wood can deteriorate and bugs can infest them. Some of our logs have been piled up since last year when the driveway was installed, and even though we coated the ends with Anchorseal 2 to reduce cracking, we do really need to get on and mill them!

Building a Driveway

An old logging trail won't cut it for long - we need a solid 1,000ft driveway from the road to our house site.

Building a Driveway
Lumber Stack Foundations
We're using concrete blocks to create a perfectly level surface on which to stack our milled lumber. We'll spread wood chips around the stacks to keep the mud down too.

Last November we spent milling as much as we could, and it looks like this fall is going to follow a similar theme. We've got our sawmill set up again and over the next couple of months we're going to try and get as much lumber milled and stacked as possible!

Woodland Mills HM126 Sawmill
Our Woodland Mills HM126 is back in business. This maple is the first hardwood log we've milled and is absolutely beautiful - can't wait to see the rest!

Oh, and we haven't forgotten about our solar kiln! We've been waiting to get some flat space cleared and graded so we have somewhere to put it and complete the build. Last week that finally happened, so continuing with the solar kiln build is also on our list of things to do this fall!

Solar Kiln Build: Part 1 - Floor Assembly

Find our why we decided to build a solar kiln to dry green, rough sawn lumber, and how we built a crazy strong floor assembly for our portable solar kiln.

Solar Kiln Build: Part 1 - Floor Assembly

As an aside, it looks like we're going to generate a lot of sawdust. Each 8ft log produces about 1-2 buckets of sawdust, which means by my rough estimate by the time we've finished our log pile we'll have well over 20 cubic yards of sawdust!

Saw Mill Sawdust
We've found an easy way to hang a 5-gallon bucket on the side of the sawmill to collect most of the sawdust it produces. This is better than creating a big pile next to the sawmill, but what are we going to do with it?!

Any ideas what to do with it all?!

Moving house

Perhaps the big news in the last week is that we hooked the RV up to the truck for the first time in more than 6 months. Time to get back on the road!

RV Parking
Parking our RV in its new home, next to our electrical backboard and well so we have access to water and electricity.

Well, kind of. Back on the driveway anyway.

In what is probably our shortest towing day in 4+ years of full-time RV living, we moved our RV 1,000ft up our driveway to the house site. For us, this is a monumental milestone - we're now living just feet away from where our house will eventually sit!

House Site Grading
Oooh, spoiler! Our site is starting to take shape now, and it's flat enough for us to park the RV on!

But it's more than just that. By moving up here not only have we gained the privacy and seclusion that led us to build up here in the first place, but there are practical benefits too.

Vermont House Views
This is the view from our RV front door and gives a sense for what we can look forward to. You can see the trees starting to change color - so much still to do!

Our RV parking spot is just a short distance from the well, meaning we no longer need to haul water in our water bladder - instead we can just connect a hose directly to fill our tanks.

Aquatank II - Portable Water Bladder Review

We review why we chose the Aquatank 2 for hauling water to our RV, which size we opted for, and our first impressions about its construction.

Aquatank II - Portable Water Bladder Review

Furthermore, when, hopefully in the next week or so, our power is connected, we're also within easy reach of the electric backboard and will finally have electricity in the RV!

So, lots has been going on, but there's a lot more to do.

And the clock is ticking because we have winter plans....stay tuned for details!

Learn More

Finally, make sure to check out this video on YouTube, and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel to be notified when we publish new videos!

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Downsizing from 4br House to 1br Apartment | Moving Timelapse
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