Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Building a Fire Pit

If you live on the coast, it is a requirement to have a fire pit.  Well maybe not, but our family enjoys roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over an open fire.

Our property has lots of trees, so there is something always falling that needs to be burned or chipped.

I was originally going to try and do something with river rock but felt like that was a bad idea due to exploding rocks.  There were mixed reviews online about using them, therefore, I decided to stay away.

For about $40 at Home Depot I was able to get some cement bricks.

To build the pit, I took a string 18" long and tied it to a stick.  I moved the string, taught in a circle and marked the edges.

With a shovel I dug out about a foot of soil to remove the grass and roots.  I also used a shovel to remove grass around the fire pit.

I poured an inch or so of sand into the pit.  This allowed me to level 3 rows cement of bricks in a circle around the pit.  At the top I used cement 8" pavers that are made to go in a circle.  This created a nice rim for the pit.

I then poured gravel around the pit that I got from the next door rock quarry.

Monday, July 4, 2016

The New Oregon Homestead

It has been a long time since the last post.  What a year 2015 was.

Brandi loves horses and we were stalling them in a horse facility up the road because of the split land and easements on the old property.  This meant a 15 minute drive back and forth every day, plus it was hard for her to spend time with the horses with all the other things going on in our life.  We originally offered to buy the neighbors' land to build a barn on, but that deal fell through.  Therefore, we started to weigh our options.

Due to the property boom around Portland, Oregon, the price of property has exploded.  We could not afford to get what we wanted in the area, even though we were 20 miles north of Portland in another state.  On the flip side, the price of our house and the work from home nature of my job enabled us to look in other counties that were cheaper.  High speed Internet also played a big part in where we ended up.  I still need to head to Portland a few times a month so it also had to be a reasonable drive.

It took about 5 months to sell the homestead in Washington and move to the Oregon coast. The new homestead fits our life better.  It is a 7.75 acre property that is perfect for horses (flat land) with 2 barns and an arena.  About 2 acres are forested.  The property includes a mother in law apartment, perfect for supporting extended family or having friends over for a weekend.

Of course a new home means lots of work.  The property had electro-wire for horses, but we needed field fencing for alpacas, dogs and chickens.  We ended up putting most of the fence in during a huge storm that dropped inches of rain. We needed to get a new roof on the home which was hard to do with all the rain we get in the winter.  Lastly, there is just the odd little things that need to be fixed up.

The property is also a blank slate for me to fit a Permaculture design to. In 2015 I received my PDC Certificate after taking a Permacutlure Design Course.  I will walk through all the things I have done in other posts.