You are here

Homestead Texas Cabin

11 November 2015
 22 November, 2015
 26 November, 2015
 6 December, 2015
 Framing done, building trusses. 
 12 December, 2015


 13 December, 2015

 15 December, 2015

 20 December, 2015
Good progress made this weekend. The cabin is pretty much dried in and Travis got some steps put on to relieve our leg muscles, climbing up and down, over and over and over...
We ran out of tap-nails to finish the house wrap, was the only reason we quit yesterday.
With a chance of rain today we made temporary door and window coverings. Let It Rain!

 27 December, 2015
Merry Christmas!
We spent our Christmas working away on the cabin, and have it ready for a roof, with doors and windows in place.
Everyone has been helping out and progress has been evident.
Soon we'll start the finish-out and progress will be less obvious, but progress is progress...

We had neighbors stop by and when the conversation got around to the difficulties of moving materials from the driveway to the cabin, they offered the use of their property to access our property on the side, at a location that is different soil from the mudbog. I tried it and sure enough, a road vehicle was parked at the cabin site for the first time since the rains started, in November.
Now we'll be able to have visitors again and bring our materials right to the doorstep for offloading.
It doesn't looks like much, but it's a start. Next Spring, when the cedar trees shed their bark a little easier we'll cut down a few for poles, and build the porch roof.
We have a metal roof and wood siding yet to install on the outside, plus various trim pieces, then it's all plumbing and electrical.
Part of the plumbing will be digging a trench and laying pipe from the water meter up to the building sites. Now that we have a good way to bring the trencher in, we can start that.
Kit will be placing her order for trees and we'll need to go and dig 20 holes to plant them in January. Fortunately the trees will be small (4-5 feet) so the holes will be commensurately small. Good thing, too - we do not yet have a fence post augger for the tractor, nor a backhoe. This will all be done the old fashioned way - shovels!

An update on the cabin.
Travis and I have the back side siding up, after kit stained the material. We think we have a pretty good handle on how it's done now - one more side and then we'll be on the front, putting our lessons to good use (and hopefully not repeating any mistakes).

Then Travis and I practiced our real skilled labor talents - and dug 20-some-odd holes for the fruit and nut trees that will be showing up from the nursery in two weeks.
Travis did the hard part with a spade and I came along after and squared up the holes with a flat shovel. 1'x1'x1' exactly.

And finally I started wiring the cabin. We have the ground stake in and wired up to the 100 amp load center - additional circuits will slowly go in, after and in between other work.

We've been flip-flopping between cabin and garden - we set fence posts in concrete then go work on the cabin.
Finally, we won't worry about rain storms coming through.
Dry cabin!
Front siding up. Looks much better than one big Lowes advertisement!
Gable siding up.
Travis installing soffits. No more birds, bugs or wasps and mud dobbers IN the cabin!
Water closet.
Begun to install cabin trim boards.
Earlier I mentioned water to the cabin. Today, we're a little closer to that.


Trench bridge

We also prepared to lay pipe to the RV pad to provide water to the RV in the near term, and to the pavilion in the longer term.

It's been on the list to install a ramp up to the cabin deck. Scheduled visitors today lent impetus to that particular sub-project.
So Travis designed and built a ramp that we can move from cabin to RV and back.
Awesome ramp, dude!
After making a mess of the yard yesterday, we layed pipe and back filled the trenches today, making it look better than before.
We used scraper, box blade and shovel to fill the trenches after it all passed the pressure test.
Now the cabin has a source of water just waiting to plumbed in and used.
Travis has found the drag harrow and took delight in dragging it around, smoothing things with the ATV.
This is where water will enter the cabin. There's also an outside faucet plumbed in.
I'm loving PEX plumbing material. Look how easy it is to route water lines. They attach to fitting with a crimp ring.
So easy even I can do it!
Kitchen sink lines. We get a manifold tomorrow that will let me attach the 3/4" main line and branch out 1/2" lines to points of use.
But I can still route lines. Here we're running into the bathroom.
And over to the shower valves. This is the indoor shower valve.
And this is the outdoor shower valve.
Electrical wiring continues apace, and good progress was made today.
In the kitchen we have plugs above the counter (GFI) and one for the mini-refrigerator.
In the dining room we have two double outlets. Experience has shown what we need at the dining table - computer adapters, cell phone chargers, radio chargers, all of that x several!
In the bathroom there's a little re-work to be done.
I initially put the power outlet down where wall outlets are usually positioned, however talking with Kit about hair dryer use, I'll be moving it higher on the wall for short-corded hair dryers.
And this is the outdoor outlet.
The electrical wiring is complete!

Here's a shot of the last piece of the puzzle, the area by the bed where there are two and three-way light switches plus outlets. This was a busy wall (electrically speaking) and it was also the "storage wall" where we piled stuff moved from other parts of the cabin, so it got done last.
With the electrical complete (no more wire runs in the overhead) we could start putting up ceiling panels so painstakingly primed and painted by Kit.
(somehow I never did get a shot of the installed insulation - but believe you me that the ceiling is fully insulated! We put up this first row of panels and dropped insulation batts in from above - the rest was stapled up from below)
If you think we're following a step-by-step plan on this adventure, you thought wrong!
Our priorities change pretty much week-to-week, and we work on whatever springs to the top of the list.
This week, it was exterior trim. Why? Because we had all this trim material laying on the cabin floor, and we really want to put up ceiling but the trim material is in the way.
Solution - put up trim!
You really don't ever want to get between Leia and a camera!
We have had an emerging problem with water runoff across the park area impacting the cabin's foundation, and to prevent a worsening situation, we plotted to install an open French Drain.
Which was 90% complete this weekend, thanks to much shovel work done by Travis, Kit and me.
Only 90% because that yard of gravel we were worried about what would we do with what we didn't use... we used up and need more!
We're going to make the thing a landscaping feature as a dry creek bed.
Kit and I also took a swipe (made a good start) at moving the huge brush pile we generating while clearing over a year ago, moving it up to where it is less of an eyesore - all of this will eventually be chipped into mulch.
Finishing up the dry creek landscaping
Finishing up the cabin ceiling
Yes, the corner is ugly but that will be covered by a floor to ceiling pantry and we didn't want to waste another full 4x8 sheet for a piece 16"x45".
The hatch for the attic is cut and just needs to have trim put up to hold it.
All these cracks/lines between panels will be filled with caulk and painted.
Kit installing insulation.
Insulation about 1/4 done.
The first project of Spring Farm Week was to put a cover over the deck. Here's where we start - with the raw material.
We had been tripping over some trim boards as we moved around the cabin, so we decided to just put them up and end that problem.
First, paint the existing fascia board
We established the post height using the time-honored method - That Looks About Right.
Colin loosens existing tin for joining with the new.

Then the business of building the structure began.

Last step was secure the tin on the new deck cover.
And then enjoy the result!
Railing, fascia and gutters to be done...

We have been needing a means of washing up outside the cabin without making a muddy mess underfoot.
Kit had this idea and I spent one day of my vacation week on the farm bringing it to life.
Not shown in this pic is a hose attached to the bottom of the "sink" that directs drain water to the bee yard.
This is what you do when you're working alone and need another pair of "hands" to hold one end of a 10' board while you nail the other end.
A prop on which to set the other end.
And when a board sags (bows) in the middle and you need "someone" to apply upward pressure while you screw it to the rafter...
A 2x2 slightly longer than the board is off the ground, to gently pressure it up to the string denoting a straight line from end to end.
Fascia complete, ready for gutters.

I didn't want us to be unprepared for the turning on of the power. We at least have some outlets wired up to the circuit breaker panel, ready to go.
Preparing connections for the water heater.
Our outdoor, propane tankless water heater will need power, and then hot and cold water lines, of course.
Before I can close up this wall, all of that needs to be done.
Have I mentioned how much I like PEX??
Soooo easy.
Here I have hung the heater, mainly so I could know where I needed to place the outlet and water hookups.
Kit decided to "date" progress on the farm with pictures of Jack. This will be our baseline, at eight months old.
These pics are the end of another long (three-day, took Friday off) weekend at the farm.
Very happy with progress this weekend. No pics of Friday's endeavors where Travis and I refined the cabin foundation, adding support to a sagging rim joist at the back, and shoring up the bathroom corner which will take additional weight of tile when I get the shower done.
I have the water heater installation nearly finished, lacking only some pipe fittings and hoses to connect the hookups. Wiring is done, lacking only power on the outlet.
These valves will facilitate periodic flushing of the tankless water heater. Its efficiency depends on clean innards!
It's important to know what's hot, and what's not!
Having completed the connections for the water heater, I could close up the kitchen wall. Insulation first.
Then the paneling. If you look closely you will see in the lower left corner I cut out a hatch that is secured separately. This is the corner where the refrigerator will go, and if I ever need to service the water heater connections, I can move the fridge out and remove the hatch, remove the insulation (not stapled) and do whatever needs doing.
The kitchen is ready for cabinets, counter and shelves!
Moving right along in the cabin.
The kitchen is somewhat more organized and now contains all of the stuff previously spread around inside.
This gives working space to finish out the rest.
We bought one prefinished kitchen cabinet base which will serve to anchor the left side of the counter.
Everything else will be open shelves, below and above.
Hey! Rustic!
Starting the other end wall.
I built a cabinet that will serve as pantry, and we installed that in the corner (and then filled it with tools and other stuff).
Kit has been looking forward this for a long time.
All the walls are up in the cabin and the next step is to paint, then I can install the rest of the switches and outlets.
A bit more framing to do. This will be a closet. Two rods at 36" and 72" and a foot deep.
By the time we're done, the cabin will more closely resemble an RV (Recreational Vehicle, not the airplane) with nooks and crannys and closets and drawers and shelves fit in wherever possible - not to mention cozy spaces.

More progress in the cabin.
Kitchen counter, sink, while deciding on tile.
Now that painting is done I can finish up wiring outlets and switches.
And yet more progress in the cabin.
Kitchen counter, sink, concrete board for tile.
Kitchen counter and shelves, tile decision made. Now just need to cut tile and set.
Kitchen plumbing.
And follow up on the guttering. Almost done, with exception of the connection to the rain barrel.
Power in the cabin!
It's been a long time coming, but yes - we have power in the cabin.
Saturday we flipped on the mains, and energized one completed circuit at a time. We ran battery chargers, lights, and had a crock pot lunch on Sunday.
Here are the meters, installed and running.
This is the dining room light fixture made from a wafer of the trunk of the cedar tree we cut down above the garden, suspended by black pipe.
After we got the tile kitchen counter top installed last weekend, Kit wanted to put in a backsplash.
Finish work in the cabin continues apace.
Among the highest priorities has been the shower stall. This weekend we started tiling.
Here one wall is complete, and another is getting started.
We're using tile from several sources (and Thank You All!): Leftovers from our 2002 remodel, leftovers from Don's remodel, leftovers from mom's remodel, and store bought in a color that ties all the others together.
While that is making this tile job inexpensive, it also makes it challenging because each different tile group has slightly different dimensions and thicknesses, and keeping my joints looking good has been an almost impossible task - not to mention tied in at the corners.
But, as you've heard so many times before, it will be "Cabin Perfect".
Two walls down, one wall to go.
Saved the best for last - this wall has the soap cubby, valve and shower head.
Although I hit a little snag when the hole saw I was counting on to cut for the valve and shower head wasn't up to the job. That stopped progress at this point and until I go shopping.
Cutting tile is a messy job. If you haven't done it, this ranks right up there with bathing the dog; you're going to get wet.
Award for Best Dressed Tile Cutter: A trash bag with holes cut for head and arms, a face shield to facilitate vision - that whole seeing what you're doing thing.
While cold showers are tolerable on really hot days, it's getting to be that time of year when we will want a hot shower.
To do that, we need a hot water heater.
And here we have a propane fueled, tankless water heater almost ready to go.
We'll use a two-tank system with selector valve. Makes changing tanks a leisure thing; one is always connected.
And while I was doing my thing in the shower stall, Kit has been finishing out the kitchen. There may be another shelf across the top for infrequently-accessed item storage.
Also with cooler weather coming, Kit has been wiggling a shovel and laying brick and stone for a firepit.
S'mores, anyone?
12 November, 2017
"That side is high, Nana"
Seriously, was proud to step out of the cabin and see Kit using a level on her firepit, and teaching Wyatt, too!

Shower tiling is 99% complete. Need only to do the shampoo cubby and grout it.
13 November, 2017
Shower tiling is 99.9% complete. Need only to grout it.
14 November, 2017
Shower tiling is 99.95% complete.
2 1/2 walls grouted. Ran out of grout.
19 November, 2017
Shower complete.
Bathroom is nearly complete.
Need to finish storage cubbies, shelves, and trim.
20 November, 2017
Happy Thanksgiving!
24 November, 2017

26 November, 2017
Kit and I went out to finish up the shower plumbing, seal the tile and grout and set up the table saw work station trailer for the finish cabinetry work that's ahead of us.
That pesky foundation block was right where the drain wanted to go to align with the trench I dug months ago. Easier to adjust the plumbing than dig a new trench.
This shower "gray water" will go to a group of citrus trees (yet to be planted) in the bee yard.
The location will be good for them - shielded from cold North winds, plenty of water, plenty of sun (southern exposure) and they will provide the bees with a good nectar source.
Table saw and chop saw ready for finish cabinetry and trim work.
Covered, of course, (anchored to cinder blocks against the wind) and tarped when we're not there working.
3 December, 2017
This weekend was all about the floor and getting a finished floor in the cabin.
The first step was sanding down the joints in the subfloor and any raised spots.
The belt sander did a fine job of this but went through every sanding belt I had.
The next step is installing the underlayment.
This layer is a smooth (sanded), flat surface that we will prime and then apply the vinyl floor "planks".
On each piece of the underlayment we had to draw our grid for where to put the screws. There is a screw every 6 inches in both dimensions.
When we're finished we will have installed about 1,000 screws. Stopped today about half way done.
4 December, 2017
Finished with fasteners!
11 December, 2017
Started flooring!
12 December, 2017
Mo' Flo'
13 December, 2017
Today Lowes delivered our refrigerator. Cute little thing, don't you think?
Flo's Done!
Here's a view of the kitchen (and kitchen floor).
And here's our dining room.
17 December, 2017
Getting the bed platform built.
We'll have drawers under the bed as well as some storage for less frequently accessed items.
A second level (top bunk) will be added later.
20 December, 2017
Bed platform done.
Storage cubbies underneath.
Tomorrow we'll take the mattress out.
21 December, 2017
Bed done, ready for nap.
25 December, 2017

Merry Christmas!!

Tammy, Travis, Wyatt and William came out to the farm for Christmas dinner...
... and then stayed over in the RV. Here we're learning a new game.
Not sure we ever figured out the rules!
27 December, 2017
File this under "Cool Stuff"
The farm is now a weather station thanks to Jack (Christmas), and publishes to Weather Underground as station ID KTXBUCKH2.
We installed this Ambient Weather WS-2902 OSPREY system which is connected to our little Jetpack router.
If you ever want to know what the weather is out here, go to and you will have it.
The sensor array is sited near the garden, on a fence post, up in "clean" air and transmits back to the base station in the cabin.
This will be very useful, especially when we start putting the market garden in, as the Weather Underground site preserves historical data and we'll be able to see rain history ("When did we get that inch of rain?").
30 December, 2017
The cabin became a paint shop as we cut parts for several kitchen cabinet pull outs.
Two are done, the rest we'll bang together tomorrow.
You will also notice some trim getting paint. We've been working on the trim details of the cabin as well. LOTS of that work left... but we can live in it and work on it as time allows.
It's been a nice Christmas week out on the farm. Kinda like spending a week at a cabin-in-the-woods bed 'n breakfast... except we have to fix our own breakfast.
I spent some time freeze-proofing the outdoor water heater.
We have some low-20s coming next week and it would not do to have the system freeze.

31 December, 2017
Spent New Years Eve day banging together and installing kitchen pullouts.
Later New Years Eve we had snow (and ice) on the farm!

21 January, 2018
The lack of a reliable cellular connection has been dogging us on the farm. Sometimes, if you're outside, you can chat just fine - but other times your calls will drop repeatedly, if they even connect in the first place.
It was especially an issue inside the cabin with that tin roof and porch cover.
We made the decision to use cellular for our internet rather than satellite or radio because of the problems those other two technologies present - and no one was planning to lay broadband cable in our neck of the woods - but it was apparent we were going to have to get a better cell signal to make that work.
The solution that makes this possible is a cellular booster that receives a weak cell signal, amplifies it and re-transmits it inside a building.
We installed such a system this weekend.
I mounted the directional receiving antenna on a 10-foot pipe. It's pointing directly at the closest cell tower in Buckholts, some 7 1/2 miles away.
The antenna that re-transmits the improved cell signal is mounted inside on the ceiling.
How well does it work?
Before installation I took readings from the little cellular router, my phone and the computer.
The router was receiving a -120 db signal (this is VERY weak). On the computer, my download speed test was just 0.6 Mbps.
After we installed the system, the router is now "seeing" a -58 db signal, and the computer download speed test was 6.9 Mbps.
Kit was able to face-time with Christina and Jack, and Sunday morning she was watching Netflix on her iPad. Both of these activities were just flat out impossible before we installed the booster.
All in all, it was money (a LOT of money) well spent.

28 January, 2018
More detail work in the cabin. Underbed drawers, bath cabinet storage.
28 March, 2018
Two months later, pretty much the same description. More detail work in the cabin. Underbed drawer fronts, bath cabinet storage windows trim..
We're in a time of year here where the weather can be very nice.
We wanted to take advantage of that by installing a screen door. Don't know why I didn't think of it before - just seems mandatory on a cabin.
After you come in you may look up to see the varmint gun. This is a Ruger 10-22, .22 long rifle, 4X scope, weapon light.
There's a picture above showing the drawers we built to go under the bed for clothes storage. This one shows it all prettied up.
The windows in the cabin have been functional but ugly for a long time.
A big chunk of the time since the last update has been installing window trim.
Here is our dining room view.
This view will look towards the barndo.
Bedroom window - also A/C. Don helped me install this little guy and it works very well for our small footprint.
Looking out over the sink. Something we do a lot of it seems (washing dishes, eating snack, or just looking in on the Apiary).
Bathroom window trim.
I got around to installing shelves for towels, sheets and general household items.
This is the beginning of a unit at the front of the cabin. It stores Kit's sewing machine and the first aid kit, and serves as a place for the Berkey water filter, our little TV/DVD combo with Roku (for Netflix). Hey - you have to have some down time!
Eventually this will also support one end of an extension of the table - a 24" x 8' counter under the window under which Leia's crate will live.
It will also support external monitors for Kit's and my work laptops.
Back To Homestead Texas Home
Ground Breaking
Clearing For The Cabin
Labor Day
Labor Day II
The Tractor
The Tractor Barn
The Truck Patch
The Bee Yard
The Hay Field
The Project Trailer (mobile shop)
The Pasture
The Barndo

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer