20 x 20 w 8 x 10 bedroom

Started by Mike 870, March 20, 2014, 05:52:24 PM

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Mike 870

I imagine this will probably progress rather slowly.  After about 10 years of waiting, saving, searching, saving and waiting some more here are pictures of my land.  I have no idea what I'm going to build hence the title.  I change my mind about once a day, and will probably change my mind as I'm building.  The first structure will probably be a bit of a glamping theme (glamorous camping).

Pictures, hope your internet speed is fast...
Entering the property:

gaining elevation:

A look backwards on the way in:

going on craigslist:




cabin sites?:

Trees, lots of them everywhere:


Nice looking property.   Lots of possibilities.  If the stream runs this way most of the year maybe a hydro/electric generator for some power.  Is this going to be off grid or is there power nearby?  Didn't see any indication at the trailer.

Mike 870

It's going to be an off grid weekend type place.  I'm not sure if that stream runs full time like that, I am guessing that it is more of a watershed fed stream. Every time I have seen it there has been snow melting, or it has rained the day before.  I might be lucky and it could be spring fed.  I'll know later this summer in the dry season.  It would be great for micro hydro if it ran most of the year. 

I posted in my other thread, that the property is 46 acres.  It walks very big because of the topographic features.  It's very private and has great natural buffers on all sides of it, ravines etc.  It also has a nice 7 or 8 acre flat section that is now covered in trees that I'm sure was a pasture back in the pre 1930's.  Lots of rocks icleared off to the sides of it.  Here is a link to the full photobucket album I have about 50 pictures in there.

John Raabe

Nice site with a handsome little stream - hope it's still running in August.
None of us are as smart as all of us.

Adam Roby

Amazing land... keeping with the "camping" theme, rather than hydro with that waterfall I would consider using some of those rocks to improvise a natural bath/shower/jacuzzi type lounge area.  Water might be cold but in the dead of summer it would be a great place to hang out and cool off.

Mike 870

Thanks guys,
I have been formulating stage one in my head.  I'm going to refer to it as the 12 by 16 glamping platform.  It will be built at the highest elevation on the property that is still relatively close to the main building site (wherever that will be).  The roof will be used for rainwater collection to a gravity fed water system (unless after further observation I decide to use the stream).  Half of the 12 by 16 platform will be enclosed for bunk beds (8x12). The other will be open air on 2 sides.  The shed style roof will cover the whole thing.  Someday I may build an outdoor stone fireplace on one side of it.  No plans per say, just ideas.  No budget either.  A budget tends to drive decisions that should be made on an aesthetic basis over to a financial basis. (I am a cost estimator by trade) I'd rather just wait and save longer.


great looking place property...  i like your idea of waiting and saving.. nothing like sitting on the porch, relaxing, knowing that you own it outright!  ( tends to make the relaxing a little sweeter)   it will be fun to see what you end up doing..  jt

Mike 870

I'm dieing to get back down there, but only have about $320 saved so far towards the cabin fund.  So I think I'm just going to go down there and camp out, bring a shovel and start digging a hole for the camping platform.  I have he weekend of the 12th free from spousal servitude, so unless I am offered some sort of paying side job that is the plan.  Probably explore around, bring my bike and hang out with my dog.


Quote from: Mike 870 on March 30, 2014, 04:41:35 PM
I'm dieing to get back down there, but only have about $320 saved so far towards the cabin fund.  So I think I'm just going to go down there and camp out, bring a shovel and start digging a hole for the camping platform.  I have he weekend of the 12th free from spousal servitude, so unless I am offered some sort of paying side job that is the plan.  Probably explore around, bring my bike and hang out with my dog.


That is exactly how you figure out the land.  Just get there and enjoy and get a feel for it.
Proverbs 24:3-5 Through wisdom is an house builded; an by understanding it is established.  4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

Mike 870

I was down at the land 2 weekends ago.  Didn't really do much except walk it a couple times, camp out and go on a couple bike rides to explore the area.  I covered about 70 miles on bike and have a really good feel for what is around me.  Got lost on some old unmaintained roads, ended up in the middle of a 66,000 acre state forrest,  it was a good time.  Met two neighbors, one is a guy who traces his family back on his land 6 generations, he owns over 1000 acres and surrounds me on 3 sides.  The other neighbor owns the house next to my driveway.  Both seemed nice.  I sold a bunch of bikes and some other stuff and managed to raise enough money to buy an Oliver Super 55 tractor with a loader and a backhoe attachment.  I will post pictures tomorrow assuming the sale goes through.

Mike 870

To help with the foundation road and to clean out the openings of some culverts.


I guess the sale went through!     :)
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.

Mike 870

I've been planning and saving and waiting for the cooler temperatures.  I have 6 weekends between now and December that I'm free to go to my land and get some work done.  I have been doing a bit of work on the tractor.  The person who sold it to me was very dishonest, but I have been enjoying working on it and learning a lot about tractors.  It's not going to be ready for a while so I'm going to hire out some work improving my road.  I am meeting with some contractors this weekend.  I've got some friends coming with me so We're going to get a start digging holes and setting piers.  Not sure If I am going to do the camping platform or just start in on the cabin.  I sketched up these plans.  I did a detailed cost estimate using Menards prices for most things and it came out at just under $30,000 for a no compromise build.  That's all premium materials, fancy windows and doors, etc.  These scan's aren't the best and my drafting skills are rusty. 

Mike 870

Picked a build site that I'm really happy with.  It is on a flat finger of land that is naturally graded to shed water off it and is not susceptible to runoff from upslope.  Got all my holes dug for the piers. The soil is the craziest hard packed clay I've ever seen,  I did some calculations to make sure and I have a wide margin of error.  Figured out the best place for the shooting range.   Also met with 3 different excavators about getting some work done on my road.  It's going to be really nice to have that cleaned up. 


Random picture of trees

Repeat picture of view from build site

Mike 870

Finished the piers for the foundation.  22 piers in all about 4500 lbs of concrete hand mixed.  They are on footers 2 - 3 feet deep.  The frost depth here is 22 inches.  I used 12 inch tubes on the corners and 8 inch tubes everywhere else.  They are spaced on 4 ft centers.  Not impressed with Menards All Star Concrete Mix or Quickrete's ready to use mix.  Seemed like too much sand and aggregate material.  Did seem that the Quickrete 5000 was good quality though.  Going to mostly pack it in for the winter, save some money and start up in March hopefully. 

Hired someone to grade and surface my road.  This picture shows the steepest part that will get the most work.  He will use a jackhammer attachment to get some of the bedrock that forced the steepness out and build up the bottom section with fill.  Will also take a slightly different path widening a turn to decrease the grade.  I'm also getting another culvert put in. 

Mike 870

Not much is new,  I have mostly been camping, saving money and riding my bike from this new location that provides miles and of low traffic scenic roads to explore.  I have some pictures of dirt for you though.  This is the initial cut of my road.  Final grading, drainage, culverts and topping with crushed stone still to come.  The road slopes in towards the side of the hill for safety reasons.  The water runs down the inside to a still to be placed culvert that will take it under the road to the stream.   If you look at the prior post you can see the before after of the steepest part.  He took about 4 feet off the top and probably built it up 4 or 5 feet at the bottom.  I was already able to drive my truck up when it was dry, so I think once everything is done it will be quite manageable.  Still working on my tractor that I can use for scraping/repars and tweaking things down the road.  All in all the excavator did a lot more than I expected of him so far.  He crowned up some areas I didn't think he would touch, added some fill to areas where the stream was getting close to the road and re-directed etc.  It's been sitting for a couple months now, and things seem to just go at their own pace.  I don't mind it sitting because it will give me some time to make sure the water is flowing where and how we think it should.  I wont be down there until March April so there isn't much of a rush for me to need to pay him the final portion once the job is done.   These pictures are in reverse order from the cabin site out to the road.

This is about where I am standing in the earlier post looking down the hill:

Around the bend of the steepest part:

Looking back up at that part:

Looking down the rest of the way from the bend to the flat part:

From the bottom looking up:

Looking back towards the hill from the valley bottom, me for scale:

Flat part heading out to the road.  All in all this is about 1/3 a mile:


Mike I think I would put some of that rock lying on top of the berms from the cuts to good use at the road edge where the stream is close at the bottom.  Although the stream may be somewhat dormant the majority of the time it is those occasional rises in the stream that causes serious erosion.  Ever figure what degree grade you are looking at?

Mike 870

I will ask him to do that.  That is where one of the culvert will carry water under the road, so he may be planning that.  That is also where a gully from the side hill spits out into the stream so that culvert will have double duty.  He suggested I stake rebar into the ground uphill and keep a close eye for sticks, because it only takes one to jam up a culvert.  I am planning on a 24 inch culvert there.  It used to be a 20 inch.  Plenty of time to go bigger if I want to pay for it.  Road guy thought 24 was appropriate size.  Previous owners didn't do much of anything except high grade for timber every time they needed $$.


To get a road to last, you don't want ANY water to cross it.  On the hill side of the road, that means a good ditch and then you have to keep it clear.  Try to be there when it rains once so you can see how it is acting.  One little trickle crossing the road will turn into a ditch crossing the road, in short order!

With that said, I think it looks great.  I live in a hilly area too and I love the way it looks. 


Mike 870

Hi Austin, glad you like it.  I love the fact that my land is hilly.  You pay for it in some ways but I think it is just prettier and more interesting for my purposes.  In other ways you don't since there is no real agricultural use I don't have to pay that premium.  Plus, once I start cutting some mountain bike trails it will make things pretty fun. 

If water ends up going over the road it will certainly not be by design.  Either the system is overwhelmed with a deluge or I have neglected maintenance.  Hopefully neither happens.  I have witnessed a couple rainstorms and so far things seem to act the way they should.  Water is flowing how you think it would.  I think the question now is how low maintenance can we make it with a smart design.  Hopefully can save myself some headache and expense down the road. 


Hi Mike, where at in Ohio are you?  I'm in SE Ohio and looking to build starting soon, when the winter ends.  My design is 32 x 24 and going with a shed style roof - are you doing shed style?  Looking forward to seeing any progress.

Mike 870

Cleared out some deadfall and cedars to make a better shooting range and started building an outhouse.  Also split the tractor.  I found a new rear end for it.  Hopefully have it running in a couple months.

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Wow, serious bad news on the tractor.
It looks like a lot of cedar and red maple? They both make nice interior finish. Actually the cedar goes either way. If you see any of the maples "sweating" profusely in spring that tree will contain some really cool ambrosia maple. The healing harvests now are to take the worst first... some neat twisted stuff taking up sunlight, cool braces and truss struts.

Our driveway is around 30%, or 30' of rise per 100 horizontal feet, or a 10' 2x4 held on the ground at one end will be 3' off the ground at the other. Just different ways of measuring grade.


Looks like a great piece of land.  Your forest looks like it has potential to produce some nice trees as well.  Good luck with your build - looking forward to following your posts. 

Mike 870

Yes there are quite a few cedars and maples.  There are a lot of other species as well, it's bet diverse.  I also have a grove of paw paw, some ginseng and a lot of yellowroot.  The cedars aren't a high percentage of the property, but we tend to hang out in that area the most because that is where the road ends and it is a nice clearing near the cabin site.  My property is unique in that it has what are called cedar barrens, pretty rare in Ohio and home to some very rare flora/fauna.  A botanist friend suggested I clear out most of the cedar to encourage the prairie plant species.  So if anyone needs cedar or fence posts let me know.

The tractor project is moving along, I found a new used rear end near me so I am buying it and bolting it back on.  Its a bummer but I am learning a lot and still much cheaper than buying a new 30HP tractor loader backhoe.

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