24x24 in Western New Mexico

Started by hpinson, February 07, 2011, 03:50:41 PM

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I took lessons there a decade+ ago. Didn't do me any good though.  ;D  Karen is the dancer in our family, a 15 year member of the Albuquerque Dance Club. They meet at the Albuquerque Square Dance Center on Hawkins... bigger wood dance floor.

Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


We used to Contra Dance, at the hall near CNM (can't remember the name). I think it was alternate Saturdays, and the Megaband would provide music. When they were rebuilding that, the dance took up quarters at the Albuquerque Square Dance Center which was really nice, and I think they hold most of the dances there now.

If you are interested, the Irish Stepdancers are having a competition here soon: http://irishdancenm.org/feis_about.htm   It's a lot of fun to watch.

Never tried Tango. I see the class now and then Saturday afternoons. It looks like fun too. Not sure I'd be any good at it. I'm sure my wife would like it so maybe will try some time.


Karen belongs to the Albuquerque Dance Club. . I guess I do too, but I don't dance. Members get discounts for the annual dinner events, so it pays when I go to a special event with her to eat. :)   Perhaps your wife and you might be interested. They have twice monthly Saturday dances (2nd and 4th Saturdays) and also meet Wed and fri nights at local night club / dance places.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


There's another part to this outhouse story. On my land is an illegally constructed septic system, which was declared at the land sale. It is really a cesspool.  In order for my waste disposal system to be permitted (outhouse) and as a condition to get electricity turned on, I need to destroy that old illegal septic.  Typically this means that it be collapsed with a backhoe and backfilled.  Once destroyed a state inspection will confirm that what I claim to have done is indeed true.

In my case, the "septic tank" is what looks like a fiberglass tank or culvert buried about six feet in the ground where  liquid waste-water from the derelict mobile home was directed.  Capacity was probably 500 gallons.

Because the "tank" was dry and last used around 1998, I was allowed to collapse and fill it myself. This is an exception at the discretion of the inspector and is not generally allowed.  They generally want it done by a professional, and sometimes even require cement fill as I understand. I also have to cap the tank inlet pipe.

The intent of the law is to destroy illegal systems so that it can never be used again, and not jeopordize the health of the person doing the destroying.

Here is the tank as I found it.  Ironically, it probably did its job just fine, given the soil conditions.  It is a hazard in that someone or an animal could fall in and have a hard time getting out. 

I have a pile of dirt from the outhouse hole we dug earlier this year.

Proof that the "tank" is dry.  Working near or in an active tank is a biological hazard. This one has been abandoned since at least 1998.

We enlarged the hole over the fiberglass culvert.

A Sawzall was used to cut open the fiberglass culvert.

We filled to the edges with clean dirt.

Almost filled...

Filled and ready for inspection. I still need to cap the waste input pipe. That is for another weekend.


New Mexico has granted a Liquid Waste Disposal Permit for the privy.    [cool] [cool] [cool] c* c* c*


Complete! Includes vent, screens, and door-handle.


Quote from: hpinson on August 27, 2012, 03:07:09 PM
New Mexico has granted a Liquid Waste Disposal Permit for the privy.    [cool] [cool] [cool] c* c* c*

Way Cool!!!!!!
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


Very nice!  Is that privacy glass on the door?  Seems awfully open for a privy, but it is hard to see the glass very well.


Good news about that. My daughter is making curtains, but myself, I enjoy the view!  There is a nice meadow, no neighbors in that direction, with the occasional deer visiting.


I really enjoyed the cedar post and beam construction of the outhouse project.  One thing that was time consuming was doing the post connections. Without getting into tranditional timberframe joinery, I've been looking for a fast and solid way to join posts, and just found this:


They make a variety of steel 4x4 post connectors.  This really has given me some ideas to pursue.


Just an update on a small fall project-- a compost bin, and hay storage.  Construction is mostly of ceder with some redwood scraps.

It's almost done, I just need to finish adding the metal roof panels, and cage the center section so that deer don't get into the hay that I plan on storing there.

The hay is organic material for the composter, and maybe I'll starting feeding it to the deer over the winter. It's very dry right now and there is not a lot of forage.

The composter is in two stages.  When the first bin fills then I move on the second. Presumably when the second bin fills, the first will be ready. The whole process will take about three years I think.

One problem is that it does not rain enough here to foster fast composting. The piles tend to dry out.  I'm hoping that the metal roof will help divert some extra rain into the two bins. That still may not be enough so I supplement with buckets of water occasionally.


High-volume water filter HOWTO for future reference:

[embed=420,315]<iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dVI9YDsOZj8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>[/embed]


For owners of a deep well Simple Pump system, who need to pull the pump for maintenance; this has to date been a difficult task. There is a major innovation (February 2013): The Simple Pump Lift, which is a mechanical assist for dropping / pulling up to 300 pounds of pipe and sucker rod. I will be purchasing one, and if it works as described will address what was really my single concern for using a simple pump on deep wells '150-'300 - the difficulty of pulling and setting the heavy sucker rod / pipe column.


From the booklet:

"Thank you for purchasing the Pump Installation Lift from Simple Pump. The Pump Installation Lift (Pump
Lift) is a manual mechanism that uses a crank to drive opposing gripper belts that lift up to 300 lbs. of a
Simple Pump system.

For example, a Simple Pump system, with its 1" PVC drop pipe, installed down to 325 feet in a well with a
static water level of 300 feet, will contain up to 90 lbs. of water, 180 lbs. of Schedule 120 drop pipe and
20 pounds of fiberglass sucker rod, for a total of 290 pounds.

The lifting capability of the Pump Lift is directly related to the belt traction between the pipe wall and the
gripper belts. Iron oxide bacteria (slime), algae growth on the outside of the PVC pipe, or any substance
that makes the gripper belts slippery will diminish the total lifting capability."


I checked with Simple Pump, and the lifter is pricey, though that is certainly a reflection of production costs.

I asked if it could be rented. Because of liability issues, no, at least not from Simple Pump company.

It seems to be marketed mainly towards well maintenance professionals outside of the USA.

Anyway, it is out of my price range.

Perhaps some third party will make it available for rental.


The old and decrepit mobile home on our property has a small newer addition which was fairly well built. It is 16'x20' with a solid block foundation on a sound concrete footer with no obvious problems, 2"x4" stud walls insulated with fiberglass bat, plastic house wrap, log siding, fabricated trusses and a metal roof.  Below the trusses is a drywall ceiling with some water damage, and above the drywall ceiling is fiberglass insulation which has gotten a bit wet in places.

We have decided we would like to preserve this structure when we tear down the mobile home. It can serve as a place to stay for now if we build something else, and perhaps eventually serve as a guest bunkhouse.

The structure needs some rework.

The first problem is that the metal roof is leaking a bit. Not huge leaks, but here and there, with some tears in the metal, and really needs to be replaced.

The corrugated metal panels are screwed directly 2x4 purlins which rest on 2x6 fabricated trusses, 24" OC, which are in excellent shape.

What I am thinking is pull the metal roofing.

Then install 2" rigid foam core insulation between the purlins, top with 7/16" OSB or plywood sheathing directly over the nailed to the purlins, cover with Titanium UDL roll roofing, and finally install metal corrugated roofing screwed to the sheathing.

Am I missing anything, or does anyone have any suggestions?


Here's what it looks like as of last fall:

John Raabe

You might want to consider insulating the bottom of the trusses rather than the top. Looks like you have gable end vents. Maybe add a ridge vent to the new roof and screened eave vents between the trusses (if they aren't there now). Then you can baffle the vent space and blow in a good layer of cellulose or fiberglass insulation.

You could still add the sheathing and two layer roof you are considering. That will give you a very long term roof.
None of us are as smart as all of us.


Some good suggestions John. I could get better r value from more loose insulation in the truss bottoms than I could from rigid insulation under the sheathing. The eves are not screened and their is no roof vent as is. Birds get in there and nest which I would like to stop. Thanks!


This weekend I completed some more water system related tasks.

Woke up to a coyote sniffing around Saturday morning... that was nice.

The idea is to have a three-season water reserve for fire suppression, maybe for outdoor showers, and for building tasks like concrete work. I wanted the supply to refresh, so that it does not get stale, and so that overflow can be diverted to a little trough, to water the local critters.

First, I connected the pump to the tank.

I managed to find all the right fittings with just two trips to the hardware store. How likely is that?  I used galvanized pipe because the fittings are exposed to the elements.

Two valves are used, one to allow on demand use of the pump -- for filling a five gallon jugs and such, and the other to divert pump output to the tank.

The first valve serves as a drain.

An antisiphon is installed at the pump head.

Everything is angled to drain back to a bleed point, so that the pipes can be drained easily when it starts to get cold.

The well has such a low flow that I can only pump about 30 gallons a day.  That is one hour on a timer at 1/2 GPM.

I had acquired this Flexcharge 12VDC digital timer/controller.


It is a nice compact device with 8 programmable events (stop/ start), works with a relay, and has a lithium battery that keeps memory stored for a few months in case the primary power source fails. Cost is about $80. There are similar Chinese timers available on Ebay for A LOT less that probably would have worked just as well.

The pump amp load can spike above what the timer can support (16 amps), so I had to use a relay.

A 40 amp 12VDC auto relay from NAPA did the trick.  I was a little fuzzy on how a relay works and how to hook it up.

Ron Castle, at Sunshineworks has a good video tutorial on relays:


And here is a good summary specific to hooking up a 4 or 5 lead relay:


The directions for hooking up and operating the timer were very clear. That alone was worth the price difference between this unit and the Chinese Ebay timers.  The timer and relay were small enough to fit in the little weather housing that holds the charge controller.

I hooked it all up, set the timer to turn on at 5PM and off at 6PM, and (yeah) it works. It's nice to hear the relay engage with a click.

So in 16 or so days the tank should be full, and start overflowing into a trough that I have yet to construct.

The overflow still needs an antisiphon, to keep bugs and such out of the tank-- but forgot that detail and it is way to far to the store to get one. Next time!

Now the question is do I build a little structure to protect the wellhead and tank, or leave it open air?

I'll now have to rent that trencher, to bring the water down to where it is useful.

Every time I think of it I'm amazed to have water in the dry country.


Last weekend we learned that solar panels need to be cleaned regularly. Soot, from all the fires that surround us, had caused panel output to drop to almost nothing. I wonder how many people who have grid-tie panel setups ever clean regularly?

We finally took down a poorly built shed.

We did lots of brush control too and have a nice perimeter around the build area. The brush work never ends-- a lot of it is oak which burns hot and fast.  The result is big piles of slash, and it's too dry to burn now. Maybe next winter? A chipper would be really helpful.  Does anyone have any recommendations?

That lovely apricot tree in the background was full of fruit this time last year.  The weather was too variable this spring for fruit.

It's raining in the afternoons again!


It has REALLY been raining here.

This stockpond is normally empty and dry.

With this comes a hatch of mosquitos. I swear they must lay dormant for years, ready to pounce at the first opportunity.

All the rain has really blown out our access road.   Water carrying sediment starts high up and moves fast, cutting deep channels, and washing good parts of the road into gullies below the roadbed.  My wife did a really smart bit of improvised engineering. We had quite a few pine boughs left over from our brush work over the last two months.  She filled the ruts with these about two weeks back. Since then it has rained heavily.  The boughs had the effect of slowing the water and causing sediment load to drop out. The ruts filled in!  I wish I had a picture - this totally blew me away at how effective and simple it was.  I should have some pictures in a few weeks.

We did a little more improvised work with shovels to redirect sheet-washing water away from the road.  We will see in a few weeks how well this works, and maybe do something a little more permanent, if it seems effective.


Question for anyone who might be reading my not very active build thread.

I need to replace the floor in the 16x24 frame add on to the trailer, which is serving as temporary shelter as we clean up the property.   The roof is fixed now and no longer leaking but the original particle board floor is in bad shape.  The 16"OC 10x joists under the floor are in good shape-- water damage was surficial to the particle board.

So the original floor is 4x8 tongue in groove particle board.  Because wall finishing is in place it will not be easy to replace with tongue and groove, but 4x8 with no tongue and groove should fit in without too much difficulty. My plan is to use adhesive and screw the new flooring down to the 16" OC floor joists.

Is there any problem with not using T&G plywood in this application? Just regular 3/4" 4x8s?


I don't see any problem. IRC does not state you must use T&G sub-flooring. It does state that blocking shall be used under edges that do not fall over joists OR T&G panels may be used w/o blocking. I believe that is the real reason builders use T&G; it is easier than nailing in blocking.  It is still permisable under IRC to use lumber as sub-floor; 3/4" thick when used diagonally across 24" max spaced joists, for example. No T&G there either.   If you use construction adhesive and block edges I believe you should be fine.

Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


Right... the reason for tongue and groove now makes sense to me.  I may be best off to replace the whole floor rather than just part. except there is a 500 pound Old Timer iron wood stove sitting on the floor that will have to be moved (ugh). I think I will do some exploration down in the joists before starting this as I am not at all sure how the blocking will fall. I had assumed seams fell on the joists but probably that's not the case.  It may be a bit more tricky than I imagined. Little about this old addition is to code. All improvised by an old timer with what he had at hand.


I guess my first question is, how bad is it really?

¾ OSB? Is way over what is required for 16" O/C. 

You could also put down 1/4 OSB right over top to what you have now and forget about it.  Just make sure the joints aren't within 2 inches of the joints below.

"Unsupported edges shall have tongue-and-groove joints or shall be supported by blocking unless nominal 1/4-inch-thick underlayment with end and edge joints offset at least 2 inches or 3/4-inch wood finish flooring is installed at right angles to the supports."

Also if the flooring over it will be wood planks, you could just do that and forget about removing the old stuff.  Subflooring wouldn't even be required if you used 1" wood flooring.

"Subflooring may be omitted when joist spacing does not exceed 16 inches (406 mm) and a 1-inch (25.4 mm) nominal tongue-and-groove wood strip flooring is applied perpendicular to the joists"

Some of my floor joists had a few crowns.  I spent almost an entire day with much aggravation trying to get the tongue to fit in the groove over my entire build.  I had to block the last row because I was using cut pieces that had the t&g cut off.  The blocking was much easier.  Measure, cut, shoot a few nails, then just drop the board in place.  No hammering, no cursing.