Okanogan 14x24 by a lurker :)

Started by Oljarhead, September 21, 2009, 02:53:09 PM

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I saw that on your thread!  Awesome!

Every year I drive it down to dirt around our cabin and the forester advised that they would definitely work to save our place if they got to it in a fire because of the work we've done so far but we have much to do still so we'll be at it again this summer...hopefully before the smoke flies!


It's been a while!  I am heading back to the cabin this weekend -- after more than two months away!!!  Yikes!  It's been a crazy year with both mom's injuring themselves (mine broke her pelvis in a couple places and her arm though the pelvis break wasn't as bad as it sounds it did put her in a rehab place for several weeks -- my wifes mom broke her wrist)...They are doing well now though still sporting casts and needing assistance etc so we're less able to freely travel as much as usual and then I've been milling on the road some as well (I retired in April so I could go milling -- ok, I quit and call it retiring lol)...

Here's a vid from one of my adventures!

I also started a DNR thinning plan for 6.3 acres and will hopefully begin some of that this weekend.

I'll be testing out a new Echo battery powered saw this weekend too!
More to follow
Hope all is well.


 [cool] It can pay off.  I have not watched the video; maybe later.  Who owns the land around yours? Hopefully, they are also thinning, cleaning up deadfall, etc too.   
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


Funny thing, a couple of other 'Erik's' own the land around me (and one Patty)...Eric the Seal, Eric Junior, and Erik the Old Jarhead! lol

JR plans to do the same and the Seal did a bunch on his place so it will help I think.  The Forester felt my place was in pretty good shape and said he'd bring in two tenders and a crew to my place if a fire broke out becuase it was a good defendable space and had lots of work done already.

I plan to get up there this weekend and the weather looks good!  Lows in the low 50's and highs in the low 80's.  If that holds it will be good weather to break down the ground around the cabin to dirt and get some sapplings felled!


Great! Two of our neighbors had done nothing. They both got burned to the ground. Sadly they are not even having the logger clean up the still marketable standing burnt to dead pines. He's done one 40 acre property that was toasted 98% and will finish a second property of 20ish acres, about 2/3 burned. Then ours next week, depending on rains. No charge to us, he gets the timber and it goes to the pueblo sawmill and wood pellet mill. Plus enough trees felled and laid across slopes for erosion control. There have been a couple of rains that have caused trouble as the water runs off the vast burnt areas of nat forest in many places.

 Hopefully you will be untouched by fires and that if fire does come you will share in our good fortune.

Going up for a few days after dinner today
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


Thanks!  All we can do is hope and work!  Now, to get packing so I can go up and get it prepped! :D


It's been a whirlwind since that tip and a short one following it!  I have a fair bit of video to put together but I did this little review when we were there.  If you don't have a battery powered chainsaw, check this out!  WOW!  I am impressed.


And we finally got the tractor out so we can get the 4wd fixed!

When we return we will be adding a SureFLo RV style pump to the water system with a small pressure tank to increase pressure a bit.  We've lived with it at the low end of 20lbs (maybe a tad more) for a long long time but decided it was time to improve things a little.

With the pump, pressure tank and a strainer in place I hope to actually have the kind of pressure to keep the hot water going when the cold gets turned on ;)  No more 'exciting' showers where it gets scalding hot then suddenly freezing cold!  We hope anyway.

If it works, we're golden, if not then we'll get a new Hot water heater as maybe the el cheapo Mary heater was just, well, too cheap.


Long time lurker, took the plunge on the property and spent the summer in Aeneas Valley. I love the north winds out of the valley that push the temperature over 102 on some days/weeks.

Building permits for the house are awaiting a well; we already made our deposit for a driller, but the dates have moved from summer to Fall, and now winter. Others are saying maybe four years as of last week.

Anyhow not sure where to ask but here I go:
1) What size of a building actually requires a building permit. Some things say 120sqft, others say 200sqft. Nothing in Okenagon Building Department site makes this clear unless I talk to them (which I want to avoid to stay off the radar).
2) What does the health department have against bulk water delivery to private residences? The experience/phone/emails was less then warm, yet the building department has told others that the state allows water delivery for a building permit, and if they can find a delivery company that would suffice.
3) Is it a mistake to live off grid while awaiting well/permits for a house? Need a better structure then the RV for winter.



Welcome to the neighborhood....it's rare I see it over 100 but maybe I'm higher up?  Usually 90's in August is about what we see...and not uncommon to see 40's overnight at the same time ;)  But it is an arid pine forest in the Okanogan :D

Permits....ya, well, PM me ;)  Cheers!


You might have to PM me, it's telling me I'm not allowed to



Finally got started!  Woot!


WhooHoo!  We're going to seriously step up the thinning game now!

Got the tractor back (after getting it fixed) and a new grapple to make life easier on our thinning project and well, a lot of other things at the property.


Man this year has raced by!  I didn't get back up to the cabin to do much thinning or, frankly anything else!  Until recently when we made the mad dash up for an overnighter to top off the batteries and do a general checkup on the place and get the plow blade on the tractor.  Here's a vid I did of this trip:

Now, if all goes well I will get up to the cabin again this year at least for a long weekend and then in the spring start going up a little more often.  Part of the issue this year is that I went back to work :(  d* After retiring for all of 6 months I had an offer I couldn't refuse and went back to work.  Probably just for a year to 14/15 months but it was too good to turn down so I'll take it and run for a year or so and get more goodies for the cabin and tractor! ha!


Going to be an interesting trip next weekend to spend New Years at the cabin....4 plus foot drifts block the way!  over two feet of snow on the ground....going to have to sled in and dig out the tractor and then try to plow the drive back to our road (about a half mile) so I can get the jeep in....good times!


Hello, I'm new to the forum and am wondering if I'm the only one that can't see images on this thread? 

I can see them on some (not all) of the other ones. Tried Chrome and Safari browsers. Would love to be able to see this build! 



Good luck....I just hired my neighbor to plow me out for our new years trip, we have about 2.5' on the ground....


Hi, sorry about the lost pics!  This thread goes back to the photobucket days and since they changed all their policies the pics were lost (sorta)...I then had my own server a while and had to dump that finally....so, currently no pics on this thread in the early parts...I've often wondered if anyone would be interested in me going back and fixing that...but I'd need a host to put them on first ;)

I have videos of the cabin on my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/@theoldjarhead instead of pics these days

As for the snow, ya, we had to cancel this trip.  I think I'd make it in actually, since I've wheeled the jeep in over 3 feet of snow but I'm worried about a couple places where I'd have to winch in....we were planning a trip with a friend on his snow mobiles but then a neighbor told me they were snowed in and his snow plow was stuck!  With 4 to 5 foot drifts blocking the way and over two feet on the ground he said "I'll let you know when the road is better, but for now I'm waiting to dig out myself so I can plow again --- he's since advised that I can now get within a quarter mile of my place lol  We'll try next weekend or the one after.

At least the solar panels are fee from snow! :D


So you might be thinking about a small chainsaw...check this out


Heading back up tomorrow!  Wish me luck!  We will likely run into DEEP snow but we'll find a way!


Best of luck. Chains? Too much snow here for me to be bothered with right now.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


We made it in!  Had to walk in the last 1/4 mile or so which wasn't too bad as the snow was frozen with a hard surface on top and the neighbors kids had packed down a lot in the field below our place with their sleds.  So for the most part we walked in on top of hard frozen snow (I know snow is frozen lol but I'm talking a hard surface on top frozen).

Then we got the cabin warming, started the tractor and eventually I drove down to the steep hill (with chains on the front of the tractor) and drove the jeep back to the cabin.  Once I got up the hill it wasn't too bad and just 'drove in' to the cabin despite the more than a foot of snow and in places undoubtably two feet!  I just drove on top of it :D

Then I learned the batteries had DIED while we couldn't get up a week or so prior :(  8 years on these batts and we had so much snow over the last month that the panels got covered, there was too much cloud cover and the two 120mm 12v fans, one 90mm 12v fan and the charge controllers were too much for the batteries and my 24vdc bank dropped to an EYE POPPING 9.9vdc!!!!  OUCH!

It stayed down between 10 to 13v over a few days and then got enough sun on the panels to bring it back up to 23.8-25.8v and eventually higher.

So I ran the genny for 5-6hrs and made sure they got a good charge but after 8hrs with the fridge and inverter running (shut the gen off around 8pm) and a few lights for an hour or so, the gen kicked back on at 4am because the batteries dropped to 23.8v under load.  I suppose not terrible since I have the gen set higher than most (I don't want the batts dropping below 20% DoD)...

After getting a LOT of snow off the deck/porch roof but not all of it, and tilting the ground panels over more (to 65*) to ensure they shed and collect some reflected light (off the snow) we left with the inverter running and gen set in auto mode.  The hope is that it doesn't need to come on every day lol but we'll see how things go when we return on the 10th.

I unplugged the fridge and MW to ensure as little a draw as possible and set the gen to a 2.5hr run time and we'll see how things go.

Incidentally, the generator is in it's 10th year!  (shhh don't tell it that! lol) 

We shall see but I'm expecting to have to replace the batteries this summer :(  

I think I'll probably shut down the fans which are in the composter room to move the heat around from the small heater I have in there -- basically I have it set to keep the composter from freezing and usually have it set to keep the room at 50F at the floor so the composter works in the winter and the piping is kept from freezing (sewage) but this year I let it drop to around 40F figuring we wouldn't be there much this winter (since I went back to work).

If I shut down the heater etc and let it all freeze I can keep the fans off and just turn things up when needed....might help keep the batteries safer next winter....or I just need to leave the inverter on and the generator set to autorun as needed...maybe to a lower voltage just to prevent catastrophic failure like we just had.



8 years on GC-2s is pretty good, very likely to have given trouble this year. We made it into the 9th year and issues began that gave more trouble than I cared to deal with.  My next battery purchase may be lithium, leaving them disconnected from everything over winter. They self-discharge very little and can't be charged below freezing in most cases anyhow. But I don't need or desire to leave anything electrical operating.

I don't know that I would be comfortable with leaving a generator to start and stop by itself over the winter.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


Thanks Don,

and ya, I don't like the genny doing it too much.  I've left it for a couple weeks before when I was living there so I'm ok with short runs but this next trip we will see.

I may have to make sure they are fully charged and then disco the entire thing when we leave.  I've always had them left hooked up so the little 12v fans could run in the back room to keep the heat circulating a little.


I have been leaving the PV array and charge controller working and connected to the GC-2 batteries every winter since 2009. Everything has worked fine all that time. I hope my luck holds. For the last few years when we leave in early to mid-December, we don't get back until maybe April. Leaving the CC work ensures the batteries don't self-discharge to a dangerously low level. The inverter and all DC uses are disconnected with proper disconnects; no reliance on an on-off switch on the inverter. Some of those leave a low parasitic drain.

When or if we go lithium at the cabin I will pull all the incoming disconnects too and leave the lithium batteries at mid-charge or thereabouts. My experience with lithium batteries here at home shows very little self-discharge over several months on non-use. I do leave the CC disconnected when we are absent from the  cabin during the lightning season (July thru early Sept.


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