A desert road from Vegas to no where...

Phil met Nova Scotia Power’s scoper on site today to find out where they will be bringing the power to the lot - they want to bring the power from a pole right across the street to a new pole on site.

Unfortunately the NSP man told Phil that they will need to install a guy wire off their pole and onto the neighbour's (across the road) land.  This will require us to get an easement from the neighbour even though this wire will only protrude onto his land by +/- 10’. NSP provides a set easement package for the neighbor to sign.
The neighbour is apparently not home, and doesn’t look like he’s been home for a while.  From what we can learn from the neighbours, he travels all over the world. If he was home and we could locate him then we would ask him to sign the easement form and get it to the registry of deeds. If his land isn’t registered in the land registration system then we would be responsible for an 85.00 filing fee and a lawyer to record it.
Odds are good any reasonable person would sign the form and move on. After all, all we’re talking is a cable protruding approximately ten feet, into alders. However if he says no, then we can work out something else. 
The worst part of all this is that our neighbour can’t be located at this point.   A minor inconvenience... and we can work around it, but of course I worry about his safety.
Crazy, eh?

...there is no where else on earth that I would rather be...

The footing has been poured and the foundation all forms have been put up!  As you can see in the photos below, they are getting ready do the walls.

Phil has sent us some new photos - he was out siting the power pole with a representative from NS power, and took these photos.  It's easy to imagine the house and view of the meadow now!  I can see myself sitting on the deck, and as the spring morning mist rises over the meadow, a couple of deer nibble on the tender new grasses.

... and then a car zooms by. Oh well!

This is a revised drawing of the north side of the house.  We've been informed by the builder that the slope of the land is such that we'll have fewer "steps" in the concrete. This is great news because it means the slope of the land is a bit more gentle, and will give us a nicer front deck while still allowing for a full walk-out basement.

You will also get a sense of scale from the footing photos.  It's always strange to see the reality after staring and imagining plans.

See the Stihl chainsaws?  Just like mine! Thanks, Mom! 
See the line in the middle of the concrete?  The foundation walls rest in this small depression, which keeps the walls from sliding off the footing.

The bottom of the "steps" - this is the end of the house where the walk-out will be.

This view gives an idea of the slope (the foundation will rest on this concrete lip, called the footing), and an idea of scale - the house is only 1000 sf. The guy in the black shirt is standing where the living room will be.  Both of the foundation down-steps are on the front bump-out, which forms the front wall of the living room.

Looking across the 'dining room' and 'living room'.

Looks like they got a bit of much-needed rain.  The foundation forms will be placed on the footing, as seen in the photos below.

Foundation from the logging road.  Great shot of our view from the front windows and deck.  Every time I look at this photo, my heart pounds with excitement.

Another shot from a similar vantage.

The red and white rod signifies the power pole to be installed.


Does enchantment pour Out of ev'ry door? No, it's just on the street where you live!

We have a civic address!

I was looking through the local history book trying to figure out the historical name of the highway as it sounds rather impersonal.

Philip wrote to also say that the footings were scheduled to be poured today, but that they may have already gotten them in this weekend.


And so it begins...

The driveway is in! The hole has been dug! The well is being sited!

 We should have our civic address in the next few days!
We're on the "even" side of the road, and for some reason, this makes me happy. I'm hoping for 1400, but I have a feeling it's going to be 1350s (+/-10).  In fact, I'll go out on a limb and predict 1348.  Anyone else want to take a guess?  Maybe we'll have a prize for the closest answer!

So! So excited!
Lots of exclamation points!!

Heading north on the highway, you'll see the driveway.  In order to ensure safety, the DOT had to come out and measure the sight lines - a vehicle must be able to see and be seen for 500' in either direction.

Contractor's vehicles at the mouth of the drive.
The driveway road base.
Look! A TDI!  People in Nova Scotia love TDIs. We saw so many of them on our trips! Ingrid will feel right at home!  This shot also gives a good of the driveway's length.  Can you imagine trees sheltering the drive?

Road base - larger stones first, becoming incrementally smaller.
Another shot of the driveway's length.  Not too long - should make it easier for snow removal this winter!

Our beautiful view out into the meadow! It's likely that we'll rehab and fence the meadow, and then decide whether to run livestock or take hay.
Some of Rick's equipment at work.
Rick traverses the home site. Look at that beautiful red earth!
A view across the meadow towards the leveled spot.


A few more photos...

I'd like to say we have a live feed, broadcasting the excavator's work.  But alas, it is not feasible... so, I'll just have to entertain the masses with a few more photos from our visit in May.

Laura, looking across the house site.

The creek, approximately half way through our property.  At the top of the property, the creek is narrower and moves a bit more quickly. By the time it reaches the south portion, it has widened out and trout swim happily.

Boy walking down to the bridge.

View across the vale, to our neighbour's hay field.  This is view is from near the top of the hill.  The valley is south, to the left and the bay is north, to the right.

Let the sparks fly!

Hurray, hurray we're on our way! Construction on the property begins today!

The house has been moved a bit closer tot he highway. This shouldn't be big deal, as we'll still have trees shielding us from the highway. Although I'm not there to do a ground survey, and this is dependent upon conditions on the ground, I'm thinking the garden and chickens will be in the triangle created by the trees and driveway.
The excavator starts the work!  The driveway will eventually be lined with trees - first poplars, which grow quickly and will provide cover for the young maples and oaks.

See the tiny red speck? That's Rick. His family has been doing this work for at least three generations. He told me a story about how he and his grandfather took gravel from this property when the Sunnyvale park was created.  He is in charge of driveway, leveling and septic installation.  There is a wee black spot beside him, which is Kevin. He and Phil are in charge of the construction project.
I am pleased to see timothy grass growing in the field!  The meadow needs a bit of care, but will be a great food source for our livestock. 
 This video will approximate our view from the front of the house - standing on the front deck.   I often stare at this video and try to imagine our livestock - chickens and horses - out in that field.
We'll be able to see the field from the master bedroom, living and dining room.
I'm disappointed that resolution has diminished somewhat with the upload.

I am looking forward to building smaller houses - with my own hands - for Terri,James and guests!


Everyone knows it's Windy!

Been quite a few storms in Saskatchewan - lots of tornadoes.

If you're interested - TornadoHunter.ca has a live feed where you can watch the storm chasers on the hunt.

We've been watching them off and on, as well as following Greg's twitter feed. It's pretty cool to see a funnel cloud form in real time!

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side... keep on the sunny side of life...

Yesterday before removing some tree stumps at my mother's place (with my new chainsaw, ALLLLLRIIIIIIGHT!), I sat in the truck for a few minutes, listening to a father in Maryland describe current living conditions for his family.  They live in an apartment building and have been without power since Friday.  After throwing out all of the contents of their fridge and freezer, they've sought refuge from the stifling heat at a "cooling centre" - a local community hall.

Upon returning home, I discovered that our power was out.

All of this got me to thinking - is it better to be in an urban or rural environment in case of a large-scale emergency? At our new place, we'll be wired for a generator (which will also power the well), be collecting rain water for animals and plants and have septic.  If summer heat is an issue, we have the creek in which to cool ourselves.  Should the creek be low for some reason, there is a spring fed pond well within walking distance (from which our creek is fed), and even "the shore" is within walking distance, should both of those other options fail.

Even the hospital is within walking distance, in a major emergency during any type of disruption.  We will likely have horse(s), and they would certainly be an option if necessary.
If the power is out, we'll also have the fireplace for heating in the winter (as winter storms are prevalent in the area).  We have a lot of acreage, so pending debilitating personal injury, wood should not be a problem.

If for some reason things become really bad - please humour my post-apocalyptic nightmare here - we should be fine.  We'll have a garden and chickens, we should conceivably have meat, eggs and vegetables/plants to eat, even if the freezer is out of commission.  Hopefully there will also be plenty in the root cellar - with shelves of canned fruits, vegetables and meats as well as smoked meats.

Of course all of this is speculation, because we have not yet built the house let alone moved in and built up our stores.

*Beep, beep, beep*  The smoke detector is telling me the power is back on.

Let's move our focus to an urban environment.  Utilities and communications would likely be restored quickly to a city or built up area. Oddly enough, we are almost equidistant from the hospital here in Regina (4.5 kms - 8 mins) as we will be in NS (5.5 kms - 8 mins).  However, in most cases city-dwellers may be much closer to a  hospital than rural folks.

Police/Fire/EMS response times might also be quicker in an urban environment, but rural folks may have less to fear if any "unrest" were to take place - I'm not sure angry mobs are going to walk (drive) a 1/2 mile from farmstead to farmstead in order to wreak havoc.

What if power is out for an extended period of time (it's currently 5 days for some people)?
What if grocery stores don't have food (fresh or otherwise)?
What if there is a fuel shortage (it happened in the 70s)?
What if the streets are clogged with cars trying to get out of the city?
Where would you go, if you managed to get out of the city? 

It's frightening, but is it far-fetched?

People actually have acronyms for all of this stuff and are taking it quite seriously and have acronyms for such a situation - preparing for an Apocalypse/Disaster Scenario (ADS), when Sh*t Hits the Fan (SHTF) and Without Rule of Law (WROL) with their Bug Out Bags (BOBs),  etc.  Some people are dead-serious and are stock piling weapons and food, preparing for a major social disruption! 

All things considered for us in particular (although I recognize this isn't everyone's situation), I think I'll take rural NS life in the event of an emergency.  Although we have great relationships with our current neighbours and Regina is still a small-town, I'd rather rely on our own resourcefulness and that of the people in rural Nova Scotia.