As the title indicates, my wife and I are outlining our family’s move to the American Redoubt. In part 1, we explained why we made the move to the American Redoubt and now we are getting into the nuts and bolts of our process.
|Milestone||Cost – USD|
|Property Search/Travel to locations||$4,000.00|
|Log Package Kit||$37,000.00|
|Hot water Tank||$800.00|
|Move to AR w/wares||$2,500.00|
|More to do…. See FUTURE section…||????|
|Grand Total w/o Land||$128,700.00|
(It took one year to find the property that met our desired metrics.) After traveling from all corners of the United States from places such as California (for its farm land) to New York, Texas to Arizona, Montana to South Dakota, and Idaho to Utah we settled on this American Redoubt location. It was selected after careful planning through building a robust spreadsheet outlining regions of heavy lightening strikes, earthquakes, tornadoes, Tsunamis, hurricanes, sunshine, growing seasons, population density, crime, political affiliation, defendable property, gun laws, mountains vs. plains vs. beachfront, et al. All in all, there were 44 tabs in the spreadsheet and even one for best area for looking at the night sky through a telescope, as we’re both into astronomy. We truly believe the American Redoubt should be Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and the western portion of South/North Dakotas (nixing the eastern portions of Oregon and Washington, which are way too liberal for our likings).
A Piece of Property Purchased Without Ever Seeing It Physically
We first purchased a piece of property in Montana without ever seeing it physically. It looked so good on Google maps with all the trees lining the side of the mountain. The real estate agent illustrated it was drivable through a BLM road. However, when we actually traversed the road, there were such boulders that the car bottomed out and the sheer cliffs on one side with high loose boulders on the other winding through a mountain pass was not going to foot the bill for us. In addition, we did give it a shot in the winter by renting a snowmobile and traversing up the mountain 8-miles to our property. It was not very practical for the winter months with family life.
We sold it. Then, we purchased another set of acres after walking the property.
(The process of excavating required 16 hours.) The key to excavating is to mark off all boundaries of the foundation prior to digging. This is done by carefully looking at the blueprint and then spray painting the pattern onto the unblemished property. Once done, take a step back, and review your picture to ensure all measurements are according to plan.
Extra Feet Around the Foundation Measurements
It is recommended that you give yourself an extra two feet all around the foundation measurements so you can walk around the walls after they are poured with concrete. I actually re-spray painted an extra four feet all around the initial sketch onto the soil. That was enough for me to do my future work in the hole.
Where You Will Start Digging
Next, is to figure out where you will start digging as you won’t be able to position the excavator over an already excavated hole. It sounds obvious, but you’ll be surprised that you need to be able to hit all four corners with the excavator and then place mounds of dirt all around the perimeter outside the hole. If you dig a full basement you will use the entire perimeter to amass dirt around your crater.
It is best to have the front of your home, or the side with the most light-gathering potential, face south. Use a compass prior to outlining your foundation on the ground with spray-paint to ensure the correct format. In addition, if you are going to place solar panels on the roof of your home, you must have them facing south to gather as much of the sunlight throughout the day as possible. (It’s important even to have the correct angle of attack towards the sun as coupled with the degrees of latitude to place each panel. Watch for that!)
(This equipment rental step required three days.) Once your foundation is spray painted into the earth, leaving the desired clearances on all sides, it’s time to break ground. You might want to say a prayer thanking the Lord for what’s about to transpire for your new found freedom and family heritage up on the mountain, even freedom in homeschooling your children, absent of any Leftist indoctrination. It’s a safe space in a wide open expanse of God’s country!
A word of caution: There might be a backlog in equipment rental, so be sure to order yours in advance of the days you need them.
The semi-truck arrived and unloaded the Linkbelt 210 (largest excavator). The bucket was so large that I could just stand in it and squat down to hide. For proper operation, the night before I reviewed YouTube videos on how to operate this behemoth wonder. To my surprise, they were narrated in the language of Spanish, which I don’t speak. So I wrote down the joystick movement based on the bucket, arm, boom, rotation, and excavator track movements, all from the narrator’s hand movements in his cockpit.
After a few practice runs in midair of all the different configuration movements [bucket curl, arm extension/detraction, boom elevation/delevation, swiviling, and forwards and backwards], I was ready to break ground. After 16 hours of digging, it was all complete.
Leveling the Crater Floor
(It took about four hours to do the leveling of the crater floor.) Once the hole was dug and all the dirt removed, creating the boundaries prescribed from your spray painted exercise above, there are considerable divots in the ground. Some spots had a four foot difference in elevation. This needs to be leveled and smoothed out to within an inch or two all across the base of the crater floor.
When concrete is poured in to create the crawlspace/basement floor, there will be much less hassle and even pour with a smooth floor. For the proper grading technique, it is best to place the entire excavator into the hole instead of stretching out the boom/arm causing an unsafe workspace so high up. You might need to create a makeshift driveway into the crater on one side, and drive the excavator into the hole. Then, after leveling is completed, drive back out and replace the driveway with dirt.
Spray Painting Again
Once the hole is dug according to plan, with your allocated margins on all sides (to walk around the footer), the next step is spray painting again.
Now re-spray paint lines back on the excavated ground for the exact dimensions of the structure (without the margins for walking around). Use the blueprint in order to have correct and exacting details. The footer is two feet wide, so spray paint two feet according to your footer plan. Take a step back. Now you have what looks like the footer spray-painted all around the leveled crater.
Place Stakes Around All the Corners and Tie String
Lastly, place stakes in the ground around all the corners and tie string to it. Now retake all measurements. This time one more step is needed and that is to square the structure. Measure diagonally across all squares and rectangles to ensure that their diagonal measurements all are equal to the opposite side. Remember even though you have the correct length and width measured, you can actually have a rhombus instead of a square. Once you’re square, you’re now done with this segment.
(The footer required three days.)
So you’re as square as you can be? No pun intended. The footer forms must be constructed next. This is the trough-like trench you will build to pour the footer concrete, creating the foundation of your new log home. This step is crucial, so don’t get it wrong, or the entire project could be scrapped.
Since the plans illustrated a one-foot depth and two-foot wide footer, I used 2x12s raised up ¾ of an inch (because a 2×12 is really 1½ inches by 11¼ inches). I tucked dirt under the ¾ inch gap on the floor to seal it off.
Stand up the boards, as in the picture, and nail a stake into the footer board, but first pound the stake into the ground. The stake must be deep enough to withhold the oncoming stress of the concrete pour.
Boards Are Level
Now that the trough of the 2x12s footer is constructed, the next step is to level the boards. Remember that if these boards are exactly level, then all you need to do is smooth over your footer with a masonry trowel right after the concrete is poured. It will automatically be leveled.
Place a level on top of one corner of your 2x12s trough and level it. Walk around and level the entire perimeter of footer boards by either pounding in stakes or elevating them. If you elevate a stake too much, it’s okay. Just be sure to pack dirt around the bottom of the outside of the footer boards. It will hold the concrete from spilling over.
Once leveled, I would use a laser or a construction surveyor tool if you have one handy. Now before you leave for the evening, place #5 rebar around (two at a time—doubled up) the entire inside of the perimeter, but not inside the trench, readying them for the next days pour. The plans show to elevate them five inches from the bottom of the footer trough, but construction guys I chatted with at the cement factory told me not to fool with that as they never stay in place, but to simply pour the concrete footer and place a #5 rebar in on top of the cement and push it in about five inches with your masonry trawl.
Tomorrow, we’ll continue with the concrete pour and more.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been part two of a six part entry for Round 77 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 77 ends on July 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.