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Logo of AdAgrA 2018: Something Better

4. Living Naturally: Building Your Own Home

Jerry Wernick


In 1980, Jerry and Linda Wernick moved to their country property overlooking Glacier National Park in northern Montana. They built a country home using native stone and timber and produce all their utilities from natural resources. Their extensive gardens and greenhouses produce an abundant food supply in an alpine environment. 



  • January 17, 2018
    1:45 PM
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So building your own home we knew and we started in a country that if we couldn't build our own buildings I'd never be able to live in the country because we just didn't have the money to hire people to build Now some people do have a lot more money especially some older people have had a good business we've had a couple folks like that come in our valley and they were very good people but they they had money they had made in but the ones that have tried to hire somebody to build a sustainable country home have had lots of difficulty because most contractors even in our area they know how to build a home that you can overpower nature with propane and diesel electricity and blowers and thermostats and you name it but to build a home that will kind of heat itself and is inexpensive they don't know what you're talking about and so if they try they try to charge you a lot more because they're afraid that they might run into problems and so on so we want to build again living naturally we wanted to build a natural home something that didn't need any thermostats. No blowers no fans no heat exchangers no electricity at all to run the heating system. And we wanted something that we could go off to town in visiting for three four days and house when freeze in the winter with nothing. Our first home that we built our mistake house and we had one other home we built for we lived in for a little bit. And they weren't that way. They had no mass so when we would leave if we didn't go to home that night and it turned to fifteen below zero it could freeze by the next morning and there's many homes in our area still that way so we wanted to build a home that would really last but it had to be an expensive so this kind of what we did so that's our home. That's actually the homestead cabin I mention one thousand nine hundred five so on our place it's falling down now that's what the original pioneers on our place actually lived in that wasn't there a washing machine but and I used it for storage a little bit it's kind of nice to have that old building there I wished we could have kept it but it was in pretty rough shape even when we got here this was the little. Sawmill that we tried to make forty years ago to build our first mistake House didn't work very well Linda would run the House and the controls on the little motor we had a cart that's not there that we tried to push through the mill it cut crooked I didn't realize how much of an art circle saws like that are in the old mills used to do that so we milled just enough to to do the framing lumber and then we had quit you know it's been a while because that tree grew up since we left it got tell you one interesting story though about that. We were trying to save money any way we could because we didn't have much money so we just didn't want a lot of expenses and one problem you have when you move to the country anywhere are you going to the laundry because we didn't have a washing machine yet. Well this little motor that we were running didn't have a radiator all I did was went up on our hill and got one of our little gravity Springs and piped it down it was just laying on top of the ground because it was in the summer fall and I ran it through where the radiator pipes would have gone through the engine I just ran it through and turned a vow till it was coming out nice and warm so the engine when overheat and when be cold one day. Probably Linda said. Well can't we use it to wash clothes because it was good spring water Mars water that ran through of course it cleaned up engines like this it was spinning and this clear I'm warm water was coming Well I didn't have a fan on the front because we weren't cooling and there was just a pulley run in there and she said Man if we get an old wringer washer it runs on a pulley and set it here while we're doing lumber I can do the laundry. And that's what we did we had hot water centrally free and the waste water we have to show you an Alpine gardening I don't know we have or what are called Columbia ground squirrels they're cute as can be they dig holes in the ground but the your garden they're not moles anyway. Is their garden and they make these holes there was one handy and our soil so porous we just ran the waste water from the washing machine in the ground squirrel hole and it disappeared so there's a lot of stuff you can do we keep it around just for than a soldier that's the mistake of us that we built and I urge all of you if you haven't already moved to your property and already got your house built and all that build a mistake house first build a little cabin that's comfortable for you know if you've got four kids already it might be a problem but we had no children when we built this we lived in that little later when Michelle was with us. Twenty by twenty four and log foundation I build is a ten year building I wasn't planning on being a permanent cost of fifteen hundred dollars to build the whole place back then. We milled the framing lumber but the siding you see was kind of like the number three lumber we finally bought and we lived in there while we built our first home and it's wonderful because if I hadn't done that I wouldn't have learned a lot of the stuff that I was doing wrong I'll just point out a couple things we did wrong the doors on the side we came from California well where's all the snow and yeah so we were fighting snow all the time I'd never heard of ice damming some of you know what that is ice jam is where you have a roof like this like you see on the side and it's all insulated OK but right we're it goes over the E. outside the house there's no insulation. So the snow all piles up and it's heated where you're heating the place so it gets underneath it gets watery it starts to run down but when it hits right at the corner of the house where there's no insulation at that point freezes up because getting cold from both sides it freezes a great big dam it freezes and freezes and freezes and finally it's up like this roof is this way but the ice is like this water come down runs on that runs back under your shingles and down to your house and it was like. I didn't know that and so we did that all wrong. A couple other things quickly that we did wrong we had a fireplace in there it wasn't well built it was on our first it smoked because we. Dunno Hoddle a rock we had a little wood cookstove in there it had its own little flue we'd start to would cook stove and do it in the morning then I start the fireplace which has this great big yawning mouth it was sucking Lots of a air we turned around and here was a column of smoke coming from the wood cookstove right through the room like this and going right into the fireplace because the fireplace wanted needed combustion air I had everything closed up like a drum in one place you could get it is down the flue from the wood cookstove I said we put a little root cellar in this thing in the kitchen you just could jump in it basically it was a hole in the ground it was totally moldy within nothing flat was all damp and bad you know what you saw our other one on ice it was we didn't have refrigerator we had no electricity to start with so we build a little box on the back of this and that was screen to the outside it allowed the cold air in in the winter we had a refrigerator OK but most of the time it didn't work that well because the one in the air movement so one day I said down I said we just made three big mistakes what I need is a tunnel from that little root cellar to my refrigerator box and then a tunnel from the root cellar under the fireplace and a whole company up in the fireplace. And now the fireplace will suck air through the refrigerator cooling it through the root cellar drawing it and it will feed air and I will be sucking smoke it took me three days with hand tools to knock a hole through sixteen inches of concrete at the base of that because I'd done it all wrong the first time and when I finally broke through it worked like a charm and that's how we learned the whole thing I told you in our home how to drive your root cellar and all that sort of stuff you gotta learn anyway see the little fountain least we want to have a fountain that was our first little one eventually you talk about school cage fan. Yeah. Well I think I've mentioned to some of you you can start trying an experiment and before you actually get a piece of property and are out in the country and one thing we did we are still. Teaching and we've been talking peloton wheels churchmen zits cetera et cetera. One Friday afternoon I went to the dumpster to empty our trash looked in there along behold there was a squirrel cage which was off of probably around here you know there was a swamp coolers anyway and it come out of a swamp cooler and evidently a swamp cooler had had a problem and they threw away the squirrel. So I go back and tell Jerry I wasn't about to go grabbing this out of a dumpster but I thought he might just. I went back and told him guess what I saw it looked like it might work again so he went back and got it and we experimented with that with a hose first and then fashioned a little sprayer like this hit the squirrel cage fan spawn it real nice put a belt on it to an alternator and we had power very inefficient but that was our first hydroelectric power and we took it up to here from California and you can see in the picture we had a little I'm sorry up to Montana put it in a little spring house that's how we made our first power and one light bulb that was better than them but we graduated from that over time so don't be afraid to build a small cabin. When we were done living in it we rented it for six or eight years I think and made six times as much money as it cost us to build it and by then the foundation is just log foundations gone bad and and eventually poor tired thing it looked like that about two years ago it was just storage and whatnot and our daughter who was one has to build on our place now said Dad I don't want to lose all that so they had it torn down saved all the good lumber and they're using some of that for an astrologer in their nice new home I'm kind of makes me feel good we had hand human beings in there that we had made ourselves they're going to use those and so on it's no longer there. We built this was our first home we thought would be so cold in Montana we had to have an A frame so we built a home like this to catch all the snow but it wasn't a great idea we lived there about fourteen years and when we were gone on the trip it caught fire we don't know how probably electrical we learn another lesson Don't leave your power on when you leave a home that's forty miles from town nobody else see it til it's gone houses I think there's a quarter of a million million houses burned every year in the United States a whole lot more catch fire but they're caught in a neighbor sees it so we don't leave our power on except in the root cellar it's all concrete so we had build a new house in building a home we tried to use all the native materials we could and some of you will think is great and some of you say there's no way in the world I could do this but we wanted to have our own lumber as much as we could and so we got a chain saw mill I had never I just kind of read about him and I think I mentioned we over time we ended up milling so Laskin Mark three they call them I have a magazine back here. That has a minimum they only cost two hundred dollars and we milled about thirty thousand board feet of lumber which is a lot of lumber with our chainsaw over many years when I would need beams or certain number of lumber I just millet and then I wouldn't mill and the mill in cost me anything because I went down and bought the biggest saw in the world at that time it was a house of our innocent rather. It cost nine hundred dollars Today it's about eight hundred dollars it's a big saw but it would really cut through over. And here's the choice I had to make. I could leave my family and I could go to town and get a job and pay the taxes and all the deductions and all the commuting fees and all that come back with his meager little pile of money and then I could go to town again and buy the lumber and haul it off that awful road when I finally got done here in my little pile now how much time did it take me if in that same time I could stay at home put earplugs in the course and mill my lumber with Linda helping me she'd be on the end of a rope pole and some time and all that sort of stuff and whenever we were done we were home I would rather do that and be there with my family so it was a cost analysis it was time against money and whenever we could do it faster by making money and buying it we did but if I could do it myself at home I'd rather So this is a tree we cut recently it was in the road it was just too tight a bend and trees like this one of those Tamarac make beautiful lumber this is a tree that fell over fortunately fell away from our house it was only probably one hundred feet from the house it fell the right way that's a spruce and old growth spruce see the root mass of things that was twelve feet in diameter and there's little Curtis thinks it's wonderful. We cut it and the stump fell back in the hole so it's still there this was the bottom end that was a little crooked but it's a pretty good sized spruce tree put the saw there so you could see from perspective that's the tree when it's all limbed the upper end we cut for firewood and all that and this is how you cut chainsaw lumber all you have to have is you kind of smooth it off and you put it on a nice straight to by six they actually make a jig you can buy it's me aluminum rails even better but I was Scotch to buy it you just do it to buy six like this you set the little mill is clamped to your bar it isn't bolted so it just comes off again doesn't hurt anything you just set the depth that you want I wanted to cut off about you know two inches a slab. And when the slabs off that becomes the smooth cut for the next cut so you cut that in there is Curtis helping me out. And we're proud of our first board now you can either do it this way and edge it later if you do every board gets wider and wider till you get to the middle and then less or you get a lot wider this one I could get to a fourteen probably out of if otherwise you cut it three sided like this three sides first and then just slice them off like bread and you get all two by six or two by eight or something like that in our experience to buy six eight ten and so on were worse it beams like six by six isn't six ways were really worth it because only four cuts and you're done but trying to cut a lot of one by paneling or siding took a lot of time and that might be better to my. Right you can just take this and sticker it and it dries and I took this picture so you could see some of the lumber in our home that we cut with a chain saw the dining room there the whole thing is paneled with chainsaw lumber and that's a close up of it it actually almost looks like if you get a good blade and keep it sharp and it's beautiful and London I still remember the day we went out and we worked together in mill that lumber if you buy a house somebody else built you'll never have that feeling and it was worth it to us. The curve beams that you see there you can't buy those in town either we cut those with a chain saw because we wanted a lot of curves and angles in our home all the four by fours and the curved ballasts are there for our railing we cut our first home we cut a lot more lumber this when we had to we were working full time in our school program and so we had to do a little more of a cost analysis these beams We also cut with that chain saw mill these are twenty seven feet long. And it's really hard to buy a being that long and even if you can buy a hyena get it up there. So it meant us amount of money to do those the whole this isn't the Celera the whole solarium was framed with our own lumber with a few exceptions. I just want to talk a little bit about building in your home to bits particularly in a humid greenhouse like this is our first one we built like this we had logs instead of beans we put fiberglass insulation between them which is what you're supposed to do I thought we put a vapor barrier and then we put paneling but the vapor gets around that vapor barrier it went up into that insulation and because right on top of the decking is your metal and that's bone cold in this in the winter time for us all that moisture went out and condensed on the inside of your boards it's called dry rot I've never heard of it before a lot of homes in our area takes twenty thirty years Iraq's out this rough and they have put all rough and I think the simple solution to that is you don't put any insulation in your wood the insulation only goes on the outside on the outside of that is. It is a roof and then on top of the roof you put three layers of this yeah there's a two inch so we have five and a half inches of foam like this it has foil there's no ribs going where the entire roof is covered with it except out to the very edge and you put one by four crossed that are screwed down through clear into your big beams and then you put the metal roofing on. So that we could stays the same temperature as the rest of the building inside you never get any more strong no milled the beams but not the wood the wood is tongue and groove that's two by six time groove and I just didn't have time to do that this is a piece of the foam that user on the foundation someone familiar with this can be buried in a won't suck up moisture this kind can't but this is better insulation so you want to use this room foundations. It's. The biggest piece of lumber we ever milled is this four by twelve that's going down the whole ceiling and sturdy six feet long I cut out of one tree that fell over our place it was a beautiful dug for where you can get something like that it you know so that really makes sense with a chainsaw here. And example of what we use bar I built this rock structure which I guess. It's called River Walk we did get it off a river that's the kind of rock that is found buried in. All soil. And so we save them all the time because if you have a building project I want to use them on I know there are you know. There's a right here. On the Hill. Well more to do on it that it's a family memorial building. Where we can her parents for instance wanted to be buried there they sow their ashes they wanted to be put in there we're going to put it we're going to put in a little deck in there it's like a little castle building that Alaska's all concrete and stone and a nice little book the details there life and beautiful picture of them that's the we've got to put a door on it we're not quite done. But you've got to gather a lot of stone because stone up in our area basically is free I show this picture before but we mill only dog our whole basement by hand I mentioned that and the stone that we got out of it we lined the basement walls and then we use this blue foam or we're going to pour concrete where we want to be heated room it all ended up here the dirt from a wheelbarrow old over here. People thought we were crazy some of them but if I'd had to have this built with machinery and the other dog oh five or ten thousand dollars right there which is like fifteen or twenty thousand of income and pretty soon you're talking about serious change and for me we could just in the wheel barrels are actually kind of quiet. It was I actually enjoyed it a lot of people wouldn't have. We mixed our own concrete we never had a concrete truck it would have been difficult for them to even get a truck there you can have those of you are builders know you can have a big boom truck comes in and it pumps the concrete up and you put it where you want it's what all the big boys do I know all that it cost six hundred dollars just to get him out there before I've even poured anything so again by mixing our own concrete we save tremendous amount of money we had a gasoline mixer but it was all moved by hand and that's how we mixed it and we had what you call cementing problem parties our place. We are rebuilding from after our house fire otherwise we probably never would have rebuilt a different house but anyway there's neighbors there one of the kids and. Yeah you know that's what's great in living in a community like is that neighbors helping neighbors and everybody was there to help us when we needed every few weeks we have another day that we're next or having a cement cart most of the time for a week or ten days we were there forming but when we were ready to poor It might only take four hours maybe five or six but some of the neighbors would say hey can use a hand again and we had helped a lot of them they helped us that's the best way to have an interchange like that and we found in a community like that people do that in a lot of the folks that came were not members of our church they were just friends in the community so it worked out well for us this young boy here eventually became one of our students was there for four years graduated now lives in the area too. There's lend probably doing will like them too so I'm not sure what I was doing. We laid a lot of stone and I just got to go through some of these pictures quickly this is the furnace room and will show you later how we laid the stone but that looks like chaos to me but when we were done that's what that looked like the walls are a foot thick with stone and concrete behind goes in the root cellar Here's Linda Lane stone again but in detail how it works this is a wall it wasn't completed she laid the stone up we put a two by four across the front to keep it nice and straight and the back of it was all crooked like this the foam is back there is the form and then there's rebar and when we were ready then you pour concrete behind the stone so the stones poured right into the concrete and you get a foot thick wall and it holds tremendous heat it's insulated work super well and if you can see that red rock big rock that's right to the right from the wheel barrel there kind of fall that rock along you can see it there the walls completed now we just had to put a ceiling over the top and that's what it looks like today and the ceiling you see there is also concrete and we'll talk about ceilings in a little bit but those walls ended up costing almost nothing. There was a lot of work that's true but it was all done in one summer and this is part of the joy building you're on your kids are older the first house we built Michelle was a baby that because we had just built again now she's a teenager and it's just you know you're building a house but you're also building family relations as you do this job this big project. So that's really a plus about building your own home as if you can do it as a family you see the wood shoot there that's what eventually became the wood shoots or firewood just comes down there this is the furnace room and this is that same place now. We build all around cement forms sister simple forms used to by force with half inch plywood The boards are a foot each way and we use them over and over and over again put them up brace some pour the concrete strip the forms use them again and again I still have some of them and used them to build a lot of other buildings too and that's Rudy helping me and in there he was great great help in the this is how we built the root cellar because the root cellar was to be built into the hill so rather than fall we learned and or shall build a nice retaining wall out of ugly but good rocks that we've gotten out of the hole and then we just poured it we formed the whole thing poured it all in one day it was the largest pour we ever did which was ten yards in one day which is a lot when you're mixing it yourself and you a lot of tamping this is how you do sealing I had never done concrete ceilings and I was afraid of them because concrete heavy what's going to keep in cracking and fallen in Anya it really is fairly simple I had a friend who ran a glass shop but he had taken a little engineering and he told me I think I can tell you how to do this and in essence it's pretty simple if you think of a concrete ceiling here and it's only six inches thick for that concrete ceiling to break it's going to crack and go like this for to crack and go like this the first thing it has to happen at the top it has to push in a little bit as it goes now a concrete has tremendous compressibility has no tensile strength so once it passes that point is going to go like this but for to crack open at the bottom it has to pull the rebar out so if you put rebar in as with this next one shows the short way exactly one inch from the bottom of the slab up from the form. Since concrete is three quarter aggregate basically the rocks will fit under nicely good concrete it gets ahold of that rebar It's amazing what you can that's all the highway bridges are built on works really well and having ceilings over your basement gives of heated floor for the upper floor and also makes it safe and it's about as cheap a building materials you can get if you do it yourself now I've had people want to do this but they didn't want to do the work or couldn't do the work at the time so they got bits that cost you tens of thousands of dollars to do this kind of work if you do it yourself it's really inexpensive Yeah the way the rebars one foot and then you just pour it so only six inches thick you don't want it thicker and that it just adds weight without strength and you can span anything up to twelve feet this way but no more and that's one reason why we all of our rooms are less than twelve feet downstairs and use poured on top we did all our traveling by hand and you can see the screen board there that's a ceiling when it's not it's in the root cellar and you can see it still see the marks of the two or the four by eight sheets of plywood forms there I I actually should go back just a couple there when we put those forms up they were actually two by fours but under the two before is running this way then we put four by fours underneath like this just tacked him and then because we have tons of what are called lodgepole pine in our area they're really skinny almost worthless pine but they're really straight the Indians used them for their tepees they're really nice for that they're you just we had lots of these wild wooden Cottam in there was one every two feet it was a forest down there up on there yeah you can see in there everywhere we don't know and you have to leave it you have to leave it. Wrong way you have to leave it for a week normal forms you can take in a day or two for walls but this you have to leave a week and then you strip them out and it just stays there you can put holes in it which we've done in places for Vance or whatever to make any difference there were few places where we put forms we had forms on both sides and we have to mention something about this man in the corner. I don't know for sure how old he was there but after our house was finished and when he and his eighties. And other words he should be an inspiration for all of us I don't think any of us are in our eighty's thinking of starting to build or building on a project like this this man was amazing he would push wheel barrows the gravel up a little incline to where we were mixing summat and a few years later when we were building the solarium that you've seen pictures of we built that after the house he was up there on the roof helping us put the roof on that eighty eight and eighty we call this Santa said Are you sure you want your dad doing he said he was someone who came from Florida drove his Thunderbird all the way from Florida to Montana every summer stayed for about two months or three he loved building and when he saw we really says Can I come over and help he was wonderful help and you know you build a lot of friendship that way he was a great guy Earl was his name you see the ties that go through there I mean we actually they make commercial ties and all that but we used quarter inch all thread and then put nuts and bolts on each and we unscrew and pull the forms when those walls were done Linda faced them rather than putting rock up so we kept all our flat or rock for that out there you can see some of the little holes in the concrete those are what became the hot air vents coming from the furnace to heat our bedroom in the living room and all that and if you see the little stove pipe there you can see it right here that's the pipe coming from the furnace room up and this whole thing here is what became that curved walkway that's all heated by small. Parts of the basement that we didn't dig out because we dug no more than we had to we just poured a six inch slab but also insulated so the entire bottom floor is concrete most of it has a room under it but not all but it all holds heat steps we did by driving to weights wedging them in where we wanted them just poured concrete down that's what the stairway looks today. This is Richelle she's a happy happy camper. That last well. She got tired. And tell the Middle East until we finally were able to start with what I mean. And I can tell you all that mass in stone is so wonderful in our home now but now we were against it because it was mid August Montana starts to snow a little in October definitely in November we had framed a thing so now we madly went to framing. All that we could that's Rachelle with a friend put in the plywood on the walls and then framing Gables lifting the gables into place remember the students only work two hours a day so we had to make hay when we could putting them up now it's starting to rain because in the fall and plastic everywhere this is putting the side. Beams up to the main ones at the top putting that tongue and groove on again and. I just want to show you all I built a piece here for those of you who are interested in the technical part you can look at it better but if you build a wall in the normal way. You normally either two by fours and Ari it's all two by six framing. It would look like this without the foam and so you put this your stuff with fiberglass put a vapor barrier you can see the plastic there then you have in our case we did half inch plywood a lot of people don't that is dry all right there but I put plywood again and then this is paneling coming up you could have dry wall here if you do that without this foam moisture gets in here even with your vapor barrier goes in here and when it hits this wall outside if that's your last waltz the same as in the roof it's ice cold in this hole gets damp Rudy the very guy that was there he was building his home he got it all framed like this he hadn't put the drywall on the inside had a vapor barrier he went in there one day it was in the winter he was heating it to work and there was water running out underneath his wall and he figured did I leave some on what's going on there was it was actually coming out in public on the sub floor he finally ripped the plastic off dug through the insulation in the entire wall on the outside was all white with frost. And it warmed up a little bit it was all melting it rocks your wall the way your Soul that is on your outside you put your plywood in then the next thing you do this with this foam the entire house is covered with that piece of form no breaks in it you tape it then you put your paneling on the outside and screw it through that in the last thing it hits is warm would solve your problem I didn't know that until it built this house and besides that it super insulate your house so use a lot less firewood eventually and do the same thing on the roof there you can see the beams with the tongue groove and they all look there and there's no mold and there's no rot or anything because the insulation is on the outside This is pouring the the concrete for the fireplace and it that happened when it was already starting to snow and we build it just a scaffold you see the bucket there all the concrete was bucket it up and we called it walking the plank walk across dump and in it took most of a day but that's what it looks like today when you're nine and it holds tremendous heat in your house to have that stone and concrete inside this is you know it can be discouraging for people to build their own home how many of you have built your own home wonderful you know what I'm talking about it can be discouraging for us every day we got a little dot and you just kind of look at it that way because I mean look at that mess that's the that's that curved part is the smoke flue done now there's the stairs going down and so on just support post but that's what it looks like today it doesn't take very long and it's done and with all the storm work there and so on that's with this foam. Here coating the whole outside of the house that's not tie that are just a house wrap you actually do with this and that solves a lot of your insulation problems that we taped seams. Taped and just basically cuts out any unwonted airflow from the outside your house is virtually airtight and you're done you solve that with a little vent in the root cellar that we talked about and you get the air to go where you want it to there the snow started to come we just barely got it roofed in time next spring we put all the paneling or siding on over that foam and that's what it looks like today and inside and get the kids she's back in the kitchen stove that's what the fireplace looks on the back side and you can see that we've learned goes into the fireplace so we've got just all the fluids for all the heaters and one. Central place and we don't make the mistake we didn't normally make out and I assume all the people were here before and so we've talked all about mass heating but maybe there are some folks that weren't the secret to this is that huge solid concrete and stone faced fireplace weighs about forty thousand pounds it moderates the heat in the whole house it's essential for a home in the northern Rockies and I think it would work in areas where you need air conditioning to moderate the temperatures in your home and then you have a comfortable place where you can live together as a family knowing there's Rachelle in the very house she built there's a lot there's a lot of the stalls are there and a lot of family togetherness because of that they wanted to build their own home when they got out of school so ten or show now building a home on top of our hill the Montana season is so short here they are in late when are trying to lay out the house. In the snow with transit Ted's pretty good at stuff like that and we worked it out this is building the a garage first and in essence they're doing a version of what we did this was their mistake house or their little apartment and they did make a few mistakes on it. They could rectify their is better and we could but they now live in that apartment while we're building their home I reckon I've seen families try to live in the House that they're building. It can be I can get really. What would you say take the joy of what you're doing yeah especially if it takes years and years and years training this little apartment I'll show you here and then it's all finished now it's small but it's it's finished this shows you trying to just the rough structure they're using a different system they're called B.C. eyes and we had a great family debate about what's better good beams are these and I will go and all that but if you use enough of it it works those are the mounds in the background looks like Tennessee doesn't it or Georgia or whatever those are what are called the whitefish range and that's where Springs come from actually and we're desperately trying to beat Old Man Winter in and we barely made it we put the roof on it still isn't cited in this picture that allowed us to heat it now and so we could work all winter and this is another thing that's worked well for us we try to organize our life on our homestead so when it's summer you do summer work and you get something built and you leave it that's hard for me to do let it be so when winter comes you've got a warm place to work inside you know really living in the country takes a lot of thought you really don't some people think all you're just a bunch of country bumpkins and all you're doing actually to live successfully in the country I think tanks more reasoning and more thinking and Morgan ization then somebody who just has somebody else build a home and all that in town because you never have to think about all you do is maintain it but you can get wrapped up into problems of you know organize Well Richelle had learned how to do cabinet work when she built our home and so they built all their own cabinets they could have easily bought cabinets but they want to do that kind of thing and there's that picture again I love that picture Curtis is taking it in that daddy is his builder we're building our home it's interesting now he's just over to now he says go my home. My home. It's important people to raise your children where they can be part of the family instead of just in the way laying tile this is what it looked like when they got not. All the lumber you see in there was salvaged from a green area North Dakota. They call it the distressed would look. But the flooring came from there too and the they reap they they they bought their own little plane or re planed it sanded it to do a lot of work it's beautiful for wood and they got a good deal on it which they did it was half the price of most of it but as they are learning areas. You've got to be careful what you're getting because you may get into something and like yeah they had to read they had to play all the flooring which they didn't realise they would have to do and so they put a little more work into it than they would want to but it was very inexpensive but the fridge rater there runs on their solar and there's the cabinets they built had last up stairs so they have enough room for now and they're doing what I call a hybrid system and something a lot of you that's what you'll do London I had limited means and we felt we could only afford to put in one kind of heating system one kind of cooking system we couldn't do both ten or so are still working they were at the hospital and they need something quick sometimes so they put in both they have a wood cook stove which works very well and they use it almost all the time but they have a propane stove if they need it quick because they've got to be off to the hospital if you have anough funds that you can put both systems in fine it's just my view is don't just put. Just the propane or the natural gas or whatever and forget to put the system that will really work when you need it and I've seen many people do that well do that when we get a little farther in they just never get to it and you have to plan because what cookstove need a flu and propane doesn't so they're doing their whole heating on their house that way it will be. Wood with propane backup and that's all right if you can do it and two or shell in ten of. Craigslist is the way to go if you want to do things and expensively they did not get a new wood stove for this apartment so used was that they got a very good price and it's as good as it works really well for me but you can see. Their kitchen table with which her shell loves it's got the stressed look it's putting is a putting of the color yeah I call it making paint the point of the discussion a lot too but that's OK because everybody's you know maybe it works just fine it's nice for show loves the little wood cookstove she grew up with once you get up in the morning she puts just a little bit in there to make some herb tea or something it takes a little chill off she bakes bread in there it works wonderfully well really it's but it's in really good shape it any good to use when you've got to get a really good a lot of more used up they're also trying to save money every way they can this is a piece of Aspen we had a big ass one tree fell over our place. And I looked at that I said that could make nice and tables I showed her shelves he said that's beautiful so we have two in our guest cottage now. And they put two and there's a make nice end tables cost about twenty cents maybe for the gas you know it's a good deal you go to save money every way you can or I can say this enough you end up getting a job and spend time away from your family that's what happened. Here's Ted doing an incredible job of using an old chunk of that's probably two hundred fifty years old it was a dead snag and he's turning that into a bathroom sink vanity. And I just I could show you lots of pictures but he's carving in things there to put the plumbing in and that's what it looks like today it's gorgeous notice the floor Richelle laid all that rock it's there it's there North Fork bathroom. Because it has all the little stuff in it so after they got department done now we're out trying to get the big house or the regular house actually built we have one season again and Curtis is out there of course supervising and we're putting in the plumbing that would go under the slab and eventually and I put in all the piping that they're going to have a heated slab with both wood and propane I was actually quite a job to get all in there right and all the plumbing underneath but they choose their battles they are both working Michel not full time so they have more funds to work with but they have limited time so they got to choose your battles and they decided this is one battle that they would let somebody do these guys did the whole slab in about six hours so it was probably one of the best things they did as far as choosing it's a temper frame home. Ted came from Maine is a lot of timber frame buildings are beautiful buildings and they actually use dug for from the West if you can imagine shipping and all the way out there so they're framework is that way and then they put up order called sips and I was not familiar with those because I can't make this by hand so I probably wouldn't interested but those of you who are going to build maybe like this this is what's called a sip it's actually a sandwich it's a structurally insulated panel sip and they come in huge Well the that they can be huge they can be they can be eight by twenty and they have. Always be on both sides and this is actually glued in there so it's solid foam it's the it's the best insulated wall you can get it's way better if I were glass it is burnable but so is wood. And it's totally sealed you get nothing through there it's it really makes you can now buy these just yourself this was all cut to order just put together they put the whole frame up in three weeks but I know another family that's actually buying these and you just buy em and like you know eight by ten sheets or whatever and cut your own windows in the whatever and you put them on your roof though actually they're structural So they'll actually hold a lot of weight as well so it's another option. If you have the money you want to spend on them there I don't think they cost a lot more than the materials for framing all the other type of stuff but hiring somebody put them up yet to pay for that. Season that's what it looked like inside were doing all the internal work all the framing plumbing electrical all the paneling and cabinets all that sort of stuff but there are going to hire somebody to do the drywall our home has hardly any drywall in it but it's an art and people that know how to do it do it well and sexily one of the least expensive things you can hire done so they'll have that done that's what it looked like late fall they've done their landscaping all native stone and all that sort of stuff outside trying to get it done you see it's already snowing in the mountains there and now there's loads of snow on the house too we're going to come first full circle here this is a piece of a wall from the porch of that original homestead cabin and Michelle spotted that it was still in good shape she said task that would make a wonderful. Sit down bench for taking boots and stuff off in our new home so they put legs under it that's what they're using. We did a lot to gather in stone and Ted's he's really big on big stone that was the biggest one I think we figure six or eight hundred pounds but look a little Curtis learning homestead physics. Because it's on a little piece of the lodge pole rolling it into play a place. The fellow that's there helping him is a part time caretaker for us or wonderful young man he stays in our guest cottage and we just exchange he doesn't pay rant and we don't pay him for a certain amount of hours that he works he loves to be in the North Fork that's another way you can use your mistake house some day it works really well if somebody wants to quote rent it. It's only part time of course he's a great guy and fortunately he's a lot stronger and I am so he can lift all those rocks that's the pile of rocks that and it's kind of funny Richelle goes out she does a lot of the gathering but she doesn't do the heavy lifting and she goes Guys I want that one and I want that one and this is what it looks like when we're done and she's just now they're getting ready to start stoning their fireplace so it's wonderful that she can do that now wants to do it when she was a little girl she helped us build all our buildings and she grew up thinking every day Addie stays home and builds a house lunch time lunch time on the job and now she wants Curtis to have that same experience so he's part of the crew there's his dog Misty and I put this one in as we're nearly done here don't be discouraged if Rome isn't built in one day this is our circle drive you know you've seen pictures of a nice fountain and grass all green and the roads are kind of look at the roads this is what we call Montana gravel it's about anything fist size or smaller fair game when you're starting with mud and so on that's our original solarium Orchard Green house and shop but as time went on I decided the shop I didn't want a. Kind of a work building like that next to arse school building so it's been moved to another place the others have been thoroughly remodeled because when they were like this they did not have the foam on the outside so eventual in twenty years the ceiling was starting to rot on me so I replaced it and that's what it looks like today in the same place look how the trees have grown. If you stick with it don't get discouraged in our honey we've been here for three years that in going to this is here if you get a good piece of land and you know the Lord lead you there and it has the right resources just stay with it path away at it day after day really it's a good spiritual lesson of how our characters are built it isn't going to happen overnight. Just a couple of places this is another home that I haven't a family built it's smaller it has a log Stipe siting on it. They you know is a good home for them is just to them this is a mill that one of our current neighbors bought it's a whole lot faster than a chain saw mill that I did it cost ten times as much but it will cut ten times as much lumber so if you. And he's going to use it for business too so he'll soon pay for that mill by just he already has all kinds of people in the valley say well you know my logs it's amazing in a little valley like that wouldn't know people and know me and know how this people know page out here so I'm so got a mill very soon you all logs coming down the valley Would you can it's not hard to have a business you'd think this would be the hardest place to have a business and we'll talk about that our family business all kinds of options if you think about it a little bit. That's how he cuts and there's the lumber that you can make he actually has a tongue and groove attachment so they made their own tongue and groove and has a sighting attachment he has a log. Siting attachment to all kinds of stuff with stuff. OK we did how we got through that's building your own home to us so we'll take another little break for maybe ten minutes and we'll come back how to make all your utilities so doesn't cost anything hardly. Independent utilities. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more service leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.


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