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Discussion Starter #1
I thought I'd start a thread sharing our experiences developing our property. I know this is going to be a very long process and hopefully I can learn from others as we go.

A little recap on the property, it is 7.5 acres in Northern California in the foothills to the Sierra Nevada's. This undeveloped property is at around 2,000' in elevation. There is a seasonal creek along the North side of the property and a year round creek along the East side. The build site is at the top of a little hill that overlooks the year round creek below. There are hundreds of Ponderosa Pines and Douglas Firs on the property.

As with any good build thread you've got to have lots of pictures. So we'll start with some recent ones.

This is of my wife and daughter cutting down our first Christmas tree on the property.



Our 8 year old beagle Bodie making a little nest for himself.



One of the first things we did was put in a fire pit. I was up at the property last weekend and decided to break it in. Although, it was kind of hard to get a good fire going with the wet wood from around the property.



Here's a short clip of the year-round creek. It's running really good right now after all the rain recently. I just love that sound!

[YOUTUBE][ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqM3oHfd43Q[/ame][/YOUTUBE]

So last weekend I had two goals in mind. Install the trail cameras and clear a spot for the shed.

I actually found installing the trail cameras a little more challenging then I expected. Only because their field of view seemed kind of narrow to me and I had a hard time getting them setup to see a lot and not lose any detail of a subject. So we'll see how they did the next time I go up. I can easily move them if need be.

The other objective was to clear an area for the Tuff Shed. We're getting a 10' x 12' Pro Tall Barn. We decided to go this route since we wouldn't need to deal with a permit and it'll meet our needs. We wanted the tall model because it's 13' tall and we're going to have a loft in it for sleeping. It's going to be a storage shed and a place we can stay in when we go up their. We also opted for a few upgrades like narrow windows on all sides (so no one could break in), a sky light and a 2' x 2' window at the top where the loft is. This window will open, which will help with ventilation during the summer. We also are doing a work bench and their security package (reinforced hinges and locks). When I looked at the cost for some of the options the prices were negligible compared to me buying them elsewhere and doing it myself.

Anyway, this is the area I clear for the shed. We're hoping to get it installed in the next 4- weeks.



And of course at the end of the day I got to watch the sunset in front of the fire and enjoy a beer after a hard days work. I just love being up there and working on the property.

 

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Otiose Endomorph
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Sweet! I always dreamed of Norcal. Looks beautiful!
And a running creek. I would be looking at run-of-the-river hydro units for that!
You can get lots of info on web on how to setup a mini hydro unit. Free power, 24/7.
And 2000' doesn't sound bad at all for growing stuff, especially down there...up here, a tough sled (short season) at that altitude.
Love the pics!
Best
Melli
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sweet! I always dreamed of Norcal. Looks beautiful!
And a running creek. I would be looking at run-of-the-river hydro units for that!
You can get lots of info on web on how to setup a mini hydro unit. Free power, 24/7.
And 2000' doesn't sound bad at all for growing stuff, especially down there...up here, a tough sled (short season) at that altitude.
Love the pics!
Best
Melli
Thanks Melli. I'd love to be able to do some sort of hydro power but I don't think it would be feasible. First, when we were in escrow I called the local water district to find out how much it would cost to connect to their system at the road. Aside from the $7,000 they also made a point to tell me we don't have rights to the water. What that really means to us I don't know. But I do know there was a story in the paper about a guy who had damned up and diverted the water downstream and the county told him to correct it, which he hasn't done so the county is suing him. The other concern with hydro is the water during the summer was a lot lower and slower. Here's a downstream picture of the creek from August.



I'm thinking at that cost we'd be better off putting in a well. But we've got a couple of years before we cross that bridge.
 

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Looking good.

That is a beautiful place.

You should get a tarp and cover a bit of wood so it will be dry and ready when you are up there.
 

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Otiose Endomorph
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Thanks Melli. I'd love to be able to do some sort of hydro power but I don't think it would be feasible. First, when we were in escrow I called the local water district to find out how much it would cost to connect to their system at the road. Aside from the $7,000 they also made a point to tell me we don't have rights to the water. What that really means to us I don't know. But I do know there was a story in the paper about a guy who had damned up and diverted the water downstream and the county told him to correct it, which he hasn't done so the county is suing him. The other concern with hydro is the water during the summer was a lot lower and slower. Here's a downstream picture of the creek from August.



I'm thinking at that cost we'd be better off putting in a well. But we've got a couple of years before we cross that bridge.
Man is that beautiful! :nanner:

Born and partially raised in mountain country, I could never see myself anywhere else, except a place slightly warmer and drier (like Norcal).
The water issues you have to deal with are rather 'heavy' from what I've read for folks in California. I suppose it is the one blessing I have up here...although, they are trying to put the screws to us for those on muni water (meters). Rather humorous given our water situation (I just looked up our average annual rainfall - Vancouver 60" = 5 FEET!).
I'm in a 'rain shadow', so I get about 4 feet or so...lol
Then, you factor in snow-melt and well, we are awash in water.

I could see them getting antsy about someone damming a creek...but a mini hydro unit doesn't need a dam...just some nicely hidden pipe. :)
Plus, once you clear a bit, you could probably get some solar, but I do wish I was near a stream. Hydro can be 24/7.

I guess your too far away from ocean to get Arbutus Trees?

My big concern, other than big brother on your back about water, would be forest fires. I would try to mitigate that by clearing fuel and firebreaks...plus, even lay pipe around property for fire suppression. I would have a straw in creek hooked up to a pump for that. My building inspector friend has done that on his property...a real good idea (albeit, he has a well that will never run out of water). I've got just one line down my hill so far. I will be installing more around property (tied into irrigation). Global warming has given us some California summers, and geesh, things really get dry up here. Kind of scary given how much fuel is lying on ground. The one plus, is we don't get the summer/fall winds I hear some areas in Cali get. Our fall and spring windstorms are always accompanied by rain.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Fires are probably our biggest concern too. Once we get the shed up I'm going to bring a 275-gallon water tote up for grey water. It's also why I want to start thinning out the property and chip instead of burn. Too much material that can go up rather easy.

In that area fire protection is pretty serious. When we build we'll have to have sprinklers in the house. Which might look weird in a log cabin. We'll also have to have a separate water tower just for fire purposes. I have mixed feelings about these requirements.
 

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Otiose Endomorph
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Fires are probably our biggest concern too. Once we get the shed up I'm going to bring a 275-gallon water tote up for grey water. It's also why I want to start thinning out the property and chip instead of burn. Too much material that can go up rather easy.

In that area fire protection is pretty serious. When we build we'll have to have sprinklers in the house. Which might look weird in a log cabin. We'll also have to have a separate water tower just for fire purposes. I have mixed feelings about these requirements.
Fire sprinklers will probably become mandatory up here, but a cabin!
A water tower....weird. Sort of like building a 'Burning Man' in the woods...lol
Thankfully, no such requirements up here, but I'd think a good sprinkler system around and on house is my best bet. Flying embers are a home's worse enemy, on the outside. Metal roof, Hardi siding, and no fuel against house have saved homes (recall a documentary on some Colorado or Cali fires that literally blackened the landscape, yet there stood a house because they built the exterior with non-flammable materials, and made sure deck furniture, anything flammable, wasn't against the house). Would make for a surreal landscape for a few years, while things greened up again.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I went up to the property yesterday to have two dead Black Oak trees felled. This one was my primary concern since it's leaning right towards where the new shed is going.







The tree ended up being a bugger to bring down. I hired an arborist and his helper to do it. Because of the top heavy lean and shape I didn't want to try tackling this myself. Even they had a hard time with it missing the target landing spot by about 45 degrees. Subsequently, they took out one of my new trailcam security cases.







Fortunately, I had already removed the trailcam to download the content. But the case...well you can see.



The trailcams did OK. The one that I had setup to catch video ran out of memory space after 3 days. I think sound might trigger the camera which is why it took so many video clips and filled up the memory card. The second trailcam only caught a squirrel.







After I get a replacement trailcam case I'm going to set that one to pictures too and scrap the video recording.



Aside from the tree missteps perhaps the best thing of the day was finding a waterfall on the property.



When we entered escrow it was the end of summer and the seasonal creek on the North side of the property was bone dry. Due to heavy foliage it's also kinda hard to get to that area. But yesterday I had some time and tried to work my way down there. And it was a good thing I did too because I found the seasonal creek flowing and several small waterfalls. I had no idea these features were there and was amazed at their beauty.



https://youtu.be/cfrcTHdgvTE



The second clip is down the creek a little more.



https://youtu.be/vVXfkH5dWfQ
 

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Good thing the camera was not in that case. We bought a camera for our land/ project but it failed us so we took it back. Have not gotten a replacement but seeing this reminded me to do that.

Looks like you have a nice place.
 

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Your vids could be video of my area...except your a lot warmer. As a result, nobody lives at 2000' around here (except interior).
That creek video...nice! Love the moss covered rocks.
Those leaning trees are cut and run jobs for me. Reminded me of an Arbutus I took down like that a couple of days ago...was debating leaving chainsaw in cut as I ran, but then I thought maybe I'd have running chainsaw flinging through air or I'd bend the bar again.
I know I blab about Bobby a lot (Bobcat 331), but yesterday I had another leaner, and I used him. My thinking is I am safe in cab given it has roll over protection cage. Plus, a tree can't fall through arm/boom.
 

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Nice property there Hitch, I really like that Nor-Cal country.
We're in Central B.C. nice country, but long winters.
Sounds like you are on a great adventure.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This rain sure has delayed things in one way or another. I haven't been able to do much of anything since we cut the trees down.

We were supposed to get our Tuff Shed installed two weeks ago but that got delayed because of the Oroville Dam evacuation. Even though our property wasn't in risk of getting flooded, all the roads were closed. So now I'm just waiting for the rain to stop so I can get the shed installed and back to work.

Here's a picture of the creek from yesterday. If you scroll up a bit you'll see the same creek from August.

 

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Ya, the dirt is really getting stirred up. There's definitely going to be some panning for gold this summer.
............That creek has enough velocity to power a Sling pump ! No batteries , no electric , no gasoline , NO noise and no wires . Check it out . , fordy:coffee:
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
After weeks of delays due to rain and the Oroville Dam evacuations we finally got our shed installed a few weeks ago. We've since been customizing it by adding carpet and padding in the loft, drapes and installing some tool racks.









Last week I installed rain gutters and connected it to a 275-gallon tote.



This weekend we're going to deliver a 8' redwood picnic table and start putting down rock around the shed. This will really help with not tracking so much dirt into the shed.

When I was up there doing the shed install I pulled the images off the trail camera and had a lot of deer pictures. I put the camera on a tree in front of a game trail so there's been a lot of activity. I've seen as many as four deer lingering in this area at once.





On a little bit of a disturbing note we discovered someone went on the property last week and cut down a huge Ponderosa Pine tree. Again, another good reason to have a trailcam on a property you don't live on. When we pulled up to the gate I could see small piles of sawdust from a tree being cut up on our gravel road.



When I pulled up the trail camera I saw this guy walking by. I was able to get the name off his shirt and contact the company. They appear to be a large company out of the bay area that contracts with PG&E to clear their easements. My concern is the tree was quite a ways from any power lines and didn't appear dead to me or in need of removing. So, I've been getting a little bit of a run-around from the company. If I don't get some sort of explanation soon I'm going to file a police report with the sheriff's dept. for trespassing and vandalism. The tree they cut down would have been a great tree for our log cabin.

 

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Busted! The tree looked fine, insofar as the core isn't rotten.
Our utility only has 3-6m range from line (depending on type of PL)...they can't go wandering off that range, as they don't have the rights.
I'm negotiating with my utility as they want to expropriate a chunk of land and whack a few trees.

Glad to see you got a shed on property...must share your results on that water tote filling.
 

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Thanks for your observation Melli. I'm still learning about the health of trees so to hear you think it looks ok is good to know.

I talked to someone else today at that company who told me it was slated for trimming but they reserve the right to remove a tree if they feel it's necessary. He asked for pictures, which I sent him as well as my request for $200 for the loss of the tree. I have no idea if that is a reasonable price or not, but it's what I proposed.

I sure hope this isn't going to become a regular occurrence.
 

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Thanks for your observation Melli. I'm still learning about the health of trees so to hear you think it looks ok is good to know.

I talked to someone else today at that company who told me it was slated for trimming but they reserve the right to remove a tree if they feel it's necessary. He asked for pictures, which I sent him as well as my request for $200 for the loss of the tree. I have no idea if that is a reasonable price or not, but it's what I proposed.

I sure hope this isn't going to become a regular occurrence.
Next time ask for more...a lot more...lol. I'd want a grand (then settle for $500 or so). If they had cut it up into long lengths, it would have some mill-able lumber in it.
Plus, I would want money for clean up, and stump removal (last part may not be doable, but I'm of the mind, the property be made whole again, and a stump diminishes value of property).
Really depends on where the tree was in relation to PL, as to whether you could claim compensation. On our titles, it states what that is...or utility site may have info on what clearance from lines they are able to clear.
The fact they never contacted you concerns me...it is one thing to trim trees, but quite another to take a monster down. I guess they thought it was a vacant property (ask for forgiveness later or not at all).
 
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