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high desert. small house.

Days 181-187: The Conduit is Bent!

Monday, 1/11
Picked up 11 giant pipes.  Some for the drain piping in plumbing wall, some for the french drain.  Then we realized that we’d prefer solid wall Schedule 40 PVC for drain plumbing (not ‘cellular’ aka ‘foam core’ which is probably fine but not as sturdy).  We’ll have to do the exchange tomorrow.  Beautiful day and a beautiful week ahead of us.  If it holds, we’ll make some real progress.  COME ON conduit bendy-man!  Do the job!

PVC pipes for plumbing and drainage

4″ thin wall PVC pipes for french drainage

Tuesday, 1/12
Hip hip HURRAY!  Hip hip HURRAY!  Hip hip HURRAY!  The electric man bent the conduit.  Thank you sir!  We did the PVC pipe exchange and collected more stuff.

The bent conduit!

The bent conduit!  This is called an ‘offset’.

Wednesday, 1/13
Collection of stuff.  Galvanic corrosion research related to building the electric service entrance.  Galvanic corrosion is a situation where fastening dissimilar metals together results in faster than normal deterioration of one or the other metal.  Best avoided in permanent installation of anything.  Summary of key findings (under non-marine conditions):

  • Trivalent chromium treated zinc plated steel (GoldGalv) touching galvanized steel: It’s fine.  Anything that involves zinc plated steel at all is compatible with anything else that involves zinc plated steel at all.  In other words: zinc electroplated, hot dip galvanized and chromate treated galvanized are all considered the same thing in terms of galvanic corrosion.
  • Stainless steel touching galvanized steel: Galvanic corrosion can occur.  Avoid.  It’s basically ok if the stainless steel component is tiny though – like a stainless steel bolt through a piece of galvanized steel.
  • Aluminum touching galvanized steel: It’s fine.
  • Mild steel touching galvanized steel: It’s fine.
  • Mild steel touching stainless steel: Avoid.
Invasion of the mini deers! Watch out!

Invasion of the mini deers! Watch out!

Thursday, 1/14
Measurements and stud prep.  Brian bought new socks.  First time in 8 years I believe (no joke).  Similar to my winter coat and fleece jacket.  I’ve had them since 2005.

Caption. NEW STUD?

Attached a stud on the right side of the upper vertical steel beam in order to provide a solid connection for the service entrance mast.

Friday, 1/15
Where did the week go?  More brainstorming and measurements for the attachment of the meter box and breaker panel.

Also, we decided to mix things up and attended a ballroom dance class.  Foxtrot is a hoot.

Ballroom dance class Day 1 - Foxtrot. Why does this dance continually move to one side? No one else seemed to think this was funny but we did.

Ballroom dance class Day 1 – Foxtrot. Why does this dance continually move to one side? No one else seemed to think this was funny but we did.  [This is not a photo of the dance – it’s our matching shoes!]

Saturday, 1/16
Brian made the metal brackets for the service entrance out of the B-line strut beam…..

We didn’t work on the house and instead used the last remaining rays of sunlight to walk into Boston Hill and then down into the property from the top corner.  We haven’t gone on a hike in a while so it was much appreciated by the whole team.  The dogs loved it.

When our top (southern) corner was in sight, we noticed something was off.  The hooligans had visited again.  We thought we could take a break on securing the fence because we had one run of barbed wire on that corner.  Apparently it wasn’t enough, especially given that the corner post wasn’t full secured in earth and had been wrestled into the ground between rocks.

So….getting a few more runs on that corner is a priority.

Bracket creation work station - cutting and CAPTION

Bracket creation workstation – cutting 7″ sections…

And drilling two holes in each. The big nail was used a punch to make a divot in order to keep the bit from walking.

…and drilling two holes in each. The big nail was used as a punch to make a divot in order to keep the bit from walking.

Sunday, 1/17
We were eager to get working on the house so it was no problem to rise early, clean house, grab pups and head over.  We spent most of the day running barbed wire.  The corner is now super secure and we shouldn’t have anymore problems.  We have three runs on most of those two sides.

We then started the conduit work by measuring where the brackets would go and drilling a hole through the wall to mark the location of the stud (so it could be seen from the outside).  We then marked the spot up high, went outside, assembled the ladder and snapped a chalk line.  We also filed down the rough metal edges on the brackets so they wouldn’t damage the paint.

Barbed wire on south corner.

Barbed wire on south corner – this is the second run.  We hit the east corner and made it back to this spot and further.  We ran out of wire around the browner juniper that you can see straight down the fence line.

Also, we were recently asked if we considered any other fully or partially pre-fab small house companies and we did indeed.  We will write more on them later but the two we considered were Kanga Room Systems and ASUL.


  1. Thank you for such a detailed blog!

    I am going to start with the sort of negative and end with a positive lol.

    1) I appreciate your build is an organic process and that your location is a factor though I cringe when you purchase so much material from home depot – that is literally one of the most expensive places to purchase from. Why have you not purchased in bulk from a building supplier because you would have saved an absolute fortune (that’s a sort of rhetorical question lol).

    2) Please pay a hunter to sit in a hide close to the corner of your land which is being repeatedly sabotaged and scare the bastards away! I say a hunter not to shoot them but because they life for that sort of thing lol…you could at least have some pictures and video and have the hunter phone you to confront them.

    Our story condensed and why your blog is such a help for our life:

    English lad sees (gorgeous) American girl on Facebook…sends an inbox…..American girl takes over 60 flights to meet English lad and 18 months later they marry. We are in the visa process for me (English lad) to move to America. We are going about this the legal and correct way and as such it is a process that takes the best part of a year. When we finally get the green light we intend on purchasing an arched cabin so your blog has become an addiction lol !

    Thank you,


    • Hi Jack – thanks for the comment.
      1) We are not shopping at Home Depot/Lowes out of loyalty. Even with a 10% contractor discount at some of our local stores, the prices are often far better at one of the big box stores; even with a 4 hour round-trip drive to get there. We live in a remote mountain town and the hardware stores sometimes don’t even carry what we’re looking for. For example – the only hardware store that carries floor tile gets their truck delivery every 3-4 MONTHS. So yes, they carry tile. But once it’s out, it’s out for a third of a year.

      2) This is a hilarious idea and something worth considering.

      Congrats on the American girl, marriage and tiny house plan. Do you know where you will settle and build? Also, are you planning on hiring an Arched cabin build crew? There are many distributors for the Arched Cabin kits and each has their own associated build crew. If we could go back and speak to our past selves, we would go check out the past work our crew did before sealing the deal.

      • Hiya,

        We will be in the Charlotte area of North Carolina. We both have a bit of experience with property development and new builds and we’ll be getting prices for all sorts of combinations of the build process….though tending towards us doing the majority of the work BUT….who knows what opportunities the future holds! I am one of those people who has to be planning/working or busy with something so I am eating up your progress.

        When I do move there are two things that genuinely scare me and they sort of compliment each other…the first is your healthcare system. Absolutely shocking compared to what we have here in the UK and secondly your venomous and poisonous things.

        Not to long ago I was swiping cobwebs off my daughters quad bike and I say to my wife, whats with this web its so strong, so white and strange looking, she casually says oh thats probably a black widow…..or….i’ll just wander into some tall grass by the creek and she says casually ‘that’s a bit snakey down there’….I am going to get bitten by something and then die because you have to pay for your ambulances lol !!!

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