The air conditioner is in!
Alabama summers are notoriously hot, with the average high each day being in the mid to upper 90s. Now folks in Tucson might say that ain't hot, but I ain't in Tucson and I sweat enough to know it is hot here. Thankfully, the air conditioner man arrived to save the day. He installed a new Carrier system specifically designed for this size house and it has a 10 year warranty! I have to say, the A/C man was a real professional. He took great care to make sure everything was done exactly right, and when he was done, it was. Since the house is on a slab, the air handler had to go into the attic. He set that in place then started running the ducts for the air return and all the vents. He asked which way we wanted the vents to blow, which way the air filter door should swing, etc. When he was done, he gave us his cell phone number and said if we had any issues whatsoever, to call him.
See his handywork.
The image above is the air handler. That thing is so quiet you can barely hear it. The compressor outside is also quiet, you can only hear it if you stand by the windows that are on the back side of the house. His duct work was a work of art, he double sealed every joint, made sure every duct was as straight as possible and not kinked. We are very glad that this particular subcontractor got the job. Below are a few more pics of the duct work.
The New Septic Tank
Where the new house is located, we cannot connect to city sewer. That's not a bad thing since we won't have to pay a monthly fee for the rest of our lives. The septic tank is a one time cost, it is a big one... about $3,000.00 but it is one and done. We've lived in houses before that were on septic, so it is not a big deal to us. The septic tank people dug a giant hole for the tank to sit in, then they dug out 2 large ditches for the drain lines. The tank itself was concrete and they've been that way for ages, but the way they do the drain field is different now. Instead of using a perforated pipe and gravel, they just put down the plastic things to create a dome. These all connected together as did the ends of the field lines. One the PVC pipe from the house was connected and the outlet from the tank connected to the drain lines, they covered it all up with dirt.
It's a pretty straightforward concept... you poop in the toilet then flush. The water sends your poo sliding down a long PVC pipe where it falls into the septic tank. The solids fall to the bottom, the scum floats to the top and the "cleaner" water in between sloshes into the 2nd half of the septic tank. Once that fills up it runs into the field lines where it soaks into ground. The ground filters out any impurities and the fresh water ends up back in the water table.
When it rains, it pours.
Another storm has come through and dropped a ton of rain on us. Figuring out the lay of the land and getting the water to drain where we want it to has been a chore. We think we have a place graded to where the water won't stand and have it going to where we want it to go, but then a big rain comes and we see where we fell short. It rained so much this time that we though the creek was going to overflow. Thankfully it didn't, but it sure did run over the rock bridge quite a bit. Again, we're glad the bridge is working as intended and we didn't lose any rocks to erosion this time. Looking back, perhaps we should have installed 2 drain pipes instead of just one. Oh well, hind sight is 20/20. Oh yeah, sorry for the vertical video.
Still more to do...
We had buried some French drain pipes in the back yard to allow water to flow to the ditch, but it just wasn't enough. So much water comes through the back yard that an open ditch is necessary to catch and carry it all. We dug out a ditch in the back yard and also another one near the creek. That area by the creek would have a lot of standing water when it rained, the new ditch totally eliminates that. We did some grading in the back field to alleviate standing water and to get the water to the creek instead of flowing across the lower part of the field. That worked out really well as we completely eliminated a huge are that was once swamp. The water now flows straight to the creek from the back field during heavy rains. In light rains, it just soaks in. Drainage work will likely be an ongoing battle for a while, but we're up for the task.
Wildlife and Critters
As progress on the house continues, we've done our own fair share of construction. We had the shop built, we built a storage shed for Cynthia's stuff, we built 3 bridges across the creek, we hung the Hummingbird feeders, and so on. We cleared an exhausting amount of brush, trees and debris. What was once an overgrown mess is now a beautiful pasture. Since the wildlife was here before us, we knew they would either move to a new area or make a new home among our stuff. On this page we'll show you pictures of the wildlife that we have managed to get a shot of. Missing will be the deer as they dart away long before I can get my cellphone out. But we've got images of bird nests with eggs, a baby fox, turtles, not so visible fish in the creek, a snake, and our Miniature Schnauzers Roosevelt and Elly May. If we get more images, we'll put them on another page. We hope you enjoy the wildlife as much as we do.