Apocalyptic Homesteading (Day 92-98)

By Jacob Peacock | Homesteading | 25 Feb 2021

Trenching The Easy Way, Expanding The Electric And Water Grid, Warm Weather Arrives & Current Lumber Prices Are Insane

  The weather has been rather nice the last several days even though the nighttime temperatures have dipped below freezing a few times which is no biggie because the days were warm and I was able to get a heck of a lot accomplished on some projects. It is raining again this morning though, so I am going to do some writing and albeit just relax a wee bit and enjoy the pitter-patter sounds of the rain falling on the canvas tent as the dogs snuggle up to me on the bed. It is probably these small moments of relaxation that make life really worth living in the first place so I may as well enjoy them along the way.

  Last Friday I walked around the dog yard and outside of it where I had previously spread some Kentucky-31 grass seed and was glad to see that all the intense rain had driven most of the seeds into the loamy soil and had washed them away only in the larger bare spots. Like I have said before it is good to spread grass seed in the autumn and it is still a bit early to be doing it in the spring... but given just how bare the ground is in the dog yard I wanted to experiment with doing some seeding in the late winter. I wound up spreading a bunch more grass seed over the ground near the main gate, the walkway to the tent and along the uphill fence line on the inside of the dog yard and then covered it all with straw. For the most part I have concentrated all my grass seeding efforts on the uphill portions of the dog yard and surrounding areas because when it rains it will wash the seeds that do not get driven into the loamy soil further downhill over the rest of the areas that I will eventually be seeding. I have yet to see any of the seeds sprouting but hopefully over the coming weeks I will begin seeing the first patches of green grass in what is an otherwise earthen colored landscape.

  The same day that I did all that jazz, one of the landowners brought out a walk-behind trencher and some fuel for it. Since we got the trencher on a Friday we could keep it all weekend for the price of a single day's use which is pretty cool because after a few months of planning there were a lot of trenches to dig! All total I think there were around two hundred meters of trench to be dug so that we could expand the electric and water grids of the property and also set up several places we can connect to for further expansion of the grids in the future. Given that there will be several more camping sites developed on the property having room for further expansion is super convenient and especially so for me because I will be the one doing the work to create the sites so having water and power at the sites will make the process much easier.

  Anyway, I spent the next several days (the entire weekend) operating the trencher, hand digging dirt from the trenches where I accidentally knocked it back into the trench and then yesterday with the assistance of one of the landowners we got all the electric wire ran and the bulk of the PEX plumbing tubing installed in the trench. The last remaining section of PEX that needs to be ran is a roughly twenty meter run that leads into the dog yard. To give you an idea of just how awesome the new addition to the water grid is... there is also a hot water line that terminates in the dog yard. I failed to mention it but a few weeks ago we got a nice on-demand propane water heater setup in one of the outbuildings here and running hot water to the shelter site became part of its purpose. It is all the sweetest setup that I have had in quite some time (perhaps ever) and I am looking forward to taking a nice long hot bath in my outdoor tub once all the plumbing is finished being connected.

  I still have to fill in all the trenches with dirt and once it stops raining today I am going to have to go get to doing that because if the trenches get filled with water the empty PEX lines will start floating in it and make the burying of them a more tedious task than it will already be. Even though the trenches are only a meter deep at their deepest points... it still amounts to a heck of a lot of earth to move one shovel-full at a time and especially so once it is soaking wet from the rain. Hell, the soil was already quite damp from all the rain the last few weeks and clumped a lot when I was trenching it with the machine so I already have my work cut out for me there even discounting more rain. Actually, the rain is now slacking up so I best just stop writing for now, get my gear on and get to working in the muck.

  Well, it has been a few days since I first started writing this so I better get back to it and try to get it wrapped up. I wound up working in the rain (the day I stopped writing on this) and managed to get the trenches filled in so that they would not fill with water and also so that no critters would fall into them. Since the trencher churned up the clay from the bottom portion of the trench and spit it out atop the topsoil from the top portion of the trench it was fairly easy to rake it back into the trench as back-fill. It would have been a heck of a lot easier had it not been raining and making everything a mucky mess but I managed to do it nonetheless.

  Since I did not compact the clay (and soil) as I was raking it back in I wound up with a lot of extra soil/clay left outside the trench so the last few days I have been going along the trench and tamping down the back-fill and then hauling the rest of it away one wheelbarrow full at a time to a few places where I mounded it for later use. Overall the trench (and all the mess it created) are slowly disappearing from view and I am getting it raked smooth so that it does not leave a bunch of lumps (or depressions) where it was dug at which is important because the majority of the trench either borders a road or runs through the road itself. I have no idea how much dirt I have shoveled over the last few days but I have about two thirds of the trench filled back in.

  Yesterday, me and one of the landowners got an freeze-proof hydrant installed and also got the main water supply line connected which is pretty cool because now we can start getting the rest of the water lines connected and I will have water at the shelter site. The hydrant itself was pretty neat to install because I had never installed one before and I learned that they have a drain at the bottom of them that either has to be piped out to a drainage point or submerged in gravel so that it can drain freely. Basically we dug a two foot deep hole, filled it halfway with gravel and then added a fifty pound bag of concrete to the remainder of the hole to anchor the hydrant in place. I am actually a big fan of those hydrants and although that was my first install of one I have repaired several of them over the years and in places that have below freezing temperatures in the winter they make a huge difference. Not counting the hydrant we will be installing by the shelter site, or the one that we installed yesterday we have three more of them to install before the system is complete and no one will need to drain the entire water system when the temperatures drop below freezing.

  Aside from all that project related jazz, I have been doing pretty good lately and just plugging along doing whatever task is before me each day. I have yet to wrestle my sleeping schedule back to how I like it but over the last week I have been getting up a little earlier each day so I feel confident that I will get there eventually. The weather has begun to turn nice and spring is assuredly in the air so I am sure that will play a big factor in getting my sleep cycle back on track but I am at least getting enough rest each day. It is awesome how much earlier in the year the weather turns nice here compared to in the mountains and the daylight hours are already growing longer which means I can accomplish more with less 'battling the elements' along the way.

  For the most part it was actually a rather pleasant winter even though I spent the entirety of it in a tent which would have been brutal if I had been doing it in the mountains. I could assuredly get used to such mild winters and especially so once I get a cabin built and get the heck out of camping mode. The lumber prices are still sky high without any signs of falling anytime soon or else I would have had the cabin built by now. When I could build four cabins (for the price of one cabin) it makes a big difference and I do not mind being in a tent all that much as I wait out the price hike or at least attempt to wait out the price hike. Eventually the insects will return here (as well as the snakes and high temperatures) which will make camping much more challenging so we may wind up biting the proverbial bullet and paying the high prices for the lumber just so that I will have some comfort and peace of mind.

  Okay, I should just wrap this up so that I can do the unavoidable editing and get this posted because 'daylight is burning' and I have to get to work filling in the rest of the trench and hauling the excess soil/clay away with the wheelbarrow. I should probably switch to making podcasts and videos to summarize my days because the writing really does eat up a lot of my time which is why I have been doing it so infrequently of late. There is just a lot to do around the property and I have been trying to make the most of my time getting things accomplished before the winter ends. The progress has actually been really awesome thus far and although I have paced myself really well it still amounts to a heck of a lot of work and I will undoubtedly need to take an extended break sometime over the next few months. Alright ta ta for now. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.

IMG_20210222_165600_2.jpgAh good ole Georgia mucky clay!IMG_20210220_143747_1.jpgThe trencher that made two hundred meters of trench being dug in four hours possible!IMG_20210220_140203_3.jpgI could not get the entire trench in one picture but this is about a third of it.

Thanks for reading!

Follow me on the Hive blockchain here:


Please check out the Homesteading Community On The Hive Blockchain:

A playlist of my Jacob Goes Off Grid Videos can be found here:


Please consider becoming a patron on my Patreon page!!!


Contribute via Paypal:


That Is All For Now!

This post was originally posted to the Hive Blockchain here:


How do you rate this article?


Jacob Peacock
Jacob Peacock

I have been doing property caretaking (land stewardship) for many years (decades) and live a rather simple life with my dogs doing what most folks would consider to be an 'alternative minimalist lifestyle' and write about my adventures along the way.


A little over three years ago I began sharing the adventures (misadventures) of my homesteading lifestyle via writing, videos, pictures and the occasional podcasts and although my intention was to simply share my life with some friends it undoubtedly grew into much more than that over the years and now I find myself doing what equates to a full-time job just 'sharing my life' which is not even all that glamorous or anything but hey folks seem to enjoy it so I just keep doing it!

Send a $0.01 microtip in crypto to the author, and earn yourself as you read!

20% to author / 80% to me.
We pay the tips from our rewards pool.