Kaleb takes us on a journey through his monumental project of transforming a remote, off-grid property into a maker's paradise. Located in Northern California, Kaleb's 49-acre property, lovingly named "Bone Snapper Ridge" after his favorite cat, presented numerous challenges and opportunities for a dedicated maker.
Kaleb started by clearing land for his 30x60-foot steel shop building, which would house his maker space. A friend of his provided excavators, dump trucks, bulldozers, and various other heavy equipment, and together, they tackled the daunting task of excavating and preparing the site, ensuring it was ready for construction.
Inside the existing 800-square-foot cabin, Kaleb embarked on a major remodeling project, completely gutting and renovating the space. The transformation included insulating, drywalling, texturing, painting, and laying down vinyl click-together flooring, creating a comfortable living and working space.
To power his off-grid haven, Kaleb initially relied on a generator and a small self-constructed solar power setup. He engaged the help of a commercial electrician to wire the house for electrical power. The installation of light switches, outlets, and a real breaker box marked a significant step in improving his daily life.
Ensuring he had access to essential utilities, Kaleb ventured into plumbing, connecting the house's water supply to an external source. The toilet and shower facilities, while initially challenging due to winter weather, became essential comforts in the cold Northern California climate.
Powering this remote outpost became a priority. Kaleb described his meticulous research and planning in selecting a solar power system. He decided on equipment from Victron Energy because of their large community and open-source software and data collection capabilities. Kaleb’s system included 16 high-wattage solar panels and custom battery cables. The installation significantly reduced his reliance on the generator and provided consistent power.
Kaleb's journey also included the removal of an old trailer and the addition of a 20-foot shipping container, where he'd house his solar equipment, creating a power shed aptly named "Paw." Building a trench and running conduit from Paw to the house allowed for the distribution of power, data, and network connections between the different structures on the property.
Kaleb emphasized the cost-effectiveness of the shipping container conversion for his power needs and the unique challenges of insulating the steel structure.
The installation of solar panels was a major highlight, with the six initial panels alone providing more power than his generator. Kaleb was thrilled to transition from burning fuel to enjoying the abundant, sustainable energy provided by the sun.
Lastly, he shared his plans for the maker shop construction, which included the excavation and preparation of the building pad. The process involved bringing 75 dump truck loads of rock to create a sturdy, level foundation.
This journey highlights the perseverance and ingenuity of a genuine maker, who transformed a remote and off-grid property into a modern, fully-powered haven for creativity and innovation. Kaleb's story is a testament to the capabilities of makers and their ability to overcome challenges in pursuit of their passions. To keep up with Kaleb's ongoing projects, be sure to visit his blog series for more exciting updates from Bone Snapper Ridge!