The first step to working on the house was to clear out the trash and junk being stored in the home.
I contacted the previous residents and gave them the opportunity to come get what ever they
wanted from the home, and I was hoping they would come get everything, but as it turned out they
wanted very little of the contents.

Next I went through the house gathering up all of the trash that was burnable.  Old papers,
unusable clothing, boxes, broken furniture, etc.  I hauled this trash out to the back of the property
and started a burn pile.  On the first calm sunny day I lit the fire and burned everything up.  
In the very near future I am planning on planting a nice organic garden in the back, so I placed my
burn pile in the location of my future garden.  My hope is that the fire helped to sterilize the area,
and the ashes will amend the poor soil.  

Once the burnable trash was out of the way, I systematically went through the remaining clutter to
determine if anything was salvageable.  I kept two things in mind while doing this.  One, can I use it
in the future, or two, can I sell it?
The things I determined where worth holding onto I carried up to the apartment above the shop and
stored them away for future consideration.  Anything not worth dealing with was thrown on a junk
pile beside the house.
Eventually I will have a large commercial dumpster delivered to the house, and this is how I will
dispose of the non-burnable trash, but for now I just have a pile started.  Once I have a dumpster
delivered, I have two weeks before they come pick it up, and if I want it back it costs another $250.
To save money, I decided to pile everything up until all of the demolition work and clean up is
completed.  Then I have two weeks to move my pile of trash into the dumpster.  Not the ideal plan,
but the least expensive.

I ended up spending a lot more time then I planned on clearing the house out, and dealing with the
junk, but it is finally cleaned out.  I ended up donating 8 large commercial trash bags full of usable
clothing to the Woman's Shelter.  Now that the house is cleared out almost completely, I began the
demolition.  The first project was to remove all of the old nasty carpet and pad.  

I have removed lots of carpet in my day, but never from a double wide trailer.  I quickly found out
what I feared was true.  When the trailers are built, the carpet and flooring is put down before the
walls go up.  That's right, I had to crawl along and cut the carpet along all of the walls before I could
pull it out.  Talk about labor intensive!  Once the carpet was removed, I found that the carpet pad
was stapled to the floor, and not only that, but who ever the guy was that did the stapling really
loved his job.  The carpet pad was stapled every few inches across every square foot of the floor.
Needless to say, it took much longer to pull the carpet and pad out then I had originally counted on.
Do you see a trend getting started here?

Once the carpet and pad were removed, I discovered the next problem.  The carpet and pad had
been so completely soaked with pet urine that it had soaked through into the plywood flooring.
I thought the foul smell would go away after the carpet and pad were removed, but the odor
remained.  The plywood did not appear damaged.  It was solid and there was no detectable mold in
the area, only large stains and of course the foul odor.  I purchased a product called Nature's
Miracle to try and solve this problem.  Nature's Miracle is an enzyme that is suppose to neutralize
the pet urine, removing the stain and odor.  The cost and labor of removing and replacing the
plywood floors is not an acceptable solution if I can keep from it, so I am hoping it works.

The plan is to soak the plywood floors with the Nature's Miracle solution, allow to dry and reapply
just for good measure.  Once the floor is dry again, I will paint the plywood floor with an enamel
primer.  This should seal any additional residue or odors from coming back.
I considered using bleach, vinegar, or chlorine to clean and disinfect the plywood, but I decided
these treatments could possibly damage the integrity of the plywood.  The enzyme solution should
cause no breakdown of the wood fibers at all.  I will post further information in regards to how this
solution works out further in the page.

After tearing out the carpet and pad, I decided to tackle another messy project in the home.  The
previous year the house had sustained storm damage and the roof had been replaced.  After
replacing the roof however, no work was done to the inside of the home.  Water stains on the
ceiling and walls was apparent, and in some areas along the walls the sheetrock was soft to the
touch and needed to be replaced.  I began tearing out the bad sheetrock, and quickly determined
that I had a lot of sheetrock that needed to be replaced, and I got another big surprise.
Several of the areas along the outer walls that I assumed were damaged by the storm, turned out to
be termite damage.  Once I removed the sheetrock I found the walls full of dirt and active termites!

Now I have another major issue to contend with.  I have since removed all of the sheetrock in the
affected areas, and treated these areas with a good termite killer.  I have also determined that the
wooden skirting around the bottom of the home is allowing the termites easy access to the home,
so it will need to be removed.  The plan at this point is to remove the skirting, then treat the ground
area around the home and establish a barrier against further infestation.  Once this is done I will
treat the whole home and hopefully this will end the termite issue.  Before I can install new
sheetrock however, now I have major and minor wood repairs that will need to be completed.  
Fortunately though, I did not find any major structural issues from the termites, and it should be a
fairly simple job to remove any damaged wood and scab in new 2x4's.
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In the photos you can see
where the sheetrock was
removed, and the evidence of
termite damage.

Where ever I found evidence
of termites, I removed the
insulation as well as the tar
paper outer lining.  I wanted to
make sure I removed and
treated everything in the
immediate area.  
The floors have been treated with the Nature's Miracle enzyme solution, and after only one
treatment the odor is almost completely gone.  It was getting late the night I applied the enzyme
solution, and in all fairness to the product, I probably missed a few spots which accounted for the
slight odor left in the home.  I treated the additional spots that I had missed, and this appears to
have completed the odor removal.  I noticed in the areas that had been severely stained with
urine, the enzyme had almost completely removed the dark spots from the plywood.  I had about a
gallon of the enzyme solution left, so I retreated the few dark stains that remained, and they are
now gone accept for a slight residual discoloration.  I am very happy with the results.
The $100. spent on the enzyme solution was much cheaper and easier then pulling and replacing
the plywood flooring.  I am confident if I floored over the plywood at this point I would not have
any odors or issues to deal with later.  However, just to make double sure, I am going to paint the
plywood flooring with a good enamel primer.  The primer cost about $60. and this should seal the
wood and keep any possible stains or odor from coming back if anything is left after the enzyme
solution.  $160. is still much cheaper then replacing the affected plywood.
From all of my research on homesteading, one thing
everyone mentions is needing a good work truck.

Since money is a major concern, I had to find something
cheap.  I did not want to establish monthly payments on
anything.  The point of this homesteading project is to be self
sustaining, and having monthly payments does not fit in the

I kept a watch in the newspapers, and online auto classifieds,
and finally I saw what I was looking for.  Ranch Truck for sale
$1000.  I drove about 60 miles to look at it, and it wasn't
pretty.  As you can see from the photos.
The truck is a 1984 Ford F250 Diesel.  Standard transmission
4 on the floor.
The truck had spent its whole life on a cattle ranch, so inside
and out it was really rough.  I gave it a good test drive and
the engine and transmission sounded and felt really good
and strong, so I struck a deal with the owner.  The agreed
upon sales price was $850.

The truck had not been used much in the past couple of
years, so the registration and inspection were expired.
My first project with the truck was to get it inspected.  A
quick check of the vehicle and I found that none of the lights
worked, except for the headlights.  Two weeks and about
$160. in parts I had the truck up and running and fully
inspected.  I was really excited about having a diesel truck,
and already started making plans to add a biodiesel plant to
my homestead.  I liked the idea of making not only my own
power, but my own fuel as well!  The truck is running great
and everything was going good for about 3 months.  Then the
seal in the power steering pump began to leak.  It took me
about a week, but I finally got this issue resolved.  Then one
day out of the blue, I started the truck and it had a really
rough idle.  I was afraid that maybe I had gotten some water
in my fuel, so I used a fuel additive to try and clear the
problem.  It helped a little, but did not fix the problem.  Then
about a week later it began putting out black smoke from the
The Homesteading Experience
Homesteading experience