Laying a Foundation – Off Grid Costa Rica – Building a Tool Shed

There's something extremely satisfying about 
building an off-grid homestead but you got a plan   so that you don't make any mistakes and probably 
the first thing you should do is actually get you   a two shed or a place to work out of and that's 
what Rebecca and I have done. So the first thing we   did was to actually build this bodega as they call 
it in Costa Rica. A place to house all of my tools.   Because when you're going out to the work site 
you don't want to have to work out of your vehicle.   Now if you got a trailer great but in Costa Rica 
you don't often see that but what you do see is   almost everywhere where they're building they'll 
throw up a temporary shed and that's where they'll   put all their tools and everything and that's 
where they work out of.

Well by building a tool   shed we got a place where we can kind of begin 
doing things and so today we're going to take   you back in time and show you exactly what 
we did to get the off-grid homestead started. It's a forest, but we've started 
cleaning today as you can see.   And somewhere in there we're 
going to build a tiny house. The view from the tiny house is going to 
be phenomenal. Once we get things cleaned up.   The question is… Where in all 
of that jungle do we build. And we've spent the day doing a lot of cleaning 
and clearing so the area looks a whole lot better. While clearing out a spot in the jungle we 
found this strange object. The jungle had   taken over whatever this was and I'm curious what 
is hidden underneath.

Who knows what I might find. And that's going to be the build site 
right there. So let's see what I found.   A rock. But this rock might be an interesting piece 
for this homestead since it looks like it will be   right next to where we're going to be building the 
tiny house. So I strung up an area to get an idea   where the tiny house would be and what it might 
look like. I started playing around with some of   the figures and started it eight foot but decided 
that you know I think 10 foot wide would be much   better. And since you don't get to see Cootie that 
much well that's our cat and when she does come   around it looks like she loves to hang out in the 
car. All right welcome to the off-grid homestead.   So as you know we've been looking for a perfect 
piece of paradise our slice of paradise and well   we have found one, I'll give you a little bit more 
detail about that later but you know before we   can actually get here we have to have internet.


have to work and there's no internet, there's no   electricity, there's no cell phone signal. We are 
very very remote and the bad thing about doing   anything out here it's so far remote that you know 
if I forget any of my materials well town is like   an hour and a half two hours away to buy anything. 
Today's project is that we're gonna be trying to   install or build a six by six shed or bodega as 
they call it in Costa Rica. Now the purpose is that   I've got a guy coming out here in a few days.

He's 
gonna be putting up a solar unit okay just a small   solar system. However, there's no walls. There's 
nothing out here as you can see but trees and   weeds okay. So I've gotta clear out an area and 
I'm gonna build just a small six by six shed today   I'm gonna lay the slab so I think this is where I
wanna do it but I got a mulberry tree right here   that I planted some months ago to attract birds 
we love nature but I'm have to move that mulberry   tree but I'm kind of glad that I do because the 
house is going to be this away 10 foot by about 24   foot and there's going to be a porch our main view 
is not only the front but out here and I figure if   I plant this mulberry tree here because I've got 
a mulberry tree there then if I plant the mulberry   tree right over there well then as it gets bigger 
I'll be able to see the birds and possibly the   monkeys as they come by to eat some of the fruit 
okay so I'm gonna have to move that.

Well I just   need to clear out this little area right here 
and I need to get after it. So let's get started. All right I've got it all cleaned out. And 
so now I just need to stake it get it level   and get it square and that way I get ready 
to pour some cement so we're getting closer. All right, I thought I was getting close and 
then I ran into a problem. However, you know   it all depends on how you 
look at it could be a problem.   Problems just seem to be negative 
or it could be a challenge. And being here since November 2013, I've come 
to realize that there's a lot of challenges   in coming to Costa Rica. But they're not all 
bad.

Some challenges will make you stronger.   Other challenges, you know if there's a challenge 
there's a resolution there's a solution to   something, but your solution might be a quick 
fix and your solution might lead to something   that's going to make you a lot of money while 
you're in Costa Rica. Obstacle that I run into   the challenge is uh there's a rock. Uh and 
found a rock and you know rocks are kind of   like icebergs you only can see the tip of it and 
then it's no telling how big it is and well same   situation here. Let's take a closer look. All 
right so the tip of my iceberg is right here   and I thought it was going to be maybe a small 
rock you never know but it turns out that as I dug   it looks like my rock it goes at least well it 
looks like it's at least four four foot long and   it's no telling how big this is.

So the challenge 
here is try to dig that whole thing up   or you know this rock's probably not that strong. 
I could probably take a good hammer and break this   and because it only needs to come down a little 
bit for my form. So if we take a look here, yeah some of that could be part of my foundation. 
Yeeha! That's looking at the positive, now we got   to figure out what to do here, so I'm going to test 
it and I really should have some safety glasses   but I just want to test to see how tough it's 
going to be so don't hate on me here okay.

I don't think it's gonna be tough. I'm gonna 
go get my safety glasses I'm gonna get my chisel   and I'm gonna try to work 
on this a little bit. Yeah… Here's my girl… Yeah! That's my mickey huh… Yeah yeah! Come see come see… 
Whoa! You said you're good girl huh yeah you're   such a good girl! All right, all right we got to get 
this rock. You ready? You ready to get this rock? Huh?   Okay you come over here. All right 
let's see how strong this rock is. Yeah I think this rock's 
gonna break off really easy. This is breaking off good! I don't have to go that far. They kind of give us 
an idea. I need to come down a little bit more here.   Of course a lot of that can be part of my slab. We gotta just make sure that 
we're level and it looks like… All right looks like we're level on all sides 
I do need to square it up though so let's see what we have.

We got 104 inches and a half. We should 
have the exact same thing on this side. All right we're exactly 104 inches and 
a half, so that means they're square.   So I need to put in mistakes and I'll put in mistakes it'll stay in place 
we hope. And here's where the rocks at.   So we take a look we got at least a couple of 
inches here above the rock. So we're good and that   rock will just become a part of our foundation 
how awesome is that we solved not a problem… We   fix that challenge. There's a solution to every 
challenge. And in Costa Rica you'll meet a bunch.   But perseverance pays off and it between 
that rock or this rock and this rock won.

And level… There's our rock. So our rock   our rock is right here. So we can't get any 
more square and any more level than that but   I'm not done yet because Rebecca wants a little 
temporary shower in here so that you know   whenever uh we're working out here until 
we actually get a shower we can have an   outdoor shower right here. So uh now I gotta 
form it up right here so that our shower   will be a you know this part will be a little bit 
lower than the rest of it so that water   doesn't go all over the building. It'll go out 
okay and I'll have to dig a drain at some point. All right so… We're getting close but it's starting to rain 
a little bit but what's even more exciting is   the monkeys are coming around. I'm gonna 
try to see if I can't catch em on camera.

The monkeys are all around me and 
they seem to be okay with me so far. This is really neat, I'm kind 
of starting to feel like Tarzan. All right so so far we're looking pretty good. 
We've got a little area right here for our shower   and it's just going to be a small shower 
but it's just a temporary shower so we have   a place to get cleaned up while we're working. 
So it's just a little bit of six by six it's   almost ready to start pouring cement.

So but I'm 
debating whether this rain is gonna kick in or not.   And right now the monkeys are passing in the trees 
right here which is really neat and the biggest   reason why we want to live way out here where 
it's remote and Nikki has been such a good girl   she didn't try to chase him… Yes he was so good! 
Yeah she was so good! So we're getting close to   getting ready to pour some cement. I 
got to put some concrete wire down here   and I got to do a little work here for 
my shower area but it's looking fabulous. Yesterday the weather wasn't so nice and so 
it rained yesterday evening not a bad thing,   just means I couldn't finish my project.

pexels photo 3768898

So 
today we're going to try to finish it all up.   It's an absolutely gorgeous day it's bright 
and early. The sun's getting ready to come over   the top of the mountains in a little while 
it's going to dry things up nicely but let's   take a look at what we've got to do today. 
I've got almost everything ready and really   all I need to do is haul a bunch of cement over 
next to my working site here and then get ready   to start mixing cement. So let's take a look at 
our site. All right so this is a close-up shot.   As you can see I've got my little area here. 
It's only 30 inches by 30 inches so it's going   to be a good little temporary outdoor shower uh 
everything's all formed up. I have my concrete wire   inside here. I've got everything leveled out and 
it's about you know between three-three and a   half four inches deep of concrete which is going 
to be plenty since there's never going to be a   lot of weight in there.

As you can see I ran my 
strings here so everything is level everything   looks real good, so I got a haul in my cement and 
then after I haul in my cement well we're gonna   mix that cement pour it all in here and now my 
shower area well I'm gonna do that on another day   because I'm gonna let that dry. This way I 
can pull this form out and then I can pour my   shower area which is going to be you know a 
few inches lower than the top that away when   we're taking a shower, all of the water stays here 
and drains out. So it's time for us to get after. Got my cement over here. It looks like I got 
two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen,   eighteen bags of cement.

Now I'm a high-tech 
redneck and so for all you contractors out   there and cement mixers, hey if you know the 
exact formula well then go ahead and tell me   what the exact formula in the description below. I'm a 
high-tech redneck so I just go to google and I say   you know I put in I got six inches I mean six 
feet by six feet three inches thick and it tells   me how many sides of concrete I need. However, it 
tells me I need this many 40 pound bags or this   many 80 pound bags and in Costa Rica it's all on 
kilos and so this is a 40 kilo bag and I'm not   quite sure because I don't have internet right 
now but 40 kilo bag I think is about 88 pounds   and which brings me to our next challenge 
or our biggest challenge living in Costa Rica   is the internet.

And so pretty soon you'll be able 
to watch a video and you'll see what we're doing   to overcome the challenge of getting internet here 
at the off-grid homestead it's a big challenge but   we're overcoming that challenge and hopefully soon 
within a day or two, I hope we'll have internet. All right it's time to get after it now I forget 
to mention that you know I'm no pro at any of   this stuff so if you got any good comments or 
suggestions don't hate on me, hey educate me   and let me know put your comments in the 
description below and tell me what you would do   differently or what would be a better way to do 
it.

So I'm by myself and it looks like I've got   about uh 18 bags of cement to mix. I'm hoping it 
ain't gonna take it all but it probably will but I'm gonna have to mix it really wet because I 
need it to be wet so that whenever I level it and   screed out my concrete, then it won't be dry since 
I'm working by myself so I'm gonna have to work   fast and work hard so I can get it done.

All right 
you know it just came to mind that some of you   are probably thinking, well hey Allen why don't you 
just get some plain old regular cement some sand   and gravel and kind of mix this stuff instead of 
using all this sackrete for this quickrete. Well   I could do that however you know the we're very 
very remote. The closest hardware store where I   could buy all of that would be a little more than 
two hours away and so I don't know what they would   charge me to bring it up here and even and even if 
they did charge a lot it's still probably worth it,   however, the road is so narrow, so small, so
difficult you need a four-wheel drive to get here   and I don't think any of those trucks would 
even dare come this way so I don't have any   choice but to use cement mix and I'm hoping that 
eventually maybe I can get me a concrete mixer so   I want to do so much work because this is a lot of 
cement for a six by six when I get ready to do the   tiny house that's 10 by 24 or 30…

That's a 
lot of cement. Y'all pray for a concrete mixer. Now here's an interesting cultural side note. I'll 
try to add these in as I'm working on the project   but in Costa Rica you hardly ever you almost will 
never see them mixing cement in a wheelbarrow okay.   They almost always will find them a spot on 
the ground and they will mix that cement on   the ground somewhere close to the job site and 
then just shovel it in wherever it needs to go.   So of course after the job is over you got 
this big hole in the ground that's a mess from the   job site.

From the concrete of course it's never 
cleaned up that's your job once you get the house   and you almost never see a concrete mixer. 
Of course depends on how you look at it.   They got concrete mix all over 
Costa Rica, it's called Tico labor.   They get in there and they mix it themselves. 
Now that's one of the things I really admire   and it was one of the first things that just 
impressed the heck out of me.

As I first came   to Costa Rica and I saw they were starting on a 
new job sited house and I saw these two Tico guys   and man they was digging their butt off and it 
was he was up to their chest and he was digging   a hole for the septic tank. Now the septic tanks 
here not nearly as big as what you might have   the United States and you know and it might be 
about uh six foot around for a large septic tank   but you know Ticos don't have this mentality 
where's the back hole where's the concrete   mixer.

They just have this just do it mentality 
and they get after it. So that's one of the interesting cultural side notes about Costa 
Rica. As you can see my concrete is really wet.   But concrete dries real fast and I need it 
to be wet so that I can work it when I get done.   So as you can see we got a concrete porch. 
Looks pretty good it's really really wet   and the last step is I need 
to put some bolts in there. So I got these bolts and so I'll stick that into 
the seam and all the way up to the threads.

Once   that's in my cement then after it's dry 
then I could take put that great big washer   and on there in my nut so that I can fasten 
down my metal building. So anyway we'll come   along I'm gonna have to let it dry a little bit 
but I'll keep working it but we're getting close. All right that's looking pretty good. Now as a 
cultural side note you'll never see or I haven't   ever seen concrete this smooth in Costa Rica.
I think it's probably a couple of things you know   they just really don't care and most importantly 
almost all concrete's gonna be covered with some   tile anyway so if you know to them it's like 
well why worry about making it smoother level   if I'm just going to cover it up with tile. 
So anyway just difference is all and   if we take a look we've got six bags 
of concrete left out of 18.

So it took   us 12 bags of concrete. Keep in mind these are 40 
kilo bags which is heavier than the heaviest bag   of the United States which is 80 pounds in the 
States okay. I think this converts to 88 pounds.   So now I've got concrete that I can kind of 
move back underneath a building or underneath   tarp to keep it from getting wet but anyway it's 
looking good. It's now time to put those bolts in.   So before the concrete gets too hard, I gotta make 
some holes put those boats in there. Let's do it. My bolts are in. The cement is getting really 
dry so it's still got a little a long ways   to go before it's cured. And I'll be back 
here probably in a few days when I come back   I'll dig out the shower area, pour some 
cement down in the bottom and then we'll   start putting up some walls. So hey if you like 
this project and you enjoyed this project… Hey   give us a thumbs up, give us lots of likes, give 
us some comments.

Hey remember if you see   something that I could be doing better, hey I'm 
eager to learn from those that know so put your   comments in the chatbox and look we look 
forward to seeing you in the next video.   So hey this is off-grid homestead where we 
are building a tiny house, without electricity,   without cell phone service, without internet, but 
we do have a lot of water. But we're working on   getting some of those other things and we'll find 
out more in the next living in Costa Rica off-grid. you.

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