For those of you who have been following the design and development phase of the White Wolf Mine in the Mogollon Rim region of Northern Arizona, it seems that the overall design phase is complete. It’s taken longer than I thought that it would but considering the extraordinarily heavy snow fall and related weather so far this year, there’s not much we could do up there. Once it dries out, we’ll have at it. One thing that I have added is a two-post truck lift in the workshop. Because it requires extra heavy footers, it was easier to incorporate it now rather than later. It also requires a (minimum) 12′ ceiling in the workshop area.
The architect went back to the drawing board to make it all fit in within the larger plan.
One obvious problem with living far from fetid cities and the great unwashed masses is that most of the repairs that need to be done to vehicles must be done in-house. The choice for me was between a grease pit and a lift. The lift is easier to install than digging a grease pit in the floor. I’m getting older and laying on my back with a crawler trying to repair something is simply difficult. I’ve done it in the past, I’ve used those drive-up metal ramps, I’ve parked on an angle, etc. And a lift is much easier.

For me the question was whether to use the 5 car garage or to build an out-building/barn/garage to put the lift in. Economy and practicality kept bringing me back to the garage. I can build a barn later if I find that I need it. Plans are already on the books to build a good sized greenhouse so that I can have fresh vegetables all year round. 
The White Wolf Mine property is designed to be as self-sufficient as possible, which also means that it’s defensible and far enough away from folks that people would likely not bother me anyway. I’m not a hermit by nature, but the world keeps reminding me that a refuge can be a very good thing. Turning off the television is also a good thing.

Some people I work with were panicked slightly with my discussion of hanging up my spurs. They make money from my association with them in consulting work. Can I keep it going for another year or so? Likely. But as with all things, there is a time to sit on a rocking chair with a shotgun on your lap and let the world destroy itself.


  1. I am also putting in a two post lift in my work shop once we start building the compound in Kerrville, TX. I have not given a great deal of thought whether to attach the shop to the hacienda, or go with an out building. Much like your decision. Since I spend most of my time in a shop, HVAC is paramount, and plumbing all of that would be cheaper with an attached unit. That, and it could be easily defended against the post-apocalypse mobs rampaging across the grounds, rather than an out-building that would require punji sticks and Claymores.

    Then again, an out building has it's charms as well, when your aging and vulgar Navy buddies come by to play poker and smoke cigars; the missus won't get nearly as bent out of shape when Snake and Bubba start getting loud after a day of getting liquored up.

  2. There is a plan for a cabin/boy's club house on the rimrock (lower property) that would serve for the place for vulgar friends to hang out, solve the world's problems and shoot into the forrest. Getting there requires a quarter mile hike rather than a drive-up. Since I also like to write and engage in various artistic ventures (non-shop driven), that would be the venue for those efforts as well.

    As you suggest, HVAC and plumbing duplication with an outbuilding make it somewhere around 3x as expensive for no appreciable gain in functionality. I wanted an out-building, but it simply made no sense.

    I hope that the post-apocalyptic mobs and zombies simply by-pass me since the WWM is remote. There are plumper and more vulnerable targets elsewhere. THOUGH, as with everywhere in TX, the few people who live around the WWM are armed to the teeth and though they could be overcome with numbers, it would be costly and doubtless not worth the effort — unless they needed to use the lift to maintain their Mad Max fleet of broken down POS vehicles.

  3. That's the kind of 'pick-me-up' every guy could use. I'm still using the creeper for undercarriage repairs, so I can identify with you on that. Still, I enjoy the Zen of the oil change.

  4. My wife would use the life as an extra space to hang clothes and a shoe bag. Women! As for sitting on the porch with a shotgun, as pleasing as that sounds, I think a bunch of cameras around the property and a safe room in the abode would be more early warning than a open target on the porch. I like the Claymores and punji stick idea, too. You can never be too safe when living out in the open world.

  5. Remember when we met after my visit to my Step Mother in LA? Well I used to visit her in Camp Verde, AZ just down the road from where you'll be.

  6. We use a shade tree mechanic, quite literally. We have a couple oak trees strong enough to hold vehicles for most repairs.

    I do wish we had gone with a more mountainous retreat, but we are where we are supposed to be.

    Great planning. Glad you can afford it. Be safe and God bless.

  7. If you care to share, I am interested in what sort of construction you will use. After building a stick framed house, I think if doing it over, insulated concrete forms might be the way to go. 8 or 10 inches of concrete is a lot tougher than 2x's and plywood.

  8. I was thinking about the part with your co-workers. Perhaps just lease the use of your name? I am guessing they need to confer with you specifically. But you could always meet up at some restaurant in Phoenix under cover of aliens or something.

    Sorry, I think it's the Benadryl I took for my sinus headache..

  9. The lift is a good idea. In addition, very handy for loading/unloading heavy items from a pickup bed. Add
    a sturdy 4 wheel utility cart that can be pulled by
    hand or an ATV and projects around the property are

  10. The creeper works fine unless the vehicle is low slung, in which case it's less than perfect. And if it's more complex than an oil change, I need elbow room.

  11. Sound advice.

    Shoot first and ask questions later. I'm a bit concerned about elk stepping on the pungee sticks and getting hurt.

  12. Maybe in time. There is an appeal, but you are a young guy. There comes an age when the convenience of an HVAC and indoor plumbing has a profound appeal.

    The general contractor called today while I was sitting in traffic on the freeway and we had a nice long conversation while traffic was at a complete stand-still. I think that the septic system will be able to accept input from a barn without any modification to the permit/system. That's good to know and I may do something with an out-building once the main house (and garage) are built. At the moment, I'm trying to focus on getting the permit through Coconino County and breaking ground.

  13. I originally thought log, but the threat of fire danger caused me to re-think structure material. As is, nothing will burn.

  14. Our daughter-in-laws father owns a big construction company in the Fort Collins area,l and I asked him about a "log cabin" type of home. He informs me they're difficult to get financing for (not a problem in your case) and they're difficult to insure.

  15. A two-post lift is in my future, too, especially if I have to build a garage/shop.

    Auto Restorer magazine has been running a series of "Our Readers Recommend" on lifts. I'll dig those out a photocopy them for you.

  16. I planned to get an Atlas lift. PLEASE tell me if I'm making a horrible mistake.

    With your work restoring cars, I don't see how working without a lift makes sense. In Colorado there are cold winter days where you can putter in the garage with the Supra on a lift, and be happy as a clam.

  17. I dug out the magazines, and I'll scan them and email you the articles.

    Bendpak was highly rated, as were a couple of others. The consensus seemed to be to buy a "Made in USA" lift as compared to the unknown quality ones made offshore.

  18. And yeah, a lift will make some things, like working under the car, much easier.

    The few things I've had to do under the car were done with putting it up on four large sturdy jack stands, but it would definitely be nice to be able to get it up far enough to be able to get my little rolling seat under it!

  19. The jacks are fine, but I want to be able to stand under the car when I'm working on it, or on a rolling chair, as I prefer at the moment. I realize that makes me sound spoiled — but Dr. J, I'm not a kid anymore.

  20. Neither am I! I lost about 15 pounds working on the Supra last summer. Some from sweating a lot, but most of it from the intense (for me!) physical activity over a 10 week period.

    The jack stands I have would get the bottom of the car about 24" off the ground, so I was able to get under there with my "old man" padded creeper, but still, it was hard to put enough torque on a few of the fasteners I had to get off, and then retorque.

    Standing under the car would have made that much easier, but for a lot of the work under the car, having it far enough up to scoot under it on my rolling stool (with built-in cup holder and tool tray!!) would be *very* nice!

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