Power Upgrade

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Blog series by Nate Meadows updated 07-26-2014 12:56 PM 31 parts 51283 reads 380 comments total

Part 1: Power Poles

02-10-2013 09:50 PM by Nate Meadows | 17 comments »

Ok, first let me say Thank You! again to all of you Lumber Jocks for your kindness and encouragement! You guys are amazing! I don’t know how else to put it, you are truly amazing. You have all touched my life. So things here are busy. We are preparing to upgrade our electrical service to 400amps. I know there is a deep divide among the “overkill” and “sufficient” camps. Let me just get it out there that I am a believer in always preparing for the future. It is...

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Part 2: Trenching

02-11-2013 01:24 AM by Nate Meadows | 16 comments »

So this last weekend we had a break in the weather and I was feeling pretty good! I went to our local center and rented a Ditch Witch trencher. I got the ride along model on the advice of my brother-in-law; with my vertigo and dizziness it would not have been wise to use the walk behind model. It cuts a 6in wide by 4ft deep trench. I started out at the big barn and where Theresa’s glass shop is going to be. It really is an impressive machine! The ma...

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Part 3: Trenching Adventures!

02-11-2013 01:41 AM by Nate Meadows | 16 comments »

So I did call USA DIG and had all my lines marked and had the utilities come out. However, being an old house I guess I should have expected some adventures! I have no idea where one of these two lines goes, but I just forgot that the old Ag Well (our third well) was going to have power. But since it is not operating I did not think its power was live. It was! Then right after that I hit my gas line!!! Part of it was my fault. You are not supposed to operate a trencher within 6 feet of...

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Part 4: Hand Trenching

03-31-2013 09:45 PM by Nate Meadows | 12 comments »

So after returning the Ditch Witch I still had about 100 feet of trench to hand dig. I had some little helpers to assist in cutting through the top 15 inches. One was a little Angry Bird:). However, after several hours of work we only cut through several inches of the top soil. So, I had to go back to plan A. But when I went back to the rental place the Witch was gone. All they had was the Bobcat. So I had to make do. Unfortunately I did not get any pics of ...

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Part 5: The Main Panel Setup

03-31-2013 10:14 PM by Nate Meadows | 9 comments »

I let the post cure of a few days before working on them. I needed to add the the cross members and supports before I could add the backboard. I used the Rockwell Sonicrafter Multi-tool to cut the mortises. I really love the Multi-tooll! The Sonicraft vibrates a bit more than I like but it has plenty of power. I don’t recommend the Rockwell blades as they go dull super fast. I find the blades from Imperial Blades ( to be the best. However, n...

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Part 6: Digging and more Digging

06-01-2013 02:53 PM by Nate Meadows | 13 comments »

Ok, I am so sorry for the delay! Life as always is so crazy. I have been insanely busy; busy taking care of my awesome boys and getting them through the final days of school, busy now doing some volunteer work, busy trying to stay healthy, busy trying to keep my family healthy and of course, busy working away on this vast electrical project. O yeah, and busy doing plumbing, but more on that later.:) Though there are times I feel like I am drowning, most of the time I am very content. I kno...

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Part 7: And Yet More...

06-01-2013 03:24 PM by Nate Meadows | 10 comments »

Yep, even more hand digging. Seems like even though I investing in trenchers I still have to work:). No, really, I don’t mind. Digging is good exercise and mind therapy. At least most of this digging is easy. The dirt is already work those by the trenchers. Because of the time frame, the trenches just kept filling in. (Dogs, boys, wind, rain and gravity) I did have to dig some trenches that the trenchers just couldn’t get. However, I was running out of room to put all the dirt ...

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Part 8: First More Water

06-01-2013 04:15 PM by Nate Meadows | 17 comments »

Since I was on water, I decided to stick with it and just finish that phase. I had another section where another electrical line was going to cross a water line and I figured there was no time like the present. I hit my Ag Well line with the trencher preparing for this new line, so I had to dig down to and around the broken section. Then I had about 60 feet of trench that I had to dig by hand, which much of kept caving in, and another 40 that the trencher had made that I had to ...

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Part 9: The Adventure Continues

06-24-2013 04:53 AM by Nate Meadows | 21 comments »

So, as time continues to pass, the trenches continue to fill in; again, because of boys, dogs, rain and gravity. So I recently made a friend who offered to bring his backhoe over and help out! I love the 16in wide bucket making the large trenches. Now I have room to work! The whole line to from the house to the barn had to be dug out again. It would have taken me so long to do with just a shovel. There was no where to put the dirt so he had to put the dirt in the ...

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Part 10: More and More Dirt

07-15-2013 11:15 AM by Nate Meadows | 27 comments »

Life is never, ever dull! Yes, it probably is getting dull reading these posts…sorry…I am doing my absolute best to get this thing hammered out! I am a perfectionist though so you will have to bare with me! So yes, more trench needed widening and cleaning! The lines from the Main Panel to the Ag Well as well as to the “New House Well” were the focus this time. I also had to cut the existing overhead power to the Ag Well down so I could install a new p...

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Part 11: Back To It

11-01-2013 01:48 AM by Nate Meadows | 12 comments »

Now where was I? O yes, I did get that large cable in the trench finally. Alas, when your wife is helping you pull and lift heavy cable she does not want you to pause while she stands there gripping it, as you pull out your phone for a photo update. So, I did not get any pictures of that particular adventure…but trust me when I tell you…it was ALLOT of fun!:) No really, it was, I just had to make you smile. Anyway, with that particular line done I had to move on to the next ...

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Part 12: Gas, Gas, Gas! And More Power

11-03-2013 01:52 AM by Nate Meadows | 8 comments »

After nearly four…maybe five months, I finally got our propane hooked back up. Well, thats a lie, I had an awesome friend how hooked it up while I tagged behind and handed him tools or taped or whatever. I did run the section under the house but thats like 17 feet! Of course it wouldn’t be a project if it didn’t require more digging:) But it is finally hooked up and my wife has a stove! And I have peace of mind and peace in the house…well I did:). ...

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Part 13: 1st Ground

11-04-2013 08:55 PM by Nate Meadows | 13 comments »

(So we are still here in the hospital. She is doing better. Was able to get up and take a shower but her pain spiked afterward. Doctor wants her to try to drink some broth for lunch. We will see how that goes. She hasn’t had any food or anything since Thursday! I hate that feeling of watching someone you care about suffer and there is nothing you can do…all you want to do is reach out and take the pain away but you sit there, feeling utterly helpless!) But, anyway, back to the ...

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Part 14: More Wire-More Room

11-05-2013 05:20 AM by Nate Meadows | 14 comments »

Update- My beautiful wife has been moved to the ICU! I cannot adequately describe the feeling that resided within me, watching hordes of nurses scramble around my soul mate while all I could do was answer a few questions. One minute she was ok, the next she wasn’t. I don’t know what else to say! I think I am going to go mad sitting here waiting to hear any news, replaying those terrible images in my head! Another Update- I am sitting here in the ICU with her. She is hooked up t...

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Part 15: More 4-Way Wire

11-06-2013 05:46 PM by Nate Meadows | 9 comments »

First another Update- Let me say- Thank you to everyone for there kindness and support! You all are so awesome!!! Yesterday and last night were so very long. They did find a bacteria in Theresa’s blood and moved her to the ICU on a code. Once she was stabilized they moved her back to the floor yesterday afternoon, hooked up to antibiotics and potassium. Then last night, they called a code again because the bacteria acted out, again! It is the worst feeling in the world to stand there...

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Part 16: So Many Wires

11-07-2013 04:00 AM by Nate Meadows | 10 comments »

Another update, Theresa is still in the hospital and I am still sitting here beside her. Last night was so long! Today I called my mother-in-law to come and sit with her while I laid down on the floor beside T so I could catch up on my sleep; otherwise I was headed for a terrible migraine. She is doing better this evening. She was able to eat some but needed a shot for nausea. She needs more IV antibiotics tomorrow and then she can switch to oral ones. So, I mentioned that there are a ...

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Part 17: A Scattering

11-09-2013 04:11 AM by Nate Meadows | 11 comments »

Still in the Hospital! But, after a night in the ICU, the next night pushing through another code call and seeing my beloved fight through yet another episode of septic shock; she is finally on the mountain top! The hope is that after her IV antibiotics tomorrow that her labs will allow us to return home to continue the medications orally. She is doing so much better. Again, it is so difficult to describe the relief and gratitude the healing God has shown her. It has been a long, long,...

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Part 18: Splicing

11-09-2013 04:55 AM by Nate Meadows | 9 comments »

I have run all the 10/2 and 10/3 that I need except for two lines that need to be spliced. The rest of the lines are 14/2. I originally thought I could get the 8 runs to the Woodshop through a 2in conduit. But here you can see that with only the 10/3, and still needing 8- 14/2 wires, there was no way. I will have to go up to a 3 in conduit to avoid derating everything circuit! Having run over a mile of cable and wire, I have installed approximately 4 splices. I am sure I will have ...

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Part 19: Continuing On

11-14-2013 05:14 AM by Nate Meadows | 8 comments »

Theresa was released from the hospital on Saturday! Of course she was given a huge list of drug prescriptions that had to be filled before we could get home. Although it only took less than an hour to fill them, it seemed like forever, when you have spent the last 10 nights in the hospital and all you want to do is get your wife home, and comfortable. It seems the only way I got through it, was more coffee:). Thank you all for your love, support and encouragement!!!! To get back to the...

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Part 20: Update/4 Way Circuits

12-15-2013 12:16 PM by Nate Meadows | 8 comments »

Has it really been 31 days since my last blog? Wow, time flies when you are busier that a bee and struggling to keep your head above water.:) First let me update you on my lovely bride! Theresa is healing really well. She is still have some stomach issues with vomiting about twice to three times a week and she is still really weak. But she is doing so much better. I cannot thank you all enough for your prayers and more. (The Flowers above are from my Mum, Catherine Helshoj, the most wo...

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Part 21: Cold Black Ground

12-15-2013 12:56 PM by Nate Meadows | 12 comments »

Before I start on the project, I wanted to share this. So I finally go a photo of one of the Widows that have been invading my trenches. She not very big, just a yearling, barely out of her spots and into her black coat. Anyway, I finally picked up the right length of 1/0 stranded bare copper wire/cable. The first piece was about 4 or 5 feet short and by code you cannot splice a ground, especially coming off of your main service panel. The most difficult part of runn...

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Part 22: The House Lines

12-17-2013 03:06 PM by Nate Meadows | 6 comments »

With all the small wire laid, I could finally run the last bit of large 2/0 wire from the Generac 200Amp Panel, into the inside House 100Amp Panel. It also needed to be routed under the concrete walkway. I spoiled it out and into the Generac Panel first, then pulled, measured, cut and re-ran it from there. The new panel is going to be located in the laundry room as it cannot go where the old was is. (Which is in the closet and is against code…and very unsafe anyway!) ...

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Part 23: Highs and Lows

12-17-2013 05:24 PM by Nate Meadows | 13 comments »

Our roof has been leaking for the last few seasons at the spot were the old fireplace pipe comes out, despite several attempts to fix it. There was a spot of good weather so thought I would brave the heights and climb up there and use the new spray seal stuff to see if that would help. (I hate heights now that I get vertigo attacks.) Anyway, I am including this in the series because of the cool pictures I go of the trenches, piles, shovels, dogs and view! This is the view looking Northw...

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Part 24: Inspection Day!

12-18-2013 02:41 PM by Nate Meadows | 12 comments »

So December 4th was Inspection Day. The inspector spent about 15 to 20 walking around. I showed him all the boxes, though only the insides of a few since not all of them are done. He was just checking the trench work, wire and conduit. He was happy and I was very happy. Shortly after he left, I started to backfill with sand. So yes, I PASSED! I didn’t have to change a thing! Thank God! I still have communication wire to put in, both telephone and CAT5e wire. So I am covering the elec...

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Part 25: An Hiatus (Getting back into the groove)

03-23-2014 05:08 AM by Nate Meadows | 11 comments »

To get back into the game of blogging I wanted to post something cheerful. My mom loved Christmas so this is a good one to start back up on! Before my mom died, my wife asked me to hang lights in our fir tree out front. As you know our house is right by the highway so its is kind of our blessing to the drivers to let them the tree durn the night! Getting them hung is always an affair. I have to back the truck up to the tree and put a ladder against the tree. My oldest son, Brentan, walks t...

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Part 26: Sand

03-23-2014 03:19 PM by Nate Meadows | 9 comments »

If you look back at the last few blogs…I would say just remember, but I can’t remember so :) will see that I ran out of sand to cover up the lines. Thankfully there is a very good company that delivers to this area. For about $250 total, not extra, they brought out 8 yards of beautiful sand on the 7th of December. This is way better than using a dumb trailer. First of all, I don’t have to drive out there! Second, my fathers dump trailer only holds about 4 yards so it t...

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Part 27: Buckets and Buckets of Sand

03-27-2014 09:56 PM by Nate Meadows | 11 comments »

What can I say, I am a glutton for punishment! In all actuality, I don’t mind hard work! Being an enlisted soldier, I am used to working my butt off getting a particular job done to fulfill the orders of my commanding officer, only to be told to pack everything all up and move it down another 500 meters because he fancies a better spot. I figure that if I can bleed, sweat and toil for a man I respect only because of the rank he wears on his uniform, then why would I not work just as har...

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Part 28: Telephone!

03-27-2014 11:11 PM by Nate Meadows | 7 comments »

Now that all the electrical lines have sand protecting them. I have to run the new communication lines. I still needed to dig the final trench to the flagpole. The ground was still frozen and it was pretty cold outside so it made for some hard work. But with the help of my oldest son, the Rockwell/Worx hammer drill, an earth auger and a “Potato Bug”, we got the job done. Here is the Worx Drill that the President of Rockwell sent me while ...

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Part 29: After They Left

04-19-2014 09:35 PM by Nate Meadows | 12 comments »

Ok, so turns out taking care of a sick wife, her taking care of me having a torn up body and brain and the two of us taking care of two kids takes more balancing than I thought.:) My ability to adapt has obviously been slowed since I was in the military. Anyway, what matters most is that we are moving ever forward! Thanks so much family for your patience! You guys rock! So, going back in time. When the men from the church came over to fill the trenches I was running around like a mad man t...

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Part 30: Slow Going

06-09-2014 11:06 AM by Nate Meadows | 10 comments »

Right, so who was I kidding when I thought it was going to get easier to get back into the routine of things after the year we have had!:). And with summer racing in it just gets worse! I am sure all of you feel the same way!! So backing up all the way to March! I took a day to work over at my parents…at my dads. Since my mom has died my sister and her 9 children have been staying with him for the time being. (He has a very big house which he built for my mother and all of us childre...

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Part 31: Nearly There...I can almost taste it!

07-26-2014 12:56 PM by Nate Meadows | 17 comments »

O what a summer it has been! I bet you all know what I am talking about. As the school year winds down you look forward to a change of pace, some R&R and some time to really get things done…...Right!!!!...I forgot summer is busier than the school year. When the boys are in school your wife can’t come home and say, “Hey, I’m feeling good, lets go the lake for the next three days.” And then when you get back its a BBQ at Dads and a get together at the brother-i...

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