Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Digging for Water

Not a well.  Just a trench, but that was bad enough.

Part of our deal with the sellers of this land is that they provide the water meter.  It was supposed to be done before closing, but the water co-op decided they needed to do a study of the area before doing any more meters, so that not only delayed closing, but it delayed the installation of the meter also.  And, like everything else, it required a few trips to the water co-op department and a lot of paperwork.  Finally, the week before Christmas, we had a meter.

Since Hubby had time off between Christmas and New Year's, he rented a backhoe and trailer, and spent the day trenching for the water line.  He opted for a 1-1/2 inch continuous line instead of pvc pipe so there will be less connections and less chances of leaks.  He installed a frost proof yard hydrant, so we have water during construction.

He also trenched a line for his radio antenna wiring, which meant he had to decide on a permanent location for his tower.

Clouds were building during the day and he finished about an hour before the rental place closed, so he dropped the water line into the trench and then decided to return the backhoe early rather than risk getting it stuck in the mud the next day.  As it turned out, there was very little rain, and the next day, he was able to finish it up and a neighbor covered the ditch with his tractor.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Finally Closed!

We were supposed to close on November 3 or 4, but the surveyor didn't mark one corner.  Once it was marked, Hubby's suspicion that the neighbor's fence was on our side was confirmed.  The neighbor had missed the property line by 35 feet on one end and 50 feet on the other end.  And to compound the problem, he was building a metal barn beside the fence, and had also started digging a pond.  Luckily, the barn and pond were all on his side.  But just barely.

The guy was very apologetic and promised to move his fence immediately.  That was the first week of November.   He started moving it, but as of last weekend, he still hadn't done the part that was supposed to go through the trees (and poison ivy).  So yesterday, Hubby moved the fence and I planted trees next to it.   Today, after closing, we went out to water the trees in a howling wind and found that the siding was coming off the neighbor's barn.  Evidently, he missed putting all the screws in and the siding flapped in the wind until it eventually ripped them off.  Luckily, the siding didn't take down the fence or any of our new trees.

Grow trees, grow!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Prep Work

This week, Hubby found someone else to mow since the first guy doesn't seem to be in any hurry.  There had been a big plum thicket across much of the front and he mowed that down.  Bummer.  The neighbor said the plums were really good and I wanted to keep those.  The stumps still have a little green on them, so maybe they'll grow back.

We also had a culvert put in today.  Yay!  It will be so much easier to drive onto the place now.

I wish we could put the driveway in next, but the ditching for the electric and water needs to be done next.

Monday, September 19, 2016

City Slickers

After weeks of trying to get someone out to mow the grass weeds, we gave up and took our riding lawnmower out there.  The nearest neighbors drove slowly down their fence line to see what we were doing.  I'm sure they were laughing as I drove through grass taller than the mower and Hubby disappeared into a plum thicket with his super trimmer.  But we got the probable barn spot mowed, the culvert spot, and a driveway from the culvert to the barn.  Hubby measured and it was 950 feet from the road to the barn.  We may have to compromise location once we get an estimate for running the electric line from the road to the barn.

This is a neighbor building his cattle barn.  We won't be facing that direction though.

This is our front view from somewhere near the living room.

This is our back view.  And that is me pointing my INDEX finger at Hubby, telling him not to take my picture.  But he did anyway.  He never listens to me.

I came home covered in dirt and grass, and Hubby came home covered with poison ivy.  I only thought we were giving up the hard work and maintenance of a house for an easy life in the country.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Packing Break

With a contract on the house, we have entered the last phase of packing.  Just waiting on the inspection to make sure the sale goes ahead.  In the meantime, Hubby takes a break from packing to check facebook.  Must be watching a cat video. Buddy T. Cat loves cat videos.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

First Work Weekend

With our home on the market and several showings scheduled, we got it ready and then left for the day both Saturday and Sunday this past weekend.  Saturday, we drove to Hubby's brother's house so we could borrow his water tanks, and then we bought an eight foot galvanized stock tank to put on the land.

One of the requirements of our lease is to keep it in agricultural use for the ag exemption - not that having a stock tank means we will not have cattle on it any time soon.

Sunday, we took the tank out there and set it up near a thicket of flameleaf sumac where we think we want to build the barn.  Hubby cleared some brush and grass and then we started filling the stock tank from the water tanks.  Very slowly.  Next time we fill the tank, we are going to take a pump.

While the second tank drained into the stock tank, we went to the road and tried to clear some of the brush to make driving in easier, and to make it easier for the county to approve our culvert.  Then Hubby pointed out some string on the ground and asked me to pull it in so it wouldn't get wound up in mower blades.  I found that the string was connected to wire for an electric fence.  We had wondered how they kept cattle in here before.  Now we know.

The wire was connected to something near the creek so I started walking toward it, pulling the wire up from the ground as I went.  The closer I got to the creek, the taller the weeds.  When the grass and false purple thistle reached my chin, and something rustled in the grass near my foot, I turned tail and headed back to safety.  Those false purple thistle have to go.  They may be kind of pretty, but they sting!  Meanwhile, Hubby found the end of the electric fence from the road side, cut it and we started winding it up.

That job completed, we contemplated going back to the stock tank and climbing in it.  It was hot and humid Sunday!

Before we left, I took two pictures from the best building site.  Our front view:

And our back view:

I know.  They look just about the same.

When we got home, we found that we had another offer on the house.  We had gotten one Saturday also.

Land Lease

Since we would like to begin building as soon as we sign on the dotted line, the owners of the land leased the land to us until our closing date.

In the next two months, we hope to have a culvert, road and fence across the front. The county issued me an address Monday, but didn't say when the culvert inspection (Yes, can you believe it? They have to approve the location of the culvert.) will be. I will say though, that Sissy, and everyone else we've talked to at the county planning department, has been great. We can't build a fence until the survey is done, and the surveyor is really dragging his heels on it, so for the moment, we aren't getting anything done.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Land Search

Early this year, we re-evaluated our life goals, especially the ones that started with the phrase "After we retire...."

One of those goals was to move to the country, build a barndominium (or as we like to call it, an RV-dominium), and travel more.

As much as we have grown to love our house, we didn't want to be tied down to a house or yard that required constant maintenance. We thought we'd find a few acres in a rural area, build a simple barndominium, and start our new life of adventure.

But it wasn't that easy.  For one thing, a few acres in the country is pretty hard to find, and when we did find them, they wouldn't allow barndominiums.  If they allowed barndominiums, they were usually in a pretty crummy area or had huge electric towers..  We were losing hope and reconciled to staying in our home until retirement.

That all changed in April when my friend JT invited me to go on a photography trip while the bluebonnets were in bloom.

So I should credit her with restarting the land hunt by pointing out a for sale sign on a piece of land with a spectacular view.  That land didn't pan out, but researching it led us to a local realtor named Robert Smith, and he pointed us toward land that met most of our requirements.  It does not have a spectacular view, but luckily, that wasn't really a requirement.  It's also well over a couple of acres - by about eighteen acres.

But it did meet these requirements:
Good distance from the nearest neighbor,
Good building site,
Has agricultural exemption already,
Allows barndominiums,
And it has a pleasant view.

An added bonus is that the owner is selling all mineral rights with the land, so we don't have to worry about anyone drilling on our land.  The owner is also putting in our water meter which will not only save us money, but will save time once we close so we can start building immediately. Another bonus was finding this realtor, Robert Smith, who became very special to us.  Because Hubby has Smith cousins, we soon began calling him Cousin Robert too. lol

The only downside is that the owner wants to delay closing until November.