Position and hold, caution wake turbulence

© maaviStill no homestead news as we have yet to close on the sale of our city home. The deal we had in June ended with a terminated contract in July which you can read about in our previous post. It took some time to unravel the details of the contract termination, but we did finally get the house back on the market.

About two weeks passed by and we ended up with several offers on the table. Yesterday we accepted what we think was the best of them and we again have a signed contract. I am hopeful this time we will go to closing, but due to the unforeseen drama of the previous contract we are throttling back our excitement.

We haven’t been out to the homestead in over two months because we have been so busy putting this house sale together and making it ready for a buyer. We realize there isn’t much we could do out there in this Texas summer heat when we have no power or water, but we just love putting our eyes on the prize. Hopefully we will get out there again soon!

No updates on the homestead, still working on the homefront

I had hoped to have more news from the homestead this week as we had planned a weekend getaway to the property. Unfortunately we had to change plans due to the mold issue that came up last week in our home for sale.

We examined the area of concern and found very little to actually be concerned about, then we turned around. As we examined the outer walls of the sunroom we did find some mold, not bad mind you, but it was there. The worst problem was not mold, but wood rot. Thankfully the structure is supported by the limestone walls because if it had been directed on the wooden frames, this thing would have surely collapsed.

Knowing what we had to do, we sucked it up and went straight to work on the problem. We tore out all the existing wall framing, improved the design and rebuilt everything with pressure treated wood. We replaced regular sheetrock with greenboard to further protect against any future attempt by mold to gain a foothold in that room.

Next step is the gutter, which unfortunately needs to be done by a licensed contractor. We could probably tackle it ourselves, but due to the severity of the issue we think it prudent to have someone who really knows gutters take care of this unique design challenge.

We had to extend the closing date for the sale, but I am hopeful that this time it will actually happen. If it doesn’t it has not been due to a lack of effort on our part.

 

A bummer of a week

© branoxFor the past week we have been tirelessly moving into our rental and working to get our home ready for the new buyers. It has been a week full of late nights and early mornings, but we remained energized with the excitement of being able to move to the next phase. Then the curtain came crashing down.

It is almost 10am and right now we are supposed to be closing with the new owners. Instead, we sit here in a state of awe and wonder whether or not this is actually going to happen. The buyers appear to have changed their minds because there was a small amount of mold detected in the sunroom of the house.

Now, I don’t blame the buyers for being skeptical and I was quite surprised to learn of the discovery. However, rather than trying to work with us to remedy the situation they simply want to walk away. The amount of mold found is on an exterior wall to the house and isn’t really all that detrimental, but they apparently refuse to listen to logic or reason and are opting for an emotional exit.

This is putting a great deal of stress and pressure on our family as we have already signed a year lease and moved all of our worldly possessions to a new home. For the time being we will now have two house payments and will need to repair the damaged area before relisting the house and starting all over again.

This IS a nightmare! We do believe we are following the path that God has laid before us and are trusting Him to help us in this sudden reversal. Being human though does have its drawbacks, because although we trust Him, this is a scary situation to be in. We welcome your prayers.

Too much stuff!

When we first began preparing to move from our house it sure didn’t look like we had a lot of “stuff.” After a week of revisiting the old house to pick up “odds and ends” every single day I have come to the conclusions that we do indeed have too much stuff!

Of course this truth is exacerbated by the fact that we moved from a 2400 square foot house into one that is almost 1400 square feet. The rental garage is absolutely full of our accumulated belongings.

The house we plan to build is a little bigger than the one we are now renting, but only by about 300 square feet. Perhaps this exercise will help us to pare down our worldly goods so that the move to the farm will be less painful than this experience has been. I just hope that we can get all this stuff organized within the next year 🙂 I don’t want to have to try to give away or sell things once we move out to the farm since there aren’t many people out there.

Here comes the weekend and it is time for a yard sale!

On the move, one step closer to the homestead

movingday2014I picked up the U Haul truck early Saturday morning and by 8:30 am our “hive” was buzzing with activity. The day sure went by fast, but once I returned the truck and the sun started to fade my body tried to tell me it was time to take a break. I pushed through the overwhelming desire to collapse on the couch so we could arrange enough furniture to make the rental feel like home.

The dogs have already taken to the place and they sure enjoy chasing all the little bunny rabbits that frequent our back yard. Our littleman was so cute throughout the day, trying to find ways to be helpful. I’d give him a can of peas or a couple of his books and he would proudly take whatever he was given and help load up the new house.

I also managed a chuckle when I brought over the second load of furniture. The rental was in a great state of disarray, as to be expected, but I glanced in my teenage daughter’s room and she already had everything in place, the bed put together and made up with her new sheets and blankets.

We still have a few trips to make between the two homes to pick up small and stray items left behind (as well as all my tools), but we accomplished great things in two days. Of course in the midst of all the excitement I managed to come down with a sinus infection, but had to work through it. When you are on a deadline like this there are no sick days!

Once we get settled in to the rental we’ll begin another round of purging and organizing so that when the time comes to move to the farm we will be able to do it in one trip. We won’t have the luxury of being so close so multiple trips is out of the question.

Why we are making this transistion

© SmollaI have honestly been surprised at how many people are actually happy and supportive of our decision to leave city life behind. However, for every four or so people who love the idea there is one who asks, “Why in the world would you do that to your family?” ; “How are you gonna make that work?” — or something to that effect. I do have to be realistic and admit that I have asked myself these same things, but doing so has really helped to shape our decision-making into an even firmer picture.

Here are a few of the reasons (not in any particular order other than what pops into my head first):

Family

Modern life is nothing short of chaotic. Corporate employment, the demands of public education, and organized sports used for the purpose of giving kids “something to do” are among the short list of activities pulling families apart.

Even when we incorporate family dinner at the table to discuss family and activity issues, the minute the food is done everyone scatters to their next event.

The conceptual design of modern life has so many ways to escape from what is real that reality itself almost becomes a myth. The idea of something being real become so abstract that people seem to have to make uninformed decisions on what is real and what is not. These concepts become rooted in a societal soup that is so contrived and manipulated it is no wonder that families don’t know their members (and perhaps even themselves) very well.

A return to a rural farm is what we believe will help bring a family back in touch with each other. We will have to work together and communicate about concepts and ideas that are truly important and based upon things that are tangible, not peripheral and inconsequential.

 Food

Unless one buys their food from a local farmer’s market, the question about the source of what is on the table is always in question. How was it grown, how were the people who grew and harvested it treated, what is or is not in the food that we are eating?

Those questions are no longer in doubt when you bring your own food to the table. If there are hazardous chemicals in it, the fault is your own. Sure there are the real possibilities that a crop could fail, but wise planning and stewardship can prevent total disaster.

Spirituality

God is alive and well, but He sure seems to get a back seat in the normal day-to-day of “civilized society.” When a population derives its hope from corporations and governments, their view of God’s hand upon their lives is twisted and skewed.

On the other hand, when we can escape the sterile confines of brick and sheet rock walls to the expanse of nature’s grass, trees and weather, our understanding of forces bigger than us becomes much more tangible. We can see the intricate beauty of creation happening right in front of our eyes.

This builds a connection between the seen and unseen that goes almost unnoticed in a life that strives to artificially subdue the environment.

Peace

Nature is not silent, however, the natural noises of wind, rain, birds and other animals do not reach the ear in the same way that sirens and car alarms do. Most people find time in their schedules to escape from the chaos of urban life, but why not make urban life the anomaly rather than the other way around?

Pride

This is not the narcissistic pride that puffs one up artificially. This is a real sense of personal satisfaction that occurs when you see something you have done with your own hands. Food always seems to taste better when you know how hard you had to work to bring it to the table yourself. When you see the smiling faces of your family enjoying the fruits of YOUR labor and not someone those of some unknown stranger, there is a satisfaction that cannot be duplicated anywhere else.

Personal Growth

Who knew I could cut down a tree and turn it into a beautiful new gate for our property? People in the city have so much untapped potential it is almost a travesty to see it go to waste. In the city we spend so much time trying to get from this activity to the next that we lose the ability to truly try new things. We don’t experience our limits because we don’t often get the opportunity to challenge ourselves. Failure is certainly an option, but it is in the trying that we learn and grow.

Existence, to me, is not an hour on the couch watching television because my mind is too exhausted to create new adventures.

 Desire

Not everyone thinks this way, nor does everyone have what it takes to make this kind of transition. Believe me, even with all the previous reasons, without the desire to see it through, this would be a ridiculous move on our part. The reality is that we DO have this desire and it comes deep from within. It has been there all along, but we just didn’t know what to do with it. We tried to adapt to “civilized life,” but there was always a yearning to do things differently. Because we share this desire, we are willing to take our family on this journey, together.

 

 

Life Change Whirlwind and the house is SOLD!

The past month has been an incredible time for our family! Our original plan was to remain in our current home until our daughter graduates high school, but that changed…suddenly. While driving around running errands a little more than a month ago we noticed two brand new subdivisions going up and we realized that if we didn’t sell our home now, we would soon be competing with hundreds of empty NEW homes. So, we made the decision to sell and gave ourselves all of about a month to get ready to list it.

That my friends is a LOT to do in one month, but we did it. Not only did we get it ready to sell, we had a contract on the house signed in five days and for more than we expected to sell it for! The extra proceeds will be much needed as we enter into the homesteading phase, which is really about a year away. For now we will be living in a nice rental not far from our current home.

All this with an almost 2-year old in the house and me still going to college to finish up my Associate’s Degree. It is almost too much, but through prayers and answers to those prayers we are able to press onward.

My son (who lives with his mom out of State) flew in for a couple of weeks so the first thing we did was head out to the farm for some father-and-son time. We enjoyed our time together and actually got a few things done around the farm, but that is a story I will hopefully get to soon!

Memorial Day and Mosquito Haven

This weekend was the first time we’ve been out to the farm since the rains came and the temperature has risen. The pasture was blanketed with a field of yellow flowers and was pretty amazing to stand in. What wasn’t pleasant is that we have discovered our future homestead is already claimed by a few legion of mosquitoes! They weren’t so terrible in the wooded campsite, but step out into the open field and I felt like I was in Minnesota! I know there are pools of standing water along the creek, but they apparently love the tall grass and flowers too.

There is a giant Oak tree near the edge of the field that we have been admiring since we first set eyes on the property. It was encumbered with thick briars and a few Cedar and other small trees, but I just knew there was a beautiful tree under there. Since there was time this weekend I took the opportunity to do some clearing and reveal the mighty Oak in all its splendor. So, after I doused myself with mosquito spray I took to the task. One day I will remember to take pictures/video when I am about to take on a new adventure, but for now you can see the tree AFTER all the work. The picture doesn’t do it justice as the trunk of this ancient tree is well over 10-15 feet around.

We didn’t stay as long as we had planned because a storm system came through, dumped a little rain, took away the nice breeze we had enjoyed all day and left behind still, humid air. Without power for even a small fan, it wasn’t all that pleasant.

On another note, all the work to our house is done and it is officially on the market (and the calls are already coming in).

The war on the homefront continues

We are battling time. We set a goal for ourselves to have our house listed on the market by Memorial Day weekend. Did I mention that we made this decision only about two or three weeks ago? We probably could have given ourselves a little more room on the calendar, but this just seemed like the right decision for both of us so we determined to give it our all to make it happen. If it didn’t (or doesn’t) it won’s be to the ruin of our plans, but it is good to have goals!

I spent most of last week building a closet in the loft room so that we can claim it as an official bedroom. I’ve never attempted something quite like this, but YouTube was may friend for several days prior to my actions. The frame went up and ended up being surprisingly level and square all around. The sheet rock went on without a hitch and after a little tape and floating, the texture went on and it got a coat of paint. I hung the door, but ran out of time to put the trim on due to the next crucial element on our timetable.

There were a few small cracks in the ceiling that have been there since we bought the house, but we decided to do the right thing and do some patching. Easier said than done! The ceiling in question is two stories high and my garage is not equipped with scaffolding. The next best thing was my tall ladder which reached the ceiling with no problem. The hitch was that when leaning against one wall or the other, I could only reach about half of the ceiling. I did my best and I can testify that drywall repair is not one of my callings. It looks okay, but you can tell someone patched it and that wasn’t what I was hoping for. Oh well, we bought it with a crack and it never bothered us, so hopefully someone out there wont be bothered by my amateur attempt to fix it.

The minute that was done it was time to get every stick of furniture out of the house so that we could have new carpet installed. We managed, in about a day, to fill our garage and sun room with a house full of furniture. The carpet was installed yesterday and when we returned from our day jobs we set to repopulating the house with our things. Amazingly what had taken at least a full day to do only took about 4 hours to undo. I believe we were so tired and delirious that we gave no thought to how exhausted we were and just got the job done!

Now it is just a matter of a few paint touch-ups here and there, some cleaning and we should have pictures of the house taken for the listing on Friday, right on schedule!

For anyone else planning to sell your home, I suggest you make your plans a little sooner than we did 🙂

Well, well, well…whataya know?

© danist07While we progress to spending more and more time on our land, one thing we absolutely need to gain access to is water. There is a coop water line that runs parallel to our property and we will eventually tap into it. However, the cost to do so really struck me as almost prohibitive until we actually being building our home site.

To add, we know we want to add a well to the property for the main purposes of watering crops and livestock without the coop water expense. But that will come later. What we are trying to decide now is if it is feasible to dig a shallow well for our recreational use. I have looked at the sand point drilling (more like pounding) technique and there is some promise there.

I’ve probably watched every video on YouTube about this process and I think the sandy loam we have will allow this kind of well drilling. The part that I need clarification on is properly locating the well itself along with estimating how deep we will need to go. Perhaps this is a trial-and-error process, but It would seem to me there is a little more logical way to plan this thing out.

We do have a “creek” that runs through our property, but with the drought being what it has been it really is more of a seasonal creek that runs a little during storms and then collects shallow amount of water in pools along its length.

Any of you homesteaders out there who have drilled.dug your own shallow well, please feel free to comment or contact us about your experience(s).

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