Friday, January 6, 2012

# 167 - The Right Equipment and Getting Moved

For the time being, we cannot buy farm equipment because we still live in the city. Our 2-car garage cannot accommodate more than it already does...which is basically the utility trailer with the Cub Cadet sitting atop it among other things. 

Since we have a neighborhood association that imposes restrictions and fines upon those who violate the restrictions, we cannot keep anything else at our house because it simply won't fit and we don't want to be harassed by the neighborhood picky-police.

I recently wrote a blog about East Texas unwritten rules...which described how we cannot trust to leave our land for stretches of time without trespassers feeling unhindered in their boundary crossings. You have to be living on your land to earn boundary respect.

If you're gone, they're on.
If you're there, they don't dare.

So, we cannot bring equipment to our property to be stored until we are living on our land and are there on a regular basis to make the statement that "this land is occupied and protected."

Once piece of equipment that we absolutely need to tame our land is our big mower. Before we purchased this MacDaddy lawn tractor, we owned a Murray mower, but it couldn't hold up to the rough terrain of our property. The constant changing elevation of our topography that includes hills and creeks are an integral part of our land's beauty. The Murray motor just couldn't keep up; we discovered that it would have been more suited to a level yard that simply needed maintenance mowings.

Therefore, for our next purchase, we made sure to conduct proper research so that we spent money on a mower with the capacity to handle the demands of our land. The Cub Cadet that we decided to buy is a tough dude. The motor can haul our loaded trailer up and down the hills with ease. The large tires work beautifully to cross fallen branches and ground debris that might otherwise hold back a smaller mower. This mower is perfect, but the level of work that is needed on our land has become so overwhelming that we truly need something larger to tackle some major work to smooth out the land so that we can get control of our acreage.

Our utility trailer was one of our top purchases after we bought our land. This trailer has been awesome. Deputy Dave has already replaced all of the boards that serve as the floor of the trailer.

On our land, Deputy Dave totes the trailer around by the Cub Cadet and he loads it up with debris for the burn pile. Having this trailer makes cleaning one zone much easier than it would have been without it.

Of course, having a chain saw for your acreage is imperative. We have so many fallen trees on our acreage that it would be difficult to keep up with all the trees ranging from sapling size to century old trees needing removal.

We've learned that having multiple chainsaws available to suit different needs will likely be necessary. One of my favorite magazines, "Hobby Farms," has published articles about this topic and provided excellent explanations about the purpose of each chainsaw for your land. I could not even absorb all of this data about chainsaws, but I can understand how it will be necessary to have several on hand.

Again, in the house we currently live in, we do not have room for such equipment, but when we move to our land, we will surely make room for such yard equipment so that we can keep up with the ever-changing landscape of our acreage.

And one versatile piece of equipment that I love to watch in motion is the one below...he is called...Deputy Dave.

He is a one-of-a-kind machine that amazes me.  What is even more endearing, is that this hunk of loving machine has my name in ink on him! Yep, he marked by "Lana" for life! Of course, I did not agree with this tattoo that he decided on his own to purchase during his military days overseas, but I am reminded of who I am every time I see his right arm.

As for trying to do simple maintenance on our land while living a good distance from it...I must say that's it's been a losing battle on our end. Until we get moved, we're simply trying to recreate the same dent over and over. And traveling back and forth from our city home to the country is a huge pain due to the need to load and unload all of the equipment for each trip, but everytime we arrive on our land, it's WORTH IT.

Easy for me to say since I do the lightweight lifting and Deputy Dave does everything else, so I can't complain too much. However, I do have days of laundry and cleaning to do upon our return from camping, and the older we get, the longer it seems to take to get resettled.

Once we've moved to our land and have our workshop, it will be a dream come true to have everything on hand and to no longer need to haul everything across the miles in between.

This week, we are purchasing exterior paint so that we can paint our home. We'd like to put the house on the market before the end of the month arrives. But, once we got home from our trip to our land, I came down with a hellish cold that has knocked me flat on my booty for a couple of days. Each day that I've been sick is a day that I could've used to pre-pack and to prepare for our move. Unfortuntely, the man with the "Lana" tattoo has come down with the same cold...go figure.

Personally, I'd love to be moved out before the Texas heat sets in and the high utility bills start mounting. Well, I think Deputy Dave will agree with that goal. Our ultimate goal is to be outta here by the end of three months from now, tops. But, there are things that we need to do to sell our home. As a former Real Estate Broker, I'm EXTRA O.C.D. about all aspects of selling a home.

In fact, most of my readers are very aware that I've been doing bits and pieces over the past few months, such as tackling the yucky job of cleaning and organizing all of the closets, so that we can sell our home more easily. It's unbelievable how much caulking, painting and scrubbing I've done.

For some reason, no one wants to help clean out the closets.

But, pre-packing is a beautiful contribution to preparing a house for showings. Deputy Dave has to repair a few windowsills, blinds and the front door needs to go for yet ANOTHER trip to the stained glass shop for repair since Howdy, the Aussie, does not seem to grasp the concept of a glass door being an actual object between him and a person he would like to chomp on.

We've discussed putting up a different door and IF we were to stay in this house, we would; however, the glass door is too nice and too expensive to not have repaired as a selling feature. It's a beauty. Until we sell, we'll simply have to block the stained glass door from Howdy's powerful lunging body, and since he's grown a bit older since the last time he lunged through the door, he's decided to not jump around as much.

Don't even ask me about my windows and whether they are clean or not. The way I see it, the layer of dirt acts as additional environmental shading for our house...helping to keep out the hot rays of sun. Is that a good Martha Stewart alternative answer for having dirty windows? Yes, I have convinced myself that a good layer of dirt-film can be a wondrous thing, but I think I'll have to sacrifice my money-saving resource so potential buyers may see clearly out the windows. Geesh, this is becoming a pain!

As for windows, several windowsills need to be replaced.
Here, Howdy is looking pretty guilty, but these were actually
chewed up by my daughter's Aussie, Tux. He loved windowsills.

My deepest concern when showing our house to potential buyers are my chickens. What will people THINK when they see huge seven pound chickens in the backyard of a city/suburb house that has restrictions against chickens? Big Mama can indeed be intimidating.

Hey...they ARE birds. So the question is...Is it not impossible that these BIRDS might have just shown up in my backyard one morning and made a cozy home in our hand-crafted, hand-painted chicken tractor?

How are we residents to keep random BIRDS out of our yards? Aren't all poultry still a bird? It seems to be a logical question to ask if some city official shows up with an anti-chicken attitude.

Having chickens has taught me that most city people are absolutely terrified of chickens. So, it might not be a selling point to have chickens scratching to their heart's content in the backyard. We might has well have five pitbulls snarling and ready to guard their territory.

My other backyard dilemma for selling our home is linked to the two Great Danes directly behind our home. The Great Danes have pushed down or have broken several fence pickets. Deputy Dave has been forced to nail top and bottom runner boards to hold the fence together on our side of the fence. But, what did the Great Danes do? They simply moved to a different section of the fence with their brute force and busted the center of the boards completely in half.

And I am amazed that the neighbor with these dogs is pretending as if their dogs aren't causing any damage to the fence. Forget the barking and howling at all hours of the night...I don't want to ask too much, couldn't they just do their part to make sure the fence is secure and decent? If those were my Great Danes, I'd be very concerned about the fence holding up to their double strength, especially since they tend to pounce against it in unison. 

Even though I have a few concerns about selling our house, Deputy Dave and I do have quite a few "Wow" aspects to our home that might force a buyer do a double-take...such as the upstairs jacuzzi bath instead of a plain bathtub in the secondary bathroom, the hardwood floors upstairs and downstairs, the Italian Porcelain tile flooring, the built-in sound system, the sound-proof insulation, the new light fixtures and ceiling fans throughout the entire house, the extra crown moulding, the new Frieze carpeting in all the upstairs bedrooms, the decked attic space, the new 30-year roof, the one-year Home Warranty, and much more.

If only all potential buyers will choose to overlook our household of three dogs and five chickens, we're set.
Ah, the pressures of selling your home. It's so incredible.

I better start saying my prayers that the chickens will be on their best behavior.



Dreaming said...

Oh, I can so relate;
- having property a ways from my home that we tried to tame.
- having a home to prepare to sell
- having chickens (we called them 'exotic birds' because of the next point) in the back yard
- having to put up with the covenant cops

I bet you guys sleep well after a weekend on your property! (Perhaps after taking ibuprofen!!)
It will all be so worth it!

A Primitive Homestead said...

I have read that keeping chickens has been more popular in the city than before so maybe the new buyers might want their own flock after seeing yours. I do enjoy my little flock. The neighbors dogs would be a scare for me. I have four closets to clean out. Not a job I want to do. I enjoy hearing about your acreage & adventures there. I wish you a fast sell. I saw some cabin plans & thought of you right away. I am reading a new book I think you would like. A Mary Janes for the farmgirl. Prayer lifted for you my friend & your hubby. Cool ink. Blessings!

Rina ... also Chester or Daisysmum. said...

Hi Lana, is there anyway you could purchase an old shipping container for storage, they are lockable. By spreading road base, small gravel stones on a premanent site and sitting the container on that. Normally a tow truck company will deliver at a small cost. By putting a roof over it, you can then add gutters and a rain water tank. and a carport. just an idea

Lana at said...

Dreaming --- I think it will be a huge shock when we actually get moved. We've been wanting to do this for so long's hard to believe that it's all happening. And it's always wonderful to hear from people who have been thru similar changes.

Lara --- you are right about city/suburb people wantint to raise chickens again so they can have fresh eggs and more control over their food again. Who knows? But, our chickens will be going with us to the country, these are my first set and I can't let them go. I'm sure they'll be going nuts when free-ranging on the land because there will be so many bugs that they'll think they've gone to Heaven.

Rina --- You are onto something here. We have a company in Houston called "PODS" and its just a moving company that delivers a trucking/train POD to your driveway or wherever you want it --- we are going to fill it up and then have them deliver it to our land. Then, we can pay a nominal price to keep it there, stored on our land or pay to store it in their facility. The good thing about having the POD on your land is that you can take your time getting it unloaded. This is big for us because we want to have a wowrkshop built on the land, and we can put our household stuff inside of it temporarily, but we can't built until we sell the house, so the PODS solution is brilliant. Since they rent them, we won't have to buy one, but we are seeing more and more people do this.

LindaG said...

You KNOW I relate to your post.

Rina has a great idea. I know they have those containers for sale here, you could probably find one there, too.
And you could probably turn it into a workshop once you're there on your land.

You could always keep the chickens in the tractor on the days you show...
Does anyone even live with the Great Danes?
I hope things will be quiet when you show the house.

Have a great afternoon!

Lana at said...

Linda --- there has been a single woman living there for the years we've been here. She's seemed very nice in the rare times we've spoken with her, but she has had several live-in boyfriends who appear rather shady. I did see a questionable young man with the dogs in the backyard a couple of times. Once, the dogs had been barking NONSTOP all night long, for many nights, I was exhausted, it was around 2am and I went to look out my upstairs gameroom window at them to see if I could figure out what they were barking at and I looked down to see that guy in the backyard with the dogs - covered in tattoos (nothing against tattoos-just giving a physical description of this man), shaved bald head, smoking his cigarette, perhaps he was trying to calm the dogs down...he looked up at the window when he saw me and I didn't budge. I didn't withdraw from the window's view, I just stood there looking down at him --- I figured it was my chance to look just as creepy as he looked to me. EEEKKK.

But, he's disappeared, yet the dogs have stayed and we haven't seen our neighbor since the dogs arrived. I'll have to post a video of the dogs that are so big that they can put their head OVER the top of our 7 foot fence. To be fair, they may be night barkers, but they seem to be fairly friendly, just sounding ferocious. I just wish they wouldn't bark all through the night. It seems one of the dogs is missing an eye and they look a little thin. We're keeping our own eyes on them.