Sunday, May 20, 2012

# 267 - Mini-Country Cabin Jumpstart

Lately, we've been thinking about a back-up plan with getting moved to the country, actually it's a fast-forward plan for getting out to the country. Making short weekend visits to our acreage is a tremendously tedious undertaking. It's not as if we're packing bags and heading out for a short vacation because we have to bring along major lawn equipment and camping gear for a hard-working weekend.

Since our land is a good distance from town, we have to thoughtfully consider how we're going to live on the land during our over an open fire and bringing all the necessary items to keep us from having to leave our camping site.

As for our acreage, it is mostly tucked in the woods and no one bothers us, but we don't like to leave everything behind for a trip to town either. I'm sure you can appreciate that dilemma, especially since we do not have fences in place, at least not yet. It's nice to get settled and not have to leave our campsite for days at a time.

I like this small cabin as a starter.
The kind of neighbors we have around our land can be seen on television. If you aren't familiar with the South, then brush up on Redneck survivalists to the max...those are the kind of people who live on the properties around our land. I guess a lot of people won't live out there unless they are able to handle themselves in this part of the country fondly referred to as "East Texas," but people around Texas usually know that the reference to "East Texas" also means "Redneck Land." Regardless, I love it out there; the beauty of the land is mesmerizing and beckons you to keep coming back.

Even though I am technically a Houston area "city gal" --- I have also been partially raised on raw land and in fish camps owned by my family in East Texas. Throughout my life, I've understood the term "roughing it" first-hand. It's something I am able to confront and actually enjoy, with zest. I guess it's great to be in the wilderness, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. But, as for SOME of the neighbors around our property in the country...I won't fib...they are the hardened, don't-trust-no-one Redneck variety who fully embrace "Don't bother us and we won't bother you" mentality. In actuality, they have turned out to be good neighbors. No one bothers us during our trips to our land, but we do often see signs of people trespassing so they can hunt on our land. I suppose these neighbors MIGHT be nice to have during a bad situation; they are true survivor-types.

However, recently Deputy Dave and I had an accidental trespassing situation on the property of one of these Rednecks, and I can tell you that Deputy Dave IMMEDIATELY understood the gravity of the problem. It happened like this...we were leaving our land...decided to take a turn to the far backside reaches of our neighborhood, so we traveled down a narrow country, dirt road that had deep ditches on each side...believing it would make a full circle around all the acreage owned by us and the lead to a dead-end on Mister Redneck's property. If you understand "East Texas," then you understand that a badge doesn't make much of a difference to anyone in those parts...

Even while pulling a trailer, Deputy Dave's expert maneuvering skills got us safely out of the hot zone. I'll be glad to make our introductions with these neighbors some other time thank you very much, if they're ever made at all.

Anyway, since we both have outdoor capabilities in our blood, we're very comfortable with roughing it. With a tent, we feel as if we're in a 5-star accommodation. It doesn't take much to please Deputy Dave and myself. We simply love being in the middle of nature. However, the traveling between the city house and the country acreage is a hardship. The long road trip while loaded down is not always the safest way to travel, even though we have a check system and Deputy Dave ties everything down perfectly. It's still a bit tense to be hauling a trailer with lots of equipment on board. If you've been there, you know what I'm talking about.

The city house will probably sell this summer, sometime. Perhaps it won't. It all depends on the economy. All of us are seeing people trying to sell their homes and some areas find home-sellers nearly expected to give away their home in order to move. I feel deeply for people forced to move because of out-of-control circumstances and without reimbursement from a corporation. Our area takes about six months, on average, for a house to sell. We're still making our way through it all and we listed it before the "hot" part of the selling season had started, so we'll have to keep hanging in there.

However, that being said, it's not easy to market your house to sell when you have chickens in the backyard. For the most part, city people are TERRIFIED of chickens. It's kind of hysterical. Then, we have the issue of having three dogs to contend with during a showing. Unfortunately, I have had to turn away showings because I MUST be home to deal with the dogs for a stranger to come NEAR the house without the huge warning barks. Our dogs can't even be allowed to go into the backyard by themselves during a showing because they guard the house so thoroughly that a stranger on the INSIDE of the house will find themselves facing a dog trying to break through the back doors to get at them. Even my sweet Liyla was ready to tear apart one of the big-name Realtor rockstars in our area, someone I've worked with on several transactions a couple of years ago, but this guy is an "iffy" character; Liyla seemed to smell the dirty deeds from a block away.

Since Liyla is my "calm" dog with aging wisdom on her side and a keen sense of duty that is very discerning, I had elected to keep her in a kennel during this particular showing...trying to spare her the hot backyard trip with the other two dogs, but it was a mistake. From inside the house, while shut in her comfy kennel, I could hear her snarling barks all the way into the backyard as Mr. Bigshot entered the room. Forget that attempt; I had to go get her and take her into the backyard as well because she was not ready to play nice.

My sinister side couldn't help but crack up because Mr. Bigshot is known for being a cocaine addict. Anyone who visits thinks that Liyla is the sweetest dog ever to walk the earth, but like I said, Liyla can smell dirty from a block away.

I've been TOLD that my standards for the house being "appropriate" enough to allow a showing is set too high. However, I simply cannot allow anyone into the house until I feel everything is "perfect"in my eyes. We have a lived-in house with dust and the normal stuff, but the house, overall, must be in "I'm having important company over to dinner" kind of atmosphere for a showing.

Can all the potential buyers not come until after 6:00pm so the lack of bright lighting will make everything look even more alluring? No???


This means that I'm knocking myself out with making sure the floors are cleaned, swept, mopped, the entry/exit rugs freshly laundered and on and on and on. It's miserable. With all these chickens and dogs, it's extra miserable to have a house on the market. Those of you who are regular know our Australian Shepherd has already gone through our lead glass front door a few times and this is not a bad thing when you are on the INSIDE of the house with dogs expected to protect the family, but it's NOT A GOOD THING when you are selling said house and strangers need to come take a look at it to see if it strikes their fancy. Dogs like this give new meaning to the term "APPOINTMENT REQUIRED."

As a former real estate broker, I can firmly say that houses with big dogs and big barks do not strike anyone's fancy. Yes, as a home-owner, I want that effect with my dogs on a day-by-day basis, but it's more difficult to live with the peace that guardian dogs can bring when you are NOT wanting to scare away potential customers! Since no one else wants to take my dogs as a visitor and going for a walk is not feasible with three dogs, especially not with a neighborhood that always has a stray dog on the loose...not a good combination...we have to stick with protocol for each showing. Protocol is me in the backyard with the dogs, playing catch, having to lock ourselves outside because Howdy can open doors and get back inside on his I must keep the chickens happy, but that's not difficult, they are easy to appease with a handful of fresh feed thrown in the dirt.

So, Deputy Dave and I are actually thinking about building the shell to our cabin as soon as we can, even before we sell this house. I'm thinking we should build a "mock" house in the form of a one-room guest cabin that can be used later on for visitors to enjoy or to use as a bunkhouse.

It would actually give us a great way to experiment with construction ideas and materials for the main cabin, yet not commit us to the expenses of a larger cabin with double utility prices. I should be easier, quicker and less expensive to build while giving us great experience. If we start working on the shell of the small cabin, we can have an easier time of it when traveling to and from our acreage because we won't have to load down the trailer for every visit. Loading up will be much more simple. Heck, I'm not even above washing our country clothes by hand and hanging them on a line to keep clothes packing to a minimum. We can get the house itself built with the roof in place, all windows and doors hung and locked, then we can finish the inside of the cabin, bit by bit. A window unit in place on a high-temperature setting will help keep high humidity out of the interior in between visits, and we'd actually be able to have a refrigerator on hand!

Bottom line...we'd be able to start making the actual move to our acreage and enjoy being out there for more extended visits and we'd have a place to stay while building the main cabin. Our city house can be kept in the good hands of our Sheriff's Deputy neighbors who voluntarily watch over everything, per our usual agreement. The electronic lockbox will let Realtor showings in and out, as necessary and we can be on our acreage more often to get it in order for daily living.

Best of all, we'd be able to be free from mixing critters with showings, we'll be able to finally separate oil from water!


Rae said...

I don't know if it would suit your finances, but what about building your pole barn/shop first? A friend of one of LJ's coworkers has a huge property out in eastern Oregon. All he has on the property is a big pole barn/shop. The shop has roll up doors. He simply unlocks the shop, rolls up the doors, and drives truck, trailer, and all into the shop. His trailer is his bedroom, and the rest of the shop is his "house". I guess the guy stays out there 3-6 months at a time. Pole barn type shops are relatively inexpensive out here... Don't know about where you are... But then you'd be spending money on something you'll need rather than something (an extra cabin) that would be nice to have, but not really needed? May not suit your plans, but food for thought in any case, eh?

Michelle said...

We have a 5th wheel that we keep for hunting. I load it with everything we might need to stay there for long periods. Dishes , pans, tools ect... That way all I have to bring is our food and extra clothing. A solar panel works great to keep the battier charged. We also keep an extra propane tank. Just in case we run out. I don't know if this will work for you or not. Ever situation is different. Hope thing work out in your favor.

Tombstone Livestock said...

Hopefully whatever you decide to build / acquire for the property will not be vandalized or stolen between visits. Unfortunately too many out there think if no one is there every thing will be "up for grabs". Good luck on whatever you decide to do and hopefully house will sell soon.

callie brady said...

How about you put up a barn while you live in a motor home, then you can keep the motor home (they have a habit of leaking in the rain) in the barn and your building supplies locked up in the barn too while you build your home.

We lived in a camper truck in the driveway while our pre-cut home was built. It's true, supplies were stolen while we were at work. We didn't have a place to lock supplies away. If I had it to do over I would have built a barn first... would have been nice to have a barn later.

Good luck! Sure is beautiful country!

Anonymous said...

Yah, I was going to ask what happened to your plans for building the shop first? That sounded like an ideal thing. Beth
Otherwise, when you sell you will be in a real tizzy trying to get a place to live in done , with moving and dogs , chickens.

Modern Day Redneck said...

If the country is Redneck Land? Then would subdivisions be city folk land? said...

Everyone has the most awesome suggestions and it reminds me that building the workshop/barn first is probably the best thing. A part of me feels torn apart, not knowing if we're planning the "right" thing first. I also saw a pole barn that I loved. Looks like we'll start looking at barns again, even if we use a section of it to live in, walled off from the rest of the barn, it will probably less expensive to go that route while giving us a TON of extra storage space, etc.

Modern Day Redneck --- I do think that subdivisions could be quasi-city-folk land; it's where we currently reside and many people around us have never seen a chicken! However, our acreage is surrounded by people who go to the corner store through the forest on their 4-wheeler! I'd love to see a post on your site that lists solid clues as to what a Redneck of City Folk actually is...I always get a kick out of reading your posts. Lately, I've been hearing the "You know you're a Redneck when..." jokes. I guess I'm a "Closet Redneck" cause we've got chickens in the backyard!!

Lana said...

Second thoughts --- my brother is a bonafide Redneck and lives in a subdivision.

Thoughts to ponder.

Vice versa...Can a city-person live in Redneckville? Yep, I guess so.

Modern Day Redneck said...

I have a soap box several feet tall I can get on about all the Redneck jokes.
Jeff Foxworthy is not one, neither is Larry the cable guy. They both are posers and those who are the real deal, should be offended by those jokes, I am.
Here is a thought to ponder, If Rednecks are so bad, then why do some of the city folks want to come to "Redneck Land" and live like us?
We have lived self sufficient and frugal our whole lives and now we have an influx of city dwellers coming out to the land to tell us how to do it right because they read it off the internet.
Sorry for the rant there.

LindaG said...

Hubby is thinking of getting a Con-Ex or shipping container to put things in that could be secured.

If you built a small cabin or barn/shop, it would be good to be able to lock things up. That way power cords and such don't walk off...

Plus, you could still sleep in the tent if you wanted to, but it would already be there.
Or get a couple Army surplus cots to sleep on.

Also, having a roof could come in handy since we are in or near hurricane season. You may encounter rain while out there.

You have a lot of great plans. Wish you the best of luck, Lana!

*hugs* ♥ :o) said...

Modern Day Redneck - Your soapbox is welcome anytime. I guess since I'm a born Texan, I've been subjected to hearing these jokes all my life. While growing up, we really did think a Redneck was the one with the "red" neck from being in the sun, you know, those outdoor types. Then, the term seemed to morph into a negative connotation associated with backwood, unsocialable types and that variation probably is sticking in the minds of many people, and there are other Rednecks, such as my brother, a genius minded man who is a former Marine living in suburbia and he owns a boat, has a veggie garden, a big dog, guns and works as a Systems Analyst making near $100,000 per year. But, he also likes being in nature, roughing it, for extended periods of time...he can survive hard circumstances. We simply laugh at the Redneck jokes and keep our humor about it. The Foxworthy, etc. jokes, like my husband says as well, are coming from men who are NOT Rednecks, but any Southerner can spot certain Redneck attributes a mile away. But, like I said, those are evolving. You are proving this Redneck evolution to be taking on a new turn in your own blog, your Redneck label is attached to a man who is able to build cutting edge solar equipment and to build other items that use atypical energy sources...yes...seems like a Modern Day Redneck to me. With my Texas roots, regardless of the variety of Redneck, I picture each of them to be very self-sufficient, but you are leading the path to a new type of Redneck that many of us Southerners will GLADLY embrace!!!!

Linda - we've thought about getting a train shipping container....they are easy to obtain around here. We have someone in town who decorated theirs to the nth degree and it is awesome looking! Many people are taking them out the their properties close to our acreage to use for storage, some even welding the doors shut because they are full of supplies. The possibilities are limitless! I do think we're going to have to stick with building the workshop-barn first. But, we're going to get started sooner than later. I don't think we'll wait to sell the house before building the workshop. Hold onto your britches!