Sunday, May 10, 2015

# 550 - Country House - Land Clearing Galore!

Closing on our house this week has been very exciting, draining, and a relief. Closing the business end of the transaction almost seemed unreal. The process took so long that I should have started it one year earlier. So now we are onto the next step of clearing the land, which for us feels like LAND CLEARING GALORE!

We arranged for our acreage clearing crew to show up early Saturday morning for their first day of land clearing at the home-site. After our closing, that afternoon we had a final meeting with our land clearing supervisor before the actual work was to commence, I tried to mentally and emotionally prepare myself for our acreage to be forever transformed. This is a bit difficult because even though we are building our dream home, I knew, as of Saturday, that area of our forest would be forever altered. That area has acres of gorgeous towering trees and it is one of my favorite places in the world to stroll through.

Since the excavation crew would be here Saturday morning, Sgt. Dave decided to hand-chop the Wild Cherry tree down so we could pull it aside for the long drying process so it can be used for some project down the road. Using an axe, he felled the Wild Cherry. Since dusk had arrived, we decided to head back to the RV and go back the next day to pull the tree aside.

However, the next morning, which was a day before the land crew was expected, we awoke to the sound of large machinery being operated nearby. We have a land-owner next door and they sometimes mow and then bale hay, but they were not baling hay. The only other possible way that such close work with large machinery would be possible was road work, and no such work was occurring.

Sgt. Dave launched himself out of bed, threw on something appropriate and ran outside with messy hair, a gun and wide eyes.

Within a few minutes, he returned with a few pictures taken on his iPhone...the pictures were of the crew clearing our acreage!

It turns out that our builder spoke with our excavator and told him that every hour counted and he wanted him out there within 24 hours!


But, nobody called to tell us of the change and since it was the very first work day of the entire construction process that will require months of work, it was definitely unexpected to get started earlier than planned.

You can see the bulldozer in the background with one of the crew
standing there in a denim shirt. That helps give perspective.
After the crew had worked a few hours, a strange thing happened...The dark forest floor beneath the dense canopy was giving way to light...lots of light!

The dogs didn't quite know what to expect. Their first moments out there were tense as they wanted to attack and growl and bark at the machinery and people on their territory. It was nerve-wracking for me as well to get it across to the dogs that this was okay. They seem to sense the excitement in the air.
Gracie is brindle and appears to be camouflaged right into the scenery as
Howdy sticks out like a Shepherd often does. Liyla is at my side.

Also, Sgt. Dave works most Saturdays and had planned to take off to be with the crew as they began clearing the acreage, but since they weren't supposed to be there on this day, he had to continue with our normal routine of him getting up and off to work.

As Sgt. Dave headed for work, I could hear the crew working and I suddenly remembered the dang wild cherry tree had not been pulled to the side before the crew got started. In the distance, I could hear large equipment running simultaneously with a chain saw as the bulldozer was a mean machine of positive and impressive destruction.

So, as of me sitting here writing, we have just finished Day 2 of land clearing with a huge pile of trees being burned, slowing but surely the pile is burning. But, the clearing is by no means finished, there is still much to do. However, the burning of the debris is critical...we cannot do anything until the pile is burned down because the debris is so massive that it is taking up space that is actually part of the home-site and we don't want to be burning massive debris next to the new construction taking place. That's a stupid kind of risk that I'm not willing to take.

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Even so, the vision I have held for our country home setting has been shifting around in my mind's eye for so long, but it is coming to life, bit by bit. I stood at the home-site as the bulldozer knocked another tree down and couldn't believe that the vision is emerging, the vision is appearing right next to me in real life! I stand there and can SEE what I have imagined and dreamed. It is pretty odd and I am one tremendously blessed woman. My husband has sought to give me a home that I can use as a nurturing tool; he trusts that I will make our home as good as any home can be for the two of us and that it will be a welcoming touchstone family home for gatherings with our children and grandchildren and so on.

I pray for continued good health for my husband and I throughout this process and into LONG old age so that we may enjoy the fruits of our labor. May God continue to shine his face upon us and may we continue to see the good in everything!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Oh Dear Sweet Jesus and a very thankful me is ecstatic to announce that we FINALLY closed on our country house construction loan! We had another delay, but finally closed yesterday!

Here is a picture of poor Sgt. Dave and me as we were at the bank yesterday morning...just before we headed to the title company to sign our papers.

Deer-in-the-head-lights expression for Sgt. Dave.

At the title company, Sgt. Dave finally re-gathered his composition.

Actually, the day before closing, I began having massive anxiety. For those of you who have followed this process, you know how much we have gone through. Major ups and downs were part of the process...mostly those belonged on my end because Sgt. Dave left everything pretty much up to me to decide. That is both good and bad. It's good because my husband trusts me to make the best decision possible, and it's bad because he trusts me to make the best decisions possible...and this is completely new territory for me. Building on raw land, in a rural area, is a big challenge.

We did not take drawings from another person's house and we did not buy architectural drawings already completed...our house originated from me spending time over nearly two years drawing and considering each element. Basically, our house drawings sprung from my drawings on graph paper.

Yes, graph paper. At least I used measurements and a ruler for my layout. I had foundational ideas for our custom country house that were ingrained into my mind as either a wish-list kind of thing or a hard-core requirement. After owning several homes, I knew what we liked and didn't like. Of course, I couldn't work everything I loved into the house design, but I can guarantee that every single element of this house has been considered and mulled over, extensively.

First floor:  Great Room is truly great with the height going to 2 stories.

We actually have 1.5 stories, here is the upper floor.

After we closed our deal, we went to a local Italian restaurant we love and had a very late lunch and we even ordered extra food to bring home for dinner.

However, our day was not over...we got home and barely had time to change clothes and then walk across the acreage to meet the agricultural specialist we have hired to oversee the final clearing and prep of the home-site. He will be here on Saturday to do some major work and to oversee clearing activities.

Paul is able to walk through the area and immediately be able to identify every tree, its worth, the root system, its potential and to also determine if it is a "trash tree" that should just be eliminated because it will likely cause problems.

After this Saturday, we will be able to better see our home-site area and to make further decisions about the clearing process before Paul returns for a final full day of work.

So, that means we have about a week and a half to two weeks of land prep, then our builder can come in and start building the actual house.

I can't believe it's happening. Every day, I have many decisions and significant business to handle; it can become very draining. But, I am one happy woman!

For now, I am thankful that everything is sign, sealed, and delivered so that our house can be built. This is a joyous time for us, and most of us know that the great times should be savored because we never know what the future holds. Therefore, good times are to be appreciated and treasured; don't ever let those good times slip by!

These are GOOD TIMES, indeed!