Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Picture of...Health?

One of the reasons we wanted to buy ten acres and live off the land as much as we reasonably could, was to be healthy. Not that you can’t be healthy wherever you live. You can. But we hoped that having our kids spend a lot of time outdoors and help grow the food they eat would add an extra layer of health to what we were already trying to do.

No matter what you do though, illness happens. We’ve spend the last 10 days taking turns being sick. It would be so convenient if we were all sick at once and got it over with, but it never happens that way. It has to be long and drawn out in the way that only a stomach virus can be.

 I hope you and yours are healthy and strong, wherever you are.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Tree Wars: Episode I, The Phantom House Plan

In addition to removing trees we worked all winter on our house plan. We had a fabulous architect who worked with us to take our crazy ideas and show us what would really work. And what we could afford.

Our driveway and grading permit application was submitted to the county. Then we just have to rely on the speed of local government to process it.

Monday, January 16, 2017

First Adventure

The first thing we had to do was clear some trees for the power lines that needed to be put in. Apparently, we needed three poles and the wires had to come up our thickly wooded hill. 

We also had to clear a drive for their trucks to be able to get to the work area. All in all, it was about 50-60 trees that had to come down. We were paying rent on our apartment, mortgage on the land and trying to build a house. There was no money to hire tree people, so we did it ourselves. We purchased a chain saw, pulled our wheelbarrow out of storage, and got to work. 

It was December and we quickly learned the hardest thing we had to deal with was the cold. You’d think that would be obvious but coming from Georgia we hadn’t experienced a winter at 8000ft altitude before. Honestly, we were just struggling with breathing at that altitude after almost a decade at sea level. We invested in winter clothing for the children and layered, layered, layered. We spent a lot of time there over Christmas break. My husband had the whole week off and we needed that time to get it done. The electric company wanted to come out the 9th of January. 

Unfortunately, there was a horrible cold snap that week. The highs were in the teens. We quickly learned how important it was to stay bundled up and stay dry.  We also took the time to make a fire pit. Our first improvement to the land. Over the past year the fire pit has morphed into something really nice. It started as a hole in the snow. We used logs we had cut for firewood to sit on. As the snow melted we gathered rocks and make an actual fire place. In the summer, We found some downed trees on our (very steep) hill. They were already dry, the bark was off and they were perfect for benches. We carried them up the hill (remember the breathing at altitude thing? Yeah, not any better during allergy season.) and now our fire pit is a pretty nice place to hang out. 

One of the reasons we started this journey was so we could teach our children how to work. They all helped.  Depending on their age and abilities they did what they could. 

Very quickly we had stacks and stacks of firewood and are now set for several years to come. 

We finished those trees, the electrical poles were put in and our first adventure on our property came to a close. 

I’m still warming up.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


This journey started two years ago, when my husband was offered a new job. We were living in central Georgia at the time. It had been a good home for over 9 years, but his job was difficult, and we were eager for a change. His new company was a great company, we could get out of Georgia and be several states closer to our family who all lived in the west. So, we leapt at the opportunity.

The husband moved to Colorado in February, the kids and I stayed to finish up the school year and try and sell the house.  Unfortunately, the housing market was still very sluggish from the downturn. At the end of the school year our house had hardly had anyone look at it. We had already spent three months apart though and we didn’t like it. We moved to Colorado over Memorial Day.

It took until the end of August for our house in Georgia to sell.  We had to drop the price below what we paid for it but we were lucky with only 8 months. Many houses had been on the market for years.  Once our house had sold we could finally get down to purchasing a new home here.

Every weekend we would drive around, passing houses or properties we had seen for sale. It was frustrating because the housing market in Colorado was so busy. Houses were listed and sold within hours, usually for over asking price.  Because it had taken so long for our house to sell, we had come to know Colorado pretty well. We knew which area we wanted to live in. The husband really wanted to build. I wasn’t quite sold on the idea but gave in when I realized how important it was to him. We narrowed our searches to land. Because we had looked at so many it didn’t take us long to pick and offer on a nice property. 

 10 acres, some grazing land near the road and a wooded area up the hill. 

The previous owners had had it for 20 years but never done anything with it so there was lots of clean up needed but it seemed perfect.

It was very exciting to finally have something to move forward with. We closed on the land the week after Thanksgiving. Then the real fun started.