From dream to reality

Welcome...we invite you to follow our journey to build our dream farm/homestead, God's Blessing Farm. From where we were, to the birth of the dream,to the search for land, to the land purchase,building the infrastructure and each step along the way.We invite you to watch comment and advise. If you are new to the blog you might want to start at the begining post. Be blessed and enjoy the ride with us

Sunday, January 30, 2011

So much progress!!!

Where to begin?? First a praise.All indications are we have been blessed by having subcontractors who work hard,work fast and are honest. Our re modeler Terry has been flying along. sometimes we struggle to keep up with him and get the parts we committed to done (aka painting walls and staining cabinets). But our little homestead double wide is progressing well. The laminate flooring is in in my stepsons bedroom,the "pink sewing and snoring room" ,most of the living room ,linoleum is down in the utility room,closets,bathrooms and kitchen.A new vanity is up in one bathroom.New interior doors throughout. The kitchen cabinets are stained and waiting to be put up. We have painted everything but one master bedroom wall,and one closet (you go "TLA"). The backer board and tile for under the wood stove is already down.
I broke with tradition and only got one quote on our goat barn. I selected Abner B as our builder.I found Abner on Craigs list and by his family picture it was pretty obvious he and his family are Mennonites. Mennonites are legendary barn builders in this area and I liked Abner from the first moment I met him. Is it stereotyping when its positive?? Well I guess its a stereotype that doesn't offend anybody at least. And in this case the book was just like its cover. We went with Abner and we haven't been sorry. More on that below. Chuck my excavator/logger has cleared the lower bottom for pond 1,built a road across our wet weather creek, dug a "special " hole for us (more below) and seems to be picking up speed on all fronts.
Moving from 2850+ square feet to 1200 square feet will have its challenges. The greatest is storage. We own a rental house in Athens and it had an Amish built 12X16 storage building on it.I found the man who delivers the buildings for the Amish manufacturers and he moved it from Athens to the farm for $250 (including setup!). Here it is below sitting adjacent to the double wide

Our plan is to make this my workshop and tool shed.Our garage is going to be multi use.First and foremost "TLA's" home gym will be set up in there.It will also house our upright freezer,an extra fridge (also from our rental house), the poodle grooming area, rabbit food and other non gas powered items. The chain saws and tillers and other small gas powered implements will be stored in the tool shed so "TLA" wont have to fight the gas odors when she does one of her 5 workouts a week. This is the "pink sewing and snoring room" now.You can see our $.57 a square foot laminate peeking out from the corner. Terry says it is not the highest grade stuff so we will have to treat it gingerly."TLA" says that I should have just done the whole house in linoleum (which is in the kitchen,bathrooms,utility room and closets). She is probably right,she usually is, but I do like the look and insulation qualities of the laminate and the padding underneath.

These are our kitchen cabinets. They are oak and we went with a one step "honey oak" stain. Just one coat to let the grain show through.We think they look great. By the way I was able to score 7 quarts of one step stain for a total of $21 at Knox Rail Salvage. One quart at Home Depot was $13. CHA CHING! The cabinets are all wood no particle board.They were unfinished and pre-sanded. We got 9 feet of lower counters,12 feet of wall cabinets, a 30 inch pantry, a four foot double sided island,and a micro wave cabinet plus the stain for under $2K! Now you know why they say "Hi Rico" as soon as I hit the door at Knox Rail Salvage.You can see our linoleum underneath the cabs.

Here is where the wood stove is going to go. Tiles are home depot.More laminate flooring and you can see that in the kitchen,living,master bedroom,my step sons bedroom and bathroom we went with "pearl drop" Behr "Ultra" paint.Paint is one area we didn't scrimp and I am glad we didnt.Ultra goes for $24 a gallon at Home Depot.But its a paint and primer all in one.Only in the pink room did we have to go with 2 full coats. We will paint the entire double wide using less than 7 gallons of paint. And that is using three colors with lots left over.You cant beat this stuff.

Above is what our dining room looked like with the "wall paper from hell". Below is what it looks like now with the muted green we picked out.Just one coat and that was it.

In my last post I listed my little goat barn design. From a twinkle in our eye to a real goat Shangri La.Below you can see it after Abner framed it out.

We decided to put it next to the garage (our future gym). You can see one of our rabbit hutches below between the the two buildings.We have since moved the hutch to the northside of the garage so our future rabbits will have plenty of shade in the summer.Yes we are going to breed rabbits too. Both for their poo (fertilizer extraordinaire) and their meat. Yes we are going to harvest our bunnies. We just bought two heritage breeds for this the other night. We picked out American Blue and American Chinchilla rabbits. They are both on the endangered list.I will talk about our philosophy on heritage breeds in another post but besides the real advantages in heritage breeds we will contribute to maintaining breeds that have fallen out of favor with Americas "food factory" mentality. That means they don't become morbidly obese in 6 weeks or less. We hope to become a stock source for anyone seeking these breeds for food or pets.

The above picture was taken about 5 days ago. Below you can see how far Abner has gotten since then. These guys are good.

Yep we went with the classic red and white barn.
Above is the "loafing area" below you can see the beginnings of the kidding area and feed room. I spec ed out wire fencing inside the barn but Abner said he had some leftover tongue and groove wood and upgraded us for free!

"TLA" has contacted our "goat whisperer" lady. We are going to start with three milker does. Sabrina a Nubian mix and the two "Spice"sisters Nutmeg (aka Meg) and Ginger who are pedigreed Nubians.When "TLA" confirmed this by e-mail this week excited wasn't the right word.Ecstatic would be more spot on. We even had our first crop planting today as I over seeded the barn job site with various pasture seeds.Really felt like a farmer waiting on the loading dock at the local Co-op for clover,orchard grass and perennial rye. Got to have some munchies for our girls!!! I probably looked like a dork spreading it with my Knox Box grass seed spreader instead of a proper tractor.

We are hoping to build two ponds on the property.This will require better access to the affected areas. Below you can see our new road across our wet weather creek complete with culverts!

And below us now is that "special hole" I mentioned earlier. It is the future site of our very own root cellar.When and how much is still undetermined but we hope to be able to do it this year. We picked a site cut out of a hillside below the double wide

We are right on track to be moved in by the end of February.Its all happening so fast.We have been so blessed. We have decided to throw everything into this effort. That means we are selling our toys. My beloved 1979 Porsche 911 Targa and "TLA's" 1979 280 Z are for sale. We also have a 2003Lexus SC430 hard top convertible that "TLA" used to drive before she stole my Prius.None of these sports car types would navigate or 1/4 mile plus gravel driveway very well.Plus they are all paid for. I think of it as them turning into such luxuries as a good tractor with a loader and a good dump truck.We are also selling our rental house in Athens. That was a tough one because its been in TLA's family for generations.Its the cutest little house on 1.69 acres with a creek.Perfect for a micro farm but not big enough (or close enough) for us. You can see it on Craigslist . Great buy if your interested. Sorry for the unsolicited ad :).
And of course once we move our "Knox Box" is going on the block too.Even in this economy we should have a good bit of equity in it thanks to a good down payment when we bought it 5 years ago. Once these things all sell we should be able to get the farm up and running and be debt free on it.Until then I am wincing as the cash flows out.But if it is His will for us to be on the farm I have faith it will all happen.
I had 4 fence subcontractors out yesterday.I have been told "no goats". So by Wednesday I hope to have that subbed out. The next major steps are:
  • Kitchen counter tops- Salvage places don't have enough of one color so...arrrrgh...its retail. But we both agree the big money goes into the infrastructure of the farm not the counter tops
  • Finding a home somewhere else for the hideous single wide
  • A workable chicken coop.We are getting my mother in laws flock.
  • One more rabbit hutch
  • More progress on our two ponds

Oh yeah and then there are fruit trees..blueberry bushes...planting a muscadyne vineyard,...tilling and working soil in several garden plots,...devising a way to pump irrigation water from the ponds.....a honey bee hive...stocking the ponds ...a new guard dog..deer fencing...and so on. I never looked forward to so much work with so much excitement.

Be blessed

The Bald Man

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