Friday, December 31, 2004

Making headway

This is the progress on the driveway. we were so excited to see more than 10 ft ahead!
This was a very slow process, one tree at a time . The alternative was way too fast for us. Having taken the time to reevaluate as we went along gave us the time to constantly rethink where we would place the buildings and othe areas of the compound.

Taking a rest by our Holey tree!

More open space!

Friday, October 1, 2004

Cutting and burning

WOW it was really our land! Green, beautiful .....and full of thousands of trees. Oaks, yupon holly (in the city you would pay $20 a bush) beauty berry, poison oak and ivy (thats another story later) and grape, just to name a few. The picture here is the most cleared area on the land. We had a hard time figuring out where to put our house at first, so what we did was find a satellite view of our land at we could then see how the land was configured to the directions (south,north ect)
then we used a compass to tag a path in which to start cutting.

All the locals said "around here everyone bull doses a road into where you want your house to be, piles the cuttings into one big pile, douse it with gas and let it burn" . We found out it takes up to a year sometimes for the pile to burn down and you have to keep relighting it.
At first we were going to cut and stack the bushes up out of the way and rent a shredder so we did not have to burn. We thought that this was the most green thing to do. Renting a shredder is very expensive and extremely hard work, and after a while our pile of brushes on the side path was getting very, very large. So we started burning. It was late fall when we started this so it was a nice event to keep us warm.

More like cut, drag,! Watch out for the stumps!!

The first major purchase was a chain saw. We did our research and bought an ECHO ( this has been a very hardy machine and would buy another when this one wears out, as of 3/2009 and many trees later it is still running great !), 16 inch bar (which can cut a 20"+ diameter tree) with 56 links (this may not seem like important information, but when you go to replace the chain , the links have to match the bar or else you will break a tooth on the bar and the chain will not move, thus you will have to replace the bar).

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

The Start Of The Journey

It all started 35 years ago in 1972 soon after we were married. We wanted to create our own small sanctuary in which to live. We researched building materials and methods. I drew up plan after plan, adjusting placements of rooms and walls. I would always be searching for the "how to books".
Because of limited income and at the time living in New Mexico, the poor mans house was adobe. Cement was cheap and the dirt to make the bricks was in ones back yard. Well at that point we didn't even own a back yard.
So the children came and the plans were set aside. Our lives were focused on providing food , shelter and stability. We didn't have the time to raise a roof and a family at the same time.
Fast forward to 2002, our youngest was in high school, we became very practical through the years and knew what we could afford and build on our own. So we set out looking for the plot of land that contained our requirements: privacy, within an hour from a major city, lots of trees, water.... well you get the picture.
I searched the newspapers consistently for the perfect place. We would take day trips and hunt down properties that looked promising, we would visit others that had done what we were trying to do and listened to they're stories . It was always hopeful and we would go away with an idea on how we thought we could do it better ( in hind site we were very naive, It is one thing to imagine how one would do something and entirely a different story doing it yourself!)
In the spring of 2004 I called on an ad that was selling the land by assuming the original loan with some money down. Well that property sold very fast. I continued to talk with the guy and he was so friendly and gave me alot of good information , and then he said he knew of someone that was trying to sell some land in another county. He gave me the name and the rest is history (ours anyway).
We went out to look at the place and it had everything we wanted , well except for surface water, but it was all good anyway! We closed in the fall with a small down payment and assuming the loan. Thus we were at the start of the journey ........

On the way to the land at sunrise.