More Progress On Our Home.

Walls are poured

As I sit here in our camper today listening to the rain outside beat against our camper, it gives me a chance to get you all caught up on our progress.

As you can see from the picture above we now have our walls poured.  Niki and I have also put in our waste lines that go under the slab and are just waiting on our  basement contractor to come back and put down pee gravel and then we will put our ridged insulation on top of that before they pour the slab.

Putting up our concrete forms.

We are off to a good start and we hope the rest of the build goes as well as it has so far, but by the looks of the weather  forecast it may be awhile before this rain will stop enough to dry out.  I highly recommend our basement contractor  Cambron & Thacker Construction they are truly professionals and great to work with.

Niki and I also had a chance to get down to our creek and catch some more game fish to stock our own pond with.

we trapped some blue gill, bass, and minnows the we released into our. pond.

we trapped some very small blue gill, bass, and minnows that we released into our. pond.




Posted in Buildng our home. | 10 Comments

Finally Here!

We have already got the basement excavated and or footings poured.

We have already got the basement excavated and our footings poured.

After planning for this moment since 2009 we are finally here. We are so happy and it is a dream come true. We couldn’t ask for better weather and are enjoying staying in our camper. We got here Wednesday and we didn’t waste any time getting started on our home, the basement contractor arrived the next day and got the basement surveyed, excavated and the footings poured.

basement footings.

The walls are supposed to be poured tomorrow and once they are poured is when I start doing the waste lines that will run under our slab.

This pipe goes to daylight on the side of our hill and drain any water that gets around or under our basement.

This pipe goes to daylight on the side of our hill and drain any water that gets around or under our basement. No need for a sump pump on this house.

What I thought was a great idea was the forms that are used on the footings. They are perforated and hollow so they also act as drain tile.

Close up view of our forms.

Close up view of our forms.

The slotted slits in the forms allow water to enter and follow that over to the pipe that goes to day light to drain all water that gets around or under our foundation.

The basement contractor has also put under the footings a short 4″ white pvc pipe where our waste line hooks up that will go to the septic system. They also put in a 2″ pvc under the footing and this is where our water line will go through.

One of the first things we had to do was put in our mailbox that my wife picked out.

One of the first things we had to do was put in our mailbox that my wife picked out.

That’s it for now and will keep you all up to date on our progress.




Posted in Buildng our home. | 19 Comments

Almost There!

My friend Tom who lives just a few miles from our farm sent me this picture of deer on his place.

My friend Tom who lives just a few miles from our farm sent me this picture of deer at his place. Click on the picture to make it larger to see all the deer.

We are almost there, in less than a month we will be leaving the big city of Chicago and moving to our farm in Iowa and we can’t wait. It has been over 6 years since we bought our farm and have been planning for this moment and dreaming about retirement and starting our hobby farm. The planning has not been easy, with this much time to plan, I have changed my mind more than I care to admit and that is what I want to now share in this post.

How our new house will look.

How our new house will look.

Those of you who have been following this blog know I first started out wanting to build a Pole Barn House and then the last you heard we had changed it to a log home. That has changed too and now we are going to build a regular stick built house. Thankfully we are so close to build time I can’t change our mind again.:-)

I have always wanted a log home but in the end it was the maintenance of having to re-stain the logs every 3 to 5 years that made building the log home not practical for some one who was retiring. It was also going to cost about 30,000 more to build.

This home will have basically the same floor plan our home we just sold had.

This home will have basically the same floor plan our home we just sold had.

We didn’t go with the pole barn home because living in Iowa we need a basement or storm shelter for severe weather like tornadoes. I also didn’t want to be on a slab with my arthritis, the concrete would be too rough on my knees. Our conventional framed home will have a basement and wood floors. It will also have a steel roof and siding that a pole barn would have. We like the low maintenance of those materials.

We plan on doing most of the work but will be contracting out the basement, the outside framing, septic, and heating and cooling. My wife and I will have to sheet the outside walls, put the windows in and do all the interior framing and finish work. I also plan on doing the plumbing and most of the electrical. I do worry a lot about the whole thing. Will I be physically able to do the work and will I know enough to do it right so it will be worth living in when we are done? These thoughts keep me up late at night sometimes, I don’t know how it will all go. We move there April 13th and plan to break ground for the basement the next day. You all will have to keep following to see how it all turns out.




Posted in Farm Report, Our Log Home, Pole Barn House | 29 Comments

Beavers On Milligan’s Gander Hill Farm

Beaver on our pond

I went to our farm recently and walked around the property and I noticed on the back side of our pond a beaver has taken up residence. He has cut an entrance to his den into our island and you can see left of the entrance a beaver mound. He has also stocked piled a bunch of willow trees on and below the ice to eat this winter. It was very close to 1 degree above zero (F) and I was surprised the beaver has been able to keep the area in front of his entrance from freezing  so he can get to his willow stash.Beaver mound

I am excited to see this animal has decided to make our pond his home. I know some people might be worried of what damage the beaver might do, but not us. We have so many willows on our land, which is one of the beaver’s favorite trees to eat, we hope it helps keep the willows from getting out of control. As long as we put some wire fencing around the trees we don’t want him to eat we should get along just fine. I would like to work with them, than try to remove them, which would probably take a lot of time and effort anyway with little chance of eliminating them for good. Plus its real cool to see them swimming in our pond and we hope to make Mr. Beaver a friend instead of a foe. That fits right in our farm philosophy of trying to work with nature instead of against it.Willows on our farm

As you can see from the picture above that the beavers have lots of willows to choose from.

When I was there it was very cold and there was a snow storm going on. It was the only time I had my camera with me to get any winter shots. I found it so serene with the snow falling and the peacefulness that I felt while there was so relaxing. I never get tired of hanging out on our farm.Winter on the farm

Gander Hill Pond

The beaver den is on the other side of our island in the pond. You can also see in this picture where the beaver has dug out a channel from the pond around our embankment so he can swim to where the willows are instead of just crossing over the embankment to expose himself to predators.

I went there to talk with our builder and supplier of our building materials for the home we are going to start to build this coming April. I had also went there to do some ice fishing with a friend of mine but we found it was too cold for that. Still it was fun to get out of the city for a few days and enjoy the country. We still have lots of plans for the coming year and will soon be sharing that with you all. So until next time enjoy more pictures of our farm in winter.winter on our farmwintr on our farm




Posted in Farm Report | 13 Comments

The House Has Finally Sold!

This past Friday we just put our home on the market to get ready for our move to Iowa.

I am happy to report after signing a contract to sell our home with the same buyers since September 25, we have finally Closed. I am happy and sad all at the same time. Happy that it is done and we don’t have to keep  paying the mortgage, taxes and utilities and worrying if the place might get broken into while no one was living there. Sad because we really liked our home and had done a lot of hard work to it to get it the way we wanted. My wife and I really enjoyed our life together there and will always have fond memories of living there. We have always said if we could take it with us to Iowa we would, we liked it that much, but sadly that’s wasn’t possible.

Now that that’s done it won’t be long until we move to Iowa, I just hope the rest of our journey goes a little smoother then this did.


Posted in Farm Report | 19 Comments

Retirement Day is Finally Here!

This is me in front of the railroad retirement building on Rush St., downtown Chicago.

Here I am in front of the railroad retirement building on Rush St., downtown Chicago a few weeks back. I was going in to sign up for my retirement.

My retirement day is finally here, the last day I have to work. I thought this day would never get here. I have thought about retirement every day for the past several years and it has made time seem to move so slow. My official retirement day is going to be February 1, but with me using my personal days and some vacation time, I hope I won’t be working any in January. We won’t be moving to our farm until April because we don’t have a home built there yet and will be living in our camper while we build it. We hope the weather will be warm enough  by April to do so because our lease ends here at our apartment and we will have to move regardless of the weather.

This is a view from our apartment.

This is a view from our apartment.

Aqua Building

With the short time we have left here in Chicago we are really enjoying our stay at our apartment and taking advantage of going to some of  the great restaurants here.

Speaking of our home selling situation, the buyers have asked for another closing extension, and now want to close January 11th😦. This is it, if they don’t close then they lose their earnest money and we will cancel the deal. They say this will be it but we have heard that before. I will let you know how it goes. The only reason we have let this go on so long was because we know during the holidays the housing market is pretty slow.

So please stay tuned as we go on to the next station in life ( sorry about the railroad pun), it should start to get more exciting now.

Posted in Farm Report | 19 Comments

Do not use Prospect Mortgage

This is now getting to be comical, the buyers have now dropped their mortgage company Prospect Mortgage and are back with the first guy who quit Prospect Mortgage because they were so messed up. We are starting the process all over except we are stuck with the Appraisal because the buyers are FHA buyers and we have to keep this for 6 months. We have agreed to new terms with the buyers and are not paying all their closing cost. We expect to close at the end of the month but we re not holding our breath. If you are a buyer or seller and Prospect Mortgage is going to be the buyer’s Mortgage company run for the hills, they are horrible.

Posted in Farm Report | 7 Comments