Your Chance To Get Started In Farming Now

This is a farm for sale only about 13 miles from our farm.

This is a farm for sale only about 13 miles from our farm.

If you are looking to get started in farming, here is in opportunity for you. I get updates on farms for sale everyday from Zillow and every now and then a great deal comes on the market and those are the ones I like to share with my readers, and this is a good one.

This is a 40 acre farm with a house, wooden barn, metal storage building, pond, and pastures with a bit of timber that would make someone a great pasture based farm and only priced at 145,000 dollars. The property taxes are only 1,266 dollars a year and is on a lightly traveled paved highway so you can keep your vehicles cleaner than gravel roads will. These parcels don’t come on the market that often and when they do they don’t last long.

House is livable and with a little TLC would make a great little homestead.

House is livable and with a little TLC would make a great little homestead.

The land is already sectioned off for rotational grazing and has been used for cattle and hay ground.

This farm is already set up for cattle.

This farm is already set up for cattle.

This farm also has a large stocked pond for livestock watering or recreational fishing.

You can see here the large pond and hay bales that were made on this farm.

You can see here the large pond and hay bales that were made on this farm.

Lucas Farm 4

You can see more pictures of this farm http://www.remax.com/realestatehomesforsale/54156-us-hwy-65-lucas-ia-50151-gid700013773045.html. If you are looking for a small homestead, you can’t go wrong with this one, but don’t wait to long to decide. It won’t last long.

 

Posted in Iowa Farms for sale | 4 Comments

What We Are Doing Now

We just bought this new camper at the Chicago boat and camper show.

We just bought this new camper at the Chicago boat and camper show.

Even though we are not planning to build our log home for another 14 months we haven’t been sitting on our duffs. There are still lots of things that we have to do and plan before that day comes and this is what we are doing now to help us get ready for when that day comes.

boat-show-pic

We just went to the 2015 Chicago Boat and RV Show at McCormick Place and had a great time. If you have never been there before you should plan to take a trip to Chicago and see it for yourself it is well worth your time and the prices are amazing. It is huge and you would be hard presed to see everything in one day even if you spent the whole day there. All the manufactures there are trying to promote their brand and are selling at wholesale prices. If you are looking at buying a boat, camper or RV you should make the trip to Chicago next year in January and go to this show, you won’t be sorry that you did.

New camper kitchen.

New camper kitchen.

We went to the show to look at pontoon boats because someday that is something we would like to buy when we retire so we can go fishing and take the grandkids tubing. We didn’t have any plans to buy a camper, but once we saw the campers and the prices they were going for we thought would buy one and live in this when we are building our log home. After the home is built then sell it, that way we wouldn’t have to rent a place in Iowa and we can be there right on the job site to look after all our building material.

There are many more things we have been up to that I plan to post but I don’t want to blow all my posting material in this one post, got keep my readers interest up, until then more pictures of our new camper below.
Camper bed

Camper

Kitchen 1

outside

Right side

Posted in Our Log Home | 18 Comments

Changing Our Time Line For Retirement and Building Our House.

 

This is a picture of our drive way that we had to have three loads of gravel put down so we could get our concrete poured in our pole barn.

This is a picture of our drive way that we had to have three loads of gravel put down so we could get our concrete poured in our pole barn.

As some of you may have already noticed that my time line for my retirement count down that I have to the right on my site has changed to December 31, 2015. We have also pushed back the date 7 months from when we are going to start to build our log home from Aug. 31 2015 to April 2016. There was several reason why I have changed the time line but there was a main reason and that is what I will explain here.

The main reason why we have changed the start date of our new home was because I am acting as our general contractor and even though we plan on doing most of the work ourselves there are some things that we will not be doing so I have been getting bids for those. Things like the basement, heating and cooling, septic system, and to build the roof with rafters, sheeting and roofing material. Even though we are capable of doing our own roof I thought I would hire some company to do it with us planning to start building so late in the year to make sure we would get it weather tight before winter would set in. The two bids I had sent out came back at around 30,000 and I felt that was at least 10,000 more than what they should have been. We are trying to keep cost down and we are not willing to pay over 20,000 more for something we feel we can do ourselves, so we have decided to wait now until the following spring in April of 2016 to start our log home so we can do it  ourselves. The materials are only about 10,000 at the most so we will save a significant amount of money. Since we won’t be building the house until April I didn’t want to be bored and sitting around the house with nothing to do so I thought I would work until Dec. 31, 2015 and this would give us a chance to save up more money.

Believe me when I tell you I am a little bummed that we won’t be starting the house this year, but my wife and I talked about it and we feel it is the right thing to do.

Posted in Our Log Home | 12 Comments

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 270,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 12 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Tree tubes | 4 Comments

Our Log Home Plans

This is a picture of my great great grandparents and their log home. It was located about 10 miles from our farm. It was taken in 1911 and my gg grandparents Levi and Hannah Coles are to the left and Levi’s sister Phoebe and her husband John Matson to the right.

My great great grandparents moved to Iowa after he fought in the Civil War, for the North, and he got 40 acres given to him by the government for his services in the war. It was located in Iowa near Otter Creek by the community of Norwood just about 10 miles from our current farm. It must have been a difficult journey to come all the way from Ohio in a covered wagon and build his log home with his own two hands from trees on his property and get it all done before winter set in. That first winter must have been real tough in 1865. He was a true homesteader. Thankfully, building our own log home from the ground up will be hard but nothing compared to what my gg grandparents went through. So we are going to take that same pioneer spirit and build our own homestead and start farming using the same methods my great great grandparents used.  Its going to take some planning on our part and this post will be about our plans for the log home.

Our log home will not have a front dormer like this one but will have a basement and we want to have it raised off the ground like this one.

Our log home will not have a front dormer like this one but will have a basement and we want to have it raised off the ground like this to help keep the logs dry.

After countless hours looking online and going to log home shows we have chosen the Ridgeview from Meadow Valley Log Homes for our log home. It is 28 x 40. I like this model because it reminds me of log homes from back in the 1800’s. We have modified this model a little to take advantage of the views of our pond and forest and have added a gable end truss porch like the picture below.Trust porch

The home will have a loft with a shed dormer with 3 bedrooms and two baths. The great room will look similar to the picture below.

Log homes

Floor Plan

RidgeviewWithShedDormer

First Floor

Page 2 RidgeviewWithShedDormer

Loft and Master bedroom

Planning the Décor

Our plans for the décor is to have that old hunting lodge feel to the home because our land is really well suited for hunting. No matter if we would have built the pole barn house or the farm we just tried to buy, we would have had tried to make that same feel just by adding log siding to the inside of the structure.  We have already been to antique stores, flee markets, estate and garage sales and have been buying things that will work for a log home and I want to show you some of the things we have collected so far.

The 16 point buck I shot with this Kentucky long rifle that I put together as a kit back in 1991.

The 16 point buck I shot with this Kentucky long rifle that is above this back bar that I put together as a kit back in 1991. Most things in this picture will go in our log home.

I bought this lamp at Cabala's for half price because it had a small crack that you can not see.

I bought this lamp at Cabela’s for half price because it had a small crack that you can’t see. The end table it’s on we got at an antique shop.

 

A bedroom set I have owned for years with a buffalo skull above the bed.

A bedroom set I have owned for years with a buffalo skull over the bed.

Log Home Decor

This is of the same bedroom, with an old saddle and an oil painting that was picked up real cheap at a garage sale.

This is my favorite piece of furniture. I have had this leather chair and ottoman since 1998.

This is my favorite piece of furniture. I have had this leather chair and ottoman since 1998. I can’t wait to set in it in front of the fireplace on in our log home.

 

I bought this original water color picture with barn wood frame at an garage sale for 10.00 in 1997.

I bought this original water color picture in a barn board wood frame at an garage sale for 10.00 in 1997. The scene reminds me of many old barns I have seen in Iowa.

I caught this King Salmon in lake Michigan in 1999.

I caught this 22 lb King Salmon in lake Michigan in 1999.

 

This is a 250 lb black bear that I shot on a hunt in Canada in 2004.

This is a 250 lb black bear that I shot on a hunt in Canada in 2004.

 

These are wildlife panels that we plan to put in our log railing. We waited for these to go on sale at Menards before buying them.

These are wildlife panels that we plan to put in our log railing. We waited for these to go on sale at Menards before buying them.

Just picked this old barrel up at an estate sale, couldn't pass it up for only 20.00

Just picked this old barrel up at an estate sale, couldn’t pass it up for only 20.00

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My wife bought this cool weather vane last year at a flee market.

We are already thinking about lighting for the log home and bought this cool rustic moose and pine tree chandelier at Menards when it had a 25% price drop.

We are already thinking about lighting for the log home and bought this cool rustic moose and pine tree chandelier at Menards when it had a 25% price drop.

Log Home Decor

As you can see we have really been thinking about this old hunting lodge look for a long time. We can’t wait to get started. We will brake ground for the foundation April 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Our Log Home | 16 Comments

Decision Has Been Made Part Two

This is another picture of our stuck tractor when I went to get our truck unstuck. It was a bad first day at the farm.

This is another picture of our stuck tractor when I went to get our truck unstuck. It was a bad first day at the farm.

In this post as promised, I will finish my last post “The decision has been made” and after this you will know which way we are going to go regarding our farm. I thought I was going to have some exciting news to tell you all but it didn’t happen like we had hoped. Someone once said something like “Its your attitude that makes something an ordeal or an adventure.” Right now, things sometimes seems like an ordeal but I am sure when we look back on it all in a few years we will think it was an adventure.

I am not going to bore you all with the details of what happened the other two days. I will sum it up by saying with over two inches of rain in two days we couldn’t get the concrete poured in our pole barn until Friday. It was just too muddy up on our building site to get a concrete truck in there so we ended up staying in Iowa two days longer than we had planned. I also won’t bore you with the poor communication we had with our cement contractor or how he cut a few corners that we may regret later.

This is a picture of our new concrete floor in our pole barn. We had to have 3 truck loads of gravel brought in to put in a drive way so the cement truck wouldn't get stuck.

This is a picture of our new concrete floor in our pole barn. We had to have 3 truck loads of gravel brought in to put in a drive way so the cement truck wouldn’t get stuck in the mud from all the rain.

With all the rain delays we did have some extra time on our hands and my friend Tom told me about a home for sale inside Stephens State Forest that was only three miles from our farm and he suggested I buy it and still keep my farm and live there. He said, “you could raise cattle on the farm and then bring them back to this house for the winter because it had a barn with a two acre pasture,” a lot of farmers do this around these parts he said. When he first told me about the place a few days before we got to our farm I really didn’t have any interest in seeing it. But after having the 3 really bad days that we just had and seeing how weather and dealing with contractors can be I was a little more open to the idea and I thought what the heck it won’t hurt to look at it.

It was a gorgeous spot right on the edge of the forest and it had mature trees all around with beautiful fall colors and a three car garage and a pole barn with stalls set up for horses. It had grape vines and apple trees and the house looked good on the out side, and more importantly my wife liked it. This was a first, we have looked at least a dozen farms and every time my wife kills the deal because she doesn’t like the house. We called the listing realtor and they showed us the house on the inside and we knew it needed some work but still liked it enough to put an offer in on it. After a few back and forth price changes the sellers and us agreed on a price. You don’t know how excited we were, here I wouldn’t have to do the daunting task of building a home from the ground up but only have to remodel which I have done a half dozen times before and I would be able to start farming that much sooner. I felt like a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

 

The drive way leading up top the house we made an offer on.

The drive way leading up top the house we made an offer on.

We drove the 5 and a half hours back to Iowa this past weekend to be there for the home inspection. Sadly the inspection didn’t go so well, I don’t want to say much about it all except to say the sellers and us couldn’t agree on what they were willing to fix and that is what killed the deal.

We were both really bummed because we really loved the spot, but like I promised you and my wife, we have settled on which way we are now going to go. We have decided to build the log home from Meadow Valley Log Homes. I am going to go with what I have always dreamed of even though I know its going to be a lot of work, but nothing worth while has ever been easy.  Our log house will be part of my family’s legacy and my wife and I will take a picture of us in front of the house so someday my descendants will look on the pictures years from now to get a since of how there gg grandparents were.

Now tell me, who thought I was going to give up my dream of being a farmer?

 

 

Posted in Farm Report | 21 Comments

The Decision Has Been Made

Our truck all loaded up and ready to go to our farm.

Our truck all loaded up and ready to go to our farm early in the morning.

As promised, I told you I would keep you up to date on what’s happening on the farm and what decision we would make as far as our housing was concerned. We have made up our minds and want to tell you what we have decided.

I think the direction we are now going to go will be a big surprise to you all, I know it was to us and was not planned at all before this trip. It all started this past week when we went to the farm in Iowa to work, mow and get our concrete slab poured in our pole barn on Monday. The trip looked promising and very productive but the first three days ended up being a total disaster.

Day One

We got to the farm Saturday afternoon to drop off some more trees to plant and stuff to store in our pole barn. We had planned to stay just long enough to unload and check things over before heading to Des Moines to spend Saturday evening out with family and friends. Everything looked good with the all the trees showing their fall colors and the pond looked nice and full from all the rains they had in Iowa this past summer. The grass and weeds around the pole barn and around the pond where pretty green and high because we hadn’t been there all summer to mow. We unloaded the stuff we had brought into the pole barn and was ready to take off when I wanted to drive down to the pond to take a closer look at the pasture grass we had planted this past spring and that is when the trouble started.

When Everything Went To Hell

I was driving around the base of our hill towards the pond and noticed things seemed a little slippery and I got out to check out the ground. When I stepped out onto the high mat of weeds and grass water squished up around my tennis shoes, about a half-inch. I thought they must have had more rain then I thought because up on top of the hill everything was dry. The truck wasn’t sinking any because the mat of vegetation was so thick and no mud was showing so I decided to continue on with some reservations from my wife, but I told her, “don’t worry honey, this is why we bought this new truck with 4 wheel drive.” I hadn’t driven 20 feet further when I hit a washout and high centered the truck and got us stuck. Apparently all the rain had created a gully that came down off our hill and I couldn’t see it from all the high weeds.

This is the picture of our stuck truck and tractor.

This is the picture of our stuck truck and tractor.

I was in trouble now, not just because I got our new truck stuck but because the wife told me not to go down there. She was madder than a wet hen and said “now what are we going to do, we are supposed to be in Des Moines in an hour.” I said, “no fear, we have a 4 wheel drive tractor that will pull us out.” We got out of the truck and started walking up the hill to our pole barn to get our tractor with my wife chastising me the whole way. I know most of you have figured out by now where this is going, but you only know half of it.

We got to the top of the hill and the weeds were chest high and my wife didn’t want to walk through them because of the cockle burr and possible chiggers, so I told her to wait here and I would bring back the tractor and new mower and cut us a path to the truck and pull it out, it will take 15 minutes tops.

Second Mistake

I started up the tractor and grabbed a heavy-duty chain and put it on the mower deck and started cutting a path towards my wife. Our new mower had a 4 inch hole on top of the deck where you can look down through to inspect your cutting blades and there was supposed to be a plastic cover on this but something had knocked it out while mowing the last time we were there. I knew this hole was there but I was in a hurry to get back to the wife and get us unstuck so she wouldn’t be as mad. I had secured both ends of the chain to the mower frame with the chain hooks but the center of the chain was free to move about. I thought the chain was far enough away from the hole and started cutting and heading towards my wife. Everything was going well when I started heading down the hill towards our truck. The center of the chain slid forward and part of it went down the hole. I heard this loud awful noise coming from our mower and I hurried up and shut off the PTO on the tractor and I felt sick to my stomach. So here I have got our truck stuck and probably just ruined our new mower, what else could go wrong? You thought my wife was mad before, you should have seen her then. I will spare you all that she said but I said, “not much we can do about it now, lets just get the truck pulled out.”

Third Mistake

I had my mind on the stupid two mistakes I had just made and probably wasn’t thinking as clearly as I should have been when I started heading towards our truck on our tractor. I took a slightly higher path on the side of the hill with the tractor so I would have less chance of getting the tractor stuck and was going to stop 10 feet short so I wouldn’t be anywhere near the washout. I was about twenty feet away when I hit a sink hole and got the tractor stuck. The tractor got stuck because the 700 lb. mower got high centered on the ground. I couldn’t believe I had done something else and should have walked the path first to check for any such hazards, but I didn’t. Needless to say my wife was furious with me now. I can honestly say I have never seen her so mad. I am sure she was thinking at that moment about her own judgment in marrying a complete idiot, and  how had she missed that until now.

Now what do we do? I happened to bring along my phone book and in it I had a farmer’s name that lived close by that I had let his cattle onto our farm before we put our fence up. I called him and told him of our predicament and if he could bring his tractor and pull us out I would give him a hundred bucks. He said he couldn’t make it because he was in his bean field cutting beans but would call his cousin who also lived close by and get his tractor and pull us out. He cousin arrived and his big John Deere tractor and pulled us out with ease and we paid him his 100 bucks and then I noticed I had cracked the bumper on the new truck when I had gotten stuck. We started the hour-long trip to Des Moines about 45 minutes behind schedule with a very gloomy outlook unlike the good feeling we had when we first arrived and was looking forward to happy time in Iowa. My wife didn’t talk to me almost the whole way to Des Moines. We pulled into the Marriott Hotel downtown Des Moines and what a sight we must have looked to the valet. Our new truck was totally covered in mud with a cracked and partially hanging down front bumper, you couldn’t tell it was new. I stepped out of the truck in my mud caked blue jeans and ruined tennis shoes and they probably thought the Beverly Hill Billies had come to stay.

Our craked and hanging bumper.

Our cracked and hanging bumper.

In my next post I will tell you about the other two days and what we are now going to do.

Posted in Farm Report | 24 Comments