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 | 11 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.

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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

Housing Saga Continues!

Well we just got word back from the lender and it as I thought, no new increase. They took almost two weeks to get back to us on that one. I know the buyers must be going crazy too. What a joke this lender is. After this is all over I am going to do a post about the lender and name names so maybe someone else will see it and not use them. We have read reviews  on this lender and sadly there are many stories where this lender has done the same thing to others. Here is the latest email from the lender.

Attached, please find extension letter. Per our conversation, the loan officer that was assigned to this loan is no longer with Prospect Mortgage. (Name Deleted) has been assigned to this loan and I have cc’d her on this email. Also, the appraisal is currently in UW to be approved for a 2nd appraisal to be ordered because the Seller will not accept the revised value when it was challenged. Jamie stated that we are looking to close before Christmas. I will keep everyone posted during this transaction and will do everything I can to help us get a clear to close before the end of December.

As you all can see from the above email that the loan officer is no longer with the mortgage company and now they want to push back the closing until Christmas. Then we received this email.

Hello, Unfortunately, underwriting/management declined the ok to order another appraisal. We have to use the current one provided.  Please send an addendum to the contract with new terms so we can update the loan.

In all of the houses and properties I have bought in my 60 years I have never been through such a nightmare as this. From the reviews we have read about Prospect Mortgage even if the buyers and us agree on new terms, there is going to be problems at closing.

I will let you know what happens next.




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Housing Update

Just thought I would let you know the closing date on selling our home has now been pushed back one more week to Dec. 4th, because we have not heard back from the appraisal review committee. To give you all an idea how long we have been dealing with this, the contract was signed Sept. 20th. I am betting this will come back with no more value added on the appraisal and they think we will have to take it because now we don’t have any chance of selling it until after the Holidays.

Its times like this I need to think about what we are doing this for and this picture takes me to our happy place.

Its times like this I need to think about what we are doing this for and these pictures takes back me to our happy place.

When we were back at our farm this fall, we cooked all of our meals on an open wood fire and I must say everything seems to taste so much better.

When we were back at our farm this fall, we cooked all of our meals on an open wood fire in a cast iron skillet and I must say everything seems to taste so much better.

I feel much better now, and will let you know what happens.


Posted in Tree tubes | 9 Comments

Where We Are!

This buck was harvested off our land this year from a friend that I let bow hunt. The deer scored 184 ponts.

This buck was harvested off our land this year from a friend that I let bow hunt. The deer scored 184 points.

A lot has happened since the last time I have posted, so first I want to  apologize for not keeping you up to date of our situation. We have been so busy packing and moving and in this post will explain where we are now.

This is the Aqua building where we are staying now.

This is the Aqua building where we are staying now.

At the moment as I am writing this post I am over looking Millennium Park from downtown Chicago from the 19th floor of the Aqua building from our new apartment. Most of our belongings are in a pod in Des Moines waiting to be delivered next spring to our farm when we plan to move to Iowa to start building our home.We have moved to the apartment because we have a new contract on our home and are supposed to close next Friday. I say supposed to close because now that we are here it looks like the deal is in danger of falling through. This has been quite the ordeal selling our home and if we knew it would all turn out this way we would have waited until next spring to sell our home, because this has all been very stressful.

We have moved from our 2000 sq ft home to less then 600 sq ft. It has been an adjustment getting used to living here.

We have moved from our 2000 sq ft home to less than 600 sq ft. It has been an adjustment getting used to living here.

As you recall from my last post, we have had one deal fall through because of the buyers financing and as soon as we put the home on the market the very next people who saw the place put an offer on it and the way it looks now this one may fall through because of the appraisal of our home. The appraisal came in 11,000 less than our agreed upon contract price.

To me this looks like we are trying to be scammed here. The buyers are getting a FHA loan and their mortgage person has waited until the last moment to order the appraisal. The appraiser  who appraised our home has only had her license for one month and used comparable homes that have sold recently in our area that are 600 sq ft smaller than ours. We had asked for a new appraisal and all they did was have the same women who did the original appraisal do it again, and she  raised  the amount 2000. This is still unacceptable to us and we have countered again and now are waiting for a response from the buyers. To tell you the truth we are about to cancel this deal and to start again. We will take our chances that the next buyers will have a more favorable appraisal. We know our house is worth what we are asking, the market tells us it is. The very first people who come to look at it put in offers so we know it will sell again, it just might be a few months now that the holidays are upon us.

I also may have to put off retirement until the house sells because we can’t afford to be paying our house note, property taxes and the new apartment with me on my railroad  pension and that sucks the most.

I guess we will see what happens, so stay tuned.

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