Things are going well with our home build and the results are better than what I had envisioned and I figure we are close to being halfway done. We have had a few bumps along the way but nothing that is more than normal.
We have a few things to do to the outside like finish the back deck, put in some outdoor lighting and do the final grading but basically on the outside it’s done.
As you can see by this photo, we also have to finish the ceiling on the porch and put up some railing. We love sitting on the porch that overlooks our pond.
This is the kitchen area, we framed the home using 2×6 studs instead of standard 2×4’s.
We love the open concept of our kitchen and living room.
The entrance and roughed in staircase
Most of the interior framing is done and we have started doing the plumbing.
The picture above will be the master bath that my wife wanted a pocket door in. She also has bought this old dresser that she plans on turning into her bathroom vanity.
This is the second bathroom and will be an en-suite for the the second bedroom. This was a design change that happened when I realized we didn’t have enough room off the hallway to put in a second door. There are no blue prints for this build, its all being done from drawings I designed.
The views from our back deck are even better now that we are about 8 feet off the ground,
That’s it for now, I will keep you up to date on our progress. One more thing, thanks to all that commented on our last post and I am sorry I have not responded to those. We are working 7 days a week and when the end of the day comes and after I shower and get a bite to eat I am just too tired to do much more then hit the bed. Please keep commenting, I promise to do a better job from here on out.
This is a picture that was taken about a week ago. We have been working 7 days a week and have been real tired after we get done each day and have not been keeping you all up to date. All the pictures in this post are a week behind, I meant to send them last week. As you can see we are making progress.
Our windows and doors have also arrived. Pella windows are made in Iowa so they were an easy choice for us.
I have been busy building our own columns using 3 2×6 treated boards
Once we get our house wrap on then we will start to put our windows and door in. We should get them in by the end of the week if the weather co-operates.
My nephew Roy Jr came two weeks ago to help his Uncle. It was real nice to spend some time with him, he is so much like his Dad, my brother.
One of my passengers that rode my train everyday stopped by the farm on her way back to Chicago from Kansas last weekend. It was great to see Tammy again she is a good friend and I do miss Friends we left behind.
We stopped in Osceola Iowa to buy fish for our pond. Blyzo fish farm goes to all the towns in southern Iowa and if you call them and order your fish you can meet them at a town near you when they are scheduled to be there.
In this bag we have a hundred baby large mouth Bass. We also bought 100 channel cat fish and 3 grass carp.
That’s it for now, I have added some more pictures below of the past week.
This is Jeremy Bellon who is doing the framing.
More up to date pictures will soon come.
This is a storm front that moved over our farm Friday halting work on our house.
Well we have been getting lots of work done on our home even though we had two days where we got rain. I am satisfied with our progress with only about 3 and a half days worked.
I thought the storm clouds were pretty cool and ran and got my camera.
As you can see by the picture above our home is coming along nicely. We have started on the second story and as you can see we have our roof trusses ready to go up once the second story walls are done.
We have been so tired at night once we are done for the day. Being 60 and not doing very hard physical work these last 17 years lets me know I am not nearly as strong and have the stamina as I once did. This type of work lets you know how out of shape you really are. I think by the end of summer I should be in better shape. I am even starting to develop calluses on my hands and I wouldn’t change anything. I feel so alive here in the country and am always amazed by the landscape and wildlife we see every day.
Thursday this snapping turtle stopped by to take a look at what was going on. He seemed surprised to find a big house blocking his way. He was trying to get to our pond from some where across the road. He stood there looking at us work for about an hour I finally had to pick him up and point him in the right direction on the other side of our house. After I set him down he looked around and finally went happily on his way.
That’s it for now.
Here in Iowa it is morel mushroom season and we have found a few and have made a little more progress on our home. I thought I would just show in pictures of whats been going on, so here they are.
Rainbow at our farm
I woke up to this sunrise the other day. This picture reminds me of a song by Deep Purple.
Smoke on the water with fire in the sky.
The guy who is doing our septic system also is the one who is running our water to the house. We now have water at the foundation.
We laid our vapor barrier and have put down our under slab insulation as the concrete crew is ready to start our pour. Who knew Duck Dynasty did basements.
After about an hour and a half the concrete is hard enough for the finishing crew to smooth the slab and then score the concrete so when the concrete cracks it will crack on the scored lines. This is all done the same day the slab is poured.
We are supposed to wait for at least 5 days before working on the slab but I couldn’t wait any longer and started building the landing when you walk in the front door.
We are just living a dream here, hope you all stick around to see how it all turns out.
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.
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. http://iowaconcreteindianola.com/
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 very small blue gill, bass, and minnows that we released into our. pond.
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.
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. 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.
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.
That’s it for now and will keep you all up to date on our progress.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.