Monday, June 9, 2008

Respite from the Heat

Summer is definitely here. In fact it feels like summer in South Florida. 95 degrees, humid, muggy. Luckily we have a place to go to beat the heat....our land.
Sunday morning we needed to get out of the house for a few due to a showing at our house (it's back on the market). We thought playing in the brook would be fun for the kids and there is always some task to accomplish for us, so off we went. It proved to be fun for all.
While I gathered up the chain-sawed wood from clearing up a path down to the brook, Karann and the kids were knee deep in the water where the temperature was at least 10 degrees cooler than in town. As I stacked up the wood near our campsite, Oslo was exploring different parts of the brook and getting sticks out of the water. Karann was watching Nola as she fearlessly edged her way around the perimeter. Before long Karann was helping Ozzy catch "brookies" and put them in a bucket which he proudly displayed to me. After I had finished stacking the wood, I too went down to the brook and cooled off, splashing the cool (60 degrees or so) water over my head. Wound up sitting in a chair we had brookside, feet sloshing around in the clear water. Karann and I looked at each other and I simply said, "this doesn't suck!". Yeah, we're going to love living here.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Tomorrow is the day we may be able to park our car on the land. Kris, from Yardmen Landscape started our site work today. He graded (not much clearing was required) a 15' by 100' driveway onto our lot and spread and compacted 3/4" gravel for a nice base. He also dug a hole for our outhouse. Yes, outhouse. We are going to have the nicest outhouse in New Hartford.
This weekend Jeremy will prepare an area for the cargo container which is due to be transported to the land on Tuesday.

We just came back from seeing the finished product of our rough-in driveway and we are off to a satisfying start! The kids seemed to enjoy playing on the gravel and we were elated to see how clean and level the entrance to our "kingdom" is.
What better way to celebrate the first successful project on our land than a brookside cookout! We made a fire, roasted some hotdogs for the kids and some salmon burgers for us. Couple of glasses of port and a visit from Mom (Dianne) and our friend Dave who sounded off on the types of birds that he heard and found the spots where we can catch "brookies" along the way.
Looking forward to warmer weather so we can actually camp out and enjoy the sounds of the bubbling brook as we spend the first night on our land. We'll see what tomorrow brings...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Bit of Nature

I thought I would describe our land a bit. As soon as it stops raining, I'll try to get some good pictures to post. We have a shared driveway between five lots (65 acres total). The original estate of 200+ acres belonged to two brothers, who donated 118 acres to the state. Two heirs subdivided the remainder and we were lucky enough to purchase the most ecologically diverse lot. The state land, approx 400' to the north of our lot, has a road, trails, and a pond we have yet to explore. Jeremy is looking forward to getting his bike muddy!! On the east side of the lot (egress) the terrain is very level, with excellent sandy soils and contains numerous young trees, predominantly white pine and birch. There is excellent solar exposure to the south (our #1 requirement). We will need to relocate some of the birch trees to the north side of the homesite. The terrain then slopes down toward the west (on this slope is where the septic system will go). Generally, our site work costs will be very low (compared with almost every other lot we looked at). At the bottom of the slope - 15' lower in elevation - the vegetation changes to mature forest with a mix of deciduous and conifer trees. The forest continues to the west and gradually slopes down another 15' where a four season brook crosses the property on the west end. There are stone walls (typical of 18th and 19th century New England) as well as what appears to be the remains of an old stone bridge or grist mill at the brook where another small stream enters from the east creating a small waterfall. It's a lovely spot to sit and listen to the bubbling. Another big plus is that there are no wetlands with the exception of the stream bed and adjacent shoreline (less than 10 ft on both sides). Our first task is to build a trail from the homesite to the brook where we will be spending much of our time this summer enjoying the setting and roasting marshmellows with our kids.

A Way In

A blizzard of calls this afternoon to try and secure a shipping container. There was a lead on a 40' container that might be available in the future and today the lead became a desperate, last minute scramble to get it out of it's present location. The deadline was midnight. I was on the case.
For a little back story, I have a friend who had a girlfriend who's taking him to the cleaners. Knowing both sides of the situation (and in the market for a container) I inquired from each direction and found myself able to get it from one side or the other. Just a matter of time. Didn't think it was going to be so little time.
My friend called early afternoon with the offer of the container as long as I got it today. By midnight because that is when the court order expired and the container, as well as it's contents, became the property of the ex. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
In a series of phone calls to trucking companies (to pick up the box) and my excavator (to put in a rough driveway into our property) I found a few possible solutions. What happened was a trucking company picked it up and is storing it on their yard until the driveway is built. Fortunately the excavator can get to it Friday and then we'll have it brought to the land. Everyone wins. Especially us.

Land Ho!

As of Friday, May 16th, Karann and I are proud (and nervous) land owners. Proud at the fact that we have taken our time, researched for years, and finally acquired the "perfect piece". Nervous because we have quite literally gone broke in wrestling it to the ground. Of course the "fun" has just begun, which brings us to this blog. We felt it only right to share with our friends and family (and all the nosy folks trolling the web for a good story) the many ups and downs of building our "dream" home. We know it's going to be rough, we're expecting the worst and hoping for the, well, we're hoping it doesn't drive us to kill. Contractors be warned!