We’re Finally Here!

Our homestead is no longer our “future homestead” – it is now home!

You see; dear hubby retired on December 31 (♫♫ wahoo ♫♫), which meant we could finally move up to our future homestead in the mountains.  Since it was mid-winter and we had plenty of time (I did not want to live in our travel trailer during the winter), I decided to put our valley home on the market myself – just to test the waters – using Zillow.  Well, lo and behold, a couple toured the house, loved it and put in a offer.  A full price offer!  We couldn’t say no, but we really didn’t expect to sell so soon!

A picture of the ship we took our Mexican Riviera Cruise upon.

A picture of the ship we took our Mexican Riviera Cruise upon.  We had a wonderful time!

In the meantimem we just HAD to go on a Mexican Riviera cruise that our sons bought us as a gift for my husband’s retirement!  Yes…  they are awesome sons!  It was our first cruise and we had the time of our lives.

Meanwhile, back at the house, after all the inspections the sale of our home was “full speed ahead” and when we got back from our cruise we had only ten days to vacate our home.

Ten days!  Ugh.  We had lived in that home for 25 years.  Do you know how much “stuff” gets accumulated in 25 years?  Oh my goodness, I was finding stuff stashed away that I thought I had lost years ago.  I also found a lot of things that I couldn’t remember why I was saving! 😉

The family room where I raised my three boys.  We spent a lot of time there - 25 years!  I miss my home, but I am sure our new home will be just as loved!

The family room where I raised my three boys. We spent a lot of time there – 25 years! I miss my home, but I am sure our new home will be just as loved!  This was one of the pictures I put on Zillow to sell the house.

So, we packed boxes, gave away some of the “good” stuff, took a few truckloads to Goodwill, a few more truckloads to the local landfill, had a “garage sale” and sold a lot of our furniture to a local used furniture dealer.  The rest of our possessions were stuffed into the cargo container on our future  homestead.

Our new laundry room.  It also houses our freezer and quite a few boxes of household "stuff".

Our new laundry room. It also houses our freezer and quite a few boxes of household “stuff”.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough room even in the cargo container!  So, we went to the local “box store” and bought an 8 x 10 metal shed.  It took us four days to get the shed built (a few swear words may or may not have been involved), and in the meantime a lot of boxes and pieces of furniture were stored under tarps.  Good thing we used lots of tarps, because before we could secure all the stuff that was under tarps into the new shed, this happened…..

A beautiful snowy day - full of potential disaster! This is a picture of the lane leading into our property.

A beautiful snowy day – full of potential disaster! This is a picture of the lane leading into our property.

Yes, the snow was absolutely gorgeous!  Unfortunately, just two days before this snow we had erected our screened gazebo – our temporary “family room” of sorts – and the snow was so heavy that the gazebo collapsed.  We got the gazebo propped up with old fence boards and 2 x 4’s, cleared the snow from the roof of the travel trailer (our temporary home) and the new metal shed, made sure water wasn’t getting in under the tarps, and fretted about our poor mandarin and lemon trees, along with the baby fruit on our cherry, almond, plum and peach trees!  The snow finally stopped at about 2:30 in the afternoon, and it looked like the worst was over.  We went inside the trailer to get warm, and just as soon as my fingers and toes were no longer tingling, we looked back outside only to see that it was snowing again!  I cried.  By dusk the snowfall had mercifully stopped.  We were not expecting this snow – at all!  We live in California, are in the middle of a severe drought, and this snowstorm dumped more snow in the mountains than had fallen in all of January and February!

When the snow melted (it took a couple of days) we were pleasantly surprised to see that the fruit on our trees still looked viable and the gazebo was fixable!

Inside our screened gazebo - the new "family room".

Inside our screened gazebo – the new “family room”.

So, it was time to get back to the business of setting up our temporary living quarters while we build our new home.  Once the new metal shed was completed, we stuffed the back with boxes and then put our new freezer in, along with the electric washing machine from our home in the valley.  I am happy to let the sun dry my clothes because they smell so good and fresh when line dried, however this next winter that won’t be an option.  Of note – line dried jeans literally stand by themselves!  So, dear hubby found an almost new propane dryer on Craigslist for $100. I will still hang most everything out to dry on our solar dryer, but knowing we have an alternative when we really need it is reassuring. This shed is now called our utility room.

By this time weeks had flown by.  We finally had all of our possessions under one roof or another and we were getting settled into our new surroundsings.  We were happy but absolutely exhausted!

It was time to get back to our most important task, and that is to get our house plans drawn and submitted to the county building department for approval! The plans I had been working on over the past four years were on my desktop computer, and it was time to get the computer out of storage (in the car), set it up and finalize the plans I wanted to send to the architect.

Yeah – right.

My desktop wouldn’t boot up completely.  Every time we tried to get the computer running, it would shut itself down.  We took the hard drive to Geek Squad and they gave us the bad news – the motherboard was fried!  Ugh!

So, here I am typing this blog post on my new laptop.  An expense we didn’t expect to have at this time, but it is what it is.

I am learning how to be more flexible and to just “let it go”. 😉

My next project is getting a vegetable garden going.  I have a lot of seeds left over from the garden I planted two years ago, and I am hoping they are still viable.  Dear hubby built four raised beds in the orchard last year I only grew tomatoes and peppers last year, but this year I want to grow green beans, zucchini squash and pattypan squash, more tomatoes and peppers, garlic, onions, sunflowers and maybe even some melon.  Before we left our house in the valley, I was able to get a few cuttings from my oregano and rosemary plants, along with some star jasmine.  I put them in rooting hormone and it looks like they may just “take”.  We will see.

The energy guide label of our new 5.1 cubic foot freezer - very energy efficient!

The energy guide label of our new 5.1 cubic foot freezer – very energy efficient!

Hubby is also working toward installing a new 400 watt solar system that will keep our new little chest freezer running.  Once that is set up, we will be able to store more foods in the freezer and won’t have to completely rely on canned meats and vegetables.  Of course, once the vegetable garden starts producing, it will be nice to have a place to store the excess.  I doubt that I will have enough produce to can this year, but we will see.

Another project we will be working on within the next couple of weeks will be our water tower.  We have a 500 gallon water storage tank that will be set upon a tower that we are building with 20’ long 6 x 8 foot posts.  This will give us better water pressure in our trailer.  Right now, even though we have hot showers, the water pressure is miserable and all we get is a trickle shower. Posts on this project will come soon.

Finally, another project of ours is getting a honeybee hive established.  Our hope is that with a hive in our orchard and another one next year in the permanent raised bed vegetable garden, we will be able to eventually harvest honey and beeswax, ensure pollination of our fruits and vegetables, and help the general honeybee population thrive. Since I will be growing organically, using only heirloom seeds when possible, our garden should be a safe haven for the bees.

So, there you have it.  That’s why I have been absent for so long!  Now that I am back on the blog, I can’t wait to share with you all the things we are doing to continue establishing this wonderful homestead of ours!

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I am sharing this blog post at some of these parties:

Monday:  Meet Up MondayThank Goodness It’s MondayClever Chicks Blog Hop; Grand Social; Mix It Up Monday; Create, Link, Inspire;  Amaze Me MondayMotivation Monday; Inspiration Monday; Made By You Monday; Homemaking Mondays; Mum-bo Monday

Tuesday:   Show & Share Tuesday; The Gathering Spot; Tuesday Garden Party; Brag About ItTuesdays with a Twist; The Scoop; Two Cup Tuesday; Tweak It Tuesday; Inspire Me Tuesdays; Tuesdays at Our Home;  Pinterest Foodie; Lou Lou GirlsInspire Us Tuesday; Party In Your PJ’s

Wednesday: Make, Bake and CreateDown Home Blog HopWildcrafting Wednesday;  Wicked Awesome Wednesday; Whatever goes Wednesday; Show and Share Wednesday; Wined Down Wednesday; What We Accomplished;  Project ParadeWake Up Wednesday; Fluster’s Creative Muster; Hump Day Happenings; Homestead Blog Hop; The Blogger’s Digest; Wow Us Wednesday; Turn To Shine

Thursday:   The HomeAcre Hop; Share Your Cup Thursday;  Home and Garden Thursday;  The Handmade HangoutCreate it Thursday;  Think Tank Thursday; Green Thumb Thursday; Homemaking Party; Treasure Hunt Thursday; All Things Thursday Inspire Us Thursday; Inspire or be Inspired; Project Parade; Inspiration Gallery; Pure Blog Love; Favorite Things

Friday:  Freedom Fridays; Friendship Friday; From The Farm Blog Hop; Eat, Create, PartyPinworthy Projects Party; Farmgirl Friday;  Friday Flash Blog Party; Weekend re-Treat; Family Fun Friday; Friday’s Five Features; Real Food Fridays; Friday FavoritesOld Fashioned Friday; Fridays Unfolded; Inspired Weekend; Show Off Friday; Craft Frenzy FridayFront Porch Friday; No Rules Weekend Party; Friday Favorites; Giggles Galore

Saturday:  Say G’Day SaturdaySuper Saturday; Simply Natural Saturdays;  Saturday Sparks;  Show and Tell Saturday;  My Favorite Things;  Dare to Share; Scraptastic Saturday

Sunday:  Frugal Crafty Home; That DIY Party; Nifty Thrifty Sunday; DIY Sunday Showcase; Snickerdoodle Sunday;  Simple Life Sunday; Think Pink Sunday; Sunday Showcase

Our Storage Solution

This will be home sweet home while we build our new house.

This will be home sweet home while we build our new house.

We will be living in our camping trailer for two years while we build our new home on our future homestead.  As most of you know, there isn’t a lot of storage in a trailer.  We could rent a storage space for our furniture and household items, but that just seemed inconvenient since there will be times we need items that are in storage, and the nearest storage rentals are at least 45 minutes from our property.  It can also be costly.  Sheesh…  we could buy all new furniture for the price it would take to store it for a couple of years!

Then we saw a cargo shipping container that our dear neighbors Linda and Charles had delivered to their property and knew immediately that this was a perfect solution to our storage issues. After some investigating, we found that we could have one delivered to our property for about $2,400 all in.  It used to cost a lot less just a few years ago, but lately the  price of these containers have gone up because of demand. Here in California, lots of pot growers use the containers as sleeping quarters for their “trimmers” or drying sheds for their “crop”.

When our home is built and all of our furniture and household items have been moved from the container into the new house, we can then store our wood chipper/shredder, log splitter, shop tools, etc., in the cargo container.

Of course, if the zombie apocalypse happens anytime soon, we could also use it as a safe room! 😀

Cargo Container Storage Solution

This spot was fairly level, almost always shady, and had only a few trees that needed to be removed.

Before we had the container delivered, we needed to prepare a level place to put it!  It needed to be near the orchard, tool shed and our travel trailer, so we found a spot under tall pine, oak and fir trees that will shade the container, yet was fairly level.

The first order of business was to cut down a few small trees and remove the stumps.  Whew – easier said than done.  Beside the fact that all woodcutting was supposed to be done before 11AM (restrictions placed by CalFire because of high fire danger), we happened to be in the middle of a major heat wave for the first couple of weekends we worked.  So, we cut down the trees, then futher cut them into 18-ish inch long pieces for firewood before 11 AM, then spent the rest of the day bucking brush and stacking the firewood.

Shipping Container Storage Solution

Old stumps were broken up with a pick and axe, later to be ground up into mulch.

After all of the stumps were out and the ground had been raked fairly level (we did everything by hand with pick axe, shovel and rake!) it was time to define the landing pad for our cargo container.  The four corners were staked and extra dirt was brought in to level out the low spots. We used landscape timbers reinforced with rebar for the walls and filled the low spots with dirt from the high spots. This is the same technique Ray used when he built the retaining walls with landscape timbers where our travel trailer now sits.  If you would like to see how a retaining wall can be built with landscape timbers, check out this post HERE. Since we got the landscape timbers pretty cheap (on sale at Home Depot at $1.49 each – we bought a pallet!), in the end, the whole project ended up requiring a lot more muscle than money.  You should see my biceps!

I had to show this picture of Louie, our neighbor's dog. It was so hot when we were constructing the pad for the cargo container, that he would lay in each hole we dug around the stumps to remove them, so that he could absorb the cool earth.  Smart dog!

I had to show this picture of Louie, our neighbor’s dog. It was so hot when we were constructing the pad for the cargo container, that he would lay in each hole as we dug around the stumps to remove them, so that he could absorb the cool earth. Smart dog!

Cargo Container storage

The landscape timbers being installed.

We set three concrete blocks (six at the lowest corner) into each of the four corners.  This is what the cargo container corners will sit on.  Rebar was pounded about two feet into the ground and concrete was poured into the holes, holding in the rebar and reinforcing the blocks.  The cargo container weighs about 5,700 pounds empty, so we wanted to beef up the landing pad as much as possible.

Using a cargo container as storage

Concrete pads in, retaining walls up, dirt level… Ready for some gravel rock!

Cargo Container Storage

There’s Louie again on the cool rock. It sure was a hot summer! After the rock was raked level, we were ready to have the cargo container delivered! Yippee!

Then came the rock.  Ray hired an independent contactor (he was retired, but had his own dump truck and worked when he needed extra money) who brought up ten yards of road base gravel for a very reasonable price. He said he would bring us a “fat load” and he certainly did!  We ended up with a lot more rock than we anticipated, so we used the extra to begin rocking our driveway.  Our county will not issue building permits until the road to the build site is at least twelve feet wide, cleared fifteen feet high, and completely rocked, so with this extra gravel, we are actually on our way to getting our building permit!

Well…  sort of! 😉

Large Storage Solution using Cargo Shipping Container

It wasn’t easy for the driver to get his rig turned around and backed into the spot we had prepared, but eventually he did, and placed it exactly where we wanted it to be!

The day for delivery of the cargo container finally arrived last week.  We were so excited! The delivery driver had a bit of a tough time getting turned around so he could back into the site, but once he did, the container slid right into place.  Perfect!

We didn’t waste any time getting some things into the container.  As we are preparing our home in the valley to sell, we are trying to “de-clutter” and so we already have a few truckloads to fill into the container.  Once the house is sold, we will bring up the rest of the furniture we are keeping for the new house, and selling off all the rest!Shipping Container for storage

We are so excited that the time is getting nearer for us to move up to our future homestead and start building our new home.  As I look at the house plans, I can’t help but dream about our future.  I hate to admit it, but I have already named all of my chickens (Beulah, Melba, Phyllis and Pearl), though I don’t have them yet and the coop is still only a plan on paper!

Ah well, a girl can dream, can’t she?

 

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This is where the party is:   The Backyard Farming Connection Hop; Show & Share Tuesday; The Gathering Spot; Brag About ItTuesdays with a Twist; The Scoop; Tuesdays Treasures; Two Cup Tuesday; Tweak It Tuesday; Inspire Me Tuesdays; Tuesdays at Our Home; Turn It Up Tuesday; Lou Lou Girls; Down Home Blog Hop;  Wildcrafting Wednesday;  Wicked Awesome Wednesday; Whatever goes Wednesday; Show and Share Wednesday; Wined Down Wednesday; What We Accomplished;  Project ParadeWake Up Wednesday; Fluster’s Creative Muster; Whatever Wednesday; Wonderful Wednesday; Hump Day Happenings; The HomeAcre Hop; Share Your Cup Thursday;  Home and Garden Thursday; Mountain Woman Rendezvous; The Handmade HangoutCreate it Thursday;  Think Tank ThursdayHomemaking Party; Treasure Hunt Thursday; All Things Thursday Inspire Us Thursday Inspire or be InspiredFreedom Fridays; Friendship Friday; From The Farm Blog Hop; Eat, Create, PartyPinworthy Projects Party;Farmgirl Friday;  Friday Flash Blog Party; Weekend re-Treat; Family Fun Friday; Friday’s Five Features; Real Food Fridays; Friday FavoritesOld Fashioned Friday; Fridays Unfolded; Inspired Weekend; Anything Goes Linky; Show Off Friday; Craft Frenzy FridayFront Porch Friday; No Rules Weekend PartySay G’Day SaturdaySuper Saturday; Show Stopper SaturdaySimply Natural Saturdays;Strut Your Stuff Saturday; Saturday Sparks;  Show and Tell Saturday;  My Favorite Things;  Serenity Saturday; Simple Saturdays; Frugal Crafty Home; That DIY Party; Nifty Thrifty Sunday; DIY Sunday Showcase; Snickerdoodle Sunday;  Simple Life Sunday; Think Pink Sunday; Homesteader’s Hop; Sunday Showcase

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