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It took a MAJOR push and a LOT of luck, but Cindy and I are finally starting to build our homestead on our own land.

In April of 2015 my daughter, her useless husband, and their two kids moved in with us. He was discharged from the Army. They had no savings, no jobs,, and nowhere else to go. It took him 2 years just to get off his butt and get a 12-15 hr a week job as a dishwasher. He claimed it was all he could manage while he was going to college. then he flunked out of college. Three years of that was about all I could stomach. That was our major push.

Meanwhile Cindy and I continued to look for land, but it had skyrocketed around here about 2010 when the gas industry came to the area. Suddenly mountain-goat land was selling for $15k an acre, and anything worth developing at all was selling for $20k and up. And here comes the luck. We found a 4 acre parcel of farm field for only $40k. Of course, it wasn't our 5-10 acres and it has no woodlot and it has no running or standing water. But it's not mountain-goat land either. I would call it very gently rolling land. We offered $10k down and asked them to hold the mortgage on the remaining $30k. They agreed and we closed in late October 2017.

By May I could not stand to live in the same house as the useless one and told my wife I was moving up onto the land, even if I had to live in a tent. In fact, we went to Gander Mtn and bought all the necessary gear to tent camp there. Two weekends before Memorial Day. Then on Tuesday Cindy asked to stop at our local RV dealer. We found a really nice 28' trailer and bought it. We've been living in it ever since, year round, and we are beginning our 3rd winter in it. Why so long?

Well, it took until November to get our permit and approval to build. Too late in the year to start. Our electricity hookup was literally the best Christmas gift ever, as it was installed on Christmas eve. So we over-wintered in the trailer for winter #1. Probably could not have made it if we had not discovered the Mr. Heater Big Buddy propane heater. Even on low it puts our so much heat that we have to turn it off periodically throughout the day.

Spring and summer of year #2 we built the floor and walls for the first floor. I built 5 big 8" x 8" x 18' laminated beams and got them raised, with just Cindy and I doing it all. The original plan was to build a 16' x 24' cabin that would become my workshop after I built our "big" 24' x 32' house. But I am 62 years old and between the Marines and my law enforcement career I am more broken than not. I have some pretty stiff limits on what I can accomplish alone. Besides which I was teaching full-time and my wife is still working. So we spent winter #2 in the trailer. Hmmm, maybe we are TOO comfortable in that trailer?

Spring and summer of year #3 I installed 4x4 floor joists and 2x6 flooring for a loft over half of the cabin. Finally, my 12 year old grandson and my wife helped me build and install 18' wide by 9' tall gambrel roof trusses, for a completely open cathedral ceiling. And that's when the weather stopped cooperating, which is where we sit today, as we enter winter #3 in the trailer.

However, I hope not to stop there. For the past several years we haven't received any significant, sticking snow until sometime in January. I am hoping that I can frame up some scaffolding and attempt to at least put plywood sheathing down on the roof. The SIL shocked the daylights out of me last weekend by offering to come up and help on the cabin. Of course, then the day after that the schools for their two kids were closed for at least two weeks due to Covid. I told him not to come up as I cannot take the risk of catching that thing.

Fortunately plans have changed. Cindy has decided, after three years in the trailer, that we don't need anything bigger than the cabin we are building. So we will move into that 16' x 24' cabin with the half-loft next spring/summer, as soon as I can get a roof on it. If need be I will even pay an Amish crew I know of to come get it done. NOW I need a workshop! Again, plans change. I have become very interested in down-sizing and hand tool woodworking. I have decided to sell several of my large woodworking power tools in favor of that. With that decision came the realization that I don't need such a large shop. I'm now planning on a 12' x 16' single-story shop, maybe with a small workspace on a deck in front for nice weather. Since it's all work I can do from the ground I expect that I will probably be able to work on building that throughout the winter. And it's going to be built using rough-cut green lumber from a mill just a few miles down the road.

More to come, I'm sure. I came back to this forum mostly to learn from folks here about animals we plan to add to our homestead over the coming years.
 

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Congratulations on getting some land and starting your homestead. I sympathize. I am 69 and almost finished with a similar project. Hope to move over there next summer.

I have found that if you keep doing some work every day, no matter how little, you will accomplish more than you thought you could. Betty Davis had it right. She said, "getting old ain't for sissies". If it provides you with inspiration check out the thread chronicling my build.


Good luck and keep on trucking.
 

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You and Cindy are to be admired...not only for permitting your daughter and husband to live at your home but, also, for moving away from them. That was an emotional tear!!! However, you are sounding quite realistic in the sizes of your structures. Congratulations on getting as far as you have on your new acreage.

When my son and I moved my very ill mother onto our land a friend told me "...just keep putting one foot in front of the other..."; and with age this has become a standing motivator. It will work for you and Cindy too. :)
 
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