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Discussion Starter #1
So Melli asked for more stories of homestead construction and rather than hijacking her threads here's a short tale of rebuilding on a budget.

My wife and I emigrated from Europe to Canada in 2007, and accidentally bought 3 acres (was cheaper than a townhouse in Calgary) in the corner of a field, surrounded by irrigation canal, trees and bald ass prairie. The house was just 900 sq ft with a crawlspace, attached garage and a 1400 sq ft greenhouse with heat and power. Self sufficient dreams abounded, and we had our own paradise.

Though we left this home years ago, the photo's and memories are still great so it seemed a fitting story to share.
 

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Episode 1: We Bought Some Land!!!

We had only been in Canada a few weeks when one morning a listing popped into my inbox. 3 acres for less than a townhouse in Calgary; seemed too good to be true. By 8am I'd arranged a booking with my realtor, and at 3pm the same day my wife and I toured 3 acres of neglected land and home.

It was definitely a fixer upper, and but just out of our price range. As we had flipped houses in Scotland dealing in property was comfortable for us so we made an offer, and by 7pm it was ours. So 12 hours from email to an agreed purchase!!! 7 weeks later we moved in.

Over time we pieced together a story. The land was too tight to farm with big equipment so had been parceled off, and the house self-built in true homestead style. But they had skimped on basics like a basement (so little space), or windows to see the land around the home. These were all fixable with time and a little money.

The first years we spent learning the land, how to shock a well and septic fun. Frozen pipes one winter were a shock (bad insulation) and as both worked the market garden and greenhouse was just too much.

Plans started, and change was afoot..........
 

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Episode 2: The Workshop

So 1400sqft of greenhouse was just too much for us, but I did want a proper workshop. With natural gas heating and good power this seemed like an ideal location. Planning regs allowed us to sheathe it as a shed, and over a few months we clad the roof and sides with cheap as chips OSB and sprayed with recycled paint at very little cost.

We used this a while, but the gravel floor was a pain: off level, very humid and I was forever losing screws in the dirt. We decided to concrete, but had to remove the soft clay first and add a new substrate of crush. My wife is incredible; running a large skidsteer inside the shop without any real damage.

The end result was incredible: an 11x12', bright, warm shop with level floors and work benches that matched the table saw as a runout surface. We could even keep the toys indoors for repair and storage. I was a pig in muck!

The shop was a gamechanger: now i could work all year round, leave part finished projects on the bench and safely run all my equipment (an ever growing problem thanks to princess Auto!!!). Bliss :)
 

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Episode 3: The Wildlife

Being on the irrigation canal, we were a veritable highway for local fauna. Deer, coyotes and foxes were regular visitors. But two events stand out....

First was the arrival of two great Horned Owls. Then there was five....

Later on I was privileged to play 'stare down' with a wonderfully strong looking wolf; whom watched me watch him in a mexican standoff. once he had proved no fear, he casually sauntered off through the trees. Events such as these were truly memorable as immigrants, but as we developed the land we also did our best to ensure safe haven for our visitors, especially long grasses, access to water and areas we simply stayed out of.

So Episode 4 will come soon........
 

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Discussion Starter #8
T
Loving the story and want more. Living vicariously thru you guys.
Thanks Echoes (my favorite Floyd album!). I need to search through 60,000+ photos and keep getting lost in time and memories, so taking a while! We moved away due to work, but are trying to find land again so we too are enjoying the stories here. Only seemed fair to share!
 

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T

Thanks Echoes (my favorite Floyd album!). I need to search through 60,000+ photos and keep getting lost in time and memories, so taking a while! We moved away due to work, but are trying to find land again so we too are enjoying the stories here. Only seemed fair to share!
That is awesome!!! Really:). Makes me appreciate the prairies again...lol
Although, you had some trees...
Glad I sussed out some pics from someone...lol

So, what are you doing now...renting in Fernie?...that sounds like a nice place, if memory serves me.
Hope you can find your dream place there!

Thanks for the picto-story. Best, Melli
ps - can you please ask Mod to remove my name from thread title...lol
It is a tad embarrassing...lol
Pretty please. ;)
 

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Otiose Endomorph
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And those wildlife pics are amazing. Love the two owls side by side.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks Melli (and title edited!).

Those two owls ended up with 3 chicks, all waddling around the garden until they could fly; was wonderful!

Yes we are in beautiful Fernie, in another fixer upper that isn't even ours. Owners simply haven't done any of the important work and place is quite literally falling to bits. They come back next spring so we need a place by then, but very hard to get a mortgage on disability, especially for land. But hard is not impossible, so we are trying!

NB we keep hitting-7c here already......
 
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