So my homesteading goals for 2020 went the way of the Dodo. Like, literally DOA, disappeared without a trace, somebody ate the last one without realizing it-- extinct! I laugh about it looking back and with all this mess in the world right now (talking pandemic, lumber and feed prices, everything), I'm amazed I met any of my goals at all.
Because I made the number one mistake when creating goals-- I told people about them. 😂 No. I made a concrete goal, a plan, and a deadline to do something that relied on forces outside my control to complete.
First, the home site. We already owned the property. All we needed was the soybeans harvested on the two acres we were going to use for Phase 1 -- I'm telling you, we have it all figured out-- and we were going to get concrete poured. The concrete was going to cost $5500 to pour for the depth of footings and the foundation pad. We had $5500. That should be it, right? Whim, bam, boom! TAKE MY MONEY!
It was kind of like one of those places where someone grabs a loud speaker and says, "Everyone who has their plans laid out and knows exactly what's going on, please step forward-- except you, Hatmakers! You stay right there!"
Yeah. Like, do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.
The first problems:
- We have a creek that runs from a fairly decent-sized river bottom, and it flows along the northern boundary of that property. That's a good thing, right? We have a water source that has never dried up in the 127 years it's been in our family. Which also means to be on the safe side, the insurance company would prefer the main building--the house-- be raised a little higher. Which means we have to order a truckload of fill gravel and dirt to build the pad higher. We know a guy. We called him. Two days later, we've got the back hoe out there spreading the fill dirt he delivered us. We nailed down our concrete guy (contractor, spreader, whatever he's called) and he said he could come out the next day to help dig the plumbing trenches so we could put in pipe.
- The next day, it rained. HARD rain! Some of the fill dirt washed down into the lower part of the soon-to-be yard, while water from the field above cut away some of the sides of the dirt pad. We called our guy again, he had another truckload of fill gravel and dirt out there again, and we built up another dirt pad again. We were then ready to dig our plumbing trenching.
- The contractor who was going to help with that couldn't get anyone to help him because he relied on day laborers who had been laid off because, well, everyone was being laid off because of the pandemic. Good news for some of them, bad news for us because he couldn't get anyone until three days from then. So Ed decided to trench with just the help the contractor could get to answer their phones. That took two days. Then we got the pipe installed and were ready for concrete.
- Because there's only one concrete place within 50 miles of us (the down side to living in the middle of nowhere is everything is a drive away), you have to make appointments. They were already using all 9 trucks for a huge job with a correctional facility, and would be booked for the next three days. We could have a truck on the fourth day unless it rained.
- Which it did. For a week straight. Every time it stopped raining, the ground would aaaalmost get dry enough to get a cement truck out there, then rain again. And it did this for three weeks! The soybeans loved it!
- Hurricane season hit like a Conga line! They were lined up and doing some damage in the States...which meant emergency housing from the government was being created like wood was become a precious commodity. Because it was. Lumber yards stopped milling certain sizes of wood. The sizes we needed, to be precise. Prices tripled for what little was making it to the stores and lumber yards. So we bought where we could.