Another Day of Exploring

I may make a farm boy out of him yet!  When we first looked for a house here 2-1/2 years ago, we really wanted to live out in the country but with Chad living at home, and going to school and working, we didn’t want to be on the back roads too much and we ended up smack dab in the middle of town.  The open range keeps calling us and I do believe Vince is ready to respond to those calls.  The problem is . . as with the rest of the country . . try selling a house!  It’s not gonna happen!  So, our best bet is to find some land with nothing on it so it’s affordable.  As of now, our plan is . . once we find the land, we’ll determine where the house will be some day, then we’ll put in a well and a septic system, then we’ll build about a 30′ x 40′ pole barn, insulate it, put in a little bathroom, a shell of a kitchen, some kind of sleeping quarters, air and heat, always keeping in mind that one day it will be Vince’s shop.  A shop with a bathroom and a kitchenette. Once we sell our house in town, we’ll live in the barn while we build.  We had talked about sticking a mobile home on the land but we can put up a pole barn and fix it up to live in for not much more than getting a decent mobile home set up and then the pole barn will be much more useful than will a mobile home once the house is built.

But this weekend Vince was looking online for land and he found a piece of property — 40 acres where someone has started building a retirement home and lost interest and now it’s for sale.  We contacted the realtor and drove about an hour to look at it.  When we got to the realtor’s office, she was asking us all kinds of questions about exactly what we’re looking for and then she told us she had the perfect piece of land!  Also 40 acres. Has an old farm house, built in the late 1800’s . . lots of little outbuildings . . needs work.  We drove out there.  OMG!  Forget work!  What that place needs is a bull dozer! I felt like I needed a shower when I left.  I tell you . . I just wanted to leave and go home . . back to my own  house!  There was so much junk on that land  . . old cars, probably a dozen shacks of some kind or another and the house was . . I don’t even know how to describe it.  It was so darned bad that I didn’t even take pictures . . not even of the outside.

Then we went on to look at the house that we had originally started out to look at.   After seeing the first place, this one wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good either.  Someone started building it and apparently had no plans . . no idea what goes where.  We weren’t sure what was the master bath and what was the master closet.  Not sure where the kitchen was supposed to be . . no plumbing anywhere . . just put it where you want it! OK . . today was a bust.  And, both of the houses we saw were on dirt roads.  Farmer or not . . Vince does NOT want to live on a dirt road.

But, what we did find was a fantastic place that is for sale but it isn’t for us.  The views are wonderful!

This is when you turn into the driveway off a paved highway.

Some of the rock outcroppings on the back of the property.

The view looking from the front of the property.  This land was just gorgeous but it has a small newer house and a bunk house and other buildings on it that aren’t what we need and cause the price to be too much for us to pay and then turn around and build a house that we want.  But, it surely was pretty property.  We may end up back there tying to negotiate but for now, we’ll check out a few more leads.


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    Sounds like you are having fun looking. You’ll find just the right place, I’m sure! 40 acres would be heaven!

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    Oh what fun Judy. I’d love to live in the country, but since I’m going to be a single old lady, I’m probably better off where I am — three houses down from the market!


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    My parents build a storage building and a garage first on this property. The garage has a small bathroom that was connected to the septic system they had already put in place. When we first started coming here there was no running water on the property, so a hose was run from a connection on the road above us. Sometime we would save rain water to flush the toilets. Soon we had a well drilled and I was the lucky one to be here when it had to run for a week or so to clear all the dirt out of the system. It is still great water 30 or so years later.

    My parents came here on vacations to build the house. The upstairs of the garage was the main living area at that time with a crock pot, toaster oven, hot plate and a dish pan. At least they had an AC in the window. The downstairs had a clothes dryer that was used for heat. Not the best situation in the world, but we had fun here. One summer showers were taken from a 5 gallon bucket of water warmed by the sun. Dad hung it up in the rafters of the shower stall and the person taking the shower turned the nozzle he had put in the bottom. Oh and flushed the toilet with a bucket of water.

    Glad those days are over.

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    Land hunting is so much more difficult than finding just a house on a lot. If you add a house to acreage… it gets way harder to find something with the right land and a house that you like.

    You’re on a much better track, by the land and build a shop you can use for temporary living quarters, or even pick up a used RV.

    Make sure you buy something with live water on it… a good spring is worth it’s weight in gold.

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    Good luck with your search…I know this has been a dream of yours for awhile and I hope you can make it become a reality. (HEY…if you buy a used RV to put on the lot you eventually find, you could then use it to motor around the country and meet a lot of us after the retirement house is built!!!)

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    Judy, we are sisters of the heart. We have found some land in Tennessee. If and when we sell the house in Wisconsin we will move down there and start with a well and septic. Then a large shed to hold our “stuff” while we build the house. We’ll live in the RV while we are building. In the meantime we’ll be stopping there on the way home this spring to do some fruit tree, shrubs and flower planting. So when we do make the move I won’t be totally starting from scratch.

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    Linda says

    My ideal…if someone wants to dump a couple million bucks on me…would be a section of land with my house in the middle of it, surrounded by a few acres of open land for garden, orchard, small fields & pasture, with the rest wooded. I’d like a nice spring fed pond somewhere near the house site and a creek running through the pasture land & woods. I’m just a hermit at heart. But, considering our age & income I guess we’ll stay where we are. Have fun looking, who knows what treasure you’ll discover.

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    You are right, Judy… the barn/shop should come first! Not only will you have a place to stay while you build your house, but Vince will actually have a shop! Open land is a lot easier to come by, so keep looking – your place will find you.
    Our farm had a very old house and hay barn on it, as well as a very small garage, but no shop. The tools and machinery from Henry’s old shop in California wouldn’t all fit in the garage. Nor could he actually work on any of the farm equipment in there… so he ended up having to put some of his big machinery in the barn and most of the smaller tools in the shop, which didn’t make him happy. Whatever he needed was usually in the other location. It was really hard for him to fix the alternator on the tractor, for example, when he had to run down to get a diferent socket or some lubricant from the garage. For some reason he seemed to have trouble trying to sharpen the chainsaw blades while wearing gloves against the cold, too! Silly man. Not to mention the dust from the dirt floor getting into the intake for the air compressor! What a mess… poor Henry. (at least the house has an extra bedroom that I can use for quilting) We are building a “real shop” this summer – with a concrete floor, insulation/heat, and running water for a bathroom and w/d set up! I think we’ll both have an easier winter this year.