Saturday, August 20, 2016

Always Pay Attention - It's a Good Place to Start

It's been a really, really long time since I paid attention to this blog. I even bought a dedicated domain for it.  But I didn't pay attention, and when it expired, some nefarious shoe seller grabbed it up to sell adidas shoes. Black hat jerks. Stupid me.

In the meantime, I've made some shaky commitment to get back to the writing. I suspect that the domain name was drawing enough traffic to make someone buy it and put up a sneaker store, or maybe, buy it and hope I'll buy it back for some stupid amount of money.  Right now, I'm not going to do that.  I'm just going to try to pay attention to this blog.

I asked Tammy to forward any interesting pins from her Pintrest account.  See the Tammy tab above to visit her boards yourself. Tammy's sick today. In a foggy stupor she sent me a link to "Planning a Small Farm Home." After all, that's how this whole thing started - Tammy & Christy wanted land and a weekend escape.

Tammy wasn't paying attention, I don't think.

See Below:

California Agricultural Extension Service Circular 168, December 1950.
That's what she sent me.
O.K. I can work with this.

What can I learn from a 67 year old UC-Berkeley Publication?

  1. Start Small - we didn't do that. We start with 12 raw acres.
  2. Be realistic - I think we knew what we were getting into.
  3. Take it easy - I'm going to interpret this as "be patient."
Once I read through this little circular, I was struck by the timelessness of its practicality. We've owned our land in Carmine, Texas for over a year. My earlier posts about quixotic jaunts through the dense woods, with a chainsaw, seem downright stupid today. It is unbelievably hard to develop a raw piece of land from your city home.  In short, we've created a world that traps us in really long work days.  We lack spare time.

It would be awesome if we could leave Austin and move to Carmine and live happily ever after. The following image, from page 6 of Circular 168, would have been helpful in March of 2015. Point #1 is so important if you're planning on buying rural property.  So the hippies are very practical on page 6.

Don't get me wrong.  We are not unhappy with our choice. We are just more realistic about the time it will take to make it amazing.  Or let me say that Christy is more realistic. I think Tammy has always understood this.

This idea that city folks are farmers is a little silly

I want to say, right here, that we KNOW how much work goes into "livin' off the land." At this point, our patch of land is a great real estate investment.  We know that it will slowly become a beloved rural get away (I'll go into more detail in a later post, but point #7 in the above image has been the surprise wrench in the cog this year. The Texas drought is over and Noah may rise from his mythical grave to build an ark again.)

If you read this blog because you want a rural property, I want you to take note of my highlights from page 4.

In short, keep your day job.

Gear Down 

We've learned that planning goes beyond the real estate transaction.  I speak for myself here; although we got an amazing deal on what will be an amazing piece of property, I wish I had created a better budget and timeline for getting the place usable. 

It's important to build a network of contractors, get estimates for any work you need done, and sock that cash away. I've been doing that as we go, so we're basically waiting for our turn on each contractor's schedule. And the rain has slowed everything down. 

That is to say, we bulldoze one acre at a time because that's a cash transaction instead of a bank loan. We install infrastructure a little at at time (road, building pad, power source, erosion/pond control, water supply, septic). We take our time planning and buying/building a cabin.

We don't give up.

You can read Planning a Small Farm Home here. If nothing else, it proves that society never gives up on getting back to the basics.

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