Monday, October 3, 2016

Building Fences, Roads and Building Pads

Finally!  We're making more progress on our Carmine property. Last week, construction began on a new fence along Shoenst Road, a 200 foot gravel road that leads to a building pad, and of course, the building pad. I drove out today to take a look, and I'm happy and excited to move on to building a cabin.

A fact about barbed wire fences

Our property is only 288 feet wide. That is too short a distance to pull a barbed wire fence tight and expect it to stay that way. We went with cattle panel fencing.

Had we gone with barbed wire, it would have required extra bracing, which drives up the fence post cost, and there was no guarantee the bracing would prevent sag. Cattle panels are more expensive than barbed wire, but we offset the cost because we didn't need extra posts for bracing. We'll add a decorative top board to make it look really sharp. 

Use existing resources

The pond on our property really isn't a pond at all. It looks like someone pushed up dirt to dam up the creek and prevent washout on the neighboring property. The previous sentence is a passive aggressive way to say that the neighbor did an unethical thing by digging that hole to prevent erosion on his land. The previous owners lived as far away as California and never came to this property.


We used the neighbor's little unethical damn to create a 30' x 30' building pad.  The area is very gravelly, and the building is so small that soil quality isn't as important. 

About half the dam is gone, so it's pretty ugly right now. Needless to say, the next dirt construction project will be creating a real pond by digging out the existing hole and moving that dam around to the northeast where it actually belongs. We just have to wait for the water to dry up so the dozer doesn't sink and the frogs have time to bury themselves.

There were easily 300 frogs in that hole today. I swear. They didn't even care that I was standing next to them.

Those little bumps in the water are frogs! I couldn't get them all in the shot. As far as I know, there's only one bull frog, and his head is as big as my fist. He wasn't around today.

Build in harmony with the land

The building pad sits under a patch of oak trees, so it will be nicely shaded on all sides. We'll build a 480 sq. foot cabin with a 6' wide front porch that faces southwest. We'll be able to see the sun set, but the trees will keep us shaded from the direct heat. Tammy can watch the horses in the adjacent pasture. Along the east side of the cabin, we'll build a 10' x 32' deck.  It will be a shaded outdoor living space that can be accessed from french doors on the cabin. Eventually, we can close the deck in to increase the size of the cabin.  

I always build in squares so that building expansion is easy. In the meantime, we've got a nice pad, ready for a cabin.

I sat on one of these logs today and just felt the breeze. I paid attention to the sun. I felt which direction the wind was coming from. I looked at the way the land falls, so that I could figure out where to put a septic that would drain easily. I thought about how to position the cabin.

Settlers didn't have air conditioning and glass windows. They built their houses to work with the seasons. We'll set our little cabin by the wisdom of our ancestors.

We're pretty excited. What was once an overgrown maze of cedar and yaupon is now a budding road to possibility.

Stay tuned. The fun is about to begin.

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