Last night a winter storm passed through our area and we received several inches of snow! We had fun playing outside and making snow angels but the snow was not sticky enough to make a snowman. We had planned to pick up a snow disc at Ace Hardware but when we stopped by they had already sold out. The forecast predicted 2-4 inches of snow to fall during the middle of the night so we went to bed looking forward to seeing in the morning how much snow stuck around. Continue reading Snow! Homemade Wood Snow Sled
If you are not familiar with the term “Chicken Tractor”, its basically just a portable chicken run so that chickens can be moved around to eat fresh grass, much like a tractor mowing a yard. We had originally planned to allow the chickens to free range in our backyard. That lasted for a couple weeks….right up until we lost 6 chickens to a family of Georgia Red Foxes. The chickens seemed so happy free-ranging so we hated to leave them locked up in the chicken coop and attached run with no access to fresh grass. That’s when we decided it was time to design and build a “Chicken Tractor”. Continue reading Homemade Chicken Tractor: a mobile home for hens
The septic system was installed last week. This is one of the last big risky items that was left. I say risky because you never know what you are going to find when you start digging. They had to lay over 600 feet of drain field so there was definitely a risk that we would incur some unexpected expenses. Good news though, everything went as planned. Continue reading Septic System Installed
If you saw the Clearing and Rough Grading post then you know we have broken ground and things are moving quickly now. After the grading finished it was time for the basement excavation. Our whole family enjoyed seeing the hillside transform into a pad for the garage and a large pit for the basement. Our house plans and landscape plans call for a garage parking pad on the left side of the house, a daylight basement on the right side of the house, and direct access to the backyard from the rear of the house. When you see the pictures below that should help you make some sense out of what you are seeing. Continue reading Basement Excavation
This is one of the first super exciting steps in the construction process! We have been planning and applying and waiting for several years now and this was the first step where it was obvious things are really moving. There is not a lot to explain regarding clearing and rough grading so I will keep this short and let the pictures do the talking. The purpose of clearing and rough grading is to prepare the build site for construction. Preparing includes: Continue reading Clearing and Rough Grading
For those of you that have been following our build process, you know that we purchased land for our dream home a couple years ago. We have been slowly working towards making our vision a reality. Part of that process was taking what was in our heads and getting it down on paper. We received the help of many people in helping to take a vague idea of our vision and slowly turn it into an executable plan. Two key people stick out as key contributors though. The first is Casey Norris with Lady Slipper Rare Plant Nursery and the second is Doug Bork with Elements Landscape LLC. Continue reading Homestead Master Plan
When we first started day dreaming about landscaping ideas for the new property, Houzz was one of the first places we turned to. Whenever I had a free moment I would scroll though landscaping images just for inspiration. One afternoon an image particularly captured my attention. I went to the profile of Elements Landscape because I wanted to see more of this work that I especially liked. I loved everything I saw! Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Elements Landscape was local to our area. We were also pleasantly surprised to see that the company also specializes in professional renderings of landscape plans (something we would need for HOA approval). It wasn’t long before we contacted Doug Bork of Elements Landscape to see what he could design for our property.
Doug was extremely personable, prompt, and thorough. For a summary of his qualifications click HERE. He took his time in understanding all of our wants and needs. Then he expertly crafted a master plan to accommodate them all. He included our requested plants along with suggestions of his own. He also kept in mind that our budget will likely require us to implement our design in stages. He ultimately designed an aesthetically pleasing plan while also considering our “homesteading” demands. We couldn’t be happier with the results! Continue reading Our Landscape Architect – Doug Bork with Elements Landscape LLC
For those of you that live in the Woodstock, GA area and that enjoy gardening you may want to check out Ladyslipper’s Saturday morning class schedule. Bethany and I attended our first class last weekend. It was all about composting and creating/maintaining living soil. It was educational but also surprisingly interesting! The presenter was Greg Parrish, the general manager of Farmers Organic. He explained different aspects of soil, composts, and fertilizers and answered everyone’s questions related to those topics (and gardening in general). Continue reading Ladyslipper Saturday Morning Class – Farmers Organic
My wife and I are capturing the steps involved in building a custom home. Test pits and soil tests are not the most glamorous or interesting steps to write about but they are both important steps in reducing risks by understanding the reality of the build site.
During the purchase of the land we performed a level 3 soil study and validated that the property could support a septic system for a six bedroom home. The soil tests showed that we may require a more expensive septic system (one with an aerobic treatment unit) if more suitable soil could not be located on the property. We probably should have dug test pits at that time but we liked the property so much that we knew we would proceed with the purchase regardless of any potential test pit results . The perc test passed and we were willing to give up a basement if required so we concluded the due diligence process and proceeded with the land purchase. We decided to postpone test pits until we were closer to the actual build. Continue reading Test Pits and Soil Tests
My wife and I have always dreamed of purchasing land (2 or 3 acres of private, beautiful land was our goal) but the land we could afford was either way out in the boonies or not ideal. For example, we found a 3 acre plot in 2011 that we loved at first sight but once we got our hands on the plat information we discovered that the majority of the lot’s land was in a flood plain. The land was affordable and it was the last lot available in a built out large-estate-lots neighborhood but it was the last lot available for a reason. The old adage…”if it seems too good to be true”..was right on. We eventually abandoned the idea of purchasing that lot and went back to enjoying life on our fifth of an acre lot. Continue reading Purchasing land – our story