Tomorrow We Break Ground!

That’s right, you read it correctly – we break ground on our new property tomorrow.   The out-of-town sellers finally figured out their deed nonsense and we attended the closing on Monday, February 9.  Funny thing, though, in this case, the closing didn’t signify the legal transfer of ownership.  That happened when the title company filed the paperwork with the county.

In any case, it’s been a slow two months and everything worked out.  Whereas our previous ‘keeping busy’ post pre-Christmas was all about recreational activities and waiting, this limbo period was full of meetings, location shopping, paperwork and business planning.  When we felt the closing was going to be delayed longer than we wanted to doing nothing, we decided to get seriously productive.  So…..we are starting a local business!  You’ll hear more about that later.

The exciting news of tonight is the land.

(Note: Since the house build will no longer occur on a tight timeline, we are going to stop numbering posts.  We are juggling a lot of projects now and building benchmarks will take place a tad slower.  As shown above in the featured image, we are making sure to have a little fun too.)

Excavation & Driveway Plan

Bob Smith (not real name) won our work.  We reached out to him late last week to let him know we were ready whenever he was; he scheduled us for tomorrow and told us to pull a grading permit.  It turns out you need a permit for many more steps than just the building of the house.  But that’s okay – the town officials here are pretty awesome and we were able to get everything done in an afternoon.

We’ve been holding you in suspense long enough.  Here’s the property:

This is the view of the property from the end of Idaho St.  This will soon be the entry point.

This is the view of the property from the end of Idaho St. This will soon be the driveway.

It is just under 5 acres and is shaped like a diamond with the corners pointing almost exactly in the direction of the compass points.  The picture above is the northwest boundary line.  The north corner/point is the lowest part of the property (left side of picture above).  The south corner/point is at the highest part of the property, almost at the very top of the hill.

Why all the junk in the front?  Well, it turns out the neighborhood has been built up for decades and this piece has remained undeveloped.  In times long past, it was a common nocturnal gathering place for beer guzzling (and bottle breaking) hoodlums.  In more recent times, ruffians on quads and trucks would drive to the end of Idaho St (basically the place this shot was taken from), into the property and then out on the left-hand side, via a neighbor’s private driveway.

We have no idea why this was a popular pastime, but due to the undesirable traffic and chaos wrought on the land, the neighbors have been stacking railroad ties, pallets and tree parts at the end of the road.  Since this is soon to be our driveway, we will have to remove everything tomorrow morning.

Speaking of garbage and removing things – we have been collecting glass, pieces of rubber and random metal bits for the past two weeks.  I have bent over about 1,982 times and have figured out every which way a human being can squat, reach and bend in order to collect items.  I have been targeting shards of glass and other surprises that come my way in the process.  Brian has been the dragger-man; he specializes in ripping barbed wire out of cacti and dragging large objects to the driveway.

Garbage collected from the property - we have thrown out ~6 bags now.

Garbage collected from the property – we have thrown out ~6 bags now.

The power pole on the left is basically the boundary line for that side of the property.  You can see the trail that was created (and maintained) by people cutting across Richard's property (the owner of the pole) and ours.

The power pole on the left is basically the boundary line for that side of the property. You can see the trail that was created (and maintained) by people cutting across Richard’s property (the owner of the pole) and ours.  The fence in the foreground belongs to Nigel, our neighbor from England.

Another view of the entrance to the property and the junk wall

Another view of the entrance to the property and the junk wall.  This is also a good view of the property slope.

As you can see from the pictures above, the property is not exactly flat.  There is, however, a very flat section in the lowlands to the north.  That flat section is very close to neighbors so we plan to stop the driveway before that point.  Bob Smith will cut into the hill and continue into the property until we hit the place we want to build the house.  The dirt from the hill will then be flipped over onto the lower part of the property, leveling out the driveway area and lifting our property above the neighbors. At least that is the plan…

Part of the reason the land has stood vacant for so long is the hill and the possibility that a normal sized house might not fit on the flat section.  The other reason is the potential for ledge issues.  There is a very clear line of ledge that runs roughly northeast to southwest.  The ledge is visible above ground near the far neighbor (beyond Richard) but then it disappears under earth. Based on our estimate of where it leads, we believe we’ll be in the clear for the driveway.  If not, we might have to bring in a rock breaker (dun dun dun).

Other Steps Along the Way

Bob Smith plans to start at 8am tomorrow morning, so we’ll post an update within a few days.  In other news, we have learned a lot about the steps leading up to building a house on vacant land.  (Since there aren’t great photos to go along with the boring steps I’m about to describe, I’ll instead include fun shots from other activities.)

Can you spot the dog going for a ride?

Can you spot the dog going for a ride?

Applying for an address

One of the first tasks we did was apply for an address with the town mapper.  This basically involved looking at maps and nearby addresses and then picking a number we liked.   We went with 1516 Idaho St.  It was funny that we had to do this before anything else could be done, but as it was explained to us, we need a location for people to refer to.  So even though we aren’t getting mail there yet, we need to give an address to the utilities department at the town, the power provider, etc.  Speaking of which…

We made the mistake of ordering two entrees on carb day.  Do you see the size of that burger?!

We made the mistake of ordering two entrees on carb day. Do you see the size of that burger?!  Also, this is the only place we have found fried zucchini.  Yum!

Conversations regarding utilizing public sewer

When we originally did research on this piece of land, we received confirmation from the town that we could connect to city water.  However, city sewer was not available at the property.  We took that to mean our only option was to install a septic system.  It was only through multiple conversations and cryptic answers that we found out we could extend the sewer main down Idaho St in order to connect to us at the property.  It took a lonnnnnngg time to get that answer but it was worth the wait.  We have an exact price on what that will cost us which is better than the unpredictable cost of installing a septic system.

Fred is not a tame bird.  This is a great shot of him with an attitude problem - he's trying to attack Brain, who is fending him off with the keyboard.

Fred is not a tame bird. This is a great shot of him with an attitude problem – he’s trying to attack Brian, who is fending him off with the keyboard.

Connecting to local power

Getting information regarding the cost and availability of power from the local power company has been a challenging process.  Similar to the conversations with the utilities department, some answers have improved with time.  We were originally quoted $3000-$6000 for power, based on needing a pole and a transformer.  Now, it’s going to be a big fat $0.00!  Good news all around!

This is the 'where's waldo' picture of Sydney.  Can you spot her?  By the way, this is essentially our backyard at the new property.

This is the ‘where’s waldo’ picture of Sydney. Can you spot her? By the way, this is essentially our backyard at the new property.

New Business for Silver City

Brian and I have many separate and distinct passions;  and in a few areas, our interests intersect in a beautiful venn diagram.  As you are already aware, one of those subjects is tiny homes and the freedom they can provide.  Another subject is a love for great coffee.  This logo, one of our early drafts, says it all –

Bean Vivant - Artisanal Coffee Roasters

Artisanal Coffee Roasters

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