December 22, 2013

Water and Sunsets

Well since our last post, progress on the house has been blazing along at the blistering speed of "zero". More than anything else we need to get the electricians on site to build the meter rack so the electric company can begin installing the service line and that hasn't happened yet.
But the big news at the ranch this week is that our water well has been drilled. Final depth: 875 feet. Struck water before that of course, but kept on going to make sure we could depend on it for many years to come.
As soon as we get electric service to the property we'll actually be able to pump water up from the aquifer and once we have a supply of water I'll be able to pressure wash the barn floor and then paint it and then I can start moving in. Won't that be the cat's meow?!

We had our "winter solstice party" on Friday evening. Just the two of us with a little wine to watch the setting sun. We did the same thing on 12/21 last year too. But this year the sky was quite overcast with clouds and there was hardly any sun so we guessed (and rightly so) that there wouldn't be much to see so we left early.

Last year we were also there to watch the sunset for the summer solstice and it was quite surprising to see the difference in points on the horizon where the sun went down at those two different times of the year.

December 14, 2013

We're Off and Running

We haven't posted in a while because not much was happening, but lately lots of things have been moving along all at once.

The barn pad was created, holes were augered to set the steel uprights in concrete, drain lines were installed for the bath room, entries for water and electric into the wellhouse and then the slab was poured.
After time for the concrete to cure (plus several rainy days) work began on the steel framing.
On Tuesday the 3rd the site for the house was scraped level (or so it was thought) and the exact position for the house was staked out.
All that while the work continued on the barn framing.
As the forms were being built some more ground leveling was found to be needed.
Once the forms were finished, delivery for the sub-base for the slab began. Eight loads the first day.....
....and three more the next and then it was all leveled.
With the barn framing completed, on Thursday most of the exterior skin went on.

The barn shell should be finished this weekend all but one roll up door. Work on the interior begins soon with walls being framed first, followed by the plumbing and electric. All of the plumbing fixtures and many of the electrical fixtures are scheduled to arrive December 23rd.
Unfortunately Christmas comes two days later. (sigh)

The well drilling is scheduled to start Monday the 16th, (if the weather is agreeable) but septic will probably not start before the first of the year.

But at least we're finally off and running! Now, when we get the electric service installed the barn will be usable.

November 10, 2013

Ready to Start

Well it's been a lot like trying to herd cats to make things happen, but we finally got all four contracts (house, barn, well and septic) in place and this week we had the closing on our construction loan, so ... we're ready to begin constructing.

The barn will be first, which will include the housing for all the well equipment in a room attached to it. It will be a Mueller Steel building on a concrete slab and the barn will have a bathroom in it, so as soon as the well and the septic system are complete, visits to the ranch can be longer than they have been.

Having the wellhouse attached to the barn not only eliminated building a fourth wall for it, but created an opportunity to have a nice 10x26' porch on the front of the barn facing west. Might be a good place to sit and paint sunsets! We'll see.

So the first of many decisions has to be made. What color should we paint the barn floor?

October 26, 2013

Beginnings .......

We're becoming the first residents of our new property as refugees fleeing the greatest menace to American society and Texas freedoms: the Home Owners Association. We are "HOA free" here and could not be more pleased. Lest this become a diatribe about the evils of HOAs, we'll simply say how sorry and sympathetic we are for all those who have been and will be victims of the most blatant form of Socialism in the US of A. Enough said about that. We're all done with HOAs.
About the Ranch
Painted Views Ranch is 19.22 acres with nearly 12 acres of cleared and improved pasture devoted to beef cattle, which makes it an Ag Exempt property. When our new residence is completed that will change for the one acre of homestead, but for now, taxes are $26 dollars a year.

<-Looking west from the center of the property, across the pasture to the road below
The house will sit on a bluff high above and about a quarter mile from the roadway, with approximately a five mile, 180 degree view to the west. Can hardly wait to start watching the sunsets!

<-Looking from the road, across the pasture to the home site on the hilltop
Being the first people to ever establish a residence on this 19 acres there is much to get done. We have already installed a temporary gate to access the property during construction, cleared the cedars from the home site and have had 1500 feet of road base installed for our driveway. Next on the list are things like a septic system, drilling a water well and of course electricity.
The two of us have done the hands on tree clearing for about 300 feet of 20 foot wide right of way for the electric lines. Test holes have been dug for the septic system and we have contracts for septic, drilling a well and building a steel barn and well house.


And this old dog has been dragged kicking and screaming into the world of fancy cell phones because installing a land line all the way to the house would cost more than buying the moon. So this is very much about a major change in lifestyle, but we do what we must.
That's it for now. Any comments you care to make below will be read with interest. You might want to subscribe your email in the top of the right sidebar to be notified when we post again and we'll look forward to having you join us on our journey.

If you want to email us privately, the address is