Blog Entries For The Month of December 2017

Argh! More rain! We had a beautiful summer and fall, mostly dry and sunny... but now that we are building a house, the rain comes once or twice a week! We have a lot of brush and dead limbs to clear and when it is wet and muddy, we cannot do it. The rain prevents the debris from burning and we simply don't like walking in mud. Roosevelt, our Miniature Schnauzer, loves tromping around in it and getting all nasty. The good thing is he doesn't mind the bath he has to get afterwards. The builder is ready to get started and they dropped off the materials to frame up the foundation. 2x4s, 2x6s, rolls of wire and the rebar were delivered by one of the local lumber companies. When we saw it we got very excited... any progress is good news. But then the rains started. /sadface

The rain comes again... See how nice the foundation materials look? Well, it is all wet now and the lot is too muddy to work on. Rain delays can be expected on any long term building project but that doesn't mean we have to like them. We are thankful for the rain but a good dry spell sure would be nice right about now. The weatherman says after this latest front goes through, we should have 6 days without rain and partly cloudy days. We hope this is enough to dry things out. I don't think you can pour concrete over mud, but they might be able to frame up the foundation in the mud. Oh well, we will be patient and work on the property when we can and so will the builder. There is plenty for us to do and plenty of time to get it all done. It can be hard work but it sure is rewarding working on your own property! 11

Are you kidding me? It seems the winter season is not the best time to build a house. It rains every week, often several days a week and now we have snow. Central Alabama doesn't get snow very often but this year we got a good bit. I think we ended up with about 4 inches of snow after it was all said and done. The ground temperature wasn't cold enough for it to last more than a day, which is really a good thing. The roads never got bad but most people stayed home that day just in case. Snow is great when you are a kid, not so much when you are an adult. Snow can be fun in the right context, like the time I went snow skiing in South Korea in 1985. That was a lot of fun! But now I don't care for snow at all, other than it is pretty to watch it fall. I did take a short video of the heaviest snow falling, and here it is so you can enjoy it too.

Cleanup continues... We're still working on trimming trees, removing dead limbs, and burning everything that will burn. That new chainsaw is certainly getting a workout. There are some dead limbs we cannot reach and we are not about to climb a tree with a chainsaw. Not only can we not climb at our age, we certainly are skilled enough to not get knocked out the tree by the limb we just cut. We'll hire a tree company to just cut them, we'll clean up the mess. As with any hobby farm or homestead, there will always be work to do. It's good that we enjoy the work. Each day we work, it looks a little better and we can see improvement. Now if we could just get this rain and snow to stop so the builder can get some work done! We're patient people but this is really testing us... LOL. 12

Making work easier... We have about 15 acres that needs mowing, we have things that need to be lifted, and we have ground that needs to be leveled... so we bought a piece of equipment that can handle all of those jobs and more. We bought a 2017 Kubota B2650 HSD tractor with a front end loader and 5 foot rotary cutter (also known as a bush hog or brush hog). We are having it delivered about mid January as we don't need it during the holidays. Cynthia says she likes to mow, so we'll see about that. We decided against a zero turn mower as it can only cut grass and nothing else. There's no sense in paying $7k-$10k for a fancy lawn mower when it can only do 1 job. A tractor is much more versatile especially when you think of all the 3-point attachments that are available. We did about 4 weeks worth of research on this and narrowed it down to Mahindra, John Deere and Kubota. We have a dealer for these brands about 30 minutes away from us and they are 2 minutes apart from each other. The Mahindra was the first to be discarded simply because they do not hold their value as well as the others and this dealer had them priced like the other major brands. We really liked the Mahindra 26XL tractor but their price just wasn't competitive enough.

The John Deere we liked was the 2017/ 2018 2025R but nobody could locate one. They got a redesign for these model years and we liked the changes they made, plus John Deere was offering 72 months with zero interest. They wanted us to move up to the 3025e but while it would have perhaps been a more capable tractor, it lacked key features that the 2025R had. The "e" means economy I reckon, because the 3025e sure felt like an economy tractor. The 1025R was a nice machine but it was just too small for us. It lacked good ground clearance and the tires were quite small. Had the dealer been able to get us a new 2025R, we would likely have gone with John Deere.

The Kubota dealer in Tuscaloosa, Alabama is right across the street from the John Deere dealer. We stopped there and looked at the BX series of tractors, the B series and the L2501. The BX series was sort of like the 1025R from John Deere... too small and too low to the ground for what we needed it to do. The L2501 was comparable to the JD 3025e and we didn't want it for the same reasons as the JD 3025e. They did have the B2301, B2601, B2650 and a B3350 for me to look at. We liked the B2301 and B2601 but the B2650 really caught our eye. It was larger than the B2601 and is considered a premium tractor because of all the extras that come on it. You get a much better seat, digital display, cruise control, brakes on the left side (better for brake steering), position control, etc.

It turns out the B2650 was about the same price of the L2501 due to big rebates on the L2501. We preferred the size and the options of the B2650 HSD so we negotiated a package deal. We got the tractor, a 5 foot rotary cutter and the front end loader with the quick attach bucket. We shopped for this package at the Clanton Kubota dealer and the Pelham Kubota dealer, but the Tuscaloosa Kubota dealer beat their best price by $400, so they got our business. We also got a free toy tractor and a t-shirt. Bonus!

As we stated above, we won't get the tractor delivered until some time in January so we don't have any pictures of it to show you. That being said, here is a stock image of the B2650 for you to enjoy.


Construction has begun... Living in a small town has its perks. Someone drove by our property and noticed workers were there, so they called us right away. The workers were framing the foundation getting ready to pour the concrete slab. We were excited to hear this news so we headed over to take a look. Sure enough, the crew was there cutting lumber and building the frame for the foundation! After so long with no progress, we were starting to get a little anxious. It was a very cold day but the workers were quite busy driving the support braces into the ground, making all the measurements for the perimeter of the foundation and digging out the side for the footers. They did not put the re-bar or wire fencing in place yet, I reckon they'll have to coordinate with the plumbers, the gas company and the electrician.

Now we wait some more... Well, not long after they finished the foundation framing, we got a severe cold snap that lasted over a week! Temperatures dropped to the low teens and the daily highs barely exceeded 32 degrees. As you may know, you cannot pour concrete in those temperatures. At 50 degrees, concrete takes about 8-10 hours to cure but at freezing temperatures, the concrete will freeze instead of curing. Now that the weather warmed up, it has started to rain! Argh! We really want to get this house built. Paying two mortgages is no fun and basically a huge waste of money... but we have little choice unless we wanted to live in the van. Nah. So we wait for the weather to cooperate. Dear Lord, please provide us with suitable weather for pouring concrete and framing a house. Amen.


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