We got a mailbox!
We wanted a mailbox support that would hang of the small ditch at the front of the property, but we weren't about to pay $150 for it! Next, we considered building one but the materials to do would cost more than buying a mailbox at a big box store. Luckily, we found a mailbox and pole kit at the local Home Depot for just $35, so we bought it.
The pole needed to be set in concrete for support so that's what we did. We already had a bag of concrete on hand so we dug a nice big hole, placed a flat rock in the bottom of the hole then filled it with concrete. We steadied the support pole in the center while the concrete set. It took about 15 minutes before we could let the pole go and the wind would not move it. We didn't use a level to make sure it was exactly upright, we just eyeballed it from each side on the road. Postal regulations determine how high the mailbox should be and how close to the road it should be. We made sure to meet those guidelines.
We attached the mailbox to the pole and added the reflective number sign that 911 would need to find us in case of an emergency. Oddly enough, Google maps shows 177 at the wrong end of the street. If you Google "Tabernacle Farm", it will take you directly to us. Tabernacle Road isn't that long so if you drove a little bit you'd find us easily.
Lots more to come...
As you can see in the picture, we have not started clearing the property yet. Any day now our guy will come and start cutting the site where the house will be built (see image) and the front field where the primary livestock pens will be. We researching bridge construction techniques so we can gain access tot he rear of the property. Lots to consider, lots to do and a lot of money to be spent. Nevertheless, it is still exciting! 7
Here comes the bushhog!
The grass on the 2 pastures hasn't been cut in years, so we hired someone to come in and bush hog it. We still can't get any equipment to the back field until we get a bridge built so we had him bush hog the front field and the homesite area. he bush hog operator brought a decent sized tractor and made short work of cutting the grass. The grass was very thick and a lot of it laid down making it hard to cut. There was also a lot of small pine tree saplings... he cut them easily with the bush hog but now we have a metric crap ton of stobs sticking up in the grass. They are the same height as the cut grass and it makes them hard to see. We have only tripped on them about 100,000 times.
We started clearing the from fence line and taking down the fence in front of the home site. So far we've spent roughly $300 on tools we didn't have already. We got a bolt cutter (for the wire fence), a spade shovel, a large limb trimmer, a new Stihl 171 chainsaw, a garden rake, and a few other small items. The good part is these things will last a lifetime, so it is money well spent.
The next step...
The next step is to have the builder start prepping the spot where the house will sit. Unfortunately, we have had a lot of rain recently so that might delay it a little bit. There is still plenty of cleanup for us to do so its not like all the work will come to a standstill. With any homestead or hobby farm, there is always something that needs to be done. 8
Leveling the lot...
It is time for the professionals to do their part, building the house. The builder hired a crew to come in a prepare the homesite. They needed to make it level so the foundation could be poured. First they used a big dozer to scrape off the topsoil and get down to the hard clay. Once they did that and made it level, through brought in about 5 truckloads of good ol' Alabama red clay. They spread that all out and packed it down as best they could. The ground was fairly wet from recent rains so that made it a little difficult to pack. The topsoil that was scraped off was spread out level behind the homesite and will be used as the spot for a garage or workshop. It is quite a bit of dirt so the dozer operator was able to level out a nice sized area. We could probably fit a 24' x 24' workshop back there.
Now that is level!
It took the crew 2 days to prepare the lot to the satisfaction of the builder. The drainage looks good but we won't know for sure until we get another good rain. We cleared lots of brush and made a burn pile so we don't have to pay to haul off any foliage, tree limbs or stumps. Once the ground has dried out a bit, another crew will come in an start the slab work. We are so excited to see this coming along. Our advice to you is if you are considering starting a homestead or hobby far, go for it. Don't wait, don't listen to the naysayers or the critics... they're just jealous of you. Below are a few more pictures we took of the dozer and bobcat work.
Burn, baby, burn
The property has not been used in many years so the grass was quite tall and the number of tree limbs on the ground was substantial. It is too expensive to have it all hauled off, so we decided to burn it! Thankfully, it is legal to burn inside the Brent city limits so no worries there. Oh, the perks of living in a small town in Alabama.
So now we burn...
We bought a new Stihl 171 chainsaw because we knew cutting all this by hand would have taken years. It was only slightly more expensive than the common chainsaws sold by the big box stores and it is much better quality. Our first step was to pick up all the small limbs that were already on the ground and make a pile. The dozer operator pushed over an unwanted tree and shoved it onto our burn pile. We cut it up after he backed away.
It didn't take long to have a great big pile of dead grass, rotten limbs, sticks, twigs and pieces of the tree trunk. We lit the grass at the bottom of the pile and let the fire burn it's way up. Most of the debris burned quickly and the larger pieces burned and smoldered for hours. We kept adding to the pile for most of the day to keep the blaze going. We finally stopped adding to it and let it burn out as we did not want to leave it unattended.
This is hard work!
As you can see in the picture, we have a lot of area to clear. The ditch you see was once very overgrown with weeds, privets and small trees. As the ditch goes on, the overgrowth got worse. We got it all cut down and piled it into the ditch so we could burn it. We bought a few containers of lighter fluid to speed up the process, that was a lot better than using gas or diesel as an accelerant. It took nearly all day for these larger pile to burn out, so by the time the sun had set, we were tired.
The rough part of this is that we have barely begun to scratch the surface of this task. There is just so much wood to burn... AND we keep finding dead trees that need to be cut down, cut up then burned! Oh well, it's not really work when you are doing it for yourself. We enjoy seeing the progress we make even if it is only a little at a time. Hey, we are in our mid to late 50s! Thanks for stopping by to read up on our homestead preparation. Be sure to share a link to you to your Facebook friends and/or your own blog. Y'all have a blessed day! 10