Since the company I worked for downsized, and move everything to Kansas, I’ve had time to start organizing things for the homestead. This spring the old barn on the property finally decided to fall in on its self.
This was a good thing. The site where the barn sits is where we will have our house built. First I have to get rid of the barn. I got a Kioti CK3510 with backhoe, front end loader, and Steinsammler grapple to help with that. After about 30 hours on the tractor things went from this.
To this, removed lots of brush and trees.
Old Barn is on the ground now. After pole barn is built, going to get roll off dumpsters brought in to cleanup old barn. Then when done with that planning for the house begins.
Welcome to our homesteading blog! This blog is something we’ve been meaning to do for nearly a decade, but due to various circumstances, we’re just now officially starting into the first chapter of our homesteading journey. So why did it take so long to get through the prologue? Well, here’s a little bit of backstory.
We signed the paperwork to make a rural 4-acre property in southcentral Pennsylvania ours on Halloween/Samhain in 2007. At the time, we figured we’d have a few repairs and upgrades to make to the old 1.5-story house, and then we’d be able to move there full-time.
Yeah. So wrong.
The property itself was beautiful, with a great view of the mountains, several nice bits of yard, wooded areas, a dilapidated old barn that gave the place character, and plenty of creek frontage (but with no danger of flooding the house due to a pretty steep elevation change).
After doing a little bit of demo work on the interior of the house, though, it was pretty clear that it would need major repairs. Instead of insulation, then walls were lined with mouse nests (and the other stuff produced by mice), bees nests, and snake skins. There was a family of groundhogs living under the sunken kitchen, which had been haphazardly added to the original structure at some point. The wiring was old and outdated. Need I go on?
We were both working at the time, but between rent on our place in town, the usual bills, and the mortgage on the homestead property, we weren’t able to come up with the money to start repairing the house. We also weren’t sure at that point whether or not the home was even worth saving. So we used the property as a getaway, planning and dreaming for years as we slowly started making it ours in other ways.
We bought a used travel trailer to stay in when we were there, we had a shed built, and we started cleaning up the property – trimming back/pulling out the out-of-control forsythia, getting rid of some of the trash dumped in the woods, etc. It was still a wonderful place to be, peaceful and wild all at once.
Over the next several years, life went on this way. Our homesteading dreams, which we’d been building practically since we started dating in the late 90s, remained on hold through various life events – the arrival of an abandoned kitten at Starview (yes, we kept her), the death of a dog and adoption of another, the death of my dad (who enjoyed spending time at the homestead, too), a couple of job changes for me, etc.
Then, in 2014, we finally got the break we needed and were able to start planning in earnest. Since then, we’ve been getting the finances in order, getting the land ready, shopping around for contractors, and deciding what we wanted in our home. We also came to the conclusion that it would be more cost-effective to build a new place than to try to salvage the old one.
So that brings us to the present. We decided to have a pole barn/garage built first, mainly for storing the building materials for the house, as well as Dave’s newest toy – a Kioti tractor. He found a great builder for the garage, and we’ll most likely be contracting with them to build the house as well!
As I write this, the land has been cleared and the holes dug for the pole barn. The old, dilapidated barn has been torn down (after starting to collapse on its own late last year), and the new house will be built in that spot. Thanks to Dave’s tractor, we’ve also been able to clear out a lot of invasive vegetation and dead trees in preparation for all of the upcoming construction.
We’ll be chronicling the journey here on the blog, as well as sharing things we’ve learned, and even writing about some of the other things we enjoy! Both Dave and I will be writing, so just check the avatar beside the entry title to see who’s behind the keyboard – and thanks for reading! 🙂