The cliche says that the only thing constant is change. That is so true when you are building a homestead, especially if you are working to make money to fund the build. We can become so attached to and idea and a dream that when challenges come we lack the flexibility to respond and adapt. The question for us is, do we want the dream badly enough to fight through the challenges? The answer, after a lot of soul searching and discussion is a resounding yes. So, we decided to change the plan.
Plan A was to continue to live in our rental house and work on our homestead house on weekends, holidays, and vacations days. Once we had a livable house, we would move in and finish out the house. As weather permitted, we would continue developing the homestead.
- Fruit Trees
- Chicken coop
- Pathways through the woods
- BBQ pavilion
Why a Plan B?
My employer decided to save money by cutting payroll. That resulted in nobody to relieve me for my 3 days off every weekend. At one point I worked 10 days, then had 4 days off. That changed to working 11 days with 3 days off. After the cuts I am now working 6 days with Sundays off. While it is great to have every Sunday off (so far), not having the 3-4 day weekend every other week leaves me with almost no time to work on our home.
I won’t try to tell you that I accepted it gracefully when I found out I was going to work for my third straight weekend. I won’t tell you that I was pleasant when I realized I would most likely work several more 6 day weeks. Like several months more, except when the stretch of 7 day work weeks starts up. My response was neither graceful or pleasant, and I’m not proud of that. In fact, I was pretty upset for a couple days and had to engage in some serious prayer time to get my head right.
When I finished with my anger and disappointment, Deb and I sat down and did some serious thinking and discussing. We decided that this is something we want, and it is something we are willing to fight for. I heard a song with a line that really hit me – “safe is another word for regret”. We have enough regrets in life. Time to step out of safe.
We have actually tossed this one around but were hesitant to go with it because it isn’t safe and familiar. It will be challenging. At times it will be frustrating and uncomfortable. Since my work schedule is likely not going to change, we must make a change. Time for Plan B.
As quickly as possible I’ll have the electric co-op come out and tell me where I need to clear a path for them to run power to my foundation. Then I’ll schedule getting power in. That will be nice because then I can use an electric cement mixer instead of having to finish out the build mixing concrete and mortar by hand. After that, I’ll get the water put in. I’ll do it that way because the electric co-op contractors have a history of cutting through water lines and leaving a mess behind them. After the water will come the septic system.
Once we have utilities in place our plan is to purchase a shipping container and a used travel trailer. I’d rather purchase a shipping container that we will use for years than to spend money keeping stuff in a storage unit (or units) until we can move it into the house. I figure that I can cut a panel in the side of the container to bring in power, water, and a drain line so we can put the chest freezer, refrigerator, and washer and dryer in it. It might be a pain to carry laundry from the trailer to the shipping container, but not as much of a pain as carrying it to a laundromat. That hits time and the pocketbook.
Of course, I’ll have to expand the fence that we put in earlier so the dogs have space to exercise. They are going to need it after being in a travel trailer for several hours. Considering that I put up our existing 50 x 50 fenced in area in about 4 hours, that won’t be so bad.
Having a shipping container onsite will also allow me to have a safe place to keep my tools and equipment locked up while we are off at work. And I can keep things organized. Ask Deb sometime how much I enjoy looking for things. And how lousy I am at finding things. Since it is something we will continue to use for years to come, we aren’t throwing money away on storage.
We have talked about moving into a travel trailer before, but didn’t pursue it. We have a lab, a lab mix, and 2 cats that will go with us. The thought of cramming us and them into a travel trailer is concerning. It won’t be as comfy or convenient as living in our rental house. That goes back to sticking to what is safe and familiar. But then, the whole concept of clearing land and building a debt free home isn’t safe, so why cling to the safety of the rental house?
Pros and Cons
- We can work each day rather than just every other weekend
- When I do get days off, there won’t be 3 hours of travel involved
- Secure storage for tools and materials, no more toting them back and forth
- We can enjoy our woods every day instead of every other weekend
- There will be time to begin developing a garden area
- We won’t be paying out rent
- We’ve got a LOT of stuff to sort through and decide what to keep
- Living in a travel trailer with 2 dogs and 2 cats!
- Small spaces will require changing how we cook meals
- No more walk in closets for a while
- Did I mention it will be cramped?
- Travel trailers aren’t really meant for daily living, lots of upkeep
- Driving an hour to work instead of 20 minutes
- Dealing with the black water system in a trailer
- We’ve got a LOT of stuff to sort through and decide what to keep (its on both lists because we both see that as a pro. We have stuff still in boxes from our 2007 move.)
All in all, the pros outweigh the cons. We will have to figure out how to work around each of the cons and how to maximize the pros.
Accepting the challenge
All the prep and planning required to make this move out to the property is daunting. As I find out when we can schedule the utilities installations I’ll have a better idea on when we can move. Perhaps the best thing about reaching this conclusion is that rather than waiting and hoping, we are taking action and making it happen. A lot of people will think we have lost our minds. They may not be too far from the truth!
There will be challenges and struggles. We have come through many in our lives. But at least we will be moving forward, and we can continue to find ways to deal with the challenges ahead.
Remember, Safe is another word for Regret.