It’s not really a homestead – just a third of an acre on a hill in a neighborhood in Coos County, Oregon. But I’ve been seeing the word ‘homestead’ bandied about lately for all kinds of different situations as I’ve you-tubed a variety of land ownership topics, so I thought I would use that word as well. Yes, we have been researching fence building, worm composting, erosion control, and blackberry eradication, just to name a few.
We’ve been here a week already! And my body is sore! Here’s a blow-by-blow of our first activities on our property.
Wednesday: We finally get word from the title company that the property is ours! (There was a bit of a SNAFU that delayed closing and the title company was less than communicative – which gave us a couple of anxious days.) I promptly called utility companies and had water and electric turned on. We let Tom’s brother know we were (finally) leaving and he took us out for pizza to celebrate (us closing escrow – not us leaving!). Thanks John! For everything – especially letting us stay on your land for two-and-a-half months!
Thursday: We get up and get ready to hit the road! There was some comfort in knowing the route, but Tom would be driving without a navigator, and Joy would be driving the Jeep pulling a loaded-down trailer. The trip was fine until we turned off the highway too soon and came in from the wrong direction. Windy, steep, tree-lined, narrow, switchbacks: I was barely managing with the trailer and worried about how Tom was managing behind me. Note to self: NEVER let anyone who visits us come down that road! But we made it! The Jeep struggled up the last bit of hill pulling that heavy trailer, and it wasn’t too much longer until I heard the diesel powering up. It sounded like it would barely make it. Did I mention we’re on a hill top on a steep grade? Then the part we’ve been dreading: getting our new giant-sized RV turned into the driveway without hitting the culvert.
Of course Tom did great and it was a big relief to have arrived!
We arrived to a bit of a surprise. Last time we saw the property there were hip-high weeds and getting them cut down so we could see what we were working with was on the top of our list. But they were already flattened: Someone had done the weed-whacking for us! We wasted no time in getting the trailer contents unloaded into the shed and everything locked up so we could go celebrate. (As soon as I got some plants in the ground that I had brought with us.) Tom found the only Brewery in town and we had a nice meal, then checked out the locals at a couple of other bars that were recommended.
And on the way home we bought a pitch fork – for all those cut weeds.
Friday: We get straight to work. First, Tom had to repair a broken water pipe – surprise!
But it went well. I started with the burned pile of rubble left behind and started loading the trailer with trash for a dump run. They guy who cut the weeds came back to finish (turns out the real estate agent hired him) and took away a truckload of cut weeds.
The day was full of digging and raking and lifting and piling. Whew! Then at the end of the day (but before we got cleaned up) our neighbors came to welcome us! I had sent them an introductory letter letting them know of our arrival, so I already knew she had a catering company. We were delighted when they showed up with a hot artichoke and crab dip for us. We were also delighted to hear that the neighbors above us recently moved in and took over the last tweeker residence on the upper hill. Our new neighbors (we only have one other visible house connected to our property) were delighted to have our lot purchased by responsible people. The neighborhood is turning around they said! They generously offered us use of their lawn tools and even offered to cut down a dead tree we have. Really great to have great neighbors! (And the dip was delicious!!)
Saturday: More digging and raking and lifting and hauling. We used our newly purchased yard cart so much it looks like it’s years old already! We moved rocks and piled cut grass (weeds) into future compost piles.
My bones were aching! Tom’s body is not complaining as he manhandles the weed eater and weed sprayer.
Our goal is to use what we can find rather than spend money, so I gathered pavers scattered about to create a walkway in front of the shed and I transplanted the irises I found to the front of the shed. Not exactly a beautification project, but things are looking neater!
Sunday: Father’s Day, so we took the day off. We drove to our nearby beaches and enjoyed watching the sea lions through binoculars.
Two days hard work and one day to relax sounds like a pace I can work with! We also checked out our local hardware stores to see what they have in the way of fencing materials – which is not much. The shelves were pretty bare and they said they have been waiting on shipments for weeks now.
Monday: Back to work. We are very happy we didn’t get an acre or more. A third of an acre is plenty to manage! We did some measurements and nothing matches the recorded lot lines. No need for a survey – we’re just working with what’s here. And that is a flattened piece of ground on a steep hill. If our property line is down the hill it doesn’t matter, we can’t use it. And if we’re picking up some of someone else’s ground because it’s on our flattened area -we’ll take it!
Tuesday: Still picking up trash – sticks and pieces of rock. Then I pick up a piece of asphalt shingle and surprise! It was covering another septic drain! Now we have room for three full hookups! We decide to move the motorhome to the cleaned up area, which makes the lot look a lot bigger.
Plus, now we’re facing the future fairy garden so we have more privacy out our big windshield.
Now it’s time to take our first trailer load of trash to the dump.
So a lot accomplished this first week – with a LOT more to come. When the long days of manual labor were over, we spent the evenings researching fencing design – which is next on our list.
Thanks for coming along!
Peace & Love, Joy