Monday, October 31, 2011

Baby steps...

First and foremost, I am no longer suffering from barn brain!  We have approved and finished the plans for the barn.  Want to see?  The first link shows the outside elevations and the second link shows the floor plan.,

I am very excited about it.  In fact, whenever I'm over at the barn where Tia stays now, all I do while I'm cleaning is think about getting that new barn set up. 

The main question left to be answered is, WHERE WILL THE BARN BE LOCATED?  Our current site plan has it sitting partially on the foundation of the old metal garage that is currently on the property.  But, because that would have it sitting foward from the house (on the other side of the lot) we have to get a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment to put it there.  We hope our case is solid, because if we can't use that concrete pad then we will have to move the house forward (cut down 4 trees) or move the barn back (cut down 3 trees AND put down a new pad.)  Here's a link to the site plan:

Trees.  Tree.  That is a four letter word in my book right now.  I previously wrote about our issue with the "tree police."  Issue ongoing.  Citations issued.  LARGE sum of money involved.  Mayor and City Council involved.  Turns out that on AG properties you cannot just cut down what you want to or need to on your own land without getting the blessing of the tree powers that be.  Never mind that it is in the process of being rezoned.... We'll be trying to make our case that we had NO IDEA.  And we didn't!

Rain!  Now there's a good word.  We've had enough so that everything has greened back up!  No more going over at all hours to move the hose around so we can save the trees.  Oh, there's that word again.  The creek has plenty of water.... so at least the tires that are in there aren't visible right now.  Trying to look at the positive side.

Green grass... but we won't be living here!

The last bit of good news is that the "for sale" sign in front of our current house is coming down tomorrow.  I'm getting up right now to do a little dance...  yayayayayayay!   We came to our senses and realized that if we don't NEED to sell this house right now, there's really no point in doing it.  Why would we complicate life by moving into the little old house and having to store half of our stuff when we can just stay here until the other house is finished?  Seems like a no-brainer to me.  (I can use the excuse that I didn't think of this before since I had barn-brain.  That could count as no-brain.) 

Behind the scenes work is being done... the builder is applying for the building permit, the site is being re-platted, and we have started making selections.  Here is an example of the stone and window color we hope to use:
The roof is a little too grey, I think.

A good friend of mine introduced me to an addicting website... and I'm getting lots of ideas there.  If you haven't been to you are way behind the times!  Here are a couple of ideas that I really like:
Love this color combination--it's so fresh.  Unfortunately, it would require all new furniture...
These colors make me happy.  My mantra for this house is LIGHT and BRIGHT.

YES.  This is the color combination I want to do!
I want to do dark floors, beige walls and white trim.  Not everywhere, but as the basic scheme.

Pinned Image
Leaning toward antiqued white cabinets with a contrasting island.  Got to get Jim on board with this one!

Another other great website where I am getting ideas and keeping track of what I like is  Highly recommended if you like to look at house stuff!  And lastly, here's a great blog for beautiful home building inspiration:

Of course, I could literally spend all day (or all night if I can't sleep) on the computer looking at stuff... so I have to limit myself to a few minutes at a time.  Facebook?  Haven't been on in weeks!  Children?  Oh yes... I actually do have some... and I probably should get some dinner going and get the Halloween candy out!  Happy Halloween, Y'all!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The good and the bad...

I never know which to tell first... the good news or the bad news.  In this case, I'm not sure the good news outweighs the bad news, so it probably doesn't matter.

So, good news first:  THE CREEK IS FULL!  We got almost 2 inches of rain over the weekend and so the deep cracks in the earth are gone and the creek is running.  The rain was wonderful.

As you can see, plenty of water.  (You can also see that it's still a mess!  Because of the possible land swap with our neighbor we didn't have the tree guys do any work on the creek yet.  Turns out the neighbors don't seem to want to swap anymore which means a whole additional issue with fencing across the creek... but we'll cross that bridge a little later!)

I wanted to go out and see the creek during the rain but never had a chance.  I could tell where it had been at least a foot or two higher.  I wonder where our giant turtle is hanging out now. 

One creature that will no longer be hanging out at our property is this one:

Not sure what kind it is... I don't think it is poisonous... but the tree workers didn't take any chances.  Our resident hawks or some other scavenger had removed the evidence the next day. 

So, finding a snake on the property COULD be considered bad news, but not really.  That is to be expected.  If it had bit someone that would have been bad news.  The bad news is....

One of the people up the street called the city because of all the tree work going on.  You know, that's not exactly a quiet process, removing and chipping up tree branches.  So, the "tree police" came out and were not happy with the number and size of trees that had been removed from the perimeter of our property (without a permit.)  And they weren't happy with the dirt that had been dumped (without a permit.)  They posted a stop work order.  So now the tree work is at a standstill.  We own the property but we can't really do what we want to or need to on it without the city having a say. (It seems that they have lots of reasons to issue permits and collect the associated fees.)  I've been waiting for the "Landscape Administrator" (aka tree police) to call me today to find out where we go from here but he doesn't seem to be in a hurry to get back with me. 

Not sure how all of THIS is going to affect the current re-zoning issues, including trying to get the variance to allow us to have the barn set forward from the house.  Some of the neighbors have voiced some concern over the smell of the horses (a smell I happen to love) and the fact that their dogs may "go crazy."  All we can tell them at this point is that we will keep a very clean barn and we will do what we can to minimize the impact on the neighborhood.  I spent much of the weekend fretting and stewing at all hours of the day and night.  Today I'm just irritated.  Maybe that's progress!

Hopefully the next post will be all good news.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Progress report...

It has been awhile since I've had an update... things have been moving along S L O W L Y.  And if you know me, it is requiring a large dose of patience to deal with that!  Finally, this week, some more work is being done on the property. 

These are actually pretty boring pictures... taken with the camera on my phone... so sorry if you are yawning at this point!  The tree company (this is the third one... first one was too busy to finish our project, second one seemed to have some "shady" business dealings (no pun intended!) and so we have gone with this last company which has gotten down to business in a big way as you can tell from all the equipment they have brought in!)  Anyway, the tree company started Monday... clearing the perimeter of the lot of all "trash trees" and fallen logs, etc.  They seem to be doing a good job, other than being a little over-zealous and cutting down a few trees that were not on our property.  I'm waiting for the phone call about that...

It's amazing how the sound of trees coming down brings out the neighbors!  Our new friends across the creek were quizzing the tree guys about what we are doing and were very afraid that they are going to lose their privacy.  They may be interested in swapping property on our side of the creek for the part of ours that is on their side.  That would be great since it is a little difficult to fence across a creek, but that will take some time to sort out.  We also got a call from another bordering neighbor who wanted to make sure that we are not putting in a big, lighted tennis court.  Since I haven't played tennis since junior high, I assured her that we would not be.  She is thrilled that they will be able to look out over our pasture and see horses when all is said and done.  Very nice lady.

On the home building front, I have been bogged down with trying to sort out all of our rezoning issues.  Dealing with government (of any kind) can be such a trying experience!!!  It actually reduced me to tears the other day.  We were all set to move forward with a fairly straightforward zoning change from agricultural to single family acreage when the "city planner" noticed on our site plan that the barn is going to sit forward from the front of the house (even though it is way off to the side of the property.)  Apparently in city ordinance 33.4-f it states that no accessory building can be in the "front yard."  So now we have to file a variance and PROVE that it is a hardship and we need to receive a variance.  Well, considering a) the thousands of dollars associated with relocating it off the existing concrete pad and b) the need to remove and/or damage trees if we move it or the house anywhere else on the property it does seem like we have a hardship.  But now it will be up to the Zoning Board of Adjustment to make that determination.  If they decide no then we have to go back and rezone a different way.  My new specialty when all is said and done will be "jumping through hoops!"

Awhile back I wrote about "barn brain."  Still suffering, in case you're wondering.  We've gone back and forth and back and forth.  Once final decision is that we will not use the existing metal garage, just the concrete pad.  We have a final (hopefully) meeting with the architect this evening to finish up with the barn design.  I know they probably think I am just being picky... you know...the horse-crazy woman... but I've been in enough barns to know what I do and do not want.  Of course, I want it all!  But I AM trying to be reasonable!!  :-)  Here's to hoping that my mush for brains doesn't get me in trouble at the meeting....

Oh, yes. Almost forgot the last picture...

Here's our new dirt.  Thanks to some local swimming pool companies that are digging right now, we have about fifteen 5 ft high piles of dirt that will be used to level out the area for the house.  And it was FREE!!  Not sure how much more we need but at least it's a start.  Because of the rezoning we can't actually "break ground" until December.  Hopefully a few more pools will get dug by then and we'll be ready to hit the ground running.  Or I should say grading!  Bring on the earth movers already!