It’s getting a little crazier as I try to manage all the details in preparing to build my little elf house. Sleep tends to be erratic as a result, my mind spinning at times trying to keep everything in perspective and knowing it can only be conquered one step at a time. Seemingly, however, those steps don’t always match the order in which I expect them to. As I have been down the road with post-traumatic stress (and significantly recovered from its effects), I now generally guard myself against too much overwhelm, simply letting things flow in whatever way they need to. I figure it this way – so long as it all gets done, it doesn’t really matter.
This week was a busy one. I’m still doing a lot of research on all things related to building and construction, just to understand terminology and the various aspects of what goes into it when you start from scratch. There’s a lot of work to just preparing the land! There’s the 911 address to get (check – done!), the driveway permit (in work), bulldozing to level out the parking/driveway area, culverting for drainage, tree removal, electric service, etc. I’m sure there are other details in other towns, but this is my current to-do list. Owning land in a ‘no zoning’ town sure makes building a lot simpler – no construction permits required! 😉
Much of my construction research years ago was specific to understanding log homes – until I decided I didn’t want one anymore. Too much ongoing maintenance – and much too dark for my taste now. Light, bright, and whimsical is the look I want! My current research is on foundations – mostly what types and how to prepare for a simple, inexpensive one. Originally, I considered a basement, but it was too costly and potentially could have a problem given there is quite a bit of water on the land. Significant drainage would have to be factored in – something I’m unable to consider at this time due to costs. A slab has other problems and – again – costly. I had decided on posts, until I found out it would be more work and cost than I had anticipated. I’m still considering it, though, but may simply put the building up on blocks to simplify things. It will be cheap and easy for this first year, and will give me time to plan for something more permanent down the road, should I need it. Permanent being a relative term here, since ‘permanent’ also denotes a higher tax rate when it comes to land taxes. Putting up a building that is not considered ‘permanent’ offers another good advantage besides taxes – you can move it if you need to. Since I’m still learning about the land itself, making it a permanent fixture in its initial location might not be the right decision, so opting to wait a year or two makes the best sense. The site and lay of the land offers it enough protection that I don’t think it will be a problem. Were it a smaller dwelling or if it was higher up the mountain and getting stronger wind gusts – I might worry a bit more.
Besides research, I explored more of my property with a few friends I’m considering community life with. We found a whole section of raspberry bushes I didn’t know existed, along with more medicinal plants. Yay! We also found raccoon and moose tracks. Oh joy. Saw the animals up close, too, a little later (stuffed ones, that is), at a country store in the area. Naturally, I’d seen both animals before, but usually at a good distance – not standing next to one (well, the moose anyway, since my grandmother owned a ‘pet’ raccoon at one time, which I occasionally had to feed). Raccoons are feisty things, and something you want to keep away from, in case of rabies. Moose, well, they are as reported – HUGE – almost tall enough for me to walk under (given my wee size). And, they are one ugly critter I would not want to confront in person. Even the forester told me a few years back that it was the one animal that still made him nervous – they are unpredictable and might charge if spooked. Good to know! Hmmmm, might have to scope out the perfect trees to hide behind in case I see one around. 😉
Small towns are wonderful places to live in and community is by far the best thing to build around you. For instance, I got a call on some potential wood for siding from a friend mid-week. It was part of a recently burned-down lumber mill’s stock that had been stored for years and already had the weathered look I want to have. I was hoping to hear it was cedar – but it turned out to be pine and butternut. Butternut is a beautiful wood for furniture-making, but cedar is a better wood for siding as it will age to a nice silvery sheen in years to come. I’ll check back on cedar pricing when I’m ready, since I have other more pressing things to pay for before winter comes. Insulation in particular. A building up here can get by unfinished awhile, simply wrapped for weatherproofing – but insulation and a good wood heat source are a must!
Besides the call about wood, I also ended up seeing a post in our local community forum for windows and doors from another friend doing renovations. I made a beeline to connect, since she mentioned casement windows (now mine!). I also had put out a feeler for some pallets to stack firewood on this winter. Another dear friend put a few in my hands to work with. And, yep – everything was free! Oh, how my heart sings with all the love being spread around!
This is why I feel strongly that this is the way we need to be living our lives going forward. We can turn the tide on the economy simply by reaching out and helping each other more, bartering and sharing when and where we can, and looking for ‘equal’ payment much less. Paying it forward is already like having ‘money’ in the bank really – it’s just in a different form. Everything is about energy and where it flows. When we let things go out to others, it generally makes room for things we need to come to us. Try it – but do it with an open heart – and with gratitude. It’s the only way to see it truly work miracles in your life.
So, as the first week of August closes (can you believe it?), who cares about a little sleep loss with this kind of community craziness? Not me – I love it! It sparks my creative juices and gets me thinking of new possibilities, especially when it comes to cleaning out and letting go of more stuff. Guess it’s donation time once again – paying it forward at its most elementary level!