Tula Mae Homestead

Ain’t It Funny How Life Changes?

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It’s construction time, y’all!  Many of you who follow me on Instagram have seen the destruction that has taken place over the past week.  You have been privy to my rants as, quite literally, everything has changed.

The Beginning…

My husband (then my boyfriend) was sweet enough to buy a house shortly after we welcomed our oldest daughter.  At the risk of sounding ungrateful…my immediate reaction was not impressed.  There were many flights of steep stairs, no bathtub (hello? baby?,) and it’s in an area that gets a TON of snow.  Despite all that, we moved in and played house.  It is an 800 square foot house.  With one kiddo and a cat, it was perfect–idyllic, even.  We didn’t have money for TV, so we watched a TON of Netflix and DVD’s we collected over the years.  It is on 3.5 acres and has blueberry bushes, apple trees, and is quite private for being off of the main road.

Fast Forward…

Another kid, a dog, two cats, and 50 chickens later…OY!

Once we had our second child, we realized something needed to happen.  We thought one kid had a ton of stuff…until we had another and the “stuff” seemed to triple in volume.  Cramped and crabby was the way to describe us! There was nowhere to go if someone need a break to cool off and the kids destroyed the only room in the house in a matter of minutes with toys, crayons, and dolls.  Animals were always underfoot and cranky about being stepped on.

We looked at the housing market and were quickly disappointed.  Even making concessions in what we wanted, what was available was WAY out of our price range.  The houses in our price range were either as tiny as where we were or needed so much work we wouldn’t be unable to live there for a while.

So we decided to add-on.  We began this process  in May of 2018 (and, boy, what a process!) and broke ground October of 2018.

If you zoom in, you can see our plans we drew!  Minus the weird uneven kitchen, this is how it will hopefully look!

Then the Excavator Came…

I was unprepared for the destruction digging a foundation wreaks upon a property.

It was determined we needed to build a “road” for the concrete trucks to get close enough to pour.  It was that…or pay $900/day for 3 days for a pump.  Initially, I balked at the idea of the road because it happened to run through my raised beds.  Reason came quickly when the thought of spending $2700 to save raised beds that were already rotting was ridiculous.  Hubs loves the thing and wants to keep it–I can’t wait to get my lawn back!  The bonus is that this all can go into our driveway!

 

 

I experienced my first real panic attack in a decade, no less than 4 epic meltdowns, and many small arguments throughout the first weekend.  The initial dig and destruction unleashed a weird combination of emotions I was unprepared for.  Full disclosure:  I am a control freak.  Like…a serious one.  It makes me feel safer and more secure when I am in control of a situation.  This whole breaking ground situation threw my control out the window and I lost it.  I’m talking squatting down on the kitchen floor, hyperventilating kinda lost it.

My two stands of favorite birches had to be taken down–I fought tooth and nail for them to be saved because I think birch trees are gorgeous and they provided shade to the side yard and one of the chicken runs.  I lost.  Seeing them ripped from the ground and flung to the side caused sobs to spill out.  It was definitely cathartic, but disconcerting at the same time.  However, I learned that it really is all just “stuff.”  Hubs saved several birch saplings and we can now watch them grow.

It’ll be Okay…

 One week later and these are the results! The foundation is dug, footings are poured, walls are poured, slab is poured, and deck put on.  The foundation is coated, drainage laid, and backfilled.  All in one week!  It gives me a little peace of mind seeing how quickly this all took place.  I’m lucky that we have the beginning of rifle season in a month–it definitely is lighting a fire under the contractor and my husband, both avid hunters.  As I type, the first floor is getting framed in.  I got to talk to the contractor about window and door placement and particulars yesterday–something that made me feel like some control is coming back!

I’m sure I will be posting regular updates on this–it is literally taking over our lives!  We are so fortunate to be able to do this.  We worked our butts off–hubs worked double overtime and we cut WAY back on spending (our loan officer even called us conservative spenders–hear that, Ma?)  It wasn’t always fun…and I know this process won’t always be fun.  The best advice I’ve gotten from friends who have done this is to keep the end game in sight and focus on it.  This will all be worth it when we all have our own space and can actually have people over when it’s cold outside!

Hubs boss was the one to dig our foundation and backfill.  He is a bit obsessed with rocks and took a ton of them home with him.  He used the two biggest rocks (they were so big he could barely move them!) and created a bench for the girls on the hillside.  I was so touched by that gesture.  He saw me freaking out and knew none of it was easy for me.  He created something special for the girls.  Who am I kidding?  That is literally the perfect spot to watch the sunset and I’m pretty sure it’s big enough for the 4 of us!

Cheers!

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