Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Water line, Tractor, Peaches and Aprons

I think we could have predicted that nothing in life is smooth sailing. The Saturday after we closed on our new land we went out to visit it. Ryan's uncle and parents both came by since they had been visiting Ryan's grandfather. They mention, almost in passing, as we're on the way out there to mark our driveway, that there might be a water line 20 feet in from the fence row. Wait, what?!? What was the point of all that legalese we had in the offer about how any easements had to be disclosed, anyway? Seriously. So we went searching for signs of the mystical waterline running through the middle of our property. Yep, sure enough. Along one of the fence rows we found this little beauty:
So we called Iowa One Call. This is really what we should have done first, by the way. There is no handy little Standard Work document on how to build a house on blank land in the middle of nowhere. (Yes, I asked. The county came just shy of laughing at me. You just have to figure out what to do next.) Either way, I will tell you that step one: Call Iowa (or Illinois or Nebraska or Alaska or whatever) One Call. Even though there's an easement on file your grandfather-in-law was legally required to tell you about and didn't, Iowa One Call can still locate the blasted waterline before you go digging into it. Luckily, we didn't go digging into it. It could have been way worse. More looking revealed this thing:
Also bad. So our original plan for the driveway was to basically plow through the middle of the land, move a heck of a lot of dirt, and go right to the center of a hill where it was sheltered from the wind. Doing that would have resulted in waterline about waist high 30 feet into our driveway. Instead, we're going to angle our driveway up to go into the house yard.
By the way, Google Earth is So Freaking Cool (it's even to scale!!). Yes, I'm an engineer. No, I don't care that this is not what Google Earth is for. No, I don't care that you now realize the depth of my geekiness. I did draw out my wedding layout on CAD after all, including a diagram of myself in my dress from above so I could be sure the aisle was wide enough for my train. But we digress.
The second step to building a house in the middle of nowhere is to contact the County Engineer for permission to build an access as well as some guidance. We actually did this step first, but that is OK. Next step is the septic guy. We found that out when I went asking about how to get an address, and then we learned we have to apply for the building permit first. And the septic before that. Etc. Etc. 
Today we went to measure this whole thing, and it all ended up moving in and being a little tighter, but we will still probably tweak it again. This enables us to get up to the level of the hill before we hit the water line, letting us avoid hitting it entirely. Not to mention, this is where we wanted our house and building, so this driveway configuration might actually be easier to build.

We measured it with Ryan's 300 ft measuring tape and marked it with flags this evening.
Can you see my beautiful orange flags? I love them. They are the most beautiful thing in the whole wide world. Here's Ryan with the measuring tape the first time we attempted this (operation: Straight Driveway Fail).

And here's the ensuing man pow-wow with Ryan, his uncle, and his dad. I love man pow-wows. They crack me up. And no one does man pow-wows quite like a couple of farmers who also happen to be related. 
Yes, Little Z is crawling around in my car in the bottom of the picture. Don't worry, Grandma is holding him. He just wishes he was old enough to be part of the man pow-wow. Don't worry son, soon you will be. Did I mention it has been crazy hot? That is why the dark spot on the back of Ryan's shirt is not a shadow.

We also had our new tractor delivered today. Tri-Green Interstate in Ohio sold it to us, and then they included delivery in the price of the tractor. By the way, they have been FANTASTIC to work with. Ryan searched far and wide for a tractor and settled on this 1988 New Holland 2120 with factory attached backhoe. 
Here he's learning how to use it while his uncle looks on. It's being stored at "the Home Place" while we continue putting together what we need to on our land. 
H insisted I take a picture of her stuffed sheep in this setting. Perhaps I should start a series with that sheep in the foreground and Things happening in the background.
H required a photo of herself as well. We are happy with the tractor, Ryan keeps saying "it's more substantial than I thought it would be." This is a Good Thing. He's not as worried about its ability to pick up a bale now, and thinks the backhoe will reach further than he originally thought it might. 

It's also peach season! Yay peaches! A friend of ours came over to help me can and also to learn about canning in the process. 
We put up about 16 quarts of regular peaches and about 12 pints of spiced peaches. I apologize right now for looking like such a mess in this picture. It was hot. I was working. Ugh.
I will really miss that peach tree when we move. Although we learned you cannot sell them off-farm, they bruise too easily. They are very delicate and our attempt to sell them on the Iowa Food Cooperative ended badly. 

We have some friends getting married in October, so we went to a bride and groom shower for them. I whipped up a couple of aprons using my Williams-Sonoma apron as a template. 
I know they're super wrinkly, I didn't have time to iron them before giving them away! I like how they turned out, and I already had the canvas in my stash. I'm currently working on a couple of other projects (yes, in between everything else), and as usual I'll post when I complete them. 

And of course, current kidlet pictures.
H at her first dance class. WOW did that child love dance class. And I was super impressed at how well she did exactly what the teacher asked her to do (I swear it, even though it doesn't look like it in this picture). 
And Z getting a bath.
A little fuzzy, I know. Sorry, that child Never. Stops. Moving. He is always my Bouncing Baby Boy.