Building a bulkhead for the culvert

Just after the guys finished the house pad, the rains came in.  We had record flooding again…just like in May.  This time, it washed the sides of the culvert away. Just as we were getting started with the construction of the house, now we were on hold again since we could not get equipment across.

One of our neighbors down the street had an impressive railing built around his culvert that Wade and I had been eyeing since we bought our property.  We eventually wanted to build what he had…but not until AFTER we finished the house.  That did not go as planned and we ended up with a railing on it sooner rather than later.

There was a small section left of crushed concrete, just enough to get a backhoe onto the property.  And work began on the bulkhead around the culvert.

Pouring another several thousand dollars into our culvert…we now have something that looks like this:

On a side note…this is when we found out we did NOT have stabilized sand in our culvert.  If we did, it would have turned into concrete and would not have washed away and would have had to be chipped out to build the bulkhead.  Our fault for not checking up on that during the culvert build.

House pad

The site prep and house pad took about a week to finish. First they cleared about 6 inches off the top, then came back and filled it so that it was about 18″ off of the natural ground.  The back slopes down, so the pad is about 48″ off of the natural ground.

We heard several times from the foundation people that our pad guy did an excellent job!

They finished just in time.  We had some heavy rain that weekend which led to more culvert drama…

Knocking the trees and weeds down

One of the first things we had to do when we gained access was to mow again.  This would only be our 3rd time all year to mow, so the grass was tall.

Wade and I had been discussing all year what kind of mower we wanted.  He was set on getting a ZTR like our neighbor in addition to a Polaris Ranger.  I wanted a tractor for the many uses besides mowing.  The tractor won out…and we have used it almost daily.

Our first time mowing.

We also had some major cleaning up to do.  Back in May when it flooded, we think there was a small tornado/micro-burst that broke the tops off of the trees.  We lost 3 trees and several tops of big trees.  In fact, we still have some dead branches that need to come down.  There were also trees that have been dead for some time that very easily were knocked over by the tractor.  (See the scary Halloween tree?  I wish we could have save it just for one year to decorate it…)

Between a chainsaw and the tractor, we were able to make 5 very large burn piles.

It took almost 2 weeks, but we finally feel like we have a handle on the land.

And we have land access!

It has always been a dream of ours to build our own house.  We looked at several different options and decided to use Owner Builder Network (OBN).  In a short summary, you pay them a fee per square foot, and they help you be the general contractor for your house build.  They are there for every step of the whole construction process.  We had hoped to build our house in 6 months (from the time we sold our other house)…that is NOT going to happen!

  • January- bought the property
  • February- struggled with backing out of the sale of the property due to the culvert issue
  • March- decided to move forward and build a culvert; hired a designer for our plans; signed a contract with OBN
  • April- put our house up for sale
  • May- sold our house; moved everything into 2 storage units; signed a 6mo apt lease
  • June- began bank construction loan
  • July- signed on a construction loan; culvert started
  • August- Wade had open heart surgery, everything went on hold except culvert construction
  • September- the culvert is finally finished

Now that it is October, and we have access to the property, we can actually get started!

The first thing we did was get a storage container.  We had a storage unit that contained our outside garage stuff (the same one that flooded back in May), but we doubled the size and cut the price in half by putting a container on the property.  This also gives us room to store building materials.

I am not going to lie, the guy almost flipped over in the ditch getting this on the property.  You see, Henry never did finish the culvert.  It was good enough to drive a car/truck on but not good enough for big construction trucks/equipment of any kind.  We tried to get Henry to come back and add more to build up the sides, but he kept telling us he was not sure what to do.  To be continued…