Part Two

Where did we leave off?

October 2017

We have this beautiful barn. We have water, we have electricity, we have a driveable/parkable gravel driveway and parking area. We even have a small cess-pit (don’t freak out my city friends… its not illegal and perfectly bio-friendly) to dump our tanks. 

A few days before we were to move the trailer to our property, I woke up in a state in the middle of the night. I hadn’t checked the clearance of the lowest part of the lean-to. We have vents and A/C units and skylights up there. It’s not all flat with a rubber roof! Was the low point high enough to clear all the crap? Especially since we had one more bit of gravel spread out to even it all out.

We went out the next day and measured from the bottom of the barn: where the walls actually end because they assume that is where the level of the floor will be. It was not 12’6″. It was not 13′. It was not even 12′. it was 11’11”.

Yikes. 7″ too short to accommodate my trailer. Trying not to panic, we thought of our options. We could move gravel from the area under each of the gable ends. Yikes, that is a lot of work. We are in our 60s and in not perfect shape!  We could cut a notch in the first gable end and worry about the second end at a later date. Okay – that is a better option, cuz Bryan is a handy guy! EXCEPT… All of Bryan’s tools are in SA as well as all of our ladders. 

We called our builder to see if we could borrow a few tools and a ladder. He said sure! And we did. That Thursday Bryan cut out a notch in the north end so that we could drive in. 

Great! The next day, we left for a quick trip to SA to visit family and to get my Jeep.

When we returned on Tuesday to move the trailer through the now 13’4″ tall notch we were afraid for the steep gravel incline but excited to finally get onto the property. 

The gravel driveway was loose because we hadn’t had a lot of traffic on it yet. And it had just rained and was still muddy under the gravel. The previous night, our truck (F-350 Diesel) had a hard time dragging the bumper hitch trailer up the steep incline. We lost traction several times and it was very scary.  Bryan had been worried for weeks about this, because of the loose gravel and the loss of traction. Even though it is a 4 wheel drive! I countered each time that with a 5th wheel configuration, there will be more weight on the back axle so it shouldn’t be a problem. I didn’t have any evidence to back this claim up except common sense.  We asked around and the overall prevailing advice we got was “just don’t stop” once we started the way up. 

Armed with that, we headed out from the RV park. If you have never prepped a trailer you’ve been living in for travel – it takes a bit of time…. Before we were living in it for a longer period, we could break it down in about 30 minutes. But all the breakables (dishes, etc) needed to be stowed and foodstuffs stashed so as not to spill. 

We rounded the corner of 142 and EE, the nearest intersection to us and on the east side of our property to afford a better angle of entry. Both of our blood pressures went up. We stopped talking and just started breathing. He turned into our driveway.

Bryan didn’t stop. It was slow and steady. But we got up the drive!!! HOW? WHY?

Apparently, the one more day of dry weather tightened the dirt under the gravel a bit more and it was as I suspected. 10K lbs of weight on that rear axel helped keep the tires on the gravel. In truth, the bumper trailer with the Jeep actually lightened the load off the front wheels and caused them not to purchase good traction.

So, we were up. (I actually teared up for a moment!) 

And now to get it under the notch. The gravel guy was here and helped too. We lined it up… and pulled in….. to hear: SCCCRRRAAAAAPPPPPEEEEE! Oh no! Mistake #2.

and sure enough, we were not scraping the ac unit, but we were impacting the skylight over our shower. so. we. stopped.

We put down the legs and got hooked up. I contacted the barn company, and they will be coming back to take off the gable ends. But that won’t be for a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, we are moving rocks… Missouri GROWS rocks, putting up our mailbox – without a posthole digger (storage), and did I mention FedEx found us today?


Now Appearing in Myrtle, MO

An activity like this is NOT for the feint of heart.

It has been an eventful couple of weeks. I don’t think I’ve posted anything since mid-August and for that, I’m sorry, but I’ve been back and forth & to and fro!

The foundation is done, finally. We broke ground early August and were so excited to get going. I had not yet heard from the people who we were getting to build our barn, which was unusual. We needed to be out of the RV Park by the end of September and that barn was integral to our plans! Knowing their timeline was 6-8 weeks, and I turned in the signed contract 2 weeks prior, we would just make that deadline. So, I called. I’m glad I did. Apparently, after having many calls with them to determine what my needs were and telling them I would be returning their contract, signed, the next day, I sent them the unsigned copy by mistake and they thought I was wasting their time. 

When I called, the woman who I spoke to, let’s call her Jennifer, said she gets so many people “kicking tires” and that my email ended up in the spam folder. (wow). But, at this point, I had 4 weeks to get a barn built and I was in for a pound (as they say). So, I talked her into a 4-week timeframe and sent her the correct file. She did say, “weather permitting” a lot. In addition, I told her that I would be sending her an email outlining everything we spoke about, and asked if she would respond to that email please, to ensure she didn’t have me in the Spam filter. She said yes.  

So, we were off. The next thing I needed to be sure of if the barn was late we could stay a bit longer. The park owners (who live at the park year-round) said yes! So, we were golden. 

One of the requirements of the barn was the lowest height clearance on the lean-to. This could not be lower than 12.5 feet. Jennifer and I spoke about this verbally in June and she amended the contract to reflect not the clearance but a change in roof pitch. (Mistake 1).

Seriously, “weather permitting” was what she said! So, color me surprised when we received a call from them around August 28.  Due to Hurricane Harvey, they couldn’t send crews to South Texas and could they deliver our barn in about a week? Well, yes! Our electricity (which they needed) wasn’t in yet, and we needed to arrange for a generator.

Our anniversary was the next Wednesday, and we celebrated with lunch with some San Antonio friends in the area (Rick and Janice Frankenburger) and dinner with Janette Ralston, my BFF living near St. Louis now. What was awesome was that all three of these folks were at our wedding! Janette actually played the piano and sang! (Have I mentioned she is a fabulous soprano?) 

Bryan and I rushed back home after Janette treated us to a fabulous dinner in Lake of the Ozarks. 

We met the construction crew on Sept 4 (Labor Day) and showed them where our property was located. They started bright and early on Sept 5 and finished on Sept 6. Our builder, Scott Stevens, saved the day by delivering a generator (which we wouldn’t have needed if our schedule hadn’t been accelerated!) and the quick-crete on Tuesday morning. 

In the next few days, the foundation was framed up and poured. Next the stem walls and footings were poured. Woolsey well service also finished up installing our water well pump and tank in the barn.  

Scott finished up the wall footings last week, where we would have a 4.5-foot space under the house. Not really a basement but a place that is accessible for our equipment (AC, etc.). 

This shot shows the two wall foundations. The inner one is for the outside walls, the outside one is the edge of our porches.

Last week, the concrete was cured enough to start to fill the porch cavity with gravel. We did move the 5er onto our property on Sept 26 and I found religion all over again while dragging our 5er up a steep gravel driveway. It was very stressful.  

This has gone on long enough, and in part two, I will explain this picture:

Mistake #1