Welcome to Antler Valley Farm

Delays, bumps in the road, sink holes, etc…

I know I’ve already explained our original plans to build our house on the farm.  Remember the plans that all fell apart?  Yeah, those plans.  Well, our new plan was to continue to try selling our other land and save as much money as we could to start building our house.  Well, saving money always sounds easy, but for us there is always, ALWAYS, a few bumps in the road.  Actually, this past year has felt like MORE than a few bumps in the road.  It kinda feels like the road has been destroyed by an earthquake!  The road really needs to be repaved please!  A smoother ride would be very nice.  That would be just lovely… However, that’s just not the way it is…

When we first decided to start doing “something” in the spring of 2017 it was wonderful to be making any kind of progress.  And at first things seemed great.  Almost perfect really for a short while.  Things seemed to click right along at warp speed…except those pesky problems that popped up every so often.  Then, I would feel like an ostrich that wanted to stick her head in the sand.  Nope, not dealing with it today.  I don’t have to be an adult- I’m an ostrich hiding her head in the sand.  If only that would solve these bumps in the road that keep delaying our next step!  Here are some of those bumps in the road.

Dozer repairs.  We knew when we bought a dozer that a repair bill was bound to happen sooner or later.  Well, it took a few months, but a pesky tree snapped a hose.  Of course, it was one of those Virginia pines.  They are always trouble!  That little repair bill wasn’t going to be too bad.  Unfortunately, the hydraulic hose on the other side was starting to show signs of wear so Jim decided to have them both replaced at the same time rather than having the repair guy back later to replace it.  Ok, no problem.  They fixed both the hoses and Jim was back to work full speed ahead.  Maybe a little too much full speed ahead.  Less than a month later, we had a problem with a connection under the dozer that involved some kind of hydraulic hose again.  Jim has explained it to me more than a few times, but I don’t really understand dozer lingo that well.  I’m really much more of an animal language person.  Mechanic speak just goes over my head.  Compression, combustion, hydraulic, transmission…they all sound the same to me really.  Just not my thing.

One of those pesky pines that snapped a hose…

Anyway, they had to order parts and then install them.  That repair bill wasn’t so little, but the dozer was up and running again.  Well, almost…  The part they replaced didn’t come with an O ring apparently.  It was really a small problem that was overlooked at the time.  However, the next day when Jim started using the dozer, hydraulic fluid was pouring out by the bucket.  20 gallon buckets of hydraulic fluid to be exact!

The super nice repair guy came back out and looked at the dozer again.  He thought Jim had already split the hose and went to replace the hose again and that’s when he noticed the missing O ring.  Yep, that was the problem.  So he slid in a tiny little O ring and the whole problem was solved.  Except for the lack of hydraulic fluid.  All the hydraulic fluid had drained out of the dozer.  So, off to Asheville Jim went to buy 2 huge buckets of dozer hydraulic fluid.   That was expensive!  And that was almost the end of my patience with the dozer!  Then I remembered how much the quotes were to do the work Jim was doing and I calmed down.  We had actually gotten quotes for $3000 to $5000 an acre to clear the property and plant grass.  Yeah…do that math and then the dozer repair bills weren’t that bad anymore.  The dozer has been great and has really saved us a LOT of money, but that repair bills are pricey!

Obviously the dozer was earning it’s keep and saving us money.

Boys and their toys….How can I be upset with the dozer when it obviously brings them so much joy.  This is Camden trying not to look at Jim when it was time to get off the dozer.  I can’t tell which boy loves the dozer more? 

Truck repairs.  All of our vehicles are over 13 years old.  They still run great, although a few of them could definitely use a paint job.  With vehicles that old, we expect them to need repairs.  They haven’t disappointed us lately either!  It seems that every time we turn around we are having to put a vehicle in the shop for another repair.  Thankfully, we use a great mechanic who charges very reasonable fees and keeps our vehicles going.  At the end of the year, it’s definitely cheaper for us to pay the repair bills than buy a new vehicle, but when your trying to save to build a house….well, those repair bills seem to hit your budget hard.

One of our old vehicles in the background.  Our old Suburban.  The door was left open?  I wonder who did that?  Maybe the little one taking it easy in the hammock?  Just a thought..

Really just a random picture of future hay fields that happen to have 2 of our old vehicles in the shot.  Who knew I had that picture?!?!?

Medical bills.  Kids are expensive.  Kids medical bills are expensive.  Adults are expensive too.  And so are their medical bills.  Every time we think we are back on track to building our house another medical bill shows up.  AHHHH!  I will spare you the stories of all our medical surprises this year.  There’s just too many to tell about them all.  And I won’t even go into the dental surgeries we’ve paid for-apparently straight, unimpacted teeth are all the rage these days.  But don’t be surprised if you see us walking to town, without our vehicles, wearing Hazmat suits.  No vehicles = no repair bills.  Hazmat suits= no medical bills.  Hopefully?

Medical bills aren’t my favorite subject.  So, here is a happier subject-my cute kiddos feet!  Bet you didn’t expect that, did you?  This is a cute photo I snapped after Camden played in the creek.  I just love it!  It reminds me of the poem “Footprints in the Sand”.  Except those footprints need to be a lot bigger to carry me, I think… 

Just another happy photo to balance out my unhappy thoughts on medical bills.  Our family all together.  Yep, it’s all better now.   

Insurance.  Fair warning: This is the part where my cynical side comes out and I can really go on a rant.  I’m sorry but the word insurance makes me quite frustrated.  I personally think insurance is a joke for the most part.  Being self employed our insurance is pretty expensive since we don’t have a nice group rate policy.  The insurance we can afford is basically catastrophic coverage at best.  We pay out of pocket for most things except preventative stuff.  Thank you Lord for that blessing!  However, we have learned that insurance has soooo many loop holes to even get around paying preventative stuff.  We ended up with a $1300 bill for our kids to get their shots at the Health Department.  No kidding!  I will spare you my rant on that incident.  I was not a happy camper, but I did learn how to avoid that loop hole in the future.  That was an expensive lesson to learn though.

I will spare you some of the other lessons we have learned the hard way with insurance loop holes.  In reality, insurance feels much more like driving into a sink hole!  You feel like you are never coming out again!!  If you have great insurance or even good insurance then, I am happy for you…and more than a little jealous!!!

Another happy picture of the kiddos playing in green grass.  Good times!  I thought you would prefer to see happy pictures rather than pictures of me loosing it over an insurance claim.  Not a pretty site!

No buyers for our other land.  I think I mentioned before that we own another piece of land that we haven’t been able to sell yet.  Everytime the realtor calls and says someone is interested my heart skips a beat.  Within a few days or weeks the buyer always seem to withdraw their interest or offer for different reasons.  To far from town, scared of the neighbors, couldn’t find financing, too much work, too many trees, not enough trees, the creek is too big, not enough creeks, not enough roads, building a bridge is too expensive.  Oh, the list of reasons goes on and on.  I’m beginning to wonder if we are ever going to sell that land.  Until the lawyer officially hands us the money at a closing I am going to consider that land our biggest delay.  That delay makes me want to say other bad words because that is where the majority of our money is tied up.  But Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”  Do you know how many times a day I repeat that verse to find peace?  It’s one of my favorites.  Obviously, I need as much help as I can get!

Who’s thinking about the land that hasn’t sold?  Not the kids.  They are relaxing in the hammocks after picking up sticks all morning.

 

Where there’s a boy, there’s a superhero.  Cam took his superheroes to the creek to play all the time!  He doesn’t care a hill of beans about another piece of land that hasn’t sold.  I think I need to be more like my kids… 

So yeah, delays, bills, sink holes, bumps in the road, however you want to phrase it- they are not my friends right now.  I mean, I am a reasonably patient person, right?  Well, most of the time I am anyway.  Ok, I try really hard to be a reasonably patient person.  But I am still human.  However, I know that at the end of the day the Lord is still providing for me and my family.  He is also making us a stronger family by teaching us about hard work, dedication, and patience.  Yes, lots of patience.  I wish I were a better student in the patience department….I used to be an honor roll student, but I don’t think I’m doing that good right now….

One day there will be a house built here.  One day….

 

 

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