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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 10/23/2018 6:04:56 PM

Summer has come and gone. We were busy through out though, no moss growing under our feet. If we weren't doing things on the property then we were off traveling in the RV someplace. Where to begin for the update...


The upper rock wall is done. We rented a mini-excavator over Memorial Day weekend and got it done. No small feat. That was running the machine and working sunrise to sunset. My arm's felt like they couldn't move anymore, sore to do anything. Advil does wonders thankfully. After the wall itself was done, it was another week of grading and picking out rocks to get the ground ready for planting grass seed and then spreading grass hay over the whole thing. 

After grading it was time to get on with installing the irrigation pipe and direct burial electrical cable along with 5 hydrants around the property so we could have power and water in far corners of the property. We also put 7 zones of watering in the vineyard so all of the existing and new vines could get watered regularly (12 zone system in total). It took us a month to get all the pipe underground, put the zone wiring in, put the electrical line in, do all the junctions and connections, test it all, and then get it all buried. That's all the stuff you don't see! The above ground work still needed to be done which was putting the finishing touches on the multi-function hydrants, which had the water spigot on one side of a 4x4 post, and an electrical quad plex with outdoor cover on the other side. Our well provides outstanding flow (we have a 119 gallon pressure tank on the line as well), which is great for pushing water all around the property but the high pressure means we had to use pressure reducers on all of the drip lines. We laid out almost 2,500 feet of drip hose and every single plant and tree that we have planted is now watered with a dripper, resulting in over 500 drippers dripping. We also cut and drilled 450 special home made deep watering pipes to put the drippers inside with a 45 degree angle cut on the bottom and multiple holes on the side, with a cap put on the top to keep dirt and bugs out of the pipe. I'll post a picture of what they look like. Though well water is 'free', we like the water to get down into the roots directly. 

My wife had to put a mesh netting all the way around the vineyard to keep the wild life out. Unfortunately we didn't think of birds as being a potential problem and sure enough, in mid-September while she was preparing for a first small grape harvest, a flock of crows decided otherwise, and in 24 hours ate every last grape that was waiting for harvest. She cried for an hour solid she said when the issue was discovered. Maybe it was the $300 in equipment that has ended up sitting in their box now on a shelf or the class she had signed up, that while informative didn't mean much when you have no grapes for production. Disappointing to say the least. 

The septic system is fully installed and working now. We did a go-around dance with the county on getting it approved. The county initially approved it before I buried it all, but then came back via telephone and asked if I was on the state approved list of installers. I said no, of course not, I am a resident owner installer of a single gravity feed family system (ie I can do it myself). They said I still needed to take the test, and it required a proctor fee followed by a state grading fee to verify I passed. I hedged my bets and took the test and only paid the proctor fee. While taking the test, it was obvious the test was for a contractor level person, asking questions about pressure systems, raised bed systems, and the like, more about other systems than the gravity feed single family residential system that I had installed. So long story short, I balked at paying to have the test actually graded, and spelled out in an email to the original inspector why I believe based on the county and state code that they were forcing me down a flawed path. It took a month but they ultimately came back with a compromise that they would approve my install if I agreed to an 18-month inspection by a county list approved contractor. I said fine. After that was all said and done, it was the very dry month of August here in the NW so we didn't do the final grading and put grass seed down over the drain field until the end of September. 

In the aerial photo I'll post, you'll notice a number of RV's in the driveway... it was Labor Day weekend so we had multiple friends/family and their rigs up for the long weekend to relax and enjoy the great outdoors with no fee's attached.  Campgrounds on long weekends can be so crowded!

Photos

Getting the vines in the ground
Read some research reports about deep watering systems so we created our own pipes to stick in the ground with a dripper in the pipe itself.
Aerial view over Labor Day weekend.
Renting a trencher was faster than trying to use our tractor's backhoe. Less mess as well.
Septic tank ready for inspection and then burial
Grow tubes for the grape vines... keeps them protected from the elements and mammals both.



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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 5/1/2018 1:29:30 AM

We're been working on the septic system, planting a small private vineyard, removing a huge tree, extending the back driveway, and adding a watering system for all the trees and plants we've planted so far. We got a drone so we can get some great aerial photos now.

Photos




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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 9/9/2016

Paint on the eves, left over blocks for a fire pit seating area, and a BBQ.

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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 8/12/2016

With the sides on, and the roof plated, it was time to get the garage doors on. 

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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 6/2/2016

We took a bit of time researching metal siding and roofing to figure out what the options were, what we wanted, costs, etc. The big box stores can be very inexpensive if you want the sizes they are selling. We needed something else. And we wanted color choice. I did some basic price comparisons and decided that Metallion Industries in Estacada was a good choice for us.  


We took our basic build documents down in person and sat for a couple of hours taking sizing and dimensions and converting it all into an order. The gentleman that helped us was most helpful, the order as delivered to us on time and we liked the quality, color and choices that we got. 

Now, I loved that we're going to be using one piece 24 foot long sections on the roof, BUT, I hadn't really thought about how to get them up on the roof until it was time to get them up there. Opps. Their long, heavy, awkward, sharp edged, and did I say awkward. With the tractor and much effort we got them up there but dang it was some work.

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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 4/23/2016

We rented a scissor lift again to get the framing done between the roof trusses. We put the purlins on top of the trusses instead of cutting and placing them between the trusses. I thought we were saving time but now looking back I wish we had taken the time to cut them exact and place them in-between the trusses. The things you learn after doing it one time. We used the piles of left over 2x6 boards that had been trimmed for the framing on the walls to fit exact and used them like tabs up between the two trusses attached to each post. The problem was small pieces of 2x6 aren't that strong when getting hit by nail guns and have a tendency to split, which makes them worthless and have to be redone. When your redoing say 1 out of every 6-7, its a time suck and slows everything done. The time redoing we could have just been cutting and doing it the more proper way. 


There is a photo before back-filling dirt against the block walls;  we coated the walls with asphalt waterproofing and then stuck a thick plastic sheet against that all the way around the wall, overlapping any seems. Its been almost 2 years and the walls are completely dry still. 

Once we got the dirt back against the wall, we could move the tractor in close to the roof so we could get the sheathing more easily up on the roof. That started off a wee bit scary but once you have a few boards in place, it starts going faster and faster. I can say I am much better now with lining the lines printed on the boards with the framing members underneath so you are nailing against hard surface. Practice makes perfect. And yes, we didn't stagger the sheets because of the way they were lining up with the purlins, it didn't matter if we staggered or not.

We put 2 foot eves on both sides and the front. The back of the barn where there are no windows or doors we flushed the edge smooth to the back wall. 

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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 3/30/2016

We have such great friends and helpers. We hadn't seen them (Randy and Tracy) since the trusses went up via crane that they wanted to see us badly. We said so sorry, we have to get keep laying concrete block, so they said fine, they'll come out and help. Couldn't ask for better friends. 


So while the framing was nearing completion, we got to laying the concrete block for the perimeter walls. We made the mistake of not having our rebar embedded in the footings so we had to drill holes to insert that, pain staking slow! For the block laying itself, it went pretty fast all the way around. We didn't mortar the blocks themselves, instead dry stacking them and then filling every other hole with concrete/rebar or gravel. Then on the outside we used a fiber reinforced motor that gets spread all over the outside to give it strength and make it appear like a smooth wall on the inside. The specs on the mix said it does wonders for strength and we felt with the rebar and concrete inside the cavity of the blocks, we would be good. 

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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 3/10/2016

Things have been moving slower than we hoped, but we're doing all of this in winter, only in the evenings and weekends, and not working if its a steady rain. 


Next up was framing the walls, and we decided to make this thing double strong with girts in both between the posts and on the outside of the posts. Unfortunately our posts were not set to exact measurements apart from each other, so all of the girts had to be custom cut to fit the distance between the particular posts. To compound it, some posts had a little bowing horizontally, so while we had been careful to get the posts bowed inward towards the center for easier truss placement, we didn't realize the post had a little bowing right and left between each other as well. So the measurement at ground level might be different as you got 15 feet up in the air. Rookie mistakes cost us a bunch of time in cutting lumber, and gave us lots of left over 2-5 inch pieces of lumber. And while on the outside, an 8 foot piece of lumber may work between many posts, it took a 10 foot piece in other places. 

I wasn't sure on how to frame up the door openings for the garage so I started getting bids on the doors just as we started framing, asking lots of questions to see what I should do and how the vendors would want it done. Thankfully they were pretty consistent in their answers. 

Again bids varied a bit, and unfortunately the guy that was most helpful, persistent, and that I liked, was also the most expensive. 

Photos




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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 2/7/2016

When you have a major setback or seeming failure, frustration sets in. $1,000 in wasted equipment rental was disappointing. 


We decided to tackle raising up the gravel and pouring the other sides footings while we figured out how to get the trusses up in the best, safest fashion.

We did not get any photos of pouring the 2nd half of the footings because we were too busy dealing with form blow-out. This time the framing for the footings was more involved, basically higher, yet we did the supports like we were on solid ground again. Bad! We had a 4 blow outs but thankfully a truck operator that was understanding and didn't rush us, letting us just deal with our issues. 

A couple more weeks elapsed, with the weather looking acceptable albeit cold, to try the trusses again. This time we had the people power on hand, food and drink lined up, equipment with proficient operator, and things went much much better. We got it down to a process of a truss going up every 20 minutes. Everyone had a specific job to do, we didn't rush but we never dallied, and got the other 16 trusses up and locked in.  

FYI, our trusses went through engineering, have the wet stamp from the company, and we doubled them on each post for strength.  

Photos

Every truss had a rope on each end
Done!



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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 1/9/2016

With the holes, water, and setting concrete taking longer than planned, the trusses got delivered before we were ready. We put down some 4x4's and laid all of the trusses out in the field, and covered with tarps to protect them from the rain. 

The weather looked good for the coming weekend in early January so we decided we'd reserve all the right equipment and raise trusses over the weekend. We needed to compact more gravel for the other side footings, so figured that could wait while we got the trusses up. 

To make it easier, I got 2 rough terrain scissor lifts and a forklift reach reserved and slated for delivery on Friday afternoon. That was the easy part. Come Saturday, when the weather man was wrong, and there are snow flurries and wind blowing about, having the right equipment is only part of the equation. With my wife and I, and 2 helpers, there were 4 of us in total. And the windy was getting a wee bit more gusty as more snow flakes fell. Determined to get something done, we went ahead and figured out how to get this 44 wide truss up in the air and moving all around. Down right scary is the best way to describe it. I drove the forklift reach, looking up through a window with security bars on it, realizing that the bars aren't there for security, rather their there in case anything tries to come crashing down and in onto me!

Long winded story compressed is we got one truss up and called it quits. We needed to re-evalulate how we were going to do this because it was just too scary having these huge trusses dangling around that high up in the air with only 4 of us. 

Things learned at a bit of a cost since we had that equipment end up sitting around all weekend with a total of say an hour and 1/2 on the meter:
-Always have more hands around than you think you need so there can be extra hands for the things you didn't think of. 
-Don't mess with the wind
-The person managing the process can't be a key person in the process... I shouldn't have been driving the forklift reach, while trying to tell others what to do. 
-Plan for the worse, and then things can only be better than planned. 

It would be over a month before we could try this again but the next time we had only one scissor lift with 2 people in it, got a crane and operator, had someone bringing lunch that day, had a total of 8 bodies on hand, missed the SuperBowl on TV, but got 23 trusses up in a single day. Pictures of all that in a different entry. 

Photos

Topping the center pole so everything was flush
Trusses getting delivered on time, but before we were ready for them
Yeah, one done and thats it
One is better than none



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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 1/4/2016

With all of the poles set, we decided to work on the footings that would go all the way around. We were torn between that or setting roof trusses, but decided concrete would be next as it seemed easiest. 


The thing to remember about footings is they are, well, foundational. If your footing is off, your wall will be off, and the roof will be off, your floor may look off, the list goes on. Get the footing level and smooth!

We tried to use something called fast footing, which is basically a plastic liner with lines on it so you can put it in straight and true. We used it for the taller footing portion, swore we'd never use it again, but now after processing what we did right and wrong, I'd use the product again now being more knowledgeable about it all. 

We only did half of the footing as that was basically one truck load delivered. Learn the proper hand signals before hand so you can seem like a pro when the truck gets there. I got caught up in my hand signals, I should have been focused more on the pour itself. 

Photos




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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 11/30/2015

First thing to do was corner stack so we could figure out where the holes for the posts were going. Getting square was more of a challenge than we anticipated. 


Once we had the flags stuck in for the holes, it was also difficult to get the auger on the bobcat to put the hole right where we wanted it. The rock content of the soil kept moving the bit around so are holes didn't quite stay centered and then after pulling some huge rocks out, ended up bigger than they needed as well. 

We also ran into a water problem because it was now the rainy season in the PNW and we were getting rain out of the sky and water run off from the soil. We starting digging a trench around the pad trying to divert the water but the holes kept filling up anyway. We didn't want to pour concrete in holes full of water so we got a pump and kept draining holes, which then the next day would be full of water again, and we'd repeat the same thing hoping for a different outcome. Did this for more than a week thinking some how thinking we were going to get a different result, not! 

Ultimately we got a crew of temporary labor together, and had guys pumping water while other guys were mixing concrete, while my wife and I were figuring out where to set the pole in the hole. Very time consuming, we worked late in the evening with spotlights for a couple of nights in a row to get all the posts set, straight and as true as wood poles can be. Key point to note, always put bowed poles with the curvature facing in (IE the top of post makes for the shortest distance then between two posts). We had the kids getting in the holes to clear mud out that had fallen into the holes because all the water and pumping action. They used buckets to scoop out the much so we were pouring concrete on top of solid ground. What a mess!

Also, hopefully a silly point, brace every single pole two different directions. Don't skimp, especially in windy conditions.   

Photos

Setting corners
Setting stakes
Digging the holes out
Water water in all the holes!
One side almost set
The tracker with forks had to help on the the really tall poles, they were 28 footers
All poles set
First pole set
Nice but got covered up by the footing
Mud rats!
Totally dirty



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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 11/14/2015

With the barn being dug into the ground, we needed some way to handle the dirt wall to the left of the entrance of the soon to be built barn. We decided to do something natural looking with mini-boulders. 


A 100 feet of natural rock, most in sizes to big to move by hand is both time consuming and hard work. It took us 2ish months, working on the weekends to get it done. We back filled it with gravel for drainage, and graded the area behind it to final grade level. 

We also got the gravel for the pad of the barn delivered and level as best we could as well. I wish we had bought a laser level during this time, it would have made it easier to figure out how un-level we really were. Your eyes can play tricks on your and while it looks good over say 45 feet of width, the reality is its not as close to level as it should be. Unfortunately we just paid for more gravel that necessary to raise the right side to get the interior grade level. We rented a push compactor to pack each 6ish inchs of gravel down, so we did it right, but it was expensive and time consuming. 

Photos




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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 10/27/2015

With water available and power on, it was time to extend the driveway further and to begin the dig out for the barn. 


Its a wee bit windy where the property is located, basically at the mouth of the Columbia Gorge, so it can be a bit windy at times. The barn is 40 wide by 60 feet long. It has 2 very high garage doors so we didn't want the peak roof to be up there at a true 24 foot above grade. We decided to dig down to level the pad for the barn, and put it basically 6 foot in the ground. 

So we started digging the extension to the driveway, adding another 100 feet to it while digging out 40x60 down about 7 foot on one side and about 3 feet on the other. Lots of dirt to move with my little red tractor that could. It was a family affair with daughter and her friend making runs of dirt down to the berm, building it up further, and me finally renting an mini-excavator for the weekend to do the finally leveling. I had used the tractor excavator to dig trenches about 3 foot apart. I then used the scoop on the tractor to dig out the in between. 

Again, I wished I had bought the trailer already so I could use it like a mini-dump truck but it was still not purchased at this point.  

Photos

Moving dirt in the rain!



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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 8/27/2015

People love to complain about their cable operator but I must say, the cable company contractor came ready for work and to get things done. They came with a crew of 12 and wasted little time in getting cabling going. Ya have to love it when things are well coordinated and the job gets done.


They came out a few days after the electrical contractors, so I had time to fill the trench back in on our property, though the big pit hole was still open so they could do their connections before I filled that back in on the other side of the road. There was no cost for the cable company contractor to come out, they just wanted our business. Who doesn't love that!

Photos




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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 8/19/2015

Time to get the electrical on property, along with a temporary power box and an overall plain for the different phases we were planning (temp, barn, then house).


First thing we did was call the local utility company to see how we should go about the process, what our options where, thoughts on cost, authorized vendors, etc. The utility (at least the person I got hold of in the new services department) was fantastic, though a little slow, and even came out to see the property and give feedback on our plans in person. It was via his recommendations that we came up with a central meter and single transformer, that was the right distance away from both the future barn and future house, while giving us temporary power, to meet our needs. A couple of times after the initial design was drawn up I was told that we can't do a central meter, but I kept telling people its ok, the local utility designed it, and while they don't do it very often, they are allowing it for us.  

The quotes we got for actually getting the lines run and power to the center of the lot varied greatly! It was $7.2K, 9.2K and 16K. The 16 was definitely an opportunist thinking we were suckers. They knew we had an RV, and stressed how they were going to give us a 50amp connection specific for it. The difference between the low and middle bid was union vs non-union. The union bidder told me afterwards if I had let him know he was going up against non-union, he could have gotten some sorta exception from the union and lowered the bid. Well, why didn't you ask/do that in the first place! 

While coordinating the electrical piece, I also got hold of the local cable/internet company. The sub out all of the actual cable work to a different company, and after a few phone calls got to the right person that handled that. The cable, well the main electrical line, were all ready just across the street and in front of our property, we just needed to get it under the street and then extended up to where we wanted the box if you will on the property. When they laid the power and lines for the neighborhood 5ish years before, they did put a junction box for our property in, but unfortunately it was on the other side of a bridge/creek, that really made no sense where it was. Anyhoo, the key was to coordinate all the different services at the same time so a big hole in the ground and a trench to run into could be done at all once. I was able to dig the trench on our property for where the line would go saving some money that way. 

Things went very well, according to plan, until the developer saw the big hole in the ground over the utility right away and demanded to know what was going on. I tried talking to him calmly, and finally gave up having a rational discussion with him and told him to call the utility company since he obviously has an issue with what they were doing. The utility company determines where its going to dig/do, not me! Long, convoluted string events that happened over about a week is the developer of the adjacent neighborhood saved me money, got what he wanted, and ultimately cost the utility company a little more to get things done 'right'. The junction box was going to go over top of the utility right away instead got put on my property (which should have cost me more), nothing got put on the developer's property, and all ended up well. 

Photos

Looking for where the water line is buried.
Me putting in conduit for cable/internet
Me back filling the trench afterwards



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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 7/1/2015

With the first portion of driveway done, we moved the RV out of storage and out onto the property. Initially we kept it on the driveway and slowly realized we could drive it basically anywhere over the smoother grass sections so it ended up parked on a little dirt pad we dug out off to the side of the driveway. The dirt was just grass/roots cleared so it didn't up circled by tall grass. It also helped I think to keep the field mice out of it. We did get one on-board that thought the engine bay by the tail lights was a good place to make a nest, not! I think we carried another in to town that found his way into the garage of the house from the RV parked out front. We just leave traps around now all the time and don't worry about it much. 


Next up was getting the well in. In our area, the 2 main well drillers are related but very different family members. It was confusing at first which one we were talking to since their last names are the same. Very different how they run their businesses though. The bids were within $700 of each other, so we went with the less expensive one. 

Given we didn't have electricity yet, nor any structures for a pump house yet, the contractor put the control box on a stake next to the well head and gave us a hose bib next to that. The conversation was he would come back once we had a structure and power so he could put in a tank and complete the work as bid. He was not very happy when we paid his invoice -10% for a contract completion hold-back. They tried to convince us that people normally pay the whole bill and they come back later, and we tried to convince them that 10 percent hold back would be normal for work not complete as well. They never came back out once we were ready; we never paid the last 10 percent. I used the money to get a bigger pressure tank that was specified and spent just about the rest in getting the water lines all done how I wanted them (outside bib on the barn, additional lines run, etc) 

The nitty gritty on the well is its drilled to 160 feet, water level is 140, we got a little bacteria on the first water test but after running the water on the plants and such for a while, the next test came back clear. 

Oh, and an interesting point to make. There is actually city water line along the paved road in front of our lot. We decided to have a well drilled instead because of the hookup fee the city wanted otherwise. We're not in the city but the city extended their water lines out to the neighborhood we're connected to, but the connection fee we calculated out to be over 20K because of the shape of our lot and how they calculate the dollars based on frontage. We figured cheaper in the long run to have an endless supply of water if you will, without the forced chlorination, for half the price instead.  

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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 5/15/2015

I used the box blade on the tractor, with its 'teeth' to rake/loosen up the top soil in the driveways intended path. Then I used the front bucket as a scoop to collect and go dump the material along the regular road to create a berm. This is phase one of the driveway, being roughly 200 feet long, 15 feet wide, with a wide approach at the entrance so we can get our RV onto and off of the property easily. 


We also decided to do the driveway right, by not only removing all grass and roots while leveling it, but we also put down Geo-cloth before graveling it and then vibrating it hard packed. It was fun running a smooth roller packer, and I think my wife had more fun than I did. Was it overkill do rent that big thing, vibrating thing? Sure. Was it fun? Heck yeah. And let me tell you, the first 200 feet of driveway is packed down hard and smooth! If I did it over again though, I would have used a push compactor for this phase, and saved the big daddy packer for later when the full length of driveway was ready. 

The Geo-cloth came in via a 15 foot wide roll and it weighted a couple hundred pounds. I again visited Uhaul and had one of their trucks rented to get the material out to the property. My wife and I started talking about the need for a pickup, since the Expedition just wasn't going to cut it for hauling materials. 

We wouldn't end up pulling the trigger on something for another 6 months, but ultimately we figured out, and are now thankful that we didn't get a pickup truck, but rather got a double axle dump trailer instead. The dump trailer has hauled so many varied and different things, I wish we had bought it day one and saved the cost of the multiple rentals with Uhaul. Much like the tractor, we looked at used trailers, but the quality dump trailers seemed to hold their value so we went with a new trailer instead. Its been almost as helpful as the tractor.  

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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 5/1/2015

Next up was getting more regular access to the property instead of just parking along the side of the private road or popping over the drainage ditch and sorta 4 wheeling it around the edge. 


We should describe the situation of the lot; its a flag lot, accessible thru a gate via a private road that serves a 12 lot neighborhood. We're basically lot 13 of the neighborhood, not part of the neighborhood or subject to their CC&R's but we do have a road/easement agreement on everyone's deed that gives us guaranteed access, for an annual road fee. We liked the idea that we knew after reading the CC&R's that our future neighbor's houses would be nice, their lots well maintained, but that we wouldn't be subject to any of their restrictions or approval processes.  

So we very carefully read word for word the road/easement agreement that had been done years before between the original property owner and the developer of the 12 lots. Given the road is private, behind a gate, we didn't need to get the county's approval. So basically we decided where we wanted it, staked it, waited a week and then used the tractor to start digging it out. We did sent an email to the developer once we had it staked (before digging) to give him the heads up about what we were going to do, give him a high level overview of all our development goals, but we didn't wait for an approval from him. We did in nicer fashion than I am making it sound but now, years later writing this journal entry, I'm a bit jaded about our interactions with the developer so my comments may have a sharp edge to them. As one might say, there is a whole lotta history there now. More about that in another post. 

Photos

Working into the dark hours
View looking east
View looking back at the regular road westerly



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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 4/11/2015

Its day 10 of being new property owners and we had decided it would be 'move-in' day. We rented a U haul truck, made a trip to a nursery we found on Craigslist and filled the truck with trees. Leyland Cypress are prolific growers so we bought 110 of them and set out to get them all in the ground. Our daughter brought a friend and the 4 of us got busy digging holes with the auger and planting. 


We stopped on the way at HomeDepot and got 2 pallets of steer manure/compost bags that would make it easy to put good soil in each hole. 

Our backs were hurting by the time it was all done but every tree got planted!

Now, someone might ask, are we crazy? You don't even have a driveway, water, shed, ANYTHING, but your putting in trees?! And the answer would be yes! In the Pacific Northwest, the best planting season is typically March/April, and in 2015 winter seemed to end early and spring started quick, so we figured if we were going to do any planting for a privacy screen from neighbors and just our own piece of mind, we wanted to get the trees in quick along 2 sides of the property so they would have the best chance of survival. We like looking years down the road and wanted a privacy screen already going on the 2 most open sides of the property. There were already fences on those sides, but nothing solid green. 

Photos




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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 4/5/2015

Whats the first thing to do after closing? Go tractor shopping! Part of our review process was figuring our that for 5 1/2 acres and everything we were planning, a tractor would be one of the first things we purchased. We spent the weekend shopping the green machines, the orange beasts, finally settling on a red one with a mowing deck, hook-on-via-frame excavator, post hole digger, and box blade. In 48 months we'll have the title! 


For us part of the cost benefit calculation was how much would it get used, what we're we planning to do ourselves, how much could we save, the hassle of regularly doing rentals otherwise. I didn't want hopefully any real maintenance issues to worry about so we focused on search on only new units. There surprisingly wasn't a lot of deprecation on only a couple of year old tractors so new it would be. 

The tractor got delivered 5 days after closing.

Thankfully the property is behind a neighborhood gate, so we felt find just plopping the tractor on open vacant land. If you look at the aerial view of the lot, you'll see the lot is pretty well hidden, and at the end of dead end roads as well, behind a gate. 

Photos

The new tractor
Ground level view
Ground level views



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Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 4/2/2015

Boy dates girl. Girl marries boy. They decide they want to move out in the county once the kids are all out of the house so they start looking at property in the area. 


They amazingly find 5.5 acres the week the property is listed, don't low ball with their offer in a competitive housing market, and enter into escrow with a 30 day suitability review period.

Within the week they are visiting the property daily, putting flags all over the property with different ideas of how things could be done/developed. They also begin investigating many, many details such as habitat restrictions on the lot, easements, road agreements, water availability, power availability, high speed internet/cable availability , sewer or septic options, aerial views of the neighborhood to understand what the surround area looks like, future city boundary expansion, potential road changes, etc to name a few. She goes down and meets with the county planning group to see if there is anything their missing. 

It goes down to day 29 on the suitability review period but they decide that everything is looking good and they feel good about releasing the clause and that they can proceed to set a closing date. Of course finding a lender that would loan on vacant land was a little bit of a challenge as well but 25% down helped clear that hurdle. 47 days after finding the property they close and its in their name. 

Now what to do next?

Photos

Soon to be farmers/owners
The original lot view
Signing day



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