Little Shack on the Prairie

by David Schulze

This page is about our little shack on the prairie as we continue to develop our country mini-farm.  Things don't always go according to plan but if they at least get close, then we will fill happy and satisfied when the plan does come to together.

But my plans have not even come close to following my master plan. 

When we put the house up for sale, I was thinking one month to sell the house, one month for paper work and then one month to move out.  That would give the Palm Harbor guys 90 days to get our home set up even with delays.

They realtor listed our home on Monday and by Wednesday it was sold. Just shot 28 days of my master plan to pieces.  Still plenty of time to get moved. 

The land sale took about two weeks longer than we thought it would.  Even though the PH people had a copy of the land contract and bank records showing we had the money to buy the land, they would not move on our home paper work until we had the deed showing the land was ours. Even when we came in and paid our 30% down, they did not move on it.  I believe it would have been better to hold our part until closing.  But you learn as you go along.

Of course, I did not understand this since the land was not being used as collateral for the home.

So my thinking was as soon as we closed on the property, we would take the paper work to the home people and close the next day.  That was nine days ago and still no date when or idea when we will close on the home. (It ended up taking two weeks and some pretty aggressive phone calling.)

We were told that the person doing the closing paper work was swamped.  As a customer, I don't want to hear this.  I do not care about everyone else's paper work, just my own.  When you order from us and if we were to tell you that we are swamped and will get your order out when we can, would you not go somewhere else?

I have worked many nights and weekends, and if I cannot keep up, then I hire more help or pay the team members I have to put in more hours.  But I never say we are swamped and will get to you when we can.

Or the other excuse we hear, "So and so is the only person who handles that and they are out for two weeks due to...."  Once again, "I don't care."  "Really?"  There is no one else who can do the job?  What if they were to die the next day?  Would the business close?  We have made it a point here to cross-train people so that there are at least three people who can cover each station to include the cash register.

I also found out that when we close, we have to give the keys up to the house and be moved out that same day.  Another 30 days of my master plan shot.

So, when it became apparent to me that we would not be able to move into the home and I had to get moved out, and since we have three dogs and a cat, I needed to go ahead and build a temporary home.  A little shack on the prairie as it were.

My first plan was to build it so that later I could double the size and have our store.

So I tried to find some builders who could come immediately and start.  No such thing.  So I decided to build it myself.  I have built small buildings before.  We would be building this on a pier and beam foundation.

So I got a gas powered post hole digger, and went to town.  Kept going to town.  The sand would back fill as fast as I could drill the hole.  We could get the holes drilled but it was going to require a lot of water.  Even though they are delivering a 2500 gallon tank today and will fill on Tuesday, there was not enough time for me to build.  The heat is very intense so I would only be able to work on it for 4 hours a day.

So we went to Hondo, Texas and found a nice 10 x 16, unfinished cabin.  It will do the job for what we need.  Hopefully we will only have to live in it for a couple of weeks.

We had a port-a-jon for a toilet, a generator for electricity and a shower bag for a shower.  No water heater since the water in the tank will be warm enough.

When things finally get to normal, we will appreciate them more.

In the meantime we have found out about 4 weeks for city water and 16 weeks for electricity.  I wonder how much revenue these places are loosing because it takes so long to get hooked up.  I wonder if the loss revenue would not make up for adding team members to get the job done.

Update 1-22-2020

Well we got busy and it has been a while since I have written on this.

After spending two weeks in the shed, sleeping on a couch, I decided that we would get a generator since we had about six more weeks to go on the electricity.  We also decided to go ahead and set up our pool.  We really needed a place we could cool down to.  It was very hot out here.

The mobile home had been moved into place and was put together on the outside but not the inside.  It had taken two weeks to get it to this point.  We were told it would be another seven weeks before the home would be ready to move into.  Imagine having a 2000 foot home and living in a 160 foot shed.  And the final blow--we had to start making payments even though we were not yet able to move into it.

After a heated argument with the PH guys they got out there and had it done within two weeks.  We were still waiting on the generator so we used one room in the home with a portable AC unit.  We had to do this for a week or so.

The generator guys get the generator all hooked up and it will not start.  Seems someone borrowed a part off of it.  A part not made anymore.  But the generator people were able to fabricate one.

So we got the generator hook up.  $800 a week to fill up the propane tank.  At around 1500 hours it broke down.  Needed a water pump.  So a temporary one was brought in.  After being on station for about five days, the electric people showed up.  It took them 16 weeks to get out here.

The water from the city did not have enough pressure to water much of anything.  So we had to put in a well.  380 feet down they went.  The water is great for the garden and grass but not for using in the house.

We got moved in about a week or so before Thanksgiving.  The house is working out quite well.  There are some repairs that need to be made that we have been waiting on for three months for them to come out and fix.  I guess they did not like my comment when I asked them, "What good is a 12 year warranty if you do not honor it?"

All is going well today (1-22-2020).  We have a green house with tons of plants growing in it.   We have five hoop houses with tons of stuff growing in them as well. Lots of onions.  Lots of greens.  Tons of root crops.  On Friday, I hope, to be able to start posting pictures of what we have ready.  These will be under our live plant page.  We will also have a fresh harvest page that will have a list of what we have ready to be harvested fresh.  You will need to come here to purchase.

We planted 60 trees of various fruit and nut.  The cut ants have really enjoyed them.  We have someone who goes out and sprays them on a daily basis.  Some gophers have caused some problems.  Not many bugs but I am sure they are coming.

Of course we are getting ready for our cruise.  It will be our first and probably only one we take. We are going on the first Dave Ramsey Cruise. (Cruise was cancelled due to COVID)

When we get back from the cruise we will get chicken and rabbits to start with. 

So much to do and so little time.  And on top of all this, we have a business to run.  Thanks to our great customers, it continues to grow. 

We are making plans to move our retail business out here and next year the production part as well.  In the next two weeks they should get the business septic tank in.  We have two part time and one full time team member out here helping us.  There is still a lot of work to be done.  Hopefully we will get the hard stuff done before it gets hot again. 

This will be all I post on this page so for updates check under Country Mini-Farm.