Today marks two years since we left our perfectly nice home in suburbia for the adventure of a lifetime. It may not sound like such a big deal to move to small town USA to build a custom solar home in the southern Colorado foothills, but it was for us at age 60!
We moved to Walsenburg on June 17th 2014, to sleep on the floor of this hundred-year-old rental, moving in the next day and staying there for 13 months while our new home was forming far too SLOWLY 20 minutes west of town at 7,000 feet. Mike worked as the contractor and purchaser of all things when we found the builder was not taking competitive bids, but just hiring his local friends.
Then on July 30th, 2015 we moved into our new home, HOME AT LAST!
For weeks after that move we just sat and stared out the window, mesmerized with the awesome views out our front windows, too exhausted to do anything else. We finally made it to our goal after many, many challenges and so many days of absolute stress.
Why did we do it? Our trip to Pueblo yesterday answers that question quickly. Being in cities always ruins my day. We need to go there occasionally to buy certain things, but the stress, the heat, the traffic, the bad air and bad manners of other drivers always convinces us we will never live there again!
We have no patience with cities anymore, and why should we when we have a magnificent place where we can escape them?
Today we will drink a toast to surviving all these many changes and challenges, and also to never moving again! Instead we will try to get our patio finished this summer, enjoy the great wildflower displays everywhere, the cool mountain breezes each evening, and offer encouragement to others who have found their new home in this small slice of heaven.
Want to learn more about our experience of moving from the city to the country to live a quiet, relaxed life? Check it out here!
Do any of you have experience in the excruciatingly slow process of building a new home in rural settings? I’m a new viewer to HGTV, and when they complain there about 6 weeks to remodel I think, try waiting 5 months to produce a slab!
Because we are building a slab on grade foundation, all plumbing had to be built under our slab… and inspected twenty times! But now, we can finally see one big slab in our future!
I never thought I would be planning a slab celebration, but we already have the champagne on hand… we’re even thinking about a slab photo for our holiday cards!
See, once the slab is completed, we can start the actual building of walls. In other words, the house will finally begin to take shape. It’s completely crazy how much time this process takes, but our contractor/builder tells us that this is as good as it gets if you want to hire the best workers out here in rural Colorado.
As you all must know, construction is not for the weak of heart or stomach! I’m new to this game. I have never been involved in a major construction project, especially in a rural area. So far I am reminded of that famous movie quote from Betty Davis:
“Fasten your seat belts… It’s going to be a bumpy ride!”
Once we had our blue prints together with full engineer approval, we had a month and a half delay just to procure our building permit!
This was because the ONLY INSPECTOR IN THIS ENTIRE COUNTY had ten building projects ahead of ours. Yes, this county is getting more popular, probably because of the amazing natural beauty in combination with quite reasonable land prices.
Then we got some bad news about road set-backs on our property, leading to the need to spend $10,000 extra on backfill materials. We chalked that up to no use building a home on a less than solid foundation!
That was until Mike realized the builder has forgotten about the foundation insulation. This is essential in a passive solar home. The heat that gets absorbed into the slab floor must be retained by insulation under the slab and at the foundation walls.
That meant another week delay to get the insulation here. Now we’re waiting to get the excavator back up there to install it and finish the slab so the actual home construction can begin.
In the meantime we have been living in a 1,000 square foot rental in Walsenburg built in 1911. For the past four months we have been waiting to get this show on the road! With half of our stuff in storage, we are constantly saying, “Yeah we have one of those. We just don’t know where it is!”
We are so anxious to get out on our land and I can assure you, I am NOT a patient person! Luckily Mike is a master at calming me down when I go off the deep end…