Category: Construction

All Sorts Of Extra Work

Well, as many of you know, we got flooded again this last June, so two years in a row. And even though we had done a TON of dirt work, grading, etc after the last flood, it proved to be not enough for this flood. After two years in a row of barely saving our house, we thought we should really rethink why this was happening, what we could and couldn’t control, and what we should do about it. Obviously, moving is not an option. This is the big issue right here.

That is the ditch, across the street, in front of our house. The length of this spans almost exactly the same length of our property. On the other side of this ditch, are hundreds of anchors of farmland. It is apparent that just about everything around, is draining to the farmland, the farmland is draining to the ditch, and the ditch doesn’t even come close to handling the amount of water it gets. So it tops over (the road was about 8 inches covered the last flood) and sends all of the water to our property.

What makes it even worse, is the only place the ditch drains to, is the ditch in front of our property, so we get 100% of what can’t fit in the ditch itself.

To be fair, many, many others got flooded as well in both of these weather events, they were massive events, but we are really only concerned with trying to keep it from happening again. This last event, Vivian and I were on the front porch for hours, with a puch broom and snow shovel, trying to keep the water from coming into the house. It made it to the threshold, but not the house. ūüôā

So, let’s talk about the porch for a moment, as this is where the danger to the house comes from.

Two main areas that the water has been coming from at the porch. This opening here is where most of the water came from that really threatened the house; it was rushing in like a river. We already had the raised bed gardens up, but we just finished that small block wall this last week, it’s that last piece to all of this.

That’s what it looks like from the outside. Alone it would not have been enough, but with the other work we have done, I think it will be great.

So next was that the water was coming in from the openings between the three raised bed gardens. So we expanded the Cedar outside of the raised beds , and turned them into a wall. Then we created a burm in front of those as well.

The next issue was to the left of that, by the driveway. The porch opens right to the driveway, and a bunch of water would come in from there as well and just dump into the porch. So Vivian created a really nice burm there as well and really did an amazing jum of getting grass to grow on it and deep.

We are still allowing it to grow, so really haven’t cut it down yet but it really looks like it should do pretty well in a flood.

But none of this actually addressed the real issue, which was water coming over the road like a flash flood, and basically making a river of our entire property. What we did for that was to build a flood wall, directly across from the ditch. The floodwall angles back a bit toward our property, and spans the whole property, except for the last 15 feet or so on each side.

The idea is that we know the water will be coming, we can do nothing to change that. What we fell we can change is the direction of the water. If we put it to the two ends of our property, where we have already create gullies for the water to travel and do it early enough, we feel like there will be a much less chance of it overwhelming the center of our property, where the hous is.

The last real big issue we had, was that on the right side of the house, the water would come around the house, and directly hit our shop, washing out the dirt that the shop sits on. So we built this.

That will keep the water moving in its a natural flow, but push it just a few more feet out. Allowing it to get past the shop and run its course on down to the lake.

We are certainly in no hurry to try all of this out, but we feel pretty good about it.

Still clearing land

One of the great things about living here is with the trash service, they will also haul away some natural rubbish. This month I think we may have pushed it too far.

In front of house

The pile was quite high already, but today my Friend from Colorado, Steve, of “Steve and Katie” fame, who are on the last few days of a two-month stay, has moved up a bunch of the palm tree fronds from the back of the property.

So while we have been working on the house, we’ve also been clearing quite a bit of the property, faster than we can get it out of here really.

felled trees

We have these piles of dead trees, branches, etc all over the place. We’ll try to mulch as much of it as we can, burn some and take some out to the road to be hauled away.

With Steve and Katie on their way out, we are getting ready to have three rounds of Grandkids visiting so we are working on finishing up the last bits of construction in the house. We have to wrap of the closing of the main house to the studio.

studio door

And FINALLY, we have decided how we want to treat the fireplace in the main house, framed it in late last week, will drywall today, then tape and float, spackle and paint. Hopefully, we can get it done before the kids start showing up.


I suck At Blogging

Yep, turns out, we BOTH suck at blogging, but we must persevere nonetheless right? So, things are moving really good with the house. I PROMISE to update more soon, but there is the house in it’s many phases.

Day 1

Harlingen House

After pulling down all of the overgrowth:

full house

Reconstruction of the roof:

Actually becoming a house again:

Construction progress

OMG, painted!! And 99% of inside construction is done as well, just some trims left:


It was LITERALLY, a full gut job. We will get some inside pics coming ASAP.

Drama? Naw, just another day in the RGV

So, we had a bit of a knock-out drag-out with¬†our contractor today. We’ve had one of his guys over here for quite some time, and he has always complained that he’s not making enough from us on this guy. My position is that he’s making about $75 a week from us for doing nothing, basically a rental fee on his guy. And that we are a long haul client, over 7 months now, and most of that with two or more guys. Not a bad deal I’m thinking . .¬†. but he’s still a¬† bit grumpy about it.

So the worker, Randy, has been telling us that the contractor has been telling him that he should just go on his own and work with us, basically that we aren’t worth the headache to him. Knowing the contractor, this did not seem far-fetched. So we worked out a deal with Randy, told him we would hire him directly but he would have to talk to the contractor about it, make sure everything¬†is clear and good to go, I didn’t¬†want to burn any bridges.

The next day Randy says he spoke with the contractor, told him, the contractor was pissed, but generally he’s pissed no matter what, which is true.

Well, next thing I know the contractor shows up here pissed as hell and looking to kick some ass . . . or something.

To my great detriment, I have always been the kind of guy who thought that that position was mine to take in circumstances like this. Not sure where that came from, my Dad I guess, but I’m thinking¬†it’s not the smartest trait to have.

Anyway, after plenty of yelling, chest puffing, crying (LOL, just kidding), we finally got things squared. No punches were thrown BTW. ūüôā

Now on to he fun stuff; the lake!

So the lake is at least at 100% and looks like it’s still taking water on from somewhere. I’m thinking all of the saturated soil is still seeping in that direction and that has to be where it’s coming from. It’s not an issue and won’t be one, we are way too far and much higher than the lake. But the point is, LIFE IS BACK IN THE LAKE!!

Birds all over the place. ducks hatching, on and on. Frogs like you have never seen around here! Get up in the morning and walk around and baby frogs are hopping all over the place, kinda crazy.

So now we are looking at options for getting fish back in the lake. First, we have to do a water test (great¬†idea Vivian) and make sure we don’t have anything¬†like E-Coli in it, and if clear start working on a stocking plan. Exciting times! This was much of the reason for choosing this property.

The truth is, I got depressed

Things really slowed on this blog, I haven’t been doing what I planned, what I promised. Losing Dad was quite the blow, but we knew that had to be coming sooner or later. The real blow for me was what happened¬†to Mom, just came out of left field. It was and still is a lot to deal with. Thank goodness she’s come out the other side wonderfully.

The house:

Construction progress

The house is kind of in a strange place, but starting to feel like we are getting much closer. We are now living in the suite; the french¬†doors on the left are to the suite. I’ll post some pictures of it as soon as it’s a little more organized.

So, the suite is about 97% complete, we have to wait to get the main house complete to get the last 3%. But, on top of the suite and extending out on top of the main house a bit, is the office, with is 100% complete. Two rooms, really a very nice office space. I’ve got to tell you, it’s so nice having my own office again. I shut down the downtown office and moved into our office here, so awesome! The stairs¬†that Vivian is standing on in the Life Happens post is the entrance to the office. The house will have an office as well, but nothing like the upstairs office.

The plans for the suite are pretty awesome I think, we plan on making it available for friends and family as they come down and visit. It’s really a very nice suite, living area with dining room and kitchen, separate¬†bedroom, full bath, etc. Much nicer than most suites at mid-range hotels, even some higher end hotels. And totally separate¬†from the house’s living space. We are both excited to have friends and family come and visit.

The main house still has more work coming, but most of the expensive stuff has already been done or addressed. We have a bit of electrical left 90% of the costly stuff is complete. Speaking of, we should have our “official” power this coming week. We have been running on Temp power that I pulled from the barn when we first got here. Years as an electrician going to use there, and throughout the project by the way.

Okay, getting a little long here and have lost a few of you by now, I’ll try to be better about this and ask Vivian to try and do the same. The “trailer¬†living” started to get pretty hard on her. She is an amazing woman and person, she’s gutted it all out and now we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

We’ll get this darn thing done, then figure¬†out the plan for the rest of the property, so many ways we could go there, and all exciting to think about.