Wednesday, February 25, 2015

God Is IN This

Again we are in awe as we see God's hand in this move to Guffey. Clearly He wants us there, and soon. It is amazing to look back and see where we are now in this process which began for us in July, when we weren't even looking for this change in our lives. When we went on that first vacation to Guffey, it was just a vacation. We had no idea it where it would lead. We still don't know the plans God has for us there, but He will show us soon enough. We are seeking Him and His Kingdom, and all we want to do is to fit in to it as He desires, like a puzzle piece to complete the picture. It's not just about us--it's about how God wants to use us in His Kingdom. And we know that in addition to fulfilling His purpose, we will be satisfied.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NIV)
Time after time we have sailed through details that could have taken much more time than they did. Yesterday, on our way to take some things to the property, we dropped by the Park County Building Department to drop off plans for the extensions Tim will be adding to the barn, along with the application for a permit. We expected to receive the permit in about a week, but within an hour we were out of there with the permit completed and in hand! It was amazing that everyone in there seemed to drop whatever they were doing and took time out to work with us. Dana, Audrey, Lynn and Mike were awesome!

The main part of the barn, which the builders are currently working on, may be done in a week or so, but with bad weather on the horizon, we'll just have to wait and see. Meanwhile, Tim can order the materials he needs to build the extensions. One extension is merely a roof/lean-to type area where the horses can get out of the weather. The other will be a well-insulated and rodent-proof storage area for our furniture and things we won't be able to use until the house is built. As soon as the storage area is completed, we'll be able to move more and more stuff down, and when we make the final move we'll have a cozy place for all of it. Tim has three weeks of vacation until he leaves HP on May 31. He can use some of this time to build the additions. Additionally, he can work for HP while there and be "Tim the Toolman" in the afternoons.

The house goes on the market tomorrow, and we are confident it will sell quickly. Since the "Coming Soon" sign went up, several cars have driven down the lane slowly, peering at the house, property and view. Our agent has already received many calls and emails requesting information.

We thank God for all He has done to lead us through this process!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Moving Forward

Now that the barn is well along the way and we'll have a place to store things while we work on the new house, we’re putting the Wellington house on the market.    After debating whether to try to sell it ourselves or use a real estate agent, we decided it would likely sell much faster with the marketing an agent will provide, and we won't have to deal with all the paperwork, etc. 

We interviewed a couple of different agents to get a feel for them, their marketing plans and suggested listing price. It was interesting that both agents we interviewed came very close in their suggested selling price--good confirmation to us that we would price it in a good range for selling. Both agents indicated to us that we should be in a good position to sell quickly. There isn't much inventory of horse properties like ours, and a lot of demand. Apparently there have been "bidding wars" on some properties like ours, and some have sold recently for more than the listing price. Maybe ours will fit that category! The way things have been going for us, we won't be surprised at all if it sells right away. We plan to be ready to move by April 15th if everything goes that fast.

Either of these agents would have been a good choice, but we had to choose one. We decided on listing with Tom Hoffner, with C3, in Fort Collins, who presented an extensive marketing plan and other services available through his company. He seems excited to have this listing, and we've been happy with his work so far. 

The listing goes live on the MLS on Thursday, the 26th. I'll pass along that info when it's online. Yesterday, Tom put up a couple of "Coming Soon" signs out on the roads leading to our house, and already several cars have driven down our lane or stopped by the sign, presumably to write down Tom's phone number.  One agent stopped by with her client wanting a preview, but we won't be giving anyone an unfair advantage by allowing them to preview prior to listing.  We expect there will be several showings over the coming weekend, and will stay out of the house much of the time. (Weather permitting, we will go to Guffey.)

We spent the week cleaning and removing clutter in preparation for the photographer, who was here yesterday morning, both inside and out. A "stager" came Wednesday to offer suggestions as to how to set up the home for marketing photos, so we did most of what she suggested, to show off the home, rather than the furniture or decorating style. In addition to the indoor shots, he took several aerial shots from a tall tripod, 50' up. Clouds were rolling in, and we couldn't view Longs Peak, but the view should show the possibilities for a better day, and there are several shots including the horses in the pastures. He even got a video showing them running from the back to the front pasture--we look forward to seeing how that turned out.

I have the coming week to do more deep cleaning inside cabinets, drawers, closets, utility room and storage room prior to having people poke around and look inside. I anticipate another long week of cleaning. I figure if everything is super-clean it'll make a difference. (It would matter to me!) While I'm at it, I'll begin packing up stuff for storage and putting things aside to sell or donate to Habitat. It'll be good to get a head start toward getting ready to move. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

We're Gonna Have a Barn

The barn is in process!  We went to Guffey for the weekend to be there while the crew got started.  The posts were already up when we arrived Friday, and as the day progressed, more work was done.  We had planned to stay through to Monday or Tuesday, and see more of the work done, but with a storm brewing we felt it best to leave Sunday morning.  It was a short weekend (Friday morning through Sunday morning), but we had a nice time and got a lot done.  Friday we went for a walk, walked up Buck Drive and met some neighbors at the end of that street; Al, Dawn and their son.  We had a nice time chatting with them.  This photo was taken from somewhere along Buck Drive.  Look to the left near the bottom, and you'll see the barn posts in place.

On Saturday, Tim worked on putting up some shelving in the shed.  I went for a walk, scooped poop (a lot had been left on the last trip), dug up some soil samples, and various other odds and ends.  By the end of the day we were both pretty tired!

Our trip home Sunday took twice as long as it should.  When we got to Fairplay we realized we’d forgotten something important in the RV, so drove all the way back to get it.  That was two hours.  Just after Conifer, we got stuck behind some accidents on the icy roads and sat in traffic for 2 more hours.  Finally we made it back home.  It was a long day in the truck.  We felt badly that the horses were in the trailer that whole time, but we couldn’t really do anything about it and they were fine.  Soon we won’t have to do that drive back and forth!

Here's a barn shot that the builder sent us to show the current status. Tim and the architect are busily finalizing the plans for the lean-to (which will be to the left on this photo) and the workshop area (to be on the backside of the barn, or the far right). Tim will complete the lean-to and workshop himself, after the builders have completed the main portion of the barn.

Friday, February 6, 2015


As things are coming together, we are putting together a timeline, as best as we can without having the proverbial "crystal ball".  It's pretty sketchy at this point, but gives us something to shoot for.

Feb 19 or so: The crew arrives to build the barn.
At that time, or soon after, we plan to put the Shoofly Lane home on the market.
March: After the barn is in place, Tim plans to add a storage/workshop section onto the barn, and a loafing shed area for the horses.
Soon: Hopefully the house sells and we go into escrow!
When that happens, we move to Guffey.  This may be before or after Tim's retirement.
May 31: Tim's last day of work at HP.

The "Happy" House

The house plans are coming along, and we're excited about it!  We've been calling it the "Happy" House.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, we liked what we saw on the Smiling Woods Yurts website, and were thinking we would get one of their kits.  Throughout this process, Tim kept forgetting their name and calling it Happy Woods or Happy House...the name stuck.  

We really liked a lot about what Smiling Woods provided, in particular the "kit" approach where they delivered all the components for the shell and we could do the actual labor of putting it up. However, more research led us to the concept of building a house using SIPs (Structure Insulated Panels). SIPs provide a much more efficient home and have other environmentally friendly benefits. 

We went back to some of the other websites we had found previously for round structures, and found an engineering company that had designed round houses using SIPs. It turned out that they were also located in our area, so we were able to meet with them and engage them to engineer our Happy House. 

Tim designed the home using Sketchup, and taught me to use it as well, so I helped!  The Happy House will be about 35' in diameter, 988 sq.ft.  We want an open interior with few walls, and don't need or want a lot of unnecessary space.  A utility/storage room and bathroom will be behind walls, but those walls will not go all the way up to the domed ceiling.  It'll look something like this (north is up): 

The front door will be at the west side, with the parking area adjacent to the deck.  The panels will be 8' wide, so there will be nearly 24' of viewing from the south-facing windows.  We've put in all the furniture we currently own and plan to keep, in the approximate locations where we think we will put it. The kitchen cabinets and the desk will be custom designed and built by us. Here is another view, with south at the top.

Our plan is to have this house accessible for us into our old age. With that in mind, it's one story, without steps. We are thinking it's likely that one of us may eventually require a walker or wheelchair, so the hall, doorways and bathroom will be large enough for wheelchair access, and we plan to custom-design a roll-in shower.

Tim had fun overlaying the house onto a photo of the property, and here's how that looks. Under the deck there will be a crawlspace about 6.5' high, and we plan to put a greenhouse out from that deck, similar to the one we have at our Wellington house.  The RV (our temporary home) is currently parked to the right (east) of the house, and will stay there as our guest house.

That's the plan for now!