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Introducing The 12 Armadillos: Machetes, Bees, and Patience

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Our adventure has begun

Anyone that knows Corrin and I know that we are not the most patient people.  We are doers and shakers.  If we want something, we figure out how to accomplish our goal…..quickly.

We bought our land months ago and were ready to build our barndo the day after we signed the papers for the title.  We were ready to spend time on the land with the beautiful views and nightly campfires enjoying the country life.

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We had our plan:

  1. Cut the grass
  2. Get a road
  3. Get a well
  4. Have the barndo built
  5. Figure out the Agriculture Exemption
  6. Have fun!

This is not rocket science. Corrin and I could definitely get this done!

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Not so fast

Corrin and I both were crazy to believe that we could get our barndo up quickly. We have now learned that you HAVE TO HAVE PATIENCE.

The plan

Step 1: Cut the grass

We should have known that this was not going to be an easy endeavor when we couldn’t get something as simple as cutting the grass done.  The four of us are like dumb and dumber times two (two couples) when it comes to buying undeveloped land.  The grass on our seven acres is really long.  It really isn’t even real grass…it is comparable to straw.  I imagined in my head that we could get a riding lawn mower and send Will with his headphones to cut the grass.  Seven acres is not that much land?  Ha!  Here is where we were educated.  You can’t just cut grass that has grown for a long time.  You have to get a tractor and shred it.  This means that the tractor has an attachment that cuts the grass.  The four of us decided that we were not ready to buy a tractor.  We found out that our neighbor down the road would shred our land for a minimal price.  

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The problem

Our land was wet from the two 400 year storms we have had.  We would have to wait to have it shredded unless we wanted to agree to pay a towing fee for our neighbor’s tractor if it got stuck.  We decided to wait.  A month later, the neighbor shredded half of the property.  It was too wet to shred the rest.  We were thankful for the half shredding because now we could at least walk on our land.  The problem now is that is continues to rain!!!!

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Step 2 Build a gravel road

Brad and Dave said from day one that we need to have a budget of what things would cost.  We tried to research things but some things fell in between the cracks, one of these being the road.  

Sidenote: Our land doesn’t even have a 911 address.  Who knew that you could buy land and that it wouldn’t have an actual address?  We have to go to the courthouse and apply for a 911 address so that we can put a mailbox and the post office is forced to deliver us mail and if we call 911, they know where to go.  

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Back to the road

Corrin and I did not want to spend a lot of money on our 1000 feet road that we are getting built.  Our land is beautiful and the beautiful views (and one of the main reasons we chose this property) are towards the back of the property, thus the long road.  Once we found out how much the road would cost, we thought that maybe we could build the road ourselves.  HA!  There are some things that we can’t do, the road being one.  Brad even went to our friend Kirk’s office to see if he could drive a tractor.  Ultimately we decided that the road was not something we were going to do ourselves.  Our land has to have a culvert because it has a hill and this was way out of our realm of expertise.  We found an awesome road builder ready to build our road but he cannot start until our land dries out….which he says could take months.  Grrr…..This is taking soooo much time!  We can’t get our water well drilled without a road!!!!

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Step 3: Get a well drilled for water

The well company needs a road to get to the place where we are building the barndo.

Step 4:  Have a barndo built

We decided that we had to have at least three bids before we build our barndo.  So far we have two bids back but we are waiting on the third.  Apparently business is REALLY good and people are too busy.  Corrin wants to move forward but I refuse to sign the contract until we have at least three bids.

Corrin finally found out a way for her husband Dave to answer her phone calls immediately while at work.  One morning she called him and he didn’t answer.  She then texted a picture of myself with a guy in the Tractor Supply Store in Brenham (getting a quote).  

Corrin sends picture to Dave.

Dave texts “So where are you?”

Corrin “The Tractor Supply Store.”

Dave “Why?”

Corrin: “Duh…Buying a tractor!”

Dave immediately called Corrin.  Funny because he wasn’t answering her phone call earlier.

Corrin assured Dave that we were not buying a tractor, just meeting for a bid on the barndo.  

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Step 5: The Agriculture exemption  

In the state of Texas, we are charged a crazy amount for property taxes.  If you can figure out a way to get an Agricultural Exemption on your land, you can save a ton of money in taxes.  Our land had cattle on it before it was sold.  It was 27 acres and sold as a 20 acre lot and a 7 acre lot.  Seven acres would not be large enough for cattle.  Our realtor suggested bees.

Bees?

The four of us were scared of getting bees.  We imagined getting stung by crazy bees.  Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  We were at my cousin Kyle’s house in Shreveport for a funeral and he mentioned that he raises bees.  

Me “What!!!!  Please tell us how hard it is!”  

He showed us his bee hives and explained the process.  He assured us that we could definitely do bees and get a nice amount of honey from it.  

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So now we would be beekeepers.  We found out that we have to have six hives on our property to get the exemption

Don’t be a “Know it all”

I called the Ag exemption department to find out the process.  I informed the lady that we just bought land and we wanted to have bees on our land since you could have five acres or more for the Ag exemption with bees.

The lady at the tax office was very nice and told me that she would send out a form in January for us to fill out.  We would not be able to get bees now but we should get the boxes and put them on our land.

I thought to myself, that lady doesn’t know what she is talking about.  I saw some bees for sale on the internet.  We can get some!

Fast forward

My sweet friend MaryAnn has a friend that has bees.  She explained to me that you can’t set up your bee hives (with live bees) in the winter because they will die.  They will not survive the winter because they will have no food stored up.  You have to start your bee hives in the spring where the bees will survive and have time to store up some honey.

That’ll show me.  The lady at the tax place knows her bees.  

When you guys are all shopping your Black Friday deals after Thanksgiving, we will be trying to score deals with the beehive people.  They are supposed to have wonderful Black Friday deals and we are hoping to get our bee boxes for a discount.  

Step 6: Have fun

We have a patch of trees on the land that is like a minature forest.  It has pecan trees and even an active stream that flows through it.  The kids love exploring it.  It needs to be cleaned up though (dead trees and branches removed).   We spent today trying to clear that area out.  The boys were most excited about this part.  They went to Home Depot to buy “tools.”  Dave wanted a machete, ax, and gas can.  He went into the Home Depot to buy these items and was very tempted to ask also for duck tape…lol….Corrin said that Brad was showing up to the land with his parent’s chain saw….and I concluded the only thing missing was a body bag…lol.  

We learned that all of our tools that we bought (machetes, axes, hand saws, etc) were not good.  The only REAL machine that worked well was the chain saw.  We cut down dead trees and other wood.  We were excited to come across a cedar tree that we are going to keep for chips/smoking things.

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Conclusion:

This is a fun journey that all of our family members are apart of.  Even the three year olds had a blast exploring the land and hanging out.  They were picking up sticks, exploring the stream, and lugging their potty.  We have decided to take my parent’s RV and put it on the land why we work on it and the barndo is being built.  Hopefully it will not rain in Brenham for a while so the land has a chance to dry out.  

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My question for you: What long term projects have you taken on?

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Alyssa Wilson
    November 21, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    This is so cool! I am so excited to see ya’lls adventure you come up with! I love that the girls bring their potty!!!

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