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12 Armadillos (Part 1)Country Living Armadillo Style


So the update on our project is that we are making some progress!  Yay!!! Our biggest hurdle has been our land drying out so we can build a 1000 foot road.

Dumb and Dumber 

Corrin and I are in charge of getting this project started.  Back in October, I contacted three road builders in Brenham.  One did not contact me back, one said he was too busy at the moment, and the other came to our land the next day to get a quote.  We were happy with his quote and said we were ready to start!  He told us we couldn’t start until our land dried out.  He said that he would drive by our land to randomly check on it.  Around December, we contacted the road builder to see if we could do some sort of drainage system.  He said the only way to get it done was to hire a person that is used to doing work for oil companies that specialize in wet land (around $40,000). Our land is on top of a spring. WHAT!  We would wait.  Meanwhile, it continued to rain.  A week ago we were at the land and it was getting dryer.  We contacted the road builder to see if we could go ahead and start and he said that we have to wait, probably until the summer.

We have to figure this out:  If they put a man on the moon, we should be able to get a road built.

Corrin and I decided that we needed to see if anyone else could figure this out without paying $40,000.  We called the road builder that was too busy earlier and he met us at the land.

 Road builder #2 to us:  “Do you realize your land is on a spring?”  

Twins “Yes, is there anything we can do?”

Road builder #2  “Yes, I can put a road in for you.  I need to get my bulldozer out here for a few days to create some drainage. We need to get the water routed into a new direction. ” 

We were thrilled.  The price was good and he would put us on the schedule ASAP and get started!

Road builder #2 “Ma’am, you are about to have a lot of great berries over here.  You can make some good wine with those berries!”   I knew I liked this guy!  Honey AND wine??? What!!!! What!!!!  (Plus Brad says that Chuck Norris has land in Navasota (near Brenham) that he sells spring water on….and Brad thinks we need to figure out the spring water on our land…I wouldn’t even know where to begin).

Lesson learned:

 Don’t just take the advice of one person.  Find others to either verify this advice or to provide alternatives.  Thank goodness we decided to call road builder 2!

Step 1:  Get the road built (Working on this)

Step 2: Get electricity connected, get septic installed, and get well drilled.

Bluebonnet Electricty told us that they would come out and give us a bid.  If we are in agreement, it will take around two to four weeks to get electricity installed.  We may have to pay for a pole and they also charge per foot.  We will get bids for the septic and well.

Step 3: Figure out the Barndo:

A barndominium is a metal building that can be converted inside into living space.  Because you can buy it in standardized dimensions, you can order a kit that will be delivered to your land.  You then have to pay people to put your metal building together.  It is not a complex process.

We got four bids for the barndo.  Two of the bids were higher per square foot than what we paid for our finished houses.  The other two bids were a lot less and had good reviews.  Problem:  They are booked for the next several months.  We actually want to spend Christmas in the barndo this year so we need to get this party started. 

Corrin and I decided that we were smart enough to be the general contractors for this metal building project. How hard could it be?  We also could save several thousands of dollars by not having a person managing the project.  We met with the metal building supplier directly.  Once we agree on the plan, our building will be shipped in three months (Side note: they will ship a house to your land for only $750.00!!!!!.)  In the meantime, we will get a company to get the dirt level, pour the slab, and do the plumbing rough outs.  Once the building is on the land, we will pay erectors to put it together.  We decided that we needed more bedrooms so we adjusted our floorplan to have six.

Step 4: Get a 911 address:

This was a lot easier that we expected.  We went to the courthouse today and visited the address department.  The lady found our property on google maps.  She had to figure out a number.  Apparently they assign numbers based on every 10 feet.  The sweet lady informed us that the problem was that we had to get a number that will not impact the future if we or our neighbors decided to put more houses on our property.  Once we were given an address, we took the paperwork to the county road people to pick up a number sign to place in our driveway.

Step 5: The Bees

We needed to keep our Agriculture exemption so that our tax bill would be low.  We qualified for the exemption if we bought six beehives with live bees.

My cousin Kyle Machen assured us that it was not a hard thing to do.  We were smart enough to be beekeepers.  

After leaving his house, we told our husbands that all we had to do was buy a bee box, get live bees for the boxes, and the honey will pour in.


It is not that simple.  Thanks Kyle for tricking us (just joking!)

We put Brad in charge of figuring out the bees.  We ordered bee boxes that the guys put together and painted them.  We put them on the land.  We ordered our bees from a local supplier.   You can order the box of bees to introduce into your empty bee boxes or you can buy a nuc.  A nuc is short for nucleus colony.  The bee company will start your bee hive production at their place to get the bees working well with the queen.  When it has proven that the bees are all working well together, you pick them up.  You take their already established slats of wood and put them in your bee hive.  Brad took care of this.  #TEAMBRAD!!!!  (In Dave’s defense, he does do other stuff to manage the properties….Corrin #TEAM DAVE).

Brad attended bee school and learned a lot.  We had to buy a bee outfit and several other tools. 

How much does one hive cost?

The boxes were around $100 each.  The nucs were $200.  The bee outfit was $140.  The extra equipment was $100. For six boxes, we have about $2000 in so far.  We are ok with this because we will produce a lot of honey and have lower taxes.

We checked on the bees today and they are thriving!  It was neat to see them going in and out of the bee boxes.  

In conclusion

This project has been a lot of fun and we look forward to spending many weekends in the country.   Charlotte and Finley loved waving at the cows that roam in the property behind ours.  It is very tranquil and beautiful in Brenham. 

Our Motto:

The Wilson/Wilcox motto is to live life to the fullest.  Corrin and I are happiest when we are with our family (friends) and living life.  We know that this will be an adventure that will last for many years.  Our kids will inherit this amazing adventure.  We just want to have a place where the kids can always go home to.   

Our question for you is this:

What are some things we should include for our barndo in the country?

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