ffj's early retirement

Where are you and where are you going?
ffj
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Fish

Interestingly, I was having a conversation with my wife about posting on this site ( and influenced by IDaves recent posts ) about how I really don't even discuss ERE or strategies for the most part on a forum dedicated to early retirement. This is almost a form of Facebook for me so I appreciate your thoughts as well as others encouraging me as a couple of times I haven't thought it appropriate. So thanks. I am going to take yours and others encouragement and run with it.





Here is my latest irritation in life.

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When I built my back porch I didn't realize at the time it was going to become a haven for stray cats. Another mother cat has had kittens under the porch and I am left to deal with the situation, to be the bad guy to find a home for them, which means our local humane society. In the past several months, I have trapped 8 cats and we have adopted one out of the bunch. Probably not coincidentally, all of them have been yellow and white, so somewhere near me I assume someone has a barnful of yellow cats that are breeding like rabbits. Completely irresponsible.

henrik
Posts: 766
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:58 pm
Location: EE

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by henrik »

ffj wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 3:44 pm
I really don't even discuss ERE or strategies for the most part on a forum dedicated to early retirement. This is almost a form of Facebook for me so I appreciate your thoughts as well as others encouraging me as a couple of times I haven't thought it appropriate.
FWIW, I don't care what your WR or SR is or how much money you have. You seem to have that part done and handled. I do find myself wanting to check in every few days to see how the new home project is going. The way this is moving along is an inspiration. And I'm glad it's not on Facebook!

ffj
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Thanks henrik.

At the moment I am still waiting for the foundation guy to give me a quote. Once I have a foundation, then any waiting for anything will be over as I can take over from that point. I'm at a disadvantage at this stage of the build because it requires machinery I don't have as well as some skills. It also requires more manpower than just me. I don't know if you have ever poured concrete but it is definitely more than one guy can do for anything large. My goal is to start framing the house no later than March 1st.

While I wait for other people, I continue to work in the woods and around the property cleaning up the landscape. There is a section that is absolutely covered in wild vines and brambles that I am slowly clearing. It gives me great satisfaction to rescue a nice tree that is being suffocated with wild vines. The good news is that I am discovering that I have a mini-forest already growing where I want the trees to take back over; I just have to save them from the aggressive junk that is taking over around them. It looks like somebody cleared about an acre of land some time ago and then did nothing else with it, allowing the aggressive and invasive problem species to take over. I am slowly reversing that dynamic. But you know what? I enjoy it. I've been stabbed and cut multiple times with a plethora of thorns from various plants ( I actually started to document the various ways these plants and trees harm me with their defense mechanisms, haha ) but the end result is very satisfying.

Here is one of my murder trees, it's a locust that is ready to fight.

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Last edited by ffj on Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

Igotgoals
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:18 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Igotgoals »

Things really are moving along.

Look at that tree! Talk about a crown of thorns.

We have fought invasive bittersweet for 10 years now. It took us 3 years to completely rescue a 30 ft holly from it. Although I use the word "completely" as I knock on wood.

ffj
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Igot

I'm pretty sure I have the same problem on the farm. I have cut hundreds of vines, namely wild grape, but bittersweet is probably there too. Since all the leaves are gone, it's hard to identify some of this stuff. I just know it's not a grape.

Here is what I am dealing with in the worst part. There's a nice tree under all of that and I feel pretty good liberating the trees I want to keep.

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My plan was to take the cats to the shelter, oh, and I also caught the momma cat in the meantime, but they said that there was a $20 surrender fee per cat and I wasn't about to pay $80 for someone else's cats. So I did the next logical thing and decided to keep them. :? :roll: I'm getting soft in my old age.

The shelter has a program for this situation where they will neuter/spay the cats for $10/per, so I decided to go that route. In the meantime, I'll try to find homes for them and I plan on releasing them in the barn on the new property, where they can be proper barn cats. The mother is actually pretty affectionate, but the little ones are spitfires.

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I have complete electrical power now, I can plug in and power up. The electrical company came in yesterday and finished the job.

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I have been experiencing the highs and lows of being your own contractor/builder these past couple of weeks. Namely, I've been waiting for bids to come back for the foundation work. And they have, but I didn't realize these guys were expecting me to send their kids to college. The last two bids have been comically ridiculous and as of yesterday I was like, fuck it, I'll do it myself. I've wasted three weeks trying to get this done but today I found a block layer that has agreed to do the job for a fair price, so I am happy about that. He even talked me out of doing some unnecessary work which would have been profit for him so after dealing with these other dudes it was a breath of fresh air. My next issue is getting the footings done so he can do his job, and I am waiting on a response from another guy for that. If he doesn't respond soon, I'll just rent the machinery and do it myself.

Gilberto de Piento
Posts: 1394
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:23 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Maybe it is not a problem where you are but think about waterproofing the basement as you build it. Block is much more permeable than poured. It is much harder to add waterproofing outside or a drain/sump pump system inside later on.

Saving $10 per cat but having to take care of them forever may be false economy. :)

ffj
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Gilberto

Oh, I'm fully aware of how dumb a decision I am probably making. Haha. For some reason I feel compelled to give these guys a chance. The shelter is swamped with cats so giving them up more than likely won't improve their lives. My plan after the surgeries is to release them into the barn and the property and provide food and water. It's a better life than being in a cage at the shelter.

I'm not building a basement but a crawlspace, but your waterproofing advice is on point. As of today ( which is always subject to change :x ) the guys I have hired to install the footers are starting Monday, the 3rd.

Now, if everybody shows up and does their job at the prices quoted, I'll be looking pretty good. Let me give you some context.

My last refused bid for footers and stem walls was $51,000. The quote before that was $41,000. In all fairness, some of that included flatwork ( about $3,000 in concrete and $1500 in rock) plus labor.

I should have around $3500 in concrete and rebar for the footers and the guy is charging me around $2500 to install, and Ill have around 1,600 block in the stem walls plus however much in sand and mortar. I figure I'll have around $4500 in materials and $3200 in labor.

So let's add it up: $13,700 assuming my math is correct. Thats a $27,000 and $37,000 difference between the other quotes. I still have to pour the floor and porches so maybe another $10,000? I don't think it will be that high but I'll be conservative. We'll see what the actual numbers end up tallying.



I am so ready for the foundation to be done as it will put me squarely back in my realm of expertise. In addition, I won't have to wait on anybody to start moving forward. It's been very frustrating waiting on responses and commitments. I really don't like being dependent on other people as they always disappoint, haha. But I've used my time fairly wisely waiting on all of this by continually improving the property, so it's not a complete net loss.

ffj
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Mother Nature refuses to comply with my demands, as it rained about 3 inches yesterday. So no foundation work.

It is also supposed to rain for the next week without a chance for the ground to dry. In all fairness, February is the worst month normally weather-wise in my part of the world and maybe I am asking too much for this type of work in this month.

So instead of sulking, I have been working on my current house getting it ready to sell. I have a to-do list that I am ticking off and most of it is fairly minor but at some point I will have to replace the shingles on my roof, which is the biggest issue I have to deal with by far. I'll just need about 4 days without rain so we'll see what happens.

The cats have been released into the barn and I haven't seen them since, as they are hiding under the piles of lumber stored there. The food is getting eaten and the water consumed, so they are still around but the little bastards refuse to show their faces. The mother cat is there too I assume? I might put a trail camera inside to see whats going on.

ffj
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

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I have written February off for the foundation work. Mother Nature simply refuses to stop the rain, to the point that we have flooding in certain parts of Kentucky. It just will not stop raining or snowing.

But, I've stayed busy. I've done a lot of work at the new place channeling water by digging french drains. Part of my driveway was continually getting deluged with runoff so I dug a 150 foot ditch that diverts the water away from the road. It has worked really well, much better than I expected to be honest. Now the driveway has a chance to dry somewhat and firm up, as the larger trucks were sinking and digging ruts. It took a lot of work as the soil is clay and wet, which meant that each shovelful would stick to the shovel and I would have to beat the clod of dirt off with my hand for every time I dug. Not fun but the results have been satisfying.

I decided to finish a project that has been on my list for some time waiting out the rain. The trellis and flower boxes will be planted with climbing vines which will help block out the shithead neighbor. I have a fence, but with the elevation of the porch you can see over it, and I don't want that. The vines will produce a nice privacy screen and still look good. Plus I like growing lots of things on the back porch which has just about a perfect balance for sunlight and shade for plants.

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The mushroom endeavor continues to plug along, and I am very happy with some of my current results. These are Kings, which grow fairly large.

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Just about everything I have learned about growing mushrooms has taken a lot of effort and experimentation, and even the books available can only take one so far. There are so many variables and each type require different conditions to the point it is almost exponential what can go wrong. But it is doable if you are careful with details. My goal is to be able to produce at least 5 different varieties on a consistent basis for the Farmer's Market, which opens in April. It's going to be a challenge.

Another experiment on straw:

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This is the pickling lime experiment with exhausted grow bags. It's working pretty good in my opinion and it should start fruiting here soon.


Here is a guy I really like and he would fit right in here on the ERE site.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO5ETzQqttg

I'm getting ready to plant all of the acorns, hickory nuts, and walnuts I scavenged last fall so today I built four boxes in anticipation. Luckily, I had all the materials on hand as I always salvage wood from various jobs but I did have to buy the hardware cloth for the bottoms. So $20 for the initial start-up. I'm hoping to get at least a couple hundred viable trees out of this.

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In honor of Sky's endeavor with the herb sale, I have also planted a couple of seed trays of herbs. I've had horrible luck with rosemary and lavender in the past so I am hoping my luck gets better this go around. I have also ordered a lot of flower seeds in anticipation of selling cut flowers this summer and fall. This young lady kind of sold me on the idea of at least trying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBKZ4sgH4T4

To drier days!

EMJ
Posts: 343
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:37 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by EMJ »

If you continue your interest in growing trees lots to read here: https://rngr.net/publications/seed-manuals

daylen
Posts: 1408
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:17 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by daylen »

You are a much harder worker than me. :|

SavingWithBabies
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Location: Midwest, USA

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by SavingWithBabies »

Those mushrooms look amazing!

ffj
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@EMJ

Thanks, I will check it out. I'm really hoping this guys method works for me because it's dead easy and a potential future revenue stream. He has a business where he sells his trees for around $8.00 a piece. If he has a thousand trees than do the math for very little work. My immediate goal however is to repopulate my woods with quality trees.

@daylen

I'm in go mode right now and getting shit done. I create a list on paper every day with tasks that need to be finished if I am to sell my current home and finish my new one. It feels good to have a sense of purpose to be honest. I started re-roofing my house today after it quit raining this morning as I have exactly 5 days without rain according to the weather reports. I'd rather be building my new home but the weather has held me back.

@SWB

Thank you, I'm very proud of them as it took a lot of effort to figure them out. I keep threatening to start two Youtube channels: one on how to grow mushrooms and the other on rope rescue. I have watched hours and hours of video as well as read numerous articles and message boards trying to get basic answers to basic questions. You would be amazed how many people are stoned when they reply to message boards, especially the mushroom people. Haha.

Anyway, both subjects are in need of clear and concise direction and instruction, with a methodical step by step progression. I've figured a lot of it out, but I have had to work hard for the information. My next mushroom I will be attempting to fruit is Enoki, followed by Chestnuts. I also have Winecaps, Shiitake, and Lions Mane in the works, which I am excited about.

davtheram12
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 6:02 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by davtheram12 »

Thank you for sharing your progress on so many fronts! My DW has a dream of building our own home on viable land. Watching your progress, along with listed prices, has shown her how realistic of a dream it is. Her and I both read your journal in excitement :D

If you do decide to make two YouTube channels I would happily watch.

Igotgoals
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:18 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Igotgoals »

Your trellis is going to be lovely once your plants fill it in - but honestly, it's pretty nice just as it is. Nice job.

I've got to say though, those mushrooms creep me out.

ffj
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@davtheram12

Thank you for the encouragement. And yes, if you are willing to work, then many of these costs don't have to break the bank. My goal is to come under $100,000 for the house and shop build. My current house is appraised at $224,000, which is an unrealistic sell price due to the neighbors, but I hope I'm proven wrong. I think we can get at least $150,000 and if I don't go over that on the new build then it will be an even trade. My current house is paid for in full so any money we make over the build price is profit. And if we make a profit, then I am buying a tractor! So a little motivation there, haha.

If I wasn't so self conscious about myself I would start Youtubing. I could even make a little money if I gained an audience. The issue is privacy and how none of us have any these days so if I could do it in a way and still remain anonymous I would try it. Thanks again for the confidence.

Currently while waiting on my foundation guys I am re-roofing my house, which it badly needs. I roofed this house in 1996 with cheap 20 year shingles and it sucked then about as much as it sucks now, haha. This is just a layover with a better quality shingle.

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@Igot

I have found that there are two types of people in regards to mushrooms, either they find them interesting or it creeps them out. I think it's kind of fascinating, especially the ramifications for permaculture and the like. My wife on the other hand? Creeps her out and she wants nothing to do with them. Sometimes I wonder how we stay married. Ha

But here is the payoff. A little oil, a pat of butter, some garlic and thyme. And of course some home-grown Kings. Really, really good.

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mooretrees
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by mooretrees »

I know my DH would totally be interested in your hypothetical mushroom youtube channel. He's grown them in the past and wants to again. I'm also super impressed with how much you accomplish! Helps not working a full time job for sure :lol: . I look forward to your posts, I can't wait to get to the place where money is not my number one topic of conversation and get on to living.

ffj
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@mooretrees

Not having a full-time job working for somebody else is key. It just kills all of your energy and creativity. And you would be surprised at how easy and motivational work is once you get to reap all the benefits. ;)

If your hubby wants a colonized fruiting block pm me and I'll send him one. I've got Shiitake, oysters, enoki, kings, wine cap and I'm trying to get some lions mane going but it's not ready yet. I enjoy watching them grow and you guys may too. (again)

davtheram12
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 6:02 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by davtheram12 »

ffj wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:44 pm
Thank you for the encouragement. And yes, if you are willing to work, then many of these costs don't have to break the bank. My goal is to come under $100,000 for the house and shop build. My current house is appraised at $224,000, which is an unrealistic sell price due to the neighbors, but I hope I'm proven wrong. I think we can get at least $150,000 and if I don't go over that on the new build then it will be an even trade. My current house is paid for in full so any money we make over the build price is profit. And if we make a profit, then I am buying a tractor! So a little motivation there, haha.

If I wasn't so self conscious about myself I would start Youtubing. I could even make a little money if I gained an audience. The issue is privacy and how none of us have any these days so if I could do it in a way and still remain anonymous I would try it. Thanks again for the confidence.

Currently while waiting on my foundation guys I am re-roofing my house, which it badly needs. I roofed this house in 1996 with cheap 20 year shingles and it sucked then about as much as it sucks now, haha. This is just a layover with a better quality shingle.
I definitely see myself doing most of the work since I do have some experience in construction. My father is a carpenter who would regularly make me his apprentice and I use to install new roofing material shortly after I graduated high school. I don't miss those hard days under >90 degree weather throwing clay roofing tiles (each weighing 12-15 pounds) but I'm sure I would approach it differently today.

It's amazing to see how much those homes are going for. Here in my neighborhood they are all at least $1.3 million and no bigger than 2,200 square feet for the larger examples. A tractor would be great!

Privacy is important so I can't blame you there. Some of the most popular YouTube channels come from creators who don't think twice about uploading their videos. Scotty Kilmer comes to mind. His editing style is comical but he provides great content. He's been able to amass 3.06 million subscribers all while still working as a mechanic from his home. Just some food-for-thought :)

ffj
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@dav


"I don't miss those hard days under >90 degree weather throwing clay roofing tiles (each weighing 12-15 pounds) but I'm sure I would approach it differently today. "



As I am no longer 22 years old, I tackle large projects in small segments. I've been roofing for the past 5 days, but my longest day so far has been almost 6 hours with a normal day about 4 hours. It prevents me from burning out and quite frankly I don't have the stamina I once had. I just have to reassess my finish times. I learned a long time ago that 20 minutes a day doing whatever is much better than never starting because the conditions or timing isn't perfect. Having a carpenter father is a wonderful asset by the way. My father also is a carpenter amongst many other things, and I learned a lot working beside him as a kid, although at the time I didn't view it as very fun. ;) Around the age of 14 I discovered that other people wanted my services and they would actually pay me! That was the start of my independence.

I checked out that Kilmer guy on Youtube. I can see why he has so many followers.

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