Building on a Shoestring

Building on a Shoestring

We are getting ready to move home.  The plan had been to build in another year and a half, but we are looking at going ahead and moving a year early.   I had been looking at what we wanted to do for a while, pricing houses and looking at options.  To retire, we want to be debt free.  We already have all our cars paid off and are doing well in that way.  We do have one younger son, and two in college, but other than that we are doing pretty well.

The tough spot being 1. downsizing – it’s amazing what we have collected and 2. selling our current home.  But our plan is to build with the equity in our current home.  I’ve looked at stick built, manufactured, modular, and buying in other locations….  Buying a home was eliminated pretty quickly with our time frame because there isn’t anything available that meets what we want in a school district that we want right now. – Part of the issue of retiring with a child still in elementary school.  Modular seem to rank higher than manufactured and have more options, so they are a little higher on the list.  In my price range many of the builders pretty much turned up their noses at me.  I did find one that is willing to build for the price that we want to spend.  So we must choose from one stick built builder and a modular home.

The stick built design in the price range we want is about 6 to 700 sq feet smaller than the modular we are looking at in the same price range and isn’t as turn key.  Turn key being we can walk in and it’s done.  That being said, as the stick built is being completed, we would have more options to make changes… but those would most likely come at a cost.  The builder would be willing to work with us.  We could do some work ourselves to save money, but we also would have to do some work ourselves – and it’s not that easy for us to just run up and finish something quickly…

To budget everything, I’ve also tried to get in touch with contractors that do well and septic systems.  What I’ve found so far, is that most don’t like to return phone calls.  I’m not sure if it’s because of me being and individual calling or if it’s because they just have too much work to do, but I gave up on one well company  after leaving many messages.  Another septic company, I left several messages, including one explaining I would be in town that weekend.  They only returned a call after I called back the next week to leave a message that it was too late.  I gave them a second chance and they didn’t show up or call for that either.  I’ve finally cut ties with that contractor under the assumption that if they can’t handle returning calls or showing up when they say they will – or even at least keeping people up to date they aren’t going to service their products.  The bonus of one of the modular builders is that they will act as general contractor for no cost and handle getting septic and well completed.

Even with my plan of building on a small budget though, I do want to keep from skimping on a few things.  We don’t want to cut corners on things like our septic tank and then have toilets or sinks that back up constantly and need visits to be cleaned out.

Living out in the country though will be a ‘new’ experience, despite growing up there. I moved to the city to go to college, over 30 years ago and haven’t lived at home since.  – That was more than half my life ago…  living on the farm again will bring back silence (if you count crickets all night and dogs barking as they chase raccoons as silence), neighbors not being next door, mice everywhere (that’s a constant battle), possums in the trash, coyotes in the yard, and even deer walking past randomly.

Right now we are watching the weather to decide if we can visit, and plan out the next step….

It’s time for a new adventure!

Sledding

Time to go sledding!  It finally snowed here! Time to go sledding.  Growing up we had a lot more snow than we have here in Kentucky.  I remember playing on snow mobiles, riding on the river, going on trips through the woods from house to house.  Friends would show up on snow mobiles and we would hop on ours and join the caravan.

My dad would also take the tractor and plow our driveway, making a huge snow pile for us in the yard.  My brother and I would spend hours making snow tunnels through the piles. The tunnels would be a few feet long and perfect for sliding down over and over.  We would make igloos out in the yard and carry out our supplies to hang out in the yard, then spend the day playing outside.

Snow would drift against all the fence rows and  pile up to be several feet high.  I remember riding snow mobiles across the tops, above the fields – and that one time we hit the gap in the snow.  My mother was driving and I was riding and off we went into the air. Nothing…  I still keep saying we were lucky to have survived childhood.

We would ride up hills that I would now swear were at a 90 degree angle to the ground but surely weren’t completely 90 degrees, riding across rivers, with my dad’s instructions to not stop since it wasn’t frozen solid (go fast!), and of course we each had our own snow mobiles.  My father’s snow mobile was an el Tigre that had been modified to race. it was rare for my parents to let us ride it…. Mine was an arctic cat and so pretty!  I loved it, and I had the full snow suit with helmet, pants, snow boots, you name it.  It was our regular outfits for the winter and when not on us you put it on the earth stove to dry.

Of course one of the most important things to remember was to pee first. If you didn’t you had to hold it for a long time.   We would go out and ride for hours.  I kind of remember sleds being pulled behind snow mobiles, but it was more common years earlier to pull the sleds behind the mower.

Snow in the country also meant power outages, so we would use the wood stoves, wood furnaces, fireplaces, and kerosene lamps.   Toilets had to be flushed with whatever water was available and there was no way to wash up…. Well’s don’t work without power.  But I don’t remember it being that bad, though I do remember times when the power went out for a week or more at a time.

While we were playing outside, my dad would either join us or work around the farm moving snow with tractors.  Sometimes dad would end up having to tow people out of the ditch.  Dad was the go to person for anyone in the area being stuck in a ditch… surprisingly this meant we had a liquor closet completely stocked (although I don’t remember my dad drinking much).  A lot of the that liquor is still in the closet.  Dad would take his tractor and drive to wherever he was needed and pull the car, truck or whatever out of the ditch.

I still love the thought of sitting in the corner of the kitchen by the earth stove during the winter, reading a book!  I’m sure I still have a scar on my arm where I touched the stove and got a burn once too often, but I loved that corner of the kitchen.  I’ve tried sitting on the floor in front of our fireplace with a book in our house, but it just doesn’t have that cozy feel of the corner behind the wood stove.

50th – not a funny story though I try….

Yep, it was just my 50th….  I have to say it was a lot more disappointing than I expected.  I actually love birthdays. I try to plan them out for the boys….  Once for my husbands 40th I invited people for a surprise (even my grandmother was there!) and then had a cake with 40 candles.  What I did find was 40 candles creates a small fire warm enough to catch about anything on fire. A friend also snuck into his department office another year and hung a what happened the year you were born on the wall – no name, just the year.

My husband is great and has done things, I just thought there would be something special for my 50th.  Instead, due to everything going wrong, there wasn’t even a cake or a Happy Birthday song.  My family doesn’t even realize they forgot it all. The day before we went to a restaurant I chose for a Birthday/Christmas family dinner – yep birthday by a holiday really sucks your whole life.   The place was packed and took forever, it also took forever to get there due to my mother’s door lock breaking that day.   My birthday was mentioned as the check came and the server did say Happy Birthday.  Having a family that doesn’t care about birthdays they don’t realize that I’m the only one that’s never gotten the free birthday dessert, the restaurant singing happy birthday to me because I don’t feel I should be the one to tell myself.

For my birthday I had it planned to go eat at Indy and see the Children’s museum , but the lock was still broke… So by the time we left and they gave up on the lock it was late.  We arrived at the museum having not had lunch, 2 hours before the museum closed and right after their food court closed.  We ran through as fast as we could…. and then had a late lunch/dinner at a cracker barrel as fast as we could on the way home, arriving late at home.

The next day I did run out to get and eat a free cupcake from Gigi’s while my husband was on lunch break.  My family had already told me they didn’t want any so I ate it in the car before coming home….

Having a birthday at a holiday is pretty disappointing, every year growing up the school would plan the school program on my birthday, friends would be busy with their family, family my family hadn’t seen all year would be coming into town – and it always seemed that they would arrive on my birthday… with my mother saying isn’t it nice they are here for your school program, birthday whatever…. Nope, I just wanted one year that it was a day I wasn’t told that people had to rush off because so and so were coming, or were tired or whatever because they just arrived.  And the whole here’s your birthday/Christmas gift.  What they are really saying is, this time of year is busy and expensive and so we can cut corners on you, so we did….  We couldn’t even splurge for birthday paper.  I didn’t even realize you could get birthday wrapping paper until I had my own kids.

Yep, right now I’m a little sad, and it’s not that I’m 50…  I actually do feel like I’ve done a lot ….  I’m a farmer’s daughter that got a Master’s degree and worked through school as a computer programmer!  I’ve been certified in GIS (map making) and Floodplain management.  I have my name on a lot of published papers….. I’ve coordinated both a state robotics championship (FLL) and an international conference (Environmental Informatics). Now I have a business that isn’t doing horribly and to top it all off I have a great husband and three amazing boys.

 

Col Morgan Morgan

Col Morgan Morgan is known as the first white settler in West Virginia.  I’m currently documenting my line from Col Morgan Morgan to myself.   He was born in 1688 and passed away in 1766.  he was thought to be friends with George Washington and had children go on to do historical things also.  His son who was my direct ancestor Zackquill, founded Morgantown besides being a Colonel himself and fighting in the Revolution.

Morgan Morgan arrived in what is now West Virginia in 1731. In January 1734, he, among others, was appointed to the ‘Commission of the Peace’, meaning that he was a magistrate. He probably received a Patent for 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) ‘[i]n the Forks of the Rappahannock River & Westwood of Sherrando River’ on December 12, 1734.[4] The long-standing claim that he was the first permanent resident there is, however, doubtful. In fact, the area now known as Shepherdstown, West Virginia, was probably settled by German-speaking immigrants as early as 1727.[5]

Morgan died at Bunker Hill, Berkeley County, now in West Virginia, and was buried in the Morgan Chapel Graveyard.[6]

Zackquill’s son Uriah (my direct line) is documented in the West Virginians in the Revolution book I’ve found Zackquill listed in.   Uriah was found in Tyler County where John McArdle married Nancy Morgan, but that is where I am finding my stumbling block.  I know Nancy Morgan is the daughter of Uriah Morgan and I have documentation showing her married to John McArdle in Tyler County.  John and Nancy McArdle then moved to Vermilion County Illinois before Nancy passed away (before Uriah’s death).  Nancy’s marriage license shows a Zackwell Morgan – most likely her brother, as a witness, but her father isn’t listed. Because of Nancy passing away before  Uriah, she is not listed in his will.

I am currently looking for the illusive  copy of the book of Col Morgan Morgan descendants that should list Nancy Morgan as Uriah Morgan’s daughter.  The book has been out of print for a while and isn’t available through any source I’ve found.  There are a few others also, but I would need to visit a library (not necessarily close to me) to find them.  I’m hoping someone online has a copy of the pages showing Nancy Morgan’s lineage.

I have everything from John and Nancy McArdle on documented, so I am just missing the one link.    Within the line, all of Nancy’s descendant’s in my direct line have met with deaths in accidents.  I am curious now also what happened to her, as she passed away at a young age.  Her son Uriah was run over by an oxen team while saving his granddaughter.  My great grandfather Elmer died in a fire, taking down his whole house with himself in it.   My grandfather drown at Ellsworth park in Danville Illinois while swimming with family and friends on flag day while my mother was only 3 years old.

It’s starting to look like I may have to take a trip to find the correct book.  I have found a site that has a downloadable scanned copy, but to view it requires entering a credit card to sign up for a free account.  To me this seems a little scary… The ecopy in Worldcat is search only:  Searching in the text shows:

Showing 1 – 1 of 1 Results for nancy AND morgan AND uriah AND john AND mccardle
  • Page 159 – 11 matching terms 

Showing 1 – 1 of 1 Results for nancy AND morgan AND uriah AND john AND mccardle
So I’m fairly certain this book has what I need.  The question is getting a hold of a copy of this page and the front pages with dates and information about the book for documentation.  The nearest copy to me is just over 100 miles away in Louisville and about 80 miles from my mother with no copy available to purchase on Amazon.

Robert Carl Richter

My father passed away September 23rd, 2017…  the guestbook is available at: Robinson’s Funeral Chapel 

The memorial service was at Muncie Baptist Church and included stories about my dad.  Getting a chance to hear some friends and family tell their stories about my dad’s life was a fitting way for his life to be remembered as far as what I think he would have liked.  He wanted to be cremated and spread around his farm, his farm being something he loved.  Being away from it the last few years I’m sure was as tough on him than the disease that was robbing his memory.

Stories included tales from his childhood of money making plans with his favorite sidekick and cousin, Don, where they collected all the Pigeon’s from the barns in the area – thinking they could sell them as squab – then the cleaning the barn and shooing pigeons for weeks after when their parents found out.

My father’s time in the army amusing everyone but the officer’s tasked with training them.  My father answering questions with darned if I know and earning everyone push ups for laughing…  Throwing in comments, like save some for me, from the back of the chow line during the company picnics.

My cousin Larry told about my dad taking him hunting for his first time, a friend telling about meeting my dad and sending him down to Kentucky. I’m fairly certain I remember the trip he was talking about – my second grade year when we went down and got the dog Waldo from a friend’s dad in Kentucky.  He had a tobacco farm and gave us tobacco leaves to bring back for show and tell.  A friend of mine that made a special effort to come to talk about how much my dad had meant to her, and so much more!

I didn’t tell about my dad, fixing our brakes for our truck and having spare parts…..  He pointed out Ford always includes extra parts….  I mentioned my dad getting the boys animals, we always had lots of animals growing up.  My dad once noticed our deer had escaped (yep deer, we had buffalo too), and chased it through the field with a ramcharger. down to the end and back.  He got out and was trying to wrestle it, when it pinned him with it’s antlers to the propane tank.  Antlers on each side of him!

There are so many more stories, many that I don’t even know, but having a chance to meet up with family and share stories was the best way I could imagine to say goodbye to dad.   I would have loved to speak to everyone and hear all their stories if time would have just been able to slow down for a little while.

 

Robert Richter

June 29, 1940 – September 23, 2017

Oakwood – Robert Carl Richter, 77, of Oakwood, passed into peaceful rest at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, September 23, 2017 at Illini Heritage Rehab & Health in Champaign.

He was born on June 29, 1940 in Vance Twp. the son of Wesley Thomas & Mildred G. Eldridge Richter. He married his wife of 50 years Karen McArdle on February 4, 1967 in Westville, IL. She survives. Other survivors include 1 daughter, Karla (Dr. Keith) Andrew, 1 son, Robert Richter, and 3 grandsons, Kevin, Kristopher, and Konnor. Additionally he is survived by 2 sisters, Ethel Eichorst and Linda Richter; 1 brother, Tom Richter, as well as many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by 4 sisters, Dorothy Mitchell, Margaret Brothers Hersh, Cleta Fern Richter, and Norma McVey, and 2 brothers, Frank Richter and Howard Richter.

Bob was loved by everyone he met and never met a stranger, even talking himself out of a speeding ticket on his honeymoon and inviting the officer home to go fishing to boot. He lived, hunted deer and mushrooms, and farmed within miles of the family land which like his family, was always important to him.

My wedding

My Wedding

Father’s Day

I’ve said it before, it’s tough when your father is in that in between land of suffering.  You haven’t lost your father – yet your father isn’t really there.  You can be with your father, but not share memories.  What you really have is a physical shell of your parent….  Friends post about missing their fathers and wouldn’t understand if you mention that you miss your father too.. but friends with their father’s are in that position where they don’t understand either. Unless you have been there you really can’t know what that limbo is like.

This year I helped my mother print a poster of my mom and dad to hang in my dad’s room. I’m hoping it will help my dad recognize my mother easier when she visits.  His eyes are in bad shape from macular degeneration and the small pictures aren’t the easiest to see.  We were able to email a picture to Staples and get a poster that is 2 foot by 3 foot printed in half an hour.  Yeah!

Memories

Talking about growing up, I was describing to a person online the task of walking beans.  Walking beans involves walking down each row with a hook and cutting each weed.  I was so excited the first year I was old enough to join my dad and the ‘boys’ that worked for him in the field.  I still remember the first day.  My mom had taken us to swim lessons for the first time at the YMCA and I was in either 4th of 5th grade….  I wanted to go out and walk with those high school boys so bad.  The first day was hot, but being just out of the pool I didn’t even notice. Mom had dropped me at the field on the way home.  The field that was by where my  cousin Judy’s house was later.  We finished that field and the next day we were ready to move on to the field next field closer to my Aunt Margaret’s.  My dad started the day early, while the beans were still wet.  We took off down the rows and I remember one of the boys kept stepping on the corn hook and running it into his shoe.  Of course my mind kept going to what would happen if he ran it into his foot!

Next thing I knew I ended up passing out.  I’ll never forget waking up to find myself thrown over my father’s shoulder.  Every step he took cut into my stomach and he was walking back to the truck.  I remember saying something about being able to walk and my dad refusing to let me…..  He put me in the truck, took me to my Aunt Margaret’s house nearby and made my mother come and get me.  I was then BANNED from helping for the rest of the summer.  I remember begging and pleading… telling them I was fine… but nope, I wasn’t allowed to work.  Years later I would have done about anything to get a break from walking beans, but that year I wanted to so bad…

Now thinking back I can’t imagine how scared my dad must have been when I collapsed in the field.  Around that time I had a habit of passing out.  The reason was never found, but I passed out in a few odd places, off stools into laps, at school in the aisle (I got up to tell the teacher I was going to pass out), and even once in the vet’s office).  I’m not sure if this was the first time, but now I’m sure my dad’s reaction was fear.

I wish now I could ask him about that day, it’s something we never talked about other than that summer with me begging to walk beans and my parents telling  me no….  That’s one of the tough things about dementia….  you still have the person but the memories are locked in their mind forever to be lost…..