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Building Our Dream House in the Country

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Author of fiction novels, short stories, book reviews and other online content, Peggy Cole has been writing articles on HubPages since 2009.

The View From the Porch

We enjoy breathtaking sunsets that change from day to day.

We enjoy breathtaking sunsets that change from day to day.

The best thing we ever did for ourselves was when made our five-year plan for the future. We called it the Plan of May 14th because that was when everything changed for us. Once we identified what we really wanted, we were able to start working toward our goals.

One of the first things on our wish list was to move out to the country away from our crowded neighborhood and the barrage of other people's music. Thefts and break-ins were becoming commonplace in our subdivision. We wanted a bigger yard and a safer place for our dogs. One of our dogs had been fighting with the neighbor's dog through our chain-link fence.

We decided we needed at least five acres outside of the city limits where we would build our own house.

One of the many sunsets we enjoy from our porch in the country.

One of the many sunsets we enjoy from our porch in the country.

Making Plans

  1. Find out what you want and write it down.
  2. Put your written plan in a place where it can be seen every day.
  3. Be willing to get up early to fulfil your dreams.
  4. Don't be afraid of some hard work.
The amazing view helped fuel our determination.

The amazing view helped fuel our determination.

Our plan took shape after we met some people who had actually built their own house. They invited us out for dinner in the country and we shared an amazing sunset over the nearby lake.

As night slowly crept in and darkness transformed the sky into a carpet of glittering stars, we decided this was the life for us. Helping them build their detached garage helped us to develop new skills and gain confidence in our abilities.

After that, we started looking for a piece of property to buy. We spent a few weeks driving around in rural areas before we found a ten-acre plot that had a lake view in the distance. We called the number on the sign and negotiated a great deal.

Once we closed on the property, we decided to build a pole barn and live in that while we built our house. It turned out, that wasn't the way to go. It would take us too long, so we changed gears.

Every Saturday morning instead of sleeping in, we'd get up early and head for the local homebuilder's supply where we bought only as much lumber and materials as we could pay for in cash. We were determined not to go into debt. That was a key factor for us. We already had one mortgage payment and a land payment so sticking to our budget was important.

We brought our own food, filling our cooler with sodas, sandwiches and snacks before beginning our day of labor in the hot sun. Having shade was essential for surviving the blistering sun of the Texas summer. We rigged up a tarp with tent poles and drank a lot of water to avoid dehydration. Hosing ourselves down with a garden sprayer helped when we needed to cool down.

After a hard day's labor, we’d drive back to the city, put away our tools and talk about our progress. Being accustomed to working in air-conditioned offices during the week, we had little trouble falling asleep after a long, hard day of manual labor.

Preparing the Land

The neighbors loaned us a riding tractor to whack down the weeds. It was another first-time experience.

The neighbors loaned us a riding tractor to whack down the weeds. It was another first-time experience.

Setting the poles for the barn made it clear what a monumental job we were undertaking. The two-man auger we rented to drill three-foot deep holes turned out to be more than we could handle on our own. Setting the sixteen-foot 4 x 4s in concrete was a huge job. We asked our friends and neighbors for help and they obliged, but working only on weekends was a slow process.

We were lucky to find a contractor that would build out just the exterior of the house. Six months later, the outside structure of the house was finished including sub-floor plumbing, a septic tank and the drainage field for sewage. Those skills and the equipment to do them was beyond what we could do on our own.

What was left was for us to finish out the interior of the house. And that was still a huge job.

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Every job seemed to require something else before it could be started. Before we could insulate we had to run electrical wiring. Before the wiring, we had to run conduit inside the walls. The conduit had to be completed before the drywall could go up.

Insulating the interior and exterior walls required a lot of physical exertion.

Insulating the interior and exterior walls required a lot of physical exertion.

Our family soon expanded with a stray dog that started hanging around while we worked. She was malnourished, full of ticks and other parasites and showed signs of abuse. She was the first of many strays who found their way to our front door.

Lady, the new stray, with Slick and Buckwheat on the right.

Lady, the new stray, with Slick and Buckwheat on the right.

On the first day of January 1990, we installed door locks and started building out the interior walls. Extension cords snaked through the house for electricity until we could run permanent wiring.

Our priority was to get a working bathroom with a toilet and sink. There were no interior walls. The winter was frigid with no heat or insulation and temperatures in the teens. We could see our own breath inside the house.

The wood burning stove came later as one more project with a fire proof platform and brick enclosure.

The wood burning stove came later as one more project with a fire proof platform and brick enclosure.

Move-in Day

On the Memorial Day holiday, we rented a U-Haul and began moving into our unfinished shell of a house. Late in the day on Monday, we made the final trip with the remaining furniture and two very anxious dogs.

It was exciting to finally be living in our new house although there was no heat, no central air conditioning, a make-shift kitchen with a single burner and a microwave oven. There was still a whole lot left to be done.

Putting up the moisture-resistant drywall and installing temporary kitchen cabinets.

Putting up the moisture-resistant drywall and installing temporary kitchen cabinets.

We spent our first night on the hide-away couch in the living room, too tired to set up our bed. The next day, it was business as usual, back to our office jobs and our first of many one-hour commutes to our eight-to-five office jobs in the city.

How To Insulate Walls

That first winter in the house was the hardest. We had a wood burning stove but no central heat. We sealed off the second story with tarps and slept in the living room with our three dogs and a couple of space heaters. The dogs water dish froze in the house and so did everything liquid in the kitchen. Our bread, fruit and sodas went into the refrigerator to keep them from freezing.

We used a microwave oven, an electric frying pan and a hot plate for cooking meals. It was a year before we could afford a range and oven. Our refrigerator, bought second-hand for seventy-five dollars, worked well for the first ten years.

Our house in the country in 2001.

Our house in the country in 2001.

Through the years, we've faced layoffs, medical issues and other setbacks that would have been devastating if we had a large mortgage. We've developed a keen appreciation for the peace and quiet we continue to enjoy in the country. We've lived here for the past 3 decades and remain truly grateful for our good fortune.

It's a dream come true.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2012 Peg Cole

Comments

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on October 22, 2016:

Hi Mike, I'm always glad to see you stop by here. Thankfully, we had a lot of help on the house, from friends who were good at tiling, to others from whom we bartered services. It has been a long journey but we are still glad to be out here in the house even with the remaining unfinished projects.

Too bad about poor scrappy, the tree that is now mulch. You're right. He would have made a nice walking stick.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on October 22, 2016:

This is one of my favorite stories. If we all spent more time building our own house, the whole of our national community would be better off for it. My hat is off to you and J.

And 'Scrappy' might make a nice walking stick!

Happy weekend.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on October 22, 2016:

Hi Maria, No worries about J. He was only kidding about poor Scrappy, the underachieving oak tree. He has always fussed about the two little trees I planted in the middle of the driveway, claiming they were in the way of all his toys in the garage. The remaining oak sapling now has room to grow into a giant oak.

Thanks for the return visit and for the kind words about inspiration.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on October 22, 2016:

Dear Peg,

This hub continues to bring me inspiration and smiles - an evergreen story that shows your true character...

...well, except for that 'Scrappy' thang! Hoping you listened to sentimental 'J' and kept it ... :)

Love you and have a peaceful weekend, Maria

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 20, 2016:

Thanks, Jo. I hope one day you'll be able to build your dream home and put your creative talent to work in its design. Yes, we learned that some things were just too involved to do ourselves, and required heavy equipment, like drilling the piers ten feet into the ground for the foundation. Some of it was a lot of fun and a great way to keep active. Thanks for stopping by.

Jo_Goldsmith11 on January 19, 2016:

This is so awesome to read! We bought a home 6 years ago that was move in ready. I dream of one day building the kind of structure I really want with plenty of space, and sliding glass doors. The ability to really use my creativity. I am so glad you have shared this and you did so brilliantly with the step by step instructions, matching photos.

Hiring contractors is good too, for when one isn't sure, or just doesn't want to *deal with it*. All my best to you, great reading! Shared +++++

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 09, 2016:

Hello Breathing, My hopes are that one day you will fulfill your dream and begin your own project to build a home. It is tough to get financing. Saving money is also hard to do. I did not know it was so difficult to get a house loan in your country. I wish you all the best.

TANJIM ARAFAT SAJIB from Bangladesh on January 08, 2016:

At the very end of your hub you have asked a question that, “Have you ever dreamed of building your own house?” This question encouraged me to share my dream here with you again. I want to build a very small beautiful house. It will also be a Two-story house like this. I have designed the view and outlook beauty of that dreamed house and cherished that from a long time in my mind. But lack of a suitable place and insufficient money it not come in real yet. You know in our country get house loan not an easy story. That’s why I am searching a better job to earn lot of money and fulfill my dream. Thank you a lot for sharing a great things with us. Working together can overcome any obstacle, it proved again by those people who build this beautiful house.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 05, 2016:

Hi Moonlake, Wow. That is great that you can relate to this adventure. I remember many Christmases with sheetrock piled around and unfinished walls with insulation showing. It was a true joy to see the drywall finished. Sorry you had to sell the house. I can understand, as our taxes have more than quadrupled in the nearly three decades we've lived out here.

moonlake from America on January 05, 2016:

Beautiful house. Love the story about the dog.

We built our own house on the lake. I remember the days of living in it with unfinished walls and sheetrock piled on the floor. We still put up a Christmas tree even with so much unfinished. We did everything in the house with help from family and friends. The basement and kitchen cabinets were the only things we didn't do ourselves. Loved the place, but sold it lake property taxes got too expensive.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on October 02, 2015:

Hello Michael-Milec. Your thoughtful response to this article is heartwarming and a success story in itself. Thank you for taking the time to let me know you read this story and for the kind words about the message. I hope you will write out your story here on HubPages and inspire others with your own dream that was fulfilled. Thanks again for your heartfelt message. It was so nice to have you visit here.

Michael-Milec on October 02, 2015:

Hello PegCole17.

More then an inspiration , your adventure is a message to the rest of the world: "When Peg and her husband can do it, you can do it too." Thank goodness for God given friends in your life igniting the desire to realize your dream to own self-build home. Following your step by step progress, not only made my heart happy for you, but has revived memory of my own venture in construction. Painful hard work as in details you are sharing , has became my joy of living as I discontinued my 'intellectual' position after several years arrival to this country and started with pushing wheelbarrow filled with crushed-stone in an a basement's hole of a future residential home. Opposite to your ' part-time' learning process, my was 'full time" paid hard-way- painful work of ten years, elevating me to a company owner 'design build homes" with my wife as an architect designer. Nothing exceptional. In this country anyone willing can succeed as you did and many wonderful comments on this page confirmed by their success.

If only voting would be possible, I am voting useful, awesome , interesting and beautiful.

Blessings to you and yours.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 20, 2015:

Thanks, Mike. Your comments always make me take a look, revise text and add a few new photos. I appreciate your kind words. We are glad at this point to be out and away from the city.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on July 20, 2015:

The recent comments brought me back here. This is such a wonderful story and is huge in my mind. You both did what we all should have done.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 20, 2015:

Hello Jackie, Thank you for taking an interest in our do it yourself project of twenty-five years. Believe it or not, we are still trying to finish up the little details on the house (baseboards, flooring upstairs, pantry build out) and by now, many things need to be replaced (again) like front porch spindles and warped decking. It's a never ending project. We're at the point now that we need to hire the work out due to health issues for my man who can no longer stoop and lift as he used to do.

We converted the barn into a huge garage (32 x 64 feet) for my husband's race car and related projects. I don't get to park inside, sadly. The house itself, we contracted out the exterior shell structure and pier and beam foundation along with below ground plumbing like the septic tank. The interior we did mostly ourselves, insulating, electric wiring, toilets, sinks and a lot of drywall.

The best advice I could give anyone who wants to try this is never move into the house until it is complete. It makes the work so much harder to have furniture and stuff in the way of construction.

Again, thanks for the kind words and visit.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on July 19, 2015:

Hope there is more of how you went from barn to house. I would have loved to have done something like that. I had four younger brothers that taught me lots of things like wiring and plumbing etc and it has come in handy but just to start from scratch would be so fulfilling. Guess I am a Little House on the Prairie gal!

Thanks for sharing this; loved it.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 31, 2014:

Thank you Prairieprincess, for the visit and the thoughtful comment. We are still in awe of the beauty out here and amazed that we actually live in this place.

Sharilee Swaity from Canada on August 30, 2014:

Peg, what a beautiful home, and a beautiful experience. You must enjoy it so much.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 17, 2014:

Mck, Freshen your cup of coffee? The cinnamon rolls will be out of the oven in a minute. Oh, check out that White Egret flying over.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 17, 2014:

Hi Peg - What a grand front porch and the rain sure puts on a nice show. What a peaceful Sunday.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 17, 2014:

Mike, It's always nice of you to come by for a visit. We'll just sit out on the porch and watch the rain fall. What a welcome turn in the weather we had yesterday, moving out of the hundreds into the eighties with a light rain. Nice.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 16, 2014:

Hi Peg - I must have needed a booster shot of inspiration this evening. And I found it right here. This is such an American story, it has such strength.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on June 08, 2014:

Hi Martie, Thanks for the inspiration yesterday with your great tile makeover pics on facebook. You got me working on this one and trying to make it more reader friendly. I do hope you'll write your own story. It's important sometimes to step back and remember the things you've accomplished. So nice to see you visit today. Smiling.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on June 08, 2014:

This is what I call "living one's dream and making wonderful lasting memories". Awesome, Peg! I feel inspired to write my own story... :)

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 14, 2012:

Kelly my sweet, Thank you so much for this visit. I am honored to see you stop in and read one of my stories. You are a doll. Hope everyone is well at your house.

Love

Peg

kelly @kellynaturally on August 09, 2012:

Thanks so much for sharing this story Peggy. LOVE the photos!! :)

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on April 01, 2012:

Ingenious idea and very green Becky. I love ideas that reuse material and recycle products. I've never heard of using shipping containers to build a house. It doesn't have to be big as long as you're comfortable.

Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on March 31, 2012:

Wonderful story about building your house. I am planning on building one day but have to save up some money first. I was looking at building one with shipping containers. Four shipping containers, in a square with a sun room in half of the open middle and a garden in the other half. Won't be big rooms, but there are not many of us left to live in it.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on March 01, 2012:

Sleep well dear Rosemay. Sweet dreams. Hmm. That gives me an idea. (Patsy Kline) Sleep tight now.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on March 01, 2012:

Hello Lesley,

Thanks so much for your visit. It is a big decision for people who were raised in the city to move out this far from everything. We had no idea how quiet and wonderful it would be. That is probably one of the best parts, that and the lovely sky full of stars. And the sunrise. And the wildflowers. And the moon rise . . .

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on March 01, 2012:

Just came to have another read before I go to bed then I'll maybe have some sweet dreams on sunrise in the country. :)

Movie Master from United Kingdom on March 01, 2012:

Hi Peg, what a wonderful story! and what an achievement, so much hard toil in that texas sun:-)

It's a big decision to move to the country, we moved out to the sticks 4 years ago and it was the best thing we could have done, we love it here.

Your house is beautiful!

Thank you for the link to my hub, isn't it special to experience the sunrise and sunset every day from home!

Best wishes and voting up, Lesley

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on February 21, 2012:

Rosemay, hello! And thanks for the visit. You bring your tent and come on over. We've been out here for around 23 years now and the sunrise is just as beautiful as ever. I'm still surprised at my good fortune to be living here, everyday.

We have some new folks lately who like to play their loud bass music when they drive by. I wish they knew that there are several families with elderly people who nap during the day. But other than that, we are delighted that the open fields have been built up with neighbors who wanted large tracts and even horses. We took a huge chance about the development out here since it is an unincorporated area and no land restrictions.

So nice to see you here today and after reading your lovely hub with the music I decided to change out the videos today. See you for coffee?

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on February 21, 2012:

Such an inspirational hub peggy. You have me wanting to come and pitch a tent. Lol

I bet just a single sunrise made up for all those sore thumbs and aching muscles.

You are such a sweet lady to take lady into your home too. Room for all.

Beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing with us

I hope it doesn't get too built up and remains the peaceful haven that you set out to achieve.

Voting up

Gloria from France on January 30, 2012:

You try to stop me. Nice to have someone on board with the same sense of humour.

Take care.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 28, 2012:

Your choice but I have a great recipe for sangria if you'll share some with me.

Gloria from France on January 28, 2012:

OK wine or beer??

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 28, 2012:

Glo, bring your tent and some hot dog skewers. We'll have a cook out. I've got marshmallows. Good luck in selling your place and keep me posted. So glad to see you publishing more hubs.

I could have taken you up on the dog walking thing this week. Has been a non stop round of activity for us and they've been really patient with my absence.

Peg

Gloria from France on January 28, 2012:

Thanks for asking peg yes we are fine, thinking of downsizing now (it depends on when we sell)

Can we pitch a tent over their?? I'll walk the dogs.

Glo

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 28, 2012:

Hi sweet Gloshei, Thanks for coming by to visit me way out here in the country. I think we love it as much as the dogs! You know, houses are a constant battle to maintain but it is so worth it. Hope you are doing well. Peg

Gloria from France on January 23, 2012:

Great hub Peg what a fantastic house, you must be so proud. It was a lot of hard work though, and like you say it never stops. The dogs love it though.

Thanks for sharing.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 20, 2012:

Oh Dim, Constant rain can be so dreary. We first had 100 year floods where even the road into the park and the park restroom building was completely underwater. More recently and ongoing, we have the opposite where we are experiencing a major drought. I posted pics of cracks in the ground the width of my shoe.

Thank you for your visit and nice comments. I'll have to hop over to your neck of the woods to remind myself where you are. Peg

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 20, 2012:

WillStarr, I often wonder if any cowboys and Indians roamed across this patch of land. Or real pioneers with wagons. I love that country living, too. Everyday, I'm still surprised to be out here.

Dim Flaxenwick from Great Britain on January 20, 2012:

Oh What an amazing story of moving from the city..... to THIS!!!!! How wonderful.

I wish I felt the same about my own move to the countryside last year. I´m still waiting for it to stop raining. Kinda spoils the effect.

I am very happy for you, though and your house looks beautiful.

Well done.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on January 19, 2012:

What a fun Hub, and what a great place to live! Give me small town or country!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 18, 2012:

Hi Eddy,

So nice of you to drop by and comment. It's always good to see you and thanks for the up up and away votes!

Peg

Eiddwen from Wales on January 18, 2012:

What an amazing hub Peg;thank you so much for sharing. This one has to have that up up and away.

Take care and enjoy your day.

Eddy.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 18, 2012:

Hello Tebo, Thanks for the kind words. I can tell you're a dog lover. These three were the first group of many over the years. Shortly after this, we had four dogs and could have had many more if homes had not been found for some of the ones who came up to our door, lost and hungry. So nice to see you here and thanks so much for the visit.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 18, 2012:

Hello Lynda,

You are so right. "When the house is finished, the work is only beginning." Before the inside was complete, we were already replacing spindles on the front porch due to dry rot. We don't mow the entire property anymore and have sold the tractor. About twice a year we pay a neighbor to chop it down so that in the spring we'll get a nice crop of wildflowers. So many of our trees were lost during the years of drought that is ongoing even now. But we still enjoy a lovely view of the sunset. I've seen glimpses of your lovely garden and you have worked hard to keep that up and producing. Quite nice.

Thanks so much for your visit and comments. Peg

tebo from New Zealand on January 17, 2012:

It was great reading this wonderful story of building your own home out there in the country. The place looks great and it was lovely that you were able to adopt another dog. They all look lovely.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 17, 2012:

Alicia, Thanks for dropping in today. Nope, roughing it while building isn't for everyone. And it had its challenges. Looking back, there are a few things I would do differently, but overall, we're happy with the way things turned out. Especially for finding the dogs that came to us over the years. There were so many to love.

lmmartin from Alberta and Florida on January 17, 2012:

Wow, you guys are ambitious! What an incredible amount of work -- yet, what a satisfying project. I lived in the country for years and know that when the house is finished, the work is only beginning. Keeping up a big stretch of land is never-ending, which is why we now live on a small lot. After years of unending work, this feels good, so you might say Jim and I made the same journey as you, but in reverse.

A lovely hub which I really enjoyed reading. Lynda

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 16, 2012:

What a huge job you faced, Peg, but how satisfying it must be to live in the house now! It's wonderful to read about your efforts, but I don't know if I could do the same thing - it sounds like such a hard task! I love the photo of the three dogs together. They look like good companions.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 16, 2012:

Ooooh Maria, The emu factor is a story in itself. How I wish I had owned a video camera during one "round-up" where two lady cowgirls came out to wrangle the birds down for vaccinations. That was a hoot! Unfortunately, the market for these incredible birds was thwarted and prices plummeted to below their feed costs. You know, buy high, sell low, LOL. Lesson learned. As city folk, we weren't able to think of our birds, whom we'd named and grown to love, as livestock.

Thanks for the warm thoughts and kind words. This week will be monumental for us as things go forward. I'll let you know as we learn new information on the timing. Meanwhile, you take care my dear sista. So nice to see you today.

Love to you, Peg

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 16, 2012:

Hi James, You have worked hard and I can appreciate that you don't want to be encumbered with a huge mortgage. It is a great feeling to be ahead of the banking game by doing things yourself when possible without long term debt. Some jobs, like the concrete, are best contracted out as we found out with taping and bedding. That takes a certain skill level that is earned with years of practice.

I'm so glad to have inspired memories of the labor of love you've done and it sounds like a hub in the making. Cheers, SubRon, and thanks for sharing your story of sacrifice and hard work. It is inspiring. Peg

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on January 16, 2012:

Oh Sista,

We are forever being inspired from each other ... Mck inspired you and now you are making me dream of my own Eden ... to think of you with an emu (too cool!)

This is a 'smile maker' piece, giving us a wonderful glimpse of why you are such a beautiful lady, inside and out! I LOVE the picture of you feeding those doggies. I love this whole story and thank you for sharing.

Voted UP & ABI ... oh and FUNKY with the 'Loverboy'!

Thinking positively and peacefully for you and hubby. Hugs and love, Maria

James W. Nelson from eastern North Dakota on January 15, 2012:

Beautiful story, Peg. At age 55 I started a similar project in August 1999, beginning with an auction sale in my little town but the local newspaper forgot to advertise it. Consequently, for many, many, articles there was only one bidder, but still I made enough from miscellaneous household effects to pay my past due taxes, which left the money from the house, which got me going. By Thanksgiving (on 7 acres) I had a 24x60 slab and a tiny house 16x24 planted right in the middle. Now, 12 years later and additions on the north and south ends, I'm finally gettng drywall on the walls of the bathroom in the north unheated 2-story section of the house. No water or septic system yet and no siding, but then I'm paying by credit card. No mortguage, thank God. Other than the concrete there have been no contractors and the first four walls and roof were put up by friends and new neighbors, just like an old-fashioned barn-raisin'. With this project I really had to start learning things. When you mentioned drywall in your hub that's when I started remembering, so, thanks for the memories, Peg.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 15, 2012:

Hello there Mr. Mckbirdbks,

So glad you dropped in for a visit and thanks for being the inspiration to republish this story. Over the years we tried a number of different enterprises such as trying to grow pecan trees which the drought killed and even raising emu for a while.

I can barely imagine living in the suburbs again. We rarely hear an ambulance and when we do, we still run to the window to be sure it's not coming for Mom or a neighbor. The area has grown up now, fortunately with nice houses with acreage and horses rather than a landfill. Our dirt street is paved and is full of traffic; even boom boxes have made their way out to this once quiet paradise.

Mostly it's peaceful and quiet for homebodies like us. We've seen more beautiful sunrises and sunsets than ever before in our lives; truly the artwork of the Creator who allows us the privilege of living out here. Thank you, again, for your kind remarks and your comments that always lift my spirits.

Peg

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 15, 2012:

GmaGoldie, Thanks for your sweet comment and for stopping by today. True, determination is at the heart of it. You know that living in a construction zone is not easy but it turned out to be worth the hardship.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 15, 2012:

Well there is nothing small about your dreams of green acres. What a beautiful story. You have every right to beam with pride on such a great accomplishment. Other than enjoy the view what do you do with the ten acres? What a great example for all who stop by to visit your Eden.

Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on January 15, 2012:

Beautiful! And you puppies look great too. Oh, the hardship of home projects. Multiple jobs that require determination and as you say strong muscles. Great job - on the house and on the hub too!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 15, 2012:

Hello Cygnet, Thanks for dropping by. I didn't know about your house and am so sorry to hear that you couldn't keep it. That is awful. Times are certainly tough these days. Your story makes me even more grateful that we put in the "sweat equity" to keep our payment down. It has saved our home during a few layoffs and rough patches. Again, so sorry.

Your friend

Peg

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 15, 2012:

Hello Minnetonka friend, Naturally you would love the dogs! That's why I like you. So many dogs have come to us over the years out here. We actually enjoyed the "hard work" if that makes any sense. We were together laughing and having fun as well as working. We always took a lot of breaks. Thanks for dropping in today. Peg

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 15, 2012:

Hello Sunnie,

Thanks for dropping in to check out our construction zone of many years. Yes, we feel quite fortunate to have found the land so many years ago and have watched the price of acreage rise over time. We were not as lucky with our other house which was rented out to non-payers. But that's a story for another day. We did sacrifice in many ways, something we were willing to do to stay out of deep debt. It was five years before we got central heat and air conditioning. You know how hot it gets here in TX! I'll never forget the first time we turned on a light switch and the light came on! Thanks again for your nice visit and comments. Peg

Cygnet Brown from Springfield, Missouri on January 15, 2012:

Hi, Peg,

What an inspirational article!

We had built our own home too, but I wish we would have not paid so much out and put in more of our own sweat equity. Maybe we wouldn't have lost it if we would have built it as we could afford to build rather than having a mortgage. Well, you live and you learn.

Again, thanks for sharing!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 15, 2012:

Hello Scribenet, Thanks for being the first to comment on this story. It was so much fun going back through the pictures and reminiscing. I'm glad you stopped in to share it with me. The experience of shared labor and accomplishment was truly satisfying. When we were dog tired at the end of a weekend we would joke that we had to go back to our jobs just to get some rest! Thanks again for your visit.

Peg

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on January 14, 2012:

I just loved reading your story of going from the burbs to the country. Such hard work but it's worth it when you want something so bad. I love the pictures too and those dogs you took in, really touched me.

Sunnie Day on January 14, 2012:

Hi Peg, What a great story and so happy your dream came true. I bet you look back and are so happy you made the sacrifices you did. We have tossed the idea up so many time to buy land. We have an acre. Land prices keep going up and sold so quickly here. You were smart to buy when you did. Beautiful in everyway. Thanks for sharing,

Sunnie

Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on January 14, 2012:

Peggy, What a great story, building your own place, bit by bit! That is where true satisfaction lies! I bet no matter how hard you worked, you never resented one second. A house bulit with love! Thanks for sharing!

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