Despite our best laid plans for building our dream home on our dream land, we ended up having to deal with an unstable home site.
2019 was a blur and a beast of a year for the plans we thought we had.
We began excavation of the house site/basement area at the beginning of September and had planned to be 3-4 months into the building of our home and working on numerous new home projects at this point in the new year.
However, during the excavation of our home site we found multiple layers of a thin clay which when combined with groundwater can cause hillside slips.
With some trepidation, we removed tons of clay in hopes of finding clean dirt.
Clean dirt was not in the cards as we continued to encounter layer after layer of the “gray” clay.
Finally, after removing nearly 100 tons of dirt, our basement excavation began to backfill will groundwater.
Needless to say, the groundwater was the final “straw that broke the camel’s back” and we decided to abandon the site.
Family Comes to the Rescue
After some stressful weeks, by the grace of God and our family members, we secured two additional acres which would allow us to build on a new home site above the clay and groundwater level on the mountain.
The new site will be approximately 100-150 yards above the old site and get us above a layer of thick rock which forms a series of rocky cliffs along the ridge line.
Getting a decent driveway would be the first order of business.
Additionally, the new site would require the removal/leveling of a small hilltop or a portion of it.
Our property boundary ran along the top of this ridge line, thus the need for our family members’ support in acquiring two additional acres along our adjoining boundary fence.
New Reality = New Costs
By October, we had abandoned the old site and began to clear the driveway to get equipment into the new site.
We would need to level a portion of the hill to a point where we had approximately 120’x120’ of area for the home and parking area. We worked hard to keep as much of the existing driveway as possible, but nearly 300 yards or 2 tenths of a mile would need to be changed/built to access the new location.
Finding a good way over the rocky cliffs was the most challenging piece of the new driveway build, but the base would be solid with as much rock as we would have to go through.
In a long two-day period, I punched a road into the new site which gave us immediate access. The final driveway would take more time.
We had to rent another dozer and a track loader to move the dirt from the hilltop excavation.
Based on the rough calculations we would have to remove nearly 30 vertical feet of hilltop and find a place for the dirt to go.
Not All Bad News
While the new site would set us back 3-4 months and require additional funds, the view and location will be awesome.
With nearly a 360-degree view and at an altitude to allows us to see over nearby ridges – it will be a joy once completed.
Also, the old site will be used for a new wildlife pond and management location as nearly a full acre is cleared in the middle of the forest. With some work, it should provide our deer, turkey, bear and native songbirds a place to find food and shelter.
If my hillside water features work out, we may even get some occasional wood ducks visiting.
The old house site will be a whole other project and we will cover it here on Our Land and Home.