Category Archives: Moving In

#3 Too Many Workmen At The Same Time

By Lynnie

Yesterday was quite a day at the Homestead. OK it was mostly my fault with aggressive scheduling of service men but not entirely. I will explain.

The office, well actually the entire upper floor of the main house, is not cooling effectively. We can almost never get the temperature below 80 degrees despite running the ac the entire day. This really doesn’t work for me as the office is on this level and in the middle of the inferno.

We have been here two months now and in that time, we’ve had five ac service calls with two different companies. Both came to the same conclusion, replace the zoning board. We tried to run this through our home warranty company. We failed on two counts. They pleasantly placed the service order and said that they would notify their service provider immediately. I followed up the order call with a call to the local service provider. Left a message. More than two weeks later, we are still waiting for that service provider to return our call. After placing the call, I read the policy and found that zone issues are not covered anyway, so we moved on.

Biting the bullet, we picked one of the two companies to replace our zone board. The errors being thrown by the zone board went away when the new board was installed, but not the 80 plus degree upper floor of the house. Still had that problem. Ellys wanted to remove the duct work to the upper sun porch because if was both ineffective and unattractive. This was an ah-ha moment for me as I realized that the sun porch vent and thermostat could be moved into the office area quite easily. That work was scheduled for yesterday afternoon. One big truck in the driveway.

We’ve had two men, angels really, working virtually full time on some projects since taking residence. We call them our two guys and they arrived as usual to start their day around 8 AM. One Jeep, one pickup truck and two work trailers, also in the main and adjacent driveways.

When we took possession of the house, part of the lower level and the staircase were covered with very good quality green carpet that was quite animal distressed and at the end of its life expectancy. We pulled the carpet from the guest bedroom, the library and our ante-room (large hall at bottom of stairs) along with the pad and my favorite (not) deconstruction item, the carpet tack bars. After some cleaning and crack sealing, our guys applied a couple of coats of epoxy paint added some baseboard molding and green carpet was no more.

Except on the stairs. About ten days ago we headed to the local home improvement store and after only two visits made our carpet choice. Yesterday, the install was scheduled between 1 and 3 PM. Not so smart on my part because we are now adding a carpet van to the mix of vehicles in the driveway.

The ac service men arrived and were about ½ way through the project when the carpet installer arrived. Oops, he really wanted to be right in front of the sidewalk to the house and that spot was not accessible because the ac truck blocked the access. The ac guys were “almost through”, so the carpet installer said he would remove the old carpet from the stairs and do what he could while waiting for his preferred parking spot. He was a good sport.

About this time, a freight delivery truck called from Lofty View. He was at the driveway and wondered If there would be room to turn around. So, how big is your truck? 28 feet. Well, I think, no problem. I’ve turned a 27 footer around and I am by no means a pro. Well, I did knock down a fence post, but I digress. Turns out to be a problem. My 27 footer was two axels, his 28 footer is three. Now let me say when he called, he already was at a point of no return. Only two driveway above us and neither provide a better turning opportunity than we have and both have locking gates at the road.

It took the freight truck the best part of an hour to get turned around and he would not drop our freight off until he did. After the drop off, I see the freight truck sitting in the driveway. Apparently his employer clocks his breaks and he can’t roll for 8 more minutes.

But then like a beautifully choreographed dance, the freight truck’s lunch break ends and he clears out of the driveway. The AC guys are a wrap and cold air is BLASTING into the office. The carpet guy is happy and gets to back up to the sidewalk.

End of day: new carpet on the stairs, a big ac vent in the wall and a pile of freight for our project. A sigh of relief.

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#2 Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

By Ellys

We arrived, to take possession of the Lofty View property on 7-28-15. Bumping along on the dirt road up to our driveway, I felt a deep gratitude this part of the trip was only the last 4/10 of a mile!

The place was quiet and smelled of oak trees and pine. We smiled at each other and headed across the front entry deck to our double front door.

f7641bfa-5d50-4f1f-9178-73e4693ceac6A note was attached to it. Maybe the previous owners had left a message of welcome, we thought. That could not have been further from the truth. The message was curt and precise. It was a FAILED inspection notice from the county building inspector! Unbeknownst to us, the permit for some replaced siding had never been signed off on…

The next day, while having our coffee, loud popping sounds came from the front deck. When we investigated, we found that the TV dish, attached on the railing, was pulling the deck apart.

2ae866f0-578d-4be9-8d1d-af30c3d0a8e6Having seen a 4x4x8 near the garage, we wedged it in to prop up the deck          (and the only way into the front door).

That afternoon, our neighbor, Kim from up the hill came by to introduce herself. With her was Steve- the guy who does odd jobs for her. What perfect timing! We showed him the deck and got his business card.

A couple days later, Kim showed up with a Home Depot bucket. Inside was a rattlesnake she had just caught. But, hey, no worries, she said—it’s just a baby! And see all that low growing rosemary next to the pool—rattlers love hiding in that! Oh, and did you know a mountain lion got one of the previous owners goats? 

On her way out she pointed to the ridge across from us and said, ‘ya see that brown place over there? There was a fire last week. Got pretty scary around here!’ About now, I’m thinking, what the f**k are we doing here!

Over the next two weeks, we battled with the owner’s Realtor, the installers and the county, but finally got the siding job done right and the building inspector to sign off on it. We hired three guys to take out all the low bushes where snakes could hide, while also cutting back the oaks from over the roof and weed eating the dead grass around the house.

Steve came by and reinforced the deck, and agreed to do some big jobs around here. We are so blessed to have him. He is a Jack-Of-All-Trades and a master of them ALL. Along with his buddy, Jimmy, they are an unstoppable team!

turkeysGradually, we have become more comfortable about going outside. *grin* The only wild life we have seen are deer, peacocks (though Steve takes delight in showing us the bears and bobcats and cougars his trail cam captures) and turkeys. I have been told turkeys keep the rattlesnakes away! Won’t be eating any of these guys for thanksgiving! Oh, we’ve also seen a few of Kim’s 40 cats.

Here are a few other things NOT revealed on the legally required, disclosure documents. (Okay, I just need to get it out of my system, so thanks for bearing with the rant!)

af234d2e-0b9e-4946-8ad1-d50ae52c3f64The pole that carried the main electrical line into the property was rotted off at ground level. Since it was attached to the pump house, it had started to pull the small building over, requiring a new pole and a complete redo of the pump house. Isn’t it cute?

c284d9f2-194d-4670-adde-0909f7043d9dThings like the irrigation system, the yard lighting, the pool controls, the garage door opener, the 220 in the garage, did not work.

The other day, we asked Steve to fix an outlet in the kitchen and when he removed the plate, there was no wire or even a box behind the ‘outlet’. What he did find was a wall full of vacuum dust, lint and cat litter from the whole house vacuum! Apparently, the tubing in the wall was broken.We hadn’t used it and proceeded to remove the big thing hanging down stairs.

The previous owner and their Realtor seemed to think there was no need to be truthful when completing the disclosure docs–and though we could pursue this legally, it would be far more trouble than it would be worth. This has created enough stress and anxiety. We are not willing to give it anymore time!

Instead, we will be celebrating the fall equinox and we plan to ‘smudge away’ all the negative stuff left behind and move forward with creating peace, joy and love here at Lofty View Homestead!

And so it is!

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#1 WELCOME TO THE LOFTY VIEW HOMESTEAD BLOG–Finally!!

By Ellys

So, here we are at Lofty View Homestead! I had hoped to keep a running account of the adventure that began in January, 2015, but OMG, the moment THE ADVENTURE BEGAN, it picked us up and carried us along on a wave of non-stop crazy and only now have I been able to breathe long enough to write anything down. And given the fires all up in these hills right now, breathing is not that easy to do!! We are not in the fire zone, thank goodness, but our hearts go out to those who are!! Thankfully, fire containment is increasing each day.

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Let me go back and give you a bit of the history that brought us to Lofty View Homestead.

Sometimes, life unfolds in such a way to shift one’s direction completely. The well-thought-out plan morphs and the road that once seemed so very clear, reveals dips and curves –dead ends and washouts. Sure, we could ‘push the river’ and ignore the warnings. (Did you notice my segue into the river metaphor?) We could insist that ‘it’s still a good plan’ and continue driving through the rising flood while becoming more and more anxious and at risk of drowning; or we could pull over and regroup.

When this became our reality, we asked ourselves why we were living in one of the most expensive places in California. Ellys had retired and Lynnie continued to be self-employed and able to work from pretty much anywhere. Our conclusion: as much as we loved Sonoma County and the lovely folk we had come to know and care about, we did not need to continue to live there, particularly when there are so many other beautiful places where we can live and thrive.

This shift in paradigm required a plan that would create greater financial security and sustainability. A smaller house, on more land, in an area where property is more affordable would be ideal. Our initial exploration included the coastal area of Fort Bragg and the rich farmlands of Lake County. Finally, we settled on the foothills of the Gold County where 10+ acres, with a big house, and a pool and two barns cost $440,000, rather than the $1.5 million price tag of a comparable Sonoma County property. The decision was made!

After weeks of packing and pairing down, our home in Santa Rosa was ready to go on the market. We had high hopes, given it was a ‘seller’s market’. After months of disappointment and a grueling experience with realtors, we finally sold that property, making the way clear to buy our next home. Though we flirted with Amador County, we focused our search in El Dorado County, near Placerville, a charming gold county town and primary ‘urban’ area of the county.

Our must-have list included a decent internet connection (a challenge in the foothills) for Lynnie’s work, enough usable land for our garden, privacy without isolation and preferably a second unit, (so that maybe we could convince our kids to join us!) As the search continued, JP and Dusty, did agree to join the adventure and the idea of the Homestead was born.

We kissed several frogs, as Lynnie put it, before finding our new home, but it was worth the time and stress and fights and exhaustion and numerous trips from Santa Rosa to the foothills, to find it. Been here for almost two months now and Holy Moly what an challenge it has been…More about that part of the adventure to come!!

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