Monthly Archives: March 2013

goodbye old shed!

The old shed had remained locked until a few days prior to closing on the property so we didn’t actually get to see the inside until after the purchase.  We had high hopes of being able to use it to store all of our toys but realized, once we saw the inside, that it was badly in need of repair.  Dave decided that it would be better to replace it with a newer, sturdier and somewhat larger structure because, you know, we will need a lot of toys in order to fully enjoy our new place.  I have to admit that I was very sad at the thought of tearing it down because it seemed to me to be a part of the history of the lake.  However, I understood his point and agreed to the idea.  In addition, beside the old shed, there was another structure that no one has been able to figure out the purpose of … we went ahead and had that torn down and hauled away as well.

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our resident bald eagle

We took Dave’s parents to see the property the weekend after we closed and as we walked up to the lake, a bald eagle dove down, not more than 100 feet in front of us, talons out stretched as he grabbed a fish out of the water and flew off.  The timing couldn’t have been any more perfect!  Sadly, my photo journalism skills are not what they should be but I was able to snap one photo as it flew away….

Our resident Bald Eagle

Our resident Bald Eagle

We were told that there are three of them living on the lake and that if you put fish out on your dock, they will swoop down and grab them.  Can’t wait to try this, but first we have to build our dock!

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step two: soil evaluation

Dave made arrangements for me to meet with an environmental engineer from Madison Environmental, on site, to figure out what type of septic system might be required and where it could be placed on the property.  I drove down on another cold drizzly day and spent three hours with my new BFF, Theresa King, (we’re finding that everyone in Dinwiddie fits this bill!), as she took core sample from different locations on the property and explained to me what she was looking for.  With each sample she had to dig down into the soil and compare the color and consistency of the soil with color samples from a book she had with her (who knew there were so many different color matches for dirt!), hoping to be able to dig at least 24” to 36″ before hitting the water table.  The soil becomes increasingly more pale in color as you get  closer to the water table, in case you were wondering, and you need at least that amount of clearance for your system so as not to contaminate your water supply.  After doing four separate core samples, she concluded that the initial finding by the county was not entirely correct and she was sure that we could, in fact, accomodate a conventional septic system on the property.  Good news for us as it will save us about $5000 if the county agrees with her findings!

The results, should anyone be interested in checking them out:

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the flood

Despite the dreary weather, after we had filed the paperwork for the perc test, we decided to drive by and look at the property.  When we reached the turn off to Colemans Lake Rd, we were surprised to see that it was closed due to flooding.  Undeterred, we drove around the sign and somehow were still completely unprepared for what we saw when we approached the lake…

To truly appreciate the experience, check out the video. The sound of the rushing water was amazing!  Be warned, Dave drops the ‘f‘ bomb…bad Dave.

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perc results

It took about a month but we finally received the good news!  Although the initial perc results indicated that the property wouldn’t support a conventional underground septic system, it would at least support an unconventional system.  Hooray!  Next step…hire a soil engineer to retest the soil and draw up plans for the placement of the septic system and well.

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applying for the perc test

One of the first things to consider, if you plan to build on property that is not connected to a city or county sewage system, is whether or not your property will perc.  We had many people ask us what on earth that means, which is exactly what I asked when we first started looking for property.  My only prior reference to the word had to do with visits to my grandparents house, waking up to the aromatic smell and sound of coffee brewing in their old coffee percolator.  (A very fond memory I might add!) But no, completely unrelated…If you have no local sewage system to connect to, you will be needing to put in a well and a septic system.  As stated in  everyone’s favorite web source, Wikipedia, “A percolation test (from percolation, colloquially called a perc test) is a test to determine the absorption rate of soil for a septic drain field or ‘leach field’.”    Assuring that we would be able to put in a septic system was a must before we would sign the final contract for the property, so a lot was riding on our perc test.

The first thing we had to do was go down to the Dinwiddie County Building Department, located in the Administrative building, to pay a zoning fee in order to apply for the construction permit that would allow us to put in the necessary systems should the land actually perc.  Dave took the day off and we drove down together.  We found the Administrative building easily…all of the government offices are located in one area off of Boydton Plank Rd.  We walked into the building and, as we were looking around for the building department, a young man dressed in a suit walked up and asked us if we needed help.  We explained what we were there for and he introduced himself as the County Administrator, shaking each of our hands in turn…. just as friendly and willing to help us out as one would have expected walking into the Mayberry Administrative office on the Andy Griffith show.  He happily walked us over to the appropriate office (which we never would have found on our own) and introduced us to the two men chatting in the room.  One happened to be the local fire chief, who also shook each of our hands and proceeded to ask where our property was (yes, he knew the land in question) what we were planning to build, where we were from, etc. and welcomed us to Dinwiddie as prospective new residents.  May I just say, that dealings with any type of government office employees prior to this, in no way prepared either of us for such a friendly encounter.

After chatting for awhile with our new BFFs, we filled out the necessary paperwork, wrote our $50 check and headed over to the Health Department next door to apply for the construction permit.  However, as we approached the Health Department, we realized that it was empty and figured that in all likelyhood it had been moved to the giant trailer located just beyond, despite the fact that there were no signs to tell us this.  We took a shot and entered one of the unmarked doors of the trailer and found ourselves in the midst of the WIC waiting room with several young mothers and their infants. I myself would have just turned around and walked out, but fortunately, Dave had the sense to at least ask if we were in the right place, as it turns out that we were.  Here we dropped off the necessary paperwork, which included a drawing of the property with the proposed homesite, septic and well sites marked, paid another $750 and were told that we would recieve a letter from the County as soon as they had the results from the perc test.  This was back in January and the weather was rather nasty and rainy…I’m pretty sure it had been raining or snowing for forty days and forty nights at this point so figured it would be weeks before anyone would make in out to the property to do the test.

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sunday, march 10

Since the day was so beautiful and we had an extra hour of daylight, thanks to the time change, we decided to shoot down to the property for a couple of hours in the afternoon so that Max could test out his new dirt bike.  Up to this point he’s only been able to ride it up and down the drive way, which is really only fun the first day or so.

Max on his new dirt bike

After doing several laps in the open area, he had the bright idea that he would ride up the hill in the front of the property along the old road. We watched him reach the top of the hill, turn the bike around and pause.  He had realized at that point that he now had to go down the hill and wasn’t too sure how that was going to go.  He did finally work up the courage to slowly ride back down saying, “I didn’t think that one through!”  After that he decided to stay on flat ground!

Dave's first cast on the lake

Dave had brought his fishing rod along and threw a few casts in the lake while I climbed up the rock face to the highest point of the property to check out the beautiful view. (Henceforth known as Waffles Ridge because all things awesome must relate to our cool hound, Waffles.) Dave soon joined me.  Max had tired of riding the dirt bike at this point and joined us for a few minutes before retiring to the van to play his iPad.  He’s such the outdoorsman.

Check out the view from Waffles Ridge:

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the property (ford, va)

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our new blog!

stay tuned for updates, photos and videos of our new property in ford, va.

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