Schmidt Homestead

Our new home in Woodburn, IL

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Living at the Homestead

We still owned our house in St. Louis, so we spent most weekends at the Homestead working and cleaning it up. In the early days we lived in our popup camper, first set up in the front yard, and later (as winter neared) inside the barn. We renovated the bathroom and kitchen sink in the old house enough to use them. It was still pretty gross, and the house became known as the "shower house," because that was about the only reason for us to use it.

Our original plan consisted of building a horse barn and converting half of it into an apartment that we could live in for a couple of years while we demolished the old house and built a new one in its place. In November, that plan was revised to consist of buying a used single wide trailer to live in until the new house was built.

We discovered that it was surprisingly difficult to find a single wide in decent condition at a reasonable price. We eventually located one in Springfield, IL. By the time we had worked out the finances and signed on the dotted line, it was March, and the last good freeze of winter had just ended. The ground was thawing out and everything was a muddy mess. Unfortunately for us, the trailer had to move about 400' across our front yard to reach it's resting place, and the more the temperature rose, the more difficult that became.

It took about a month for the weather to cooperate enough that we could finally move the trailer. Even so, it took over five hours to get it across the yard on planks, and several of the service trucks had to be pulled out of the mud.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Working at the Homestead

The day after we closed on the property, we bought a 2001 New Holland TC 33 DA compact tractor with a bucket and belly mower. We have since acquired a blade, a brush hog, teeth for the bucket, a plow, a box blade, and most recently a tiller. The tractor has been invaluable for hauling, grubbing, digging and grading.

Friday, August 18, 2006

New Property

We bought 4.8 acres in Woodburn, IL in August 2006. The "Homestead" as it's come to be known had an old house (circa 1906), a 32' x 60' pole barn, and a number of other outbuildings in poor condition. The house was not livable and will be donated to the local volunteer fire department for training and demolition.

The pole barn is in good condition and will be used for our woodworking and machine shop. The barn and garage were full of stuff from the previous owner, who was a little old lady who came to Woodburn in 1976 with her husband in an old school bus full of their belongings. What's left of the school bus remains in the front yard covered in overgrowth.

A large portion of the property (everything around the house, barn and outbuildings) was heavily overgrown when we purchased it. We spent many weekends clearing and burning brush and small trees.

As-bought Pictures