leveling the ground 

We bought the farm in August of 2000. Within a few months after that we put down the funds to purchase the greenhouse kit and parts started coming in – not all at once but in multitudes of truckloads.

Over the course of about 5 months we received truckload, after truckload, after truckload of materials. Boxes, pipes, and crates, all sizes and shapes. We would have to take off work to check the shipments because, without fail, there would be damages. I don’t remember a single load that didn’t have something bent, twisted or broken and had to be returned. We knew that we had no clue how to put this thing together, so the last thing we wanted to have to fight with was damaged goods.

We were also very aware of what we spent for all this – so it better be brand new, undamaged stuff. The quote we were given for our kit stated that it “included shipping costs”, so a bit of a war started. Since we refused to accept the damaged goods and sent them back, new materials would have to be shipped. This incurred additional shipping costs. The company then wanted us to cough up about an extra three grand in shipping, to which we refused! We were guaranteed a quote, we paid in full up front, and we did not damage the materials! The battle was on.

The new materials were always sent, but now they were also sending us billing statements spouting “amount due”, which we promptly returned with “paid in full” written on it. The next year was 2001. Our battle still went on with the company over the shipping charges, but in the fall of that year a major US battle was fought – 9/11. During the course of that year we also had major setbacks.

My daughter learned to drive, was turning into our driveway and a man (with out a drivers license-too many DUI’s, and no insurance) crossed over a double yellow line and barreled into the driver’s side of the car. His van was hardly hurt, my daughter was shook up but ok since she was not moving very fast but the van was moving fast enough to total the car. The age of the car meant total loss as far as the insurance was concerned, but no funds for a new one.

Then we got a call from our father’s brother in Nevada, he was dying. He had no wife or kids, but we loved him and agreed to be his executors. He needed us to be in Reno as soon as possible. This was a Wednesday in early August 2001. We packed up the SUV, took emergency medical leave from our jobs and drove to Reno Nevada. A little over half way there, the SUV started breaking down. It was not that old, had been taken very good care of, but just couldn’t stand the strain of a long distance trip anymore. We managed to barely get into Reno and it died. We got to the hospital late on Thursday and he died Friday morning. We spent almost a month there handling his affairs. It’s funny how much you DON’T know about a person until they die. This was just one of a number of bad unexpected things that happened that year. So between the problems with normal life, and problems with the greenhouse company – our greenhouse stayed packed away (I told Darcy not to unpack anything incase we get mad enough at the company over the extra charges to tell them to just take it all back! Yes, we have very Irish/German tempers and were all set to do just that if they didn’t knock it off!).

Within that year we finally got it through to the company that we were not going to pay for any extra shipping charges – per our contract agreement, and they stopped sending them. The unfortunate circumstances though, now left us with all the greenhouse parts and materials but no time or funds to put it up. So it all stayed in boxes, crates and the large metal frame sat on pallets our in our fields. It was to remain this way for the next 10 years. 2011, as fate would have it, turned out to be our year to finally get working on construction of the greenhouse. Our timing, once again, was impeccable!

Pick the worst economy in over 50 years, oh, and make sure you are also in the highest unemployment rate period in the same time span. Then make sure that the job prospects are few and far between. Once you have all that in place – start a new chapter in your life – BRILLLIANT STRATEGY! Really?

framing materials center left

The original thought was to not leave my job until June – that became March. Then get a small loan to help with construction costs – that became my life savings. Have the whole thing up, running and producing sales by September – that is still in process.

My job had been slowly killing me for the last few years. What started out, as something to be proud of –helping people find safe, decent housing at a reasonable price – became a mental and emotional nightmare! I was not sleeping, hadn’t for over 24 months now. I was not eating right, blood pressure was elevated, weight was going up then down, and it was pure torture to get out of bed to go to work. I just didn’t want to deal with the lies and lines anymore. Sympathy only goes so far once you see the ugly side of people, and I saw way too much of it.

The amount of energy a person will put into creating a lie just to get free government assistance astounds me! If they would put just half of that energy into something constructive, imagine what a great place the U.S. could be again! I just couldn’t live with it all anymore and my health was proof of that. So instead of leaving in June, I moved it up to March – no job should be worth your life! (Unless you unfortunately are in the military – and that is a sad truth! I have lost a number of loved ones that way – would love to see a day when all that ends!).

So I quit under hazardous conditions – scared to death to do it, but it was either the job or my life – kinda wanted to see my grandsons grow up a bit!

Then the bank wanted us to split our already small property to allow the greenhouse its own space – just incase we fail – nice huh!?! They were already looking at this project as a failure! (And the world wonders why people don’t trust banks anymore?) We have less than 20 acres as is, and this was to be our retirement – not some strangers if it fell through! The one thing we knew from the beginning was that even if this idea didn’t work, we would have a great winter hot tub house, or winter chicken run. Whichever direction it took wouldn’t matter – it would still be ours!

So we turned down the bank and decided to pull out my life savings retirement fund. Another unexpected twist. The process to pull out “my” funds was agonizing! It took over 2 months to complete the request and the penalties were ugly – but in late May we finally got it! Well, it soon became June 1, 2011 – I had no job, no job prospects, barely enough funds to start construction, and we agreed to have one of our best friends (he has a great background in electronics, construction, farming, and thinking outside the box) partner with us on the project so we could build it ourselves instead of hiring a construction company – look out September, here we come! What were we thinking – really?

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