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Clearing Land | Part 1

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Man talking about job, in front of a forest line.

Welcome to Marshall Remodel, where we share our journey of constructing our very own dream home on 30 acres of land in Madison County, Iowa. Today, we're diving into the process of clearing land, the setbacks we've faced, and how we've strategized to make the most of every opportunity.

The begging of a driveway, with a trailer in the grass.

A Dream in the Making: My wife and I embarked on the adventure when we decided to build our home from scratch. The excitement of creating a space that truly reflects our vision and values was irresistible. So, we took the plunge and purchased this beautiful 30-acre canvas, laying the foundation for our future together.

For our home, we opted for a Post Frame style, close to the popular Barndominium style, which combines the two. But before we could dive into construction, we had to address a crucial initial step: land clearance.

Unfortunately, our land-clearing journey hasn't been all easy. The past week and a half has seen relentless rain, forcing me to stop my work temporarily. However, where there's a will, there's a way, and I was determined to make the most of any window of opportunity.

Eventually, I managed to deploy my small excavator, equipped with a brush remover attachment. You might be wondering why I opted for a smaller machine. The

answer lies in our pre-planned budget. My wife and I made a conscious decision to cut costs where feasible, and this was one of those areas. The smaller excavator may take a bit longer, but it gets the job done efficiently.

Maximizing Rental Efficiency: One of the advantages of renting equipment like the excavator the way I did is that you can make the most of your rental period. Typically, when you rent for a day, you get a fixed 24-hour window. However, if you put in more hours within that time frame, it doesn't add additional costs. This allowed me to use the equipment for as long as necessary, all for a reasonable price under $500.

A pile of brush, as an excavator is pushing it into a larger pile.

Another way I saved on costs was by taking on the challenge of hauling the cleared brush myself. It was undoubtedly physically demanding work, but the sense of accomplishment and the money saved made it worthwhile.

The Results: Today, I managed to clear approximately five to six acres of land,

with pesky scrub trees and a few larger trees with approximately eighteen-inch diameters. The recent rain slowed me down, especially when dealing with the larger trees, but the small attachment still proved its worth.

Land after it has been cleared from the brush.

Once cleared, I organized the brush into piles, preparing for a controlled burn when the weather conditions are right. My to-do list also includes several hours of grading to prepare the house site and finish the driveway, which is currently in progress. The steep entrance to the property has become a challenge, which was made muddy by the recent rains. However, we're eagerly awaiting the arrival of base rock so we can finish the driveway to allow for trucks to make it up.

As our home-building journey unfolds, I invite you to accompany us through every twist and turn. We'll share our successes and our setbacks, offer insights into the tools we use, and provide valuable advice on what's worth the investment and what isn't. Whether you're a seasoned builder or a novice embarking on your first project, we hope our experiences will be both challenging and inspiring.

Thank you for joining us on this leg of the MAD county build series. If you have any questions or if there's anything specific you'd like to know about our journey, feel free to reach out. We're here to share our knowledge and build a supportive community.

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to shape our dream home

Thank you,

Mr Post Frame

Mr and Mrs Post Frame

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Interested in tackling your build on your own? If you want to explore the possibility of being your GC or self-building, our Patreon membership is for you! It's a community of like-minded people offering support, discounts, Q/A, and more.

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