Construction Begins

The large appropriation from Carver County not only completed our Capital Fund Drive but also gave us $355,000 to use toward the development of the farm. In short, we had two pots of money. One was designated for the farmhouse and the other for other development needs on the farm. On the surface, that sounds like an awful lot of money, but it pales when you start breaking down the costs associated with the various needs. It also became clear immediately that since we had been so visible with the drive, inflated bids and overly aggressive contractors were the results.

Anyone who has tried to hire skilled construction labor in 2021 and 2022 has experienced trouble finding skilled labor to do the work.  I was asked repeatedly if it is hard for us to find the workers we need.  Our project is a unique one.  I found that professionals were very receptive to working with us, especially once they learned we were working with Miller Dunwiddie and had the construction drawings in hand.  The literal excitement to work on the project became even more obvious when they learned all cash was in hand- no grants were involved.

After talking to several general contractors, we decided to hire Miller Dunwiddie to work with me to oversee the work on the farmhouse.  A very important part, maybe the most important part, of the project was to document all the layers of change in the house.  We did not want to bring someone in who would just demo, without saving all the layers of wallpaper and take photos along the way.  Enter Professional Construction Services. Believe it or not, they are from Kansas and were hired to demo the porches and remove all the modern material in the house.

The demo part of the house was completed very slowly.  I spend many hours in the house each day of the demo making sure samples were saved and photos were taken.  We found many surprises, all of them good.  The house was in great shape.  You can view the photos of the demo by clicking on this link. The link will take you to the photos taken by Professional Construction Services.

In the next blog, discover the secrets of the house and the messages left 140+ years ago. Talk about a time capsule!  Yes, I will include more photos. 🙂

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