Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Storm and melt water management

We were at the farm this past weekend. If you follow the white fence on the right - see the part that is partially fallen down? It is now totally down. Grant County received 2" of rain in one hour and we had a pretty severe water backup. You can see across the driveway from the part of the fence that is falling down there is a culvert. It is too small, partially crushed on both sides and leads to water backup. The water collects on the right into a big pond which flows over the driveway and then has lots of momentum and force. It isn't in this picture but there was a footbridge over this seasonal creek further to the left. The planks were rotten and we were planning on taking it down anyway - it washed away it is further down the creek near the house.

It was great to see because we need to engineer our way out of this. We also had water flow down the hill behind the house. The grass near the house is all flattened and there was silt at the front door. Water in the cellar too. Bad sign. We are actually rethinking our original plans for the house - as much as I hate to admit it. We are considering turning the house into a garage/summer kitchen/art studio (upstairs) and building a new house connected to the old house (which will now be the garage) by a breezeway.

I have been struggling with this. Bill and I always rehab old buildings. We had done three of them to date - and this one was supposed to be our grande finale! I have been dreaming of rehabbing an old farmhouse for years and giving new life, energy efficiency and another 100 years to an old house.

However, by building new... we could build a small 2 bedroom home that could perhaps be passive solar. Lots to consider.


Barb said...

It is a hard decision. It's not like you'd be tearing the old house down though. A small home would be easier to heat...we always make a list of pros & cons :-)

angie said...

Thanks Barb for the suggestion. We will do that.

Jena said...

I can see both sides of it too. At least you have some time to think about it!
My Mom build a new house about 6 years ago. It is very nice and roomy and energy efficient. Now she is planning a move to be closer to us. This time she wants a small, cozy house that is OLD and has a lot of character.
When we bought our farm we planned to live in the house for 10 years or so and then build a new house on the property. Now that we have put so much time in to the house and can see the beautiful woodwork I just can't imagine tearing this house down. We've now decided to invest a good bit of money in to new wiring throughout and new insulation. We're even planning an addition for years down the line.
This really worked for us but our house already had new siding, roof, and windows 10 years before we bought it. It has a lot of good interior features as well. Plus, this farm has been in my husband's family for over 100 years and we suspect at least part of this house has been here the whole time. If your house doesn't have as many good features to offer and no emotional attachment it might be easier to convert it to something else.

Sorry so long - this topic is close to my heart! :)

angie said...

Hi Jena,

Thanks for the comment. That is how I feel. The farmhouse hasn't been in my family for 100 years - that would make the decision easy - no way!! It is hard to balance historic preservation with energy efficiency and healthy homes. This is going to be the our forever home so we need to really put some thought into it!

I appreciate your comments very much.