Our first year in Arkansas
January 18, 2024

Our first year in Arkansas.

Our dream was to leave the daily work grind and retire to a few acres we could develop and call our own.

We moved into the Ozark Mountains on undeveloped property late 2022. Our first year has been challenging. We are living in a 31’ – 5th wheel while we develop our property, build out a shop and start our house.

Our house pad and road were completed in February 2022, we decided to drive out in May to see it and discovered that the road was completely washed out and had to be rebuilt. Since rain is an ‘act of nature’ we had no recompense except to pay to rebuild the road, (with advance knowledge of the community or contractor, perhaps we could have chosen someone who could build it right initially). The rebuild was completed later that summer.


We began our move from Nevada to Arkansas in August. By September, we had our 5th wheel in place and a 20’ trailer with much of our belongings on the property. The furniture and large items went to a storage unit in a nearby city. October and November of 2022 were wet months and we had to deal with wet red clay every step we took.  We spent those first two months shoveling rock and making paths to avoid walking in the mud. We purchased a tractor in December and continued to move another 100 yards of road base. We continue to add rock to the property in areas such as our garden. Red clay is to say the least, a nightmare and not beneficial for much unless maybe you want to try your hand at pottery.


December 2022 brought an arctic freeze across the United States and everything, including the refrigerator in the trailer froze. We thawed out sometime after Christmas. The inverter in the 5th wheel decided to die a slow death and we were supplementing our energy needs with a generator and a Buddy propane heater. We were running electric through a 200’ extension cord to the power pole, because we weren’t here when the power company placed the pole in a location chosen by our neighbors.  We had no running water and no sewer system.  Our heating system is propane, having 2–7-gallon tanks we had to take them into town weekly to fill.

Every day we would get up early, go to the local Walmart to use their bathroom and fill our water jugs. The 5th wheel has water- and holding tanks so we could shower and wash dishes, etc. as long as we were filling the water tank daily.  You don’t realize how much water you use on a daily basis until you have to buy and carry it. During those days we conserved and averaged 12 – 15 gallons of water daily, plus 3-gallon of drinking water.

Did we mention that Tom needed spinal surgery during this time?  After jumping through various hoops for the insurance company, we finally got a surgery date of March 31, 2023.  The surgery was successful with a 90-day no lifting requirement over 10 pounds.  He was miserable because of the limited things he was allowed to do.

It took 13 months to get our steel building erected. The shop went up in April 2023. After that things moved quickly.

Over the course of 2023, we now have our sewer system built (leach field), electric and electrical system installed, a fully wired and lighted shop, 1,000 gallon water tank connected to city water.  We mow approximately 10 acres and have cleared the fields and yard of several ton of rocks and boulders.  We have a fenced garden (to keep the critters out), storm shelter (we’re in tornado alley), pump house, 2,000 square foot shop with loft (Tom built), a cargo lift in the shop, and our building is insulated with spray foam.

Our guest quarters are nearing completion and we will be starting a second loft in the shop. We have accomplished a great deal in just over one year and continue to work toward our goals. We are holding off on the house build until after the 2024 election as the economy has been in poor shape these last two years.  Just our luck to retire when we did! Even so, we don’t regret the decision to retire and have a new beginning.

With perseverance, help from family, friends and neighbors, and a strong desire to learn, we are starting our second year in Arkansas strong and ready to take on new challenges.  We learned to endure the Arkansas heat by starting our day early and not working during the hottest part of the day.  We work together even more to accomplish our tasks and goals.  We learned to work hard, rest more, and take advantage of downtime. We were able to get in some trips, went fishing several times locally, enjoyed a family vacation on Dauphin Island, and did some deep-sea fishing.  We enjoyed campfires and sunsets with friends and family. We harvested two deer from our property. We have grown in more ways than we can explain. God has blessed us to move forward to continue growing, learning and loving life.

We’ve been exploring this beautiful state of Arkansas, nicknamed, the “Natural State”.  We have lakes, streams, waterfalls, mountains, rolling hills, the Crater of Diamonds State Park where you can dig for diamonds and keep what you find, wineries, Civil War battlegrounds and museums. Culture abounds in Arkansas and the community backs the Arkansas Razorbacks (Hogs) in all the various sports.

We are starting our second year in Arkansas in a much better situation and with more awareness of this beautiful place we call home. We are excited for the next chapter in our story. It’s never too late to start living out your dreams. Stay tuned for what comes next.