Saturday, May 10, 2014

Who said a school bus was only for hauling kids????

This picture came up in a recent Facebook post and naturally it was poked fun at as being "redneck" in thought and process. I had to laugh at it as well, not in fun, but in actuality, because....well, we had a school bus buried in our back yard!!! In fact, it is still there and still fully functioning as a storm shelter and has done so for 25 years. Never under estimate the power of a redneck family!! ;)

When we moved out here 25 years ago, on a piece of property across from my parents, it was nothing but scrub brush and poison ivy. We had been in town for four years and to me they were the longest four years of my life...I hated it! I was raised in the country with wide open, well roamed spaces and to be confined to a "lot" on which a small house sat, in the middle of various other houses was NOT my idea of living!! There was no privacy; you walked out the front door to see someone else's front door. If our kids went outside they were soon joined by all the other neighborhood kids, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but I felt like I had to keep constant watch...not only for mine, but everyone else's as well! No, living in town was just not something I enjoyed or ever want to do again!

In the process of acquiring our piece of "heaven" in the sticks, we also acquired a 10 x 50 trailer house...a very run down trailer house, and with it came a school bus!!! Yes, a school bus! Ours was white, not the traditional yellow. These two pieces of vehicular type items were traded off for a washer and dryer. Now, I know the persons we done the trading with thought THEY were getting the best end of the deal because to them they were getting rid of JUNK off their property that they wanted rid of anyway....WE, however, thought the best part of the deal was on our end in the getting of said pieces of junk!! ;)

For the first year of our transitioning to the country (of which we revamped the trailer in order to make it livable!) the bus sat in our front side yard and yes, it was tacky looking, but we used it for the storage we didn't have elsewhere. Most of our time was spent clearing the property for a yard and living space, so the bus was the least of our worries! By the following year we had made some progress in yard making and I was on to getting herb gardens in and with that came the drying of those herbs. Once again the bus came to good use for a drying house...those things really heat up!! But after a few years of hard labor, we'd made some headway in getting our outdoors more presentable and the bus began to be more of an eyesore than I could handle, so along comes genius!! ;) I will give the kudos to the hubs, because it was his idea to bury the bus and make us a storm shelter ( I was/am terrified of storms and trailers produce even more fear of those!).

During a visit from my oldest brother Don, Mike threw out his plan to him and while I'm sure the brother left shaking his head, he did agree to bring his dozer back and "see what he could do". The following fall here came my brother with dozer in tow and he went to work digging a hole in the "back yard". While the hole was being dug we emptied out the bus and took the wheels off, making it ready for it's new home. My brother took his dozer and drug the thing to the hole, maneuvered it around, and put it down...all still in tact and right side up!! The "burying" had to be left until a later time, since we wanted it water proofed and stabilized before pushing all that dirt back in around it.

Through that fall we painted up the sides with basement sealer, bought drainage pipe and laid around it's base, and put in a few stabilizer bars of metal to keep the sides from caving in, but by Spring it was ready! Once again Don made the trip with his dozer and finished up the process, which I might add, worked beautifully!! We now had a cellar/storm shelter and the eyesore was no longer visible....but it was far from finished.

Over the ensuing years, the "nose" of the bus (which was the only part left visible) was cut off and ties were laid to make an outside "wall". Where the loading door was, concrete block were also laid and a wooden access door was put in. On the inside, the hubs built a wall to divide the area...the front part became my cellar, complete with built in racks to hold my canning jars and the back became the storm shelter/storage area. Along through those years I landscaped all around the upper area, putting in a water garden and flower garden with shrubs, a lamp post, and a bench to set on. Eventually, our son built a small gazebo type building on the very top and it was in this gazebo that our youngest daughter was married!! A few years after that, we put a hot tub in the gazebo and enjoyed several nights of heated bliss while watching it snow!

Now, I know when the hubs and I first started out down here most people (including our families) thought we had lost our minds! I also know that our way of living was far from those expectations of the general populace, but I never really cared much for the general populace anyway or what they thought! ;) No, we certainly didn't live in a high dollar home with a high dollar lifestyle, but it was OUR home and we had big plans and lots of vision (and at the time strong backs!). We tackled that brush and built our home slowly but surely over the years, and more importantly to us...we built it pretty much debt free.

We've since left that home to our youngest daughter and moved across the way to my old home place...another "less than perfect" house that required a lot of TCL and much remodeling. No, it's not high dollar either and I doubt it will ever be, but it's our home now and that's all that matters to us. There's no bus buried in the back yard here and probably never will be since I already have a cellar out back, but that's not to say that had one not have been here we wouldn't have come up with another ingenious way to have one. But that bus at the old place? Well, it's still serving it's purpose and already this Spring the daughter's family has taken shelter "in the bus" because of severe weather. So laugh all you want, but when the sky gets dark and the clouds start to circle? Well, it's nice to know you've got a bus buried in the back yard to run to!!


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