Laura's Dad helped me plan the driveway, literally hacking through the mini-forest with machetes. He got poison ivy. We found a good spot for the future house, I spotted an area for the garden, where the plant life appeared particularly vigorous, and marked some trees to keep (I'm a sucker for nice MB maple climbing trees). Then my Dad came out with the Caterpillar RC-50 front-end loader and cleared out an area so I could plan my dream home.
Having perfectionist tendencies, I custom-designed a house, and we hired Hillside Construction to be our general contractors. I wanted to have an energy-efficient home, with passive-solar windows, geothermal heat exchange with integrated floor heating in the basement, and I even designed the wide portion of our roof to face South, just in case solar panels would someday become viable. Hillside managed to preserve a few of those climbing maples near the house, which was great, and by January 1, 2005 we moved in to our new home with our 3-month old baby. My Dad let me use the RC-50 and I spent many hours moving boulders, clearing trees, and making little hiking trails through the forest. I am an explorer at heart, and I was in my glory!