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We Have a Mailbox!

by Tara

While we were in Vermont with my family this past October, we managed to complete one of our first goals in the creation of our homestead: obtaining an address. This turned out to be a simple matter of measuring the distance from the center of our driveway to the center of the next nearest one. We did this with a surveyor's wheel which we borrowed from our friend, Jack. The distance was 480 feet.

The day after we walked from our drive to the next, we called the town clerk's office and gave them this information. In return, they assigned us an official address!

Lian, Steph & Tyler Measuring for an Address Tara Reading the Measure Master Measure Master - 480 Feet

Now that we're actually here, it's time to get a mailbox. I've been looking forward to this task for ages, as I love writing letters, and having a permanent address and a mailbox is such a symbol of home to me. I even got a return address stamp with our new Vermont address on it for Christmas from my friend, Julia. I can't wait to use it!

So, for the past few days, we've been chipping away at operation mailbox. First, we went to our local hardware store, Greenberg's, and bought a sledgehammer, cedar post kit, and a mailbox to put on top of it. We also purchased number stickers and reflector thingies to go on either side of the post.

On the way back from the hardware store, I called our local post master to ask how the process works. A gushingly friendly postal woman answered all of my questions about where it should go (how high and far from the road, etc). She also said we needed to pick up a "route card", which we're supposed to fill out and leave in our mailbox with the flag up. Once our mail person picks it up, we're officially on his or her route!

Tyler Putting Numbers on Our Mailbox

But first, we needed to see if we could even get our new mailbox post into the ground. The lady at the post office suggested putting it in a five gallon bucket filled with sand and water if we had trouble. As long as it stayed cold, this would freeze as hard as concrete, and would allow us to start getting mail before the ground thawed.

Thankfully, that wasn't necessary because our cedar post kit came with a piece of angle iron to hammer into the ground first. Once Tyler pounded it in, I smashed our cedar post onto it—the pre-drilled hole in the bottom was a tight fit! Later, Tyler returned to the roadside to install the mailbox itself.

Tara Sledgehammering Mailbox Post Our Mailbox

The next day, we left our route card in the mailbox, along with some homemade banana bread and a friendly note to butter up our mailman. We'd heard that he was a stickler, and that if he didn't like where your mailbox was placed, he simply wouldn't deliver your mail! After leaving our gift in the box, we put the flag up and waited to see what would happen.

Banana Bread for the Mail Carrier

It seems comical, but we were on the edge of our seats about it. Would he come in the morning or in the afternoon? Would he take our route card? Would he leave the banana bread or take it!? Much to our delight, this was what we found a day later:

Mail Carrier Thank You Note

BOOM! Success!

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    This is such a lovely banana bread story. I wonder, if your mailbox is waterproof. We do have a big probleme here, because we have to install "official" mailboxes, but they get wet inside, when it rains. That's so annoying!
    Posted by ingrid on February 5th, 2013 at 4:24 AM
    T&T: When you were in Asia I promised to send you fifty bucks. I would like to do it now if you will e-mail me your postal address. You are in my favorite state in the U.S. It was the only state George W Bush did not visit during his eight long years. I hope to meet you some day. I am an avid cyclist and you are my heroes......don.
    Posted by Donald Weng on February 5th, 2013 at 10:32 AM
    Our mailbox is not designed to be waterproof, but I bet it does a pretty good job of keeping things dry anyway. It sucks that you can only install official ones. We can make any kind of mailbox we want in the US, but it does have to be approved by the post office. Someday, we plan to make a fancy one.

    We remember your message! Thank you again for your kind offer--I've sent you an email with our address. I didn't know that bit of trivia about George Bush, but i'm happy to hear it :)
    Posted by Tyler on February 5th, 2013 at 11:08 AM