Whose Woods These Are

We live in a Subdivision. There I said it. See, at work I am always talking about the “village”-working on a committee for the “Village”, etc. It seems that some people at work had come to believe I lived in a commune of sorts-or at least an EcoVillage-though they know that term only in abstract. One guy actually sad that he was disappointed in me…

And maybe I am disappointed in myself. 3 years ago we had a small 2 acre Farmette picked out-small house that needed some work, but a few outbuildings and enough room for a goat and some chickens. Our Permaculture Paradise. We put money down and sold our house. Then the deal went south in a hurry and we ended up backing out with our house sold with only 6 weeks until closing. In 2 weeks we visited literally every house on more than 1 acre within an hours drive of my job that was even remotely in our price range. They were all terrible. Affordable and nice are mutually exclusive in real estate when you also add “acreage”. In fact the last house literally smelled of sewage due to a failed septic field. Time was short and we ended up in a Spec home with immediate occupancy, .5 acres that was cheap, but also literally on the interstate. My back fence is maintained by the DOT. That was 3 years ago.

Since then we have done wonders with the landscaping, been nominated for 2 Village committees and become very involved in the county. We love the town and I have made good friends with the Movers and Shakers in the Sustainability Circles. We are on the cusp of some Big Changes. But as I write this to the north of my window only 200′ away is I-94. Pollution aside, the noise is fatiguing in the extreme and planting a Permaculture Paradise seems almost ironic. Sometimes I feel it is fitting to build the new society so close to the trappings of the current. But only sometimes.

So I am always looking for a new place. Always. I have been watching this house for a year in the vain hope that they will take $150k off of it. What the ad doesn’t show you is the sloping hillside to the NW, the 2 acres of reseeded prairie, and the additional 7 acre fenced pasture. If anyone wants a kidney for $150k let me know. The home haunts me… why must every home on more than 2 acres have 6 panel oak doors and marble bathrooms?

Then about a month ago this property came up. If it looks plain, that because it is-in every way. The house is nowhere as nice as current one and it faces north with a God-awful solar aspect. But the Ag taxes are uber low, and it has 4 acres and a stream which are also completely undeveloped. It’s only outbuilding is a 10×10 shed and there is literally not a fence on the property. But payments would only be $50/wk more than our Spec Home and I am selling more rainbarrels than that right now. Did I mention there are 5 very mature Maples-syrup anyone? It would take about $70k and/or 10 years to get this where I need it: 800′ of fencing, a barn, a wood lot, etc. But it is 4 acres of tabula rosa, and would also cut my drive in half making a bike commute more of a reality. Which is good as the Insight would need to go, I would probably trade it for a TDI with 200k+ miles on it for $6000 just to get me to work in the rain or an old CRX HX that gets 50mpg.
Is this the one? Neither Mia or I think so, but The One is always going to be the better part of $.5 million which is ridiculous and out of the question. So we either need to hang tight for another 3 years until we pay off the cars, or settle for a house that is immensely better, but not what we truly want. We both want the next move to be the last for a looooong time-so we will probably wait.
Waiting sucks.

One Response

  1. Your post is a good example of the fact that sometimes, love (or good intentions, or environmental consciousness) just ain’t enough. Sounds like you did your best, and it’s not your fact that practical realities intruded just when you least needed them to.

    It seems to me that you are doing a great job of being green where you are currently planted – far, far better than most of us, myself included! – and making smart plans for your next move.

    It really irritates me when people criticize other peoples’ life decisions – a very active and wonderful environmentalist got a hard time on her blog because she has five children! Give me a break!

    Janis Mara

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