Tuesday, February 21, 2012

# 207 - Can We Buy the Land Next Door>?

Deputy Dave and I have decided to TRY to buy small strip of land next to our land in the country, it's only about 1.5 acres, but it would make a huge difference to our overall homestead. This little strip of land would put us directly against a little county road...making it much less expensive and easier to drive into our property from the main county road than it would to be forced to run our own road deep into our property. The best thing about possibly acquiring this land is that it would allow direct access to our property, this access would partly be on the county dime instead of on our dime with having to build and upkeep an extensive private road.

It's complicated, but that little piece of property could really be an excellent purchase.

We've already approached the seller of this land and made our first offer. I guess we will see what happens over the next couple of weeks. My fingers are crossed and I'm saying my prayers and knocking on wood, all at once. Of course, the prayers are the most efficient, along with our pro-active actions toward buying the land.

This week in the city, it's all about getting the house ready for potential showings this weekend. The "For Sale" sign is in the yard, there's no going back now. Each day, I spend time in various rooms of the house and go through all the drawers, the closets and dressers so I can remove old things and old clothes that do not need to travel with us to our new home. Those things are going into a growing garage sale pile.

This morning, Deputy Dave had large pallet of grass dropped off by the Garden Center. They pulled down our street in their huge rig with pallets of grass lining the bed of the rig, then the driver unloaded his forklift to pull down the huge pallet of grass. He whipped that forklift around and delivered the pallet of beautiful green grass to the backside of the driveway, closest to the backyard, Yippee!

The sod will be laid in the backyard to make it thicker, more level and beautiful. Truthfully, we're undoing chicken-damage. It's true that chickens will help keep a garden clear of bugs, but chickens will also keep a garden clear of EVERYTHING. Between their constant destructive pecking, their jumping to clamp down on a high vine, their chicken feet and claws digging into earth for hundreds of scratches per day...the yard is toast.

At least having chickens has taught me that they will NOT be allowed in our veggie garden and they will not be allowed near the house. I want the chicken coop close enough to the house to easily walk to and from it every day, but not so close as to invite them for yard destruction. There's no doubt that having acreage will help to reduce the impact on our land from the chickens, but I'm sure there will be an entire new set of lessons once we are moved to the acreage.

Tomorrow, I'll be adding some flowering plants into the flower boxes that flank our concrete mailbox near the curb. I'm harvesting some plants from one of my pots that has flowering spreaders. One day, I might have a place to grow all of my seedlings, cuttings and fabulous plants in a little green-house. I think I'll hang a sign outside the green-house that says, "No Chickens Allowed!"

It will be so easy to walk inside the humid little space and to select a newly growing plant that would be perfect at a specific part of our land. I plan on consistently growing veggies from seedlings, as I've always done from childhood and to propagate decorative shrubs and trailing plants and, and, and, all kinds of things I'd LOVE to grow but don't have the room for here in the city!

These are my yogurt cups now being repurposed
to be little seed-starters. They work beautifully.
 What a life! I can only imagine how great it will be to have dirt under my fingernails more often! I can only imagine what it will be like to have parts of my yard fenced off JUST FOR ME TO ENJOY!!!! Ahhh, the joys of cross-fencing!

Having a greenhouse will certainly help us saving money on our plants and give us year-round growth assistance.

A garage sale box...another way to make a little bit of
money on a pile of old stuff.
Since the sign is in the yard at our house, it is lighting a big fire under all of us, spurning us to hurry and wrap up each little job in the house so it can ready for showings. This weekend, potential buyers will be considering our house as THEIR NEW HOUSE! I'm nearly finished with the entire upstairs and my master bedroom. It's coming together. I'm super picky, so that little part of my character tends to drive everyone nuts, except for Deputy Dave, he understands me and is even more picky than myself.

I guess you can't avoide a bit of carnage when moving.
The lamp-shade didn't make it.

Stefie and Brice had come home for the weekend; it was great getting to see the kids in person. But, on Sunday, as they readied to leave the house, they gathered their belongings and stumbled upon the "For Sale" sign firmly planted in the front yard. Deputy Dave had gone outside to stick the sign in the yard, a clear violation of our comfy-zone. Eeek! Stefie felt instant shock. Even though she's known that this day was coming and we've spoken about it repeatedly, it's still hard to actually see happen. I've warned her, but it didn't seem real until she saw the hit her hard and made her sad. A melancholy mood set in as she began to remember ALL of the wonderful times she had at this house, so many good times.

Then, her boyfriend Brice tells me, "I don't think I'm ready for this; I LOVE this house."

I was cracking up.

That evening, Stefie drove off to go back to San Marcos while saying, "I don't know how much longer I'll have a room at that house; my room that I love, I've got to say good-bye to it."

So, I had told Stefie over the weekend, "Since you have stayed serious to your academic studies and are always a good kid, I want you to still have your own room in the country cabin, you can decorate it as you please.

She gave me this big, cute smile and said, "Mom, I'm not a kid anymore, but thank you because I'm not quite done with needing to have my own space at home with you and dad."

I tell  my daughter, "Take your time baby. Take your time and keep working hard so that you may indeed head the direction of your work as a Child Life Specialist in Houston's Medical Center. Once you are finished with your studies, we can figure out what to do from there."

Then I added, "And take a look in the mirror, you are super teeny-tiny, so that must really mean that you are still our little kid!" I had to laugh while Stefie gave me one of "those" looks.
But, I think about her trying to finish this semester away at college, while knowing her parents are doing their best to get their house sold and I know it is stressful for her. I know she wonders about how she'll come home for weekends as we're building a cabin and about how she will find time to visit us and her boyfriend's parents who will suddenly live two hours apart instead of mere blocks away from each other. It will be different.

However, I reminded her that her father and I are trying our best to move away from the Southern end of Houston because of the heavy industrial area that surrounds us...these chemical plants and refineries with the many "Shelter in Place" scares we have had with chemical releases over the years are NOT something I want to pass on to my future grandchildren. I'd rather share fresh country air, farm animals and wide open spaces.

Meanwhile, it seems as if everyone in the family is rather sad about us selling this house. My sister is kind of in the dumps about it, feeling as if we're going to be living too far apart. But, I reminded her today that we can all meet in Houston a couple of Sundays per month to eat at a fabulous restaurant and enjoy some time together. And, they can come to our farm and enjoy some front porch sitting.

Our lives are changing. That is a certainty. Moving to the country full-time will be a strange experience. Going from being surrounded by neighbors to living in a rural area with no neighbor in sight will be a bit odd. However, I know that the leap will pay off. The land needs a LOT of work. Years of work. It won't be an over-night delightful transition, it will take someone living in that part of the forest to make it inhabitable and your homestead is not an easy undertaking.

Good thing is...Deputy Dave and I are such a good team that I am assured of our ability to tackle this incredible opporunity of a lifetime. I'm ready for the ups and downs to come with this experience. I feel like a pioneer, no matter how many times a pioneer has done their own thing, the next to come along is left to their own abilities. Good thing we have technology at our disposal. However, on acreage, that technology is not always as accessible. Yes, it will be interesting to move out there in the woods.

I'll be getting internet service FIRST THING! Then, I can blog in the dark to all my blog buddies and share with you every creepy sound I hear. If Big Foot visits me, I hope I have my camera ready because I will IMMEDIATELY put up a post with my new furry friend!


HossBoss said...

Ah, the joys of MOVING! When Yeoldfurt and I got married, I moved to a little tiny town in NM where he was working at the time. We ended up moving three more times in the six months that followed ...our last move being to a small piece of acreage back in Alvin, Texas. We thereafter referred to the concept of moving as 'the M word' and it was not to be uttered in our household. We were both sick of purging and packing and unpacking and the inevitable number of things that got lost or broken during the process. We lived there for a little over six years before buying this (twice as big) piece of acreage in central Texas. We've been here six years this July ...thank goodness!

I completely understand about repairing chicken damage to the yard. I jokingly refer to the damage as 'chicken pox' ...we only have a few chickens, but the ground where they range looks like a moonscape in miniature!

Best wishes for the sale of your home and the purchase of the additional acre-and-a-half. And yes, get your Internet service set up first so you can keep us posted on your new adventure when you do get moved!

: )

LindaG said...

That's great that piece of property came up for sale. I'll say a prayer for you, too. ♥

Something I read on a blog yesterday. It recommended making an area for chickens around your garden. They can turn that area into a bug free, weed free zone, thereby helping to keep the garden free without having to be in it.

Interesting idea, I thought. :)

I'm happy for you all!

Paula said...

*hehe* Let's hope Bigfoot stays away! (Or at least stays on HIS side of the proerty! hehehaha)
This is all so exciting, Lana! I know your daughter and other family memebers are sad to see things change, but you can take comfort in the big new adventure that waits ahead of you!

Tombstone Livestock said...

Can't wait to see Bigfoot pics. Congratulations on getting the for sale sign up.

Dreaming said...

I hope you do get the property, for a reasonable price. Easy access is really important.
I don't envy you all... trying to get all of the details completed and trying to keep the house show-ready. That's a hard part about selling. I hated it... especially because every call meant 45 minutes of cleaning at break-neck speed, since we have dogs - I always had to sweep and mop!

Rain said...

Change is good too! and that purchase of that acre sounds like a good move! Good luck-it is hard parting with the old--but so exciting the new adventure-and perfect for grandkids visits!!~~~Rain said...

HossBoss - you and I had once practically been neighbors!! I'd like to know how the weather differs with your area in Central Texas? As for Alvin, we had looked there for land, years ago, when we bought our acreage in Livingston (which you probably know exactly where that is) we could not find affordable land in Alvin, the prices were going sky high, even in the most out of the way areas. Actually, I have family that lives in Alvin, it's a small world! I bet you were glad to be out of here in 2008 for Hurricane Ike! And I read your blog about your horses and my heart ached for you!! I was whining about my chicken and there you were having to say goodbye to two of your horses. I was so sad for you. Living with animals attached to our hearts can be so difficult. Your pictues were poignant. As for our backyard and the chickens, your comment about "chicken pox" cracked me up. Our yard definitely had a bad case of it. Each of these phases of the "M" word takes so long that it frustrates me. I;m getting another lesson in patience!

Linda - thank you for your prayers!! You know I will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS take those prayers! And the suggestion to let the chickens reside around or close to the garden is magnificent. Instant bug barrier! I can picture it already. That's a great idea. I must say, you warned me in the very beginning about chickens and a garden being a risky match. You were absolutely correct.

Paula - Big Foot can come visit, only if he'll pose nicely and in focus for several pictures, then move along! haha And this change with us moving is indeed going to be difficult, ever since we came back to America, in 1989 and my husband departed from the military for the Sheriff's Dept., we've lived near or here in our hometowns. It will be difficult, especially because we all gather regularly. But, the drive isn't a big deal for us to make in one day, so I'll still be going to my sister's house for some awesome visits.

Tombstone Livestock - You KNOW that sign is important. Even if my life is chaotic and NOT near ready for buyers to come through the house, at least the sign is in the yard. Ha Ha. But, true. I'm steadily plugging away to get ready.

Dreaming - years ago, I could juggle all of this simultaneously, however, these days, I'm not so swift at doing everything that I have in my mind to get done. I keep being reminded that my body is on its on track-it's a runaway train wreck! Augh! I have the solution to selling, just make everything "showable" in the house, then you can't touch anything or move around too much!!

Rain - I sure hope the owner of that property is open to selling. The land isn't actually for sale, we're just approaching them to see if they would consider selling to us now, before we start building. It sure would be nice. The purchase of the land would actually offset the cost of putting in a road on our land and the upkeep with the extensive road we'd need to have. It wouldn't be terrible, but having that land would sure make everything much easier. I hope our offer comes at a good time in her life to think about selling it. And, even though we don't have grandkids yet, I hope we will have everything pretty much done with prepping for them -- it will take a couple of years to make our land really how we'd like it to be...maybe our timing will be good. ??? No rush for my girls!!

Karen said...

Lana, I hope you are able to purchase the acre and a half. I can see where it would be a great help to you for access purposes and if you didn't have to put a road in, that would be great.

Oh, I wish I had your gumption, getting everything packed and ready for the sale of the house. That's a LOT of work! We've been here since we married in 1978, so if we had to pack things up, it would be a real eye-opener. (Actually, it might help to be rid of junk we don't need!)

Oh, the chickens, I laughed about the 'chicken pox'...yes they do rut up a yard quite a bit. I keep ours penned up during the height of the growing season in their big outdoor enclosure, and they're not happy about it, though I let them out an hour before sunset just to run around. A chicken tractor is definitely in order, all we have to do is build one. It's on the List of Things To Do.

All we want to do is finish the silly stone building this summer and I'm thinking that's a tall order. Now I'll think of you and be more energetic. And I'm praying for you, too!

A Primitive Homestead said...

Prayer lifted for the extra ground to be purchased to add to your homestead. This will save so much money when not having to put in a long private drive & the upkeep over the years. The five acre property my Grandparents left me is way off the road and in the middle of my two sisters property who stopped speaking to me over money & the property after Pap passed. Just a makeshift dirt road as now. To get to it I have to pass through the one sisters property. To save all the cost & to avoid any more fighting I have been looking to sale to invest the money in another property. I will have to move from the homestead in four & half years so it seems the best thing to do. Oh my the sign in the yard has made it more real to those who have always depended on you being close by & always being there for them. But from all you have shared they will find your farm in the country a home a way from home once your cabin & patio fire pit is built. Heck it even sounds so fun I would enjoy it. I am so happy your dreams are coming true. Blessings!

Alex said...

Best wishes on the possible land purchase! It sounds like that would be a really nice addition to an already great setup.