Sunday, February 22, 2009
Dorothy bored on a cold day
This afternoon Jeffrey took me to a banjo concert at a library about an hour away. The weather wasn't that great and snow was coming down, very overcast and thick out. The scenery was pretty much the same the whole drive. Two lane winding county roads; up, around and over hills; snow blowing like powder over the tall snow banks lining the roads, snow covered fields with the tops of dried yellow corn stalks lined up in rows sticking out, old farm houses and barns, some falling down. Then BAM! Out of no where a giant, slow-turning blade filled the entire windshield and all of my vision. It must have been 15 stories tall and looked like it was right on us. We were passing a wind farm and the massive blades were down enough on a hill that when we were close enough to see them through the snow, they were eye level. The visibility was so bad we didn't see them till the last second. "Oh Lord!" I hollered. I told Jeffrey I thought we were about to be abducted by aliens or a plane was about to crash into us. They were so tall, looking at them made me think about dinosaurs.
We got a signed contract about a week and a half ago, and the earnest money on the property. I think it's been about a month since we put it up for sale. So far we have a pretty good record of being able to sell properties pretty quickly. We just use Craigslist, local papers, and for two of our sales - one month of Land and Farm. I setup a free blog site and posted all the good pictures from all the different seasons. The times to the airport, stores, and gas stations, along with photos of the area were posted. I kept deleting and re-posting the Craigslist ads every few days to keep it on top. Soon after the Craigslist ad was posted and people saw the photos, we got a lot of interest from all over the country. The only thing that held anyone back from coming to look at it for two weeks was the weather.
When I'm not selling everything I can to get ready for the move, I'm spending a good part of my day looking for land in Missouri and now know why we got so much interest in our property. There is only a dribble of information on these properties and any land you have even a faint interest in requires an email, phone call or in the worst cases, having to register at one of their sites to contact them. Is this top secret information? How much money do you get paid to post 5 words and no photo on an ad to sell a piece of land? A few places will have one photo, but it's usually just from the road. Most ads have very little information. A few ads had several photos, but even those for the most part still had little info. I would guess on about 60 properties, maybe 3 or 4 have a decent ad. It has just been such an unnecessary waste of time. There should be at least a minimum amount of information and photos for each property with a brief description.
I had to call most and ask my list of questions. The first is always, is there a creek or a spring? Then, are there woods, if so how much? You would not believe how many of these properties have year round springs and are not advertising it. I still have a stack of properties I emailed for info on and have no response after days. It would just seem that they'd be a lot less busy having to return phone calls, if they'd spend the time up front putting all the detail they can about properties online. They probably answer the same questions about the properties over and over, what a waste of everyone's time. Urgh what a game.
I think I've been through every online real estate site and online news papers for Missouri and have found 5 places that look like they might work. They're in our price range, have a spring and woods. It would be good to have fresh water and firewood on the land.
A shocking number of properties have just been cleared by people selling their timber before the property sells. Is this normal? I get this image of massive swaths of Missouri being cleared as we speak. Maybe these properties are routinely timbered, this has happened for years and are set aside for it? It's just been very sad that so many of the properties that would otherwise be perfect have been cleared of all their timber.
Jeffrey has to work in Missouri in March so we're going to drive out together. I called a farm sitter from an ad I've had on the fridge for probably a year, called her references and we're all set up. I'm so nervous about leaving the animals, but I get to take little mama Lucille with me. This will be the most excitement she's gotten in a while. She hasn't been able to go to the property with us when we take the dogs because she's only about an inch off the ground.
While he's working there, I'll try to find land. The area we've been looking in will have good soil I think, but I'll poke around in the dirt when I get there. I looked at tornado maps and these properties aren't in the high or highest danger zone.
There are a few things we have to work on to get ready for the trip and to sell the house. Jeffrey's been working on finishing up the remodeling so we can put the house up for sale. Since I lost my job, we aren't able to fix it up the way we wanted to. We're just trying to finish it as cheaply as possible so we can sell it and go. The money we have to buy property and build a simple house is very fixed. The homestead we are going to build has to be our top priority and we can't eat into that money. Still though, the bathroom looks great so far.
We're getting ready to go for sugaring season too. This might be our last batch of Maple syrup. I will really miss these beautiful old maple trees. We only do 3 taps in two of the giants in the backyard.
Since the property search is mostly done, I guess I'll get back to the stone building books. Right now, I"m on the highly recommended "Build your own stone house" by Karl and Sue Schwenke. So far so good! I got so side tracked with the Missouri move, that I let the house building project slide. It'll be good to get back on track. Doing everything we can to quickly get a small, efficient house built and gardens going is the top priority. I don't know how reliable money in the bank is, but a roof over our heads and the tools to put food in our belly is something we can put our hands on.
On a completely unrelated note, I was unfortunate enough to watch an episode of Survivor recently. I think that's the wrong name for the show. To win the first trial, they had to very quickly unload supplies from a truck and walk miles and miles to a camp. They were to immediately cast someone out of their group before ever speaking to them, though the whole point of the game is to get rid of everyone. That sounds more like a Victim than a Survivor. For supplies and other rewards, they participate in games, running like rats in a maze for a piece of cheese and cast a ridiculous shadow on some of the most pristine places on earth. They are out in the middle of the beautiful jungle in Basil (I think it is) and are running over man-made dunes to get blue puzzle pieces on floaties out of the water to build a hulking puzzle bridge. The whole while, they are making fake alliances and seeing who they can remove next. In my opinion, what a waste of breath and energy.
For a show about survivors highlighting different places on the planet, why not take them there and let local people teach them to survive in their environment for a week or so? Show them surviving through knowledge of the environment and building a community. Reward points on who finds the most edible roots for the tribe, have competitions of who can gather the most water for everyone and build friendships. Wouldn't people like to know how to survive without supplies out of a truck and eating cold termites, maybe how to build a self-sustaining community?
I read a very interesting article recently that said
"Most people in society today live in artificial worlds defined by indoor lighting, air conditioning, processed foods, chemical medicines, artificial wood furniture, television programming and online social networking. None of these have anything to do with reality.
Reality is the soil, the rivers, the air, sunlight, plants and seeds. It is found in the animals, microbes, forests and aquatic ecosystems. Reality cannot be negotiated with, nor bargained with, nor put off. Reality is shaped by our decisions and actions, and what we see unfolding in the world right now -- global warming, chemical contamination, depletion of fossil fuels -- is merely a reflection of the destructive actions being mindlessly taken by people living today."