Friday, June 8, 2012

thinkin it through

The Foliage and I have moved a bunch of times. First, we lived 2 hours away from one another - him in Maryland, me in Delaware. Then we bought a house together in Delaware and both moved into it. A year later we moved to Maryland, into his grandfather's house. A few months after that, Grandpa kicked us out and we got an apartment. A year after THAT our landlord decided to sell the condo we were living in and made us leave.
Apparently nobody wants us on their property. Yeesh. And also we abandoned the house we bought in favor of a better job market and wanting to be around for a few specific family members. 
We started a lease 6 months ago at our current home in Maryland. We signed for 3 years because OMG I hate moving. And the place is big enough to accommodate a couple of tiny humans, should that become A Thing. And it's a 10 minute walk to the metro and 1.5 miles from The Foliage's office. So...perfect.'s not.
The biggest biggest thing is that there's no outdoor space. Not that's ours. There's a tiny patch of grass in front of the house but it's maintained by the community's property management. It's all so...manicured. And we are not big fans of manicured. I mean, we specifically chose an abandoned summer camp with weeds everywhere for our wedding. Organically messy is kind of Our Thing. Also there are white carpets and white walls (really bad for attempting to garden inside) and truly terrible wallpaper borders, all of which I could handle if there were just somewhere to get to outside. And, pretty minorly, the stovetop is an electric range. But mostly, not having outdoor space.
Here's what we'd like to do with a yard:
-Have vegetable and herb gardens
-Nap like it's our JOB in shaded hammocks
-Possibly keep a goat for milk
-Have space for outdoor parties
-Maybe also build structures for people to stay over
We basically want to be as self-sufficient as possible. And also to leave a very small carbon footprint. Our current place doesn't really feel low-impact. In fact it feel kind of like a black hole of vitality. Which. Kind of a bummer.
So now we're trying to decide. Should we move to a different rental with a large yard that we can use as we wish? The ones we've found have been CRAZY far away from everything. Should we buy a place on a big property? We mostly come across McMansions, which are in neighborhoods with HOAs that would not be big fans of chicken coops. Should we look for big properties with delapidated houses in non-subdivision neighborhoods and then rehab the house? We have some skills and know-how in building stuff, but not a ton, and we're very wary of contracting out a lot of work. What about land without buildings? Running utilities and getting permits would cause too many delays for our impatient hearts, not to mention the costs associated with those and building a foundation.
We have a few dreams. In a few locations. And one property in particular that makes us want to bring it flowers and chocolate, but also is terrifying when we think about the amount of work. Work we'd be really excited to do, but work nonetheless. We ALSO have a house still, in Delaware. And it's rented right now, but taking on a separate mortgage is pretty daunting. And we can't currently afford the loss we'd take on that property.
So now things we're trying to do are:
-Downsize the amount of Stuff we have (to ease potentialmove and elminate the need for storage if we move to a smaller place)
-Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity to get more familiar with the house-building process (and also help the community! Yes! I love community service!!)
-Not. contact. the seller. For the love. of. Gawd.
-Be in super strict budget mode to save up for a down payment and/or loss on our Delaware house. Oh also construction costs. Le geez.
-Look up modular homes we like and solar decathlon entries and read all the tiny house blogs to compile ideas/needs/wants for our ideal futurehome.
-Really BELIEVE that bugs and other vermin probably won't kills us and not to shriek every time either of us sees a spider. (Subquestion for our life: how much nature is TOO much?)
I have to say, we're pretty much chomping at the bit for this. For The Foliage, he would buy a place in the woods yesterday, because GEEZ that dude loves nature. For me, I think I'm feeling a bit of premature nesting? I guess? We're hoping to generate a new people soon, so pretty much all of my considerations for the future are wrapped around that. And if we're doing this thing, I want to DO IT so it can be ready once the itsy bitsy parasite makes its debut. And also I really want to create a homestead soon too. It's probably jinxy to talk about a kid before it's a kid, but I've done it before, so really how much could this hurt? Answer: A LOT. But I'm also the kind of person who wants to buy a gigantic piece of property to take on a ton of projects with which I have little-to-no experience, so let's just agree I'm kind of terrible at risk management. I'm also going to drink (wine) once (if) I'm pregnant. So. I'll fcking need it because I'lll be a zillion months knocked up, trying to build an Ewok-Village of chicken coops. I dare you to try and take that glass from me.


Erin said...

1.) I have almost all the same visions for my future acres of imaginary homestead, except substitute mini-cow for goat.
2.) There is no such thing as too much nature -- the bugs will not kill you, I swear.
3.) Good luck!

Leah said...

Just give it up and move to Georgia with me. Super cheap houses, on lots of land and ME. What more could you want?