Surprise success

It looks like our search for a building lot is over, and I’m surprised.

Leah and I have been looking for property to build a house so we can sell our current house, which is too large and requires more maintenance than I’ll be comfortable doing much further into the future (like next month). We had narrowed our choices down to four, and then two pieces of property in this general area. Both of the semifinalists are easy walking distance from our house. The closest property is within sight of our mailbox.

The owners of that property had paid a lot for the lot, at least for this type of rural property in this region, so they were asking a lot, although less than their purchase price. We had intended to use the proceeds from the sale of Leah’s parents’ house for the land purchase, but the proceeds turned out to be less than we hoped. We called our neighbor real estate broker and asked him to give the owners an offer anyway. We had an absolute limit that was nearly 40 percent less than the asking price. After a few days, the owners agreed to sell at that price.

We never expected the owners to take our offer; it was just too low. I had already started doing mental site preparation on the second of the two pieces of property. That property could have been bought for less than we had budgeted, so it was easy to make the mental transition.

Now I’m having to make a second transition, back to the original property we considered. Once it’s ours, we’ll walk the property lines and find the center, where we expect to locate the house. We’ll get our level out and see how much slope there is and whether we’ll have to have a basement. (Leah doesn’t want a basement. I’m neutral.) We’ll figure where a driveway goes. There will be much use of a chainsaw and an axe during this period, along with a 100-foot tape measure, yellow tape, and actual, physical marker pins.

Then we’ll start looking at house plans. Once my mother’s house sells, we’ll start construction. We hope to get a lot done, but the rest will have to wait till we’ve sold our current house. At that point, we should have a driveway, well, septic system and a temporary power drop at the new site, plus perhaps the foundation and some additional work. Once our house sells, we’ll move our travel trailer up to the building site and live there while we finish construction.

Leah is not looking forward to this, and, to be honest, it will be inconvenient. To say the least. But it will be a strong incentive to keep the construction moving along.

Right now the broker is preparing a contract. Unless something goes wrong, we will soon end up owning five acres down the street, and we’ll be looking at starting a process that will be long and a little intimidating.

I contracted our current house, and did a significant amount of manual labor during construction, including a good deal of site prep, digging and framing footing forms, moving and packing dirt and gravel, putting in the subgrade sewer lines and acting as the framer’s helper. My brother and I lifted many five-gallon buckets of concrete into a 10-foot-tall form where the wood burning stove hearth is in the basement. I contracted the plumbing rough-in, the electrical work, and the floors. Then with some help from family and friends, I finished the interior: paint, stain, trim, doors, bathroom vanities, toilets, and sinks. So I have a pretty good idea of what the process will be like.

That’s both good and bad.

 

Another cat food thief

Faithful readers might remember that we have had problems with foxes eating the cat food that Leah puts out in the driveway. Possums and raccoons have also treated the cat food as their own, personal buffet. Now we have another type of wildlife eating the cat food.

daddy longlegs

Daddy longlegs (opiliones) are an interesting arachnid. This one was eating a single piece of cat food that had spilled from the tray. Click on the image for a larger view where you can tell the daddy longlegs’ body from the piece of cat food. This one fed for quite a while, but at least it didn’t eat much.

Dark clouds

It seems like we see some of the most dramatic skies when we’re on our way home from the grocery store. Unfortunately, there are not many place where we can get a really good, unobstructed view of the sky. We managed to get these with my iPhone Friday night.

Crossing the railroad tracks

Crossing the railroad tracks

The area in the photo below was logged a few months ago in preparation for putting it on the market, so it’s fairly open. This is the same dark cloud.

black cloud

This cloud looked like a smoke plume. It was dark because it was so low. The clouds behind it are much higher and are still illuminated by the sun.

The area in the shot below is open because Georgia Power is dumping fly ash from the nearby coal-fired power plant. It’s near where Fouche Gap Road meets Huffaker Road. This is a panorama. Click for a bigger view

Untitled_Panorama3If you look carefully (or maybe not so carefully)  you can see some artifacts of the stitching. I use Photoshop Elements, which does a pretty good job of stitching shots together, but the shots need to be done carefully. I tilted my phone to avoid some chain link fencing in the foreground, so I had to let PE do some stretching and filling to get a rectangular image. I had a third shot with the moon, but PE wasn’t able to do a decent job stitching all three images together. That was my fault.