Overview – The Plan in Broad Strokes

We have a plan for this land!  It’s a rough plan still, and very subject to change (especially once we see our new reality after this baby makes her appearance on the outside).  But here’s what we’re thinking right now:

Step 1:  Take down the cabin and associated out buildings.  Try to salvage building material if possible.

Step 2:  Build Lars’ woodshop in approximately the same places as the cabin is now.  As long as we stay within a certain radius, we can use the existing septic system (assuming it still works!) without having to upgrade it to current code (which could save us as much as $20,000).  The shop will be around the same size as the cabin is now (~1200 square feet), and it’ll have an apartment for us to live in.

Step 3, aggressive style:  Move into the shop apartment this fall, sometime before the snow puts an end to working outside for the season.

Step 3, more likely style:  Move into the shop apartment next summer/fall some time, when it’s finished.

Step 4:  Live in the shop for one-to-several years as we save up some house-building dollars and figure out exactly what we want our house to be, including finding the best building site.  There are several options for a building site and about ten bazillion options for what kind of house to build, and it’ll be really nice to take our time making these big decisions.

Steps 5-the end, in no particular order:  Build our house.  Make some big gardens and grow vegetables and maybe some flowers.  Get some chickens.  Build an inlaw/outlaw apartment/cabin/house somewhere and convince our parents that living there several months a year is a brilliant plan.  Live happily ever after.


Overview – Timeline Version

March 2014 – we see the real estate listing for our land 3 days after it’s been posted.

April 1, 2014 – we visit the land for the first time and spend some time post-holing around through the 18 or so inches of snow.

April 2-10, 2014 – Lars does a ton of research to figure out the actual size of the property and to confirm that our neighbor to the south didn’t actually build his garages on our land.

April 11, 2014 – we’re sufficiently convinced that even if the boundaries aren’t exactly where the seller says they are, this is still a screaming deal, and that while the property has some issues, it also meets almost all of the points on our “must have” list.  Lars (aka The Master Negotiator) puts in an offer.

April 12-13, 2014 – after some back and forth with the seller and his agent, we agree on a price and set the closing date for April 30th!  We’re not messing around here.

April 30, 2014 – we hand over all of our life savings (ok, not all of them!) and are proud owners of a big piece of land in southern Vermont with a decrepit cabin full of the previous owner’s furniture and stuff, a handful of falling down sheds, and two shallow wells, but also power (!), a septic system (!), several logging roads giving us access to the “back 40” (!), and a rhododendron that’s almost as big as the house-sized ones you see in Seattle (!).

May 2014 – we wait for mud season to pass, start to figure out our plan, and Lars finishes up his last two furniture commissions.

May 28, 2014 – my sister and her husband come to visit, and they help me plant a 20′ row of raspberry canes that my pottery teacher gave me.  I’m very happy that our first improvement to our land is planting my favorite fruit.

June 2, 2014 – Lars’ mom and stepdad come to visit, and we rent a dumpster and put them to work.  The 15-yard dumpster gets three quarters filled in a day.  (Those two can work!)

June 8, 2014 – We load up our trailer and make the first of what will probably be many trips to Goodwill to donate some of the not-trash that the previous owner left behind.

June 9, 2014 – Lars finishes filling the first dumpster, and we get an empty one delivered.  (We’re renting them from Scott Wood, if anyone is in Berkshire County/Southern Vermont and needs a dumpster.  He’s super, and his turn around is basically same-day.)

June ?, 2014 – After a week of frustrating craigslist interactions, someone comes and takes the couches!  We’re especially happy because I can’t do any heavy lifting until August at the earliest, and the couches were way too heavy for Lars to move by himself.

July 1, 2014 – Lars finishes emptying out the attic.

July 7, 2014 – Our friend Matthew comes over, and he and Lars knock down the biggest shed.  They find tons of roofing material, which is laughable, given that this particular shed had no roof. They also finish [over]filling the second dumpster.

July 10, 2014 – Lars buys a very rusty skid steer from a guy a few miles down the road.  Our neighbor comes by, sees Lars working on it in the driveway, and says “I saw that thing for sale, and thought to myself, ‘who in their right mind would ever buy that?!'”  Good news is that it runs, and that Lars gets to spend his days covered in grease for a while.


Record Keeping

We’re starting a big project, so I’m starting a blog. I’m planning for it mostly to be a record for us to use – to remember what things were like in the shiny new beginning, the challenges we faced, and how far we’ve come.  (So far, we’ve just about filled two dumpsters.  That feels like a big accomplishment, frankly.)  I’m also hoping the blog can keep our family and friends apprised of how things are going over here in our little corner of the world.  Right now, I tend talk on and on to anyone who asks even the smallest of questions – it’ll be good to be able to get all my talking out here, and then people can read only as much as they want to read.