The Right Direction

Attila and I are in the process of purchasing a vacant lot north of our country house. Someday we might say to ourselves, “what were we thinking!” So here it is, in writing, just exactly what we are thinking in doing such a thing.

I will begin with my Grandparents, who were central in my life, as they were in all of their Grandchildren’s lives. They owned and operated a general store, and the local post office, in a small town in Parry Sound District, Ontario. I literally thought their home was heaven, because it fit all the descriptions supplied by the Sunday School teachers. I might have been right about it too. To say I have fond memories of their home, and the community in which they lived, is an understatement.

My Grandparents home and business have gone unoccupied since my Grandfather passed away in 1985, predeceased by my Grandmother. Attila and I wanted to purchase their home, to renovate and live there. Such was not to be. That left a hole in my heart.

For the last ten years, since we moved to our country house, we have kept an eye on the property market in the area where my Grandparents lived. Property there is very costly, because most of it is either large acreage, or lakefront property. We kept looking, not expecting to find anything we could afford.

Last year a small vacant lot appeared on the real estate web sites, almost next door to my Grandparent’s house. The price was reasonable, and for us affordable, so I put in a call. I was disappointed to find that there were “complications” and the property could not be sold at that time. A year passed. This spring, after we decided to sell our country house, I noticed the ad again. Feeling whimsical, I called again, thinking that there was little chance of the land actually being available. To my surprise it was, the “complications” had just been sorted the week before!

I put in an offer on the spot, and used the fax function of my printer to process all the paperwork involved. And then we waited. The realtor called to say that the vendor had encountered a new “complication”. So we waited. Then the offer was sent back to us at a higher price, which we countered with a slightly lower price, and they accepted! We take possession of the property on May 16th, 2014. We are engaging a local business to construct a driveway into the property, which is pristine bush.

Now we have our little piece of heaven!

I do not need to live there, in fact I doubt we will ever live there. What we will do is camp there, and perhaps we will even spend our summers there. It is an easy 45 minute drive from the property to Attila’s place of work, so this is a doable plan; in the summer. In the winter we would have to find alternate accommodation, in a town, near shopping, with ploughed parking, and thermostat heating.

This has the potential for giving us the best of both worlds.

The little house in the city will be our anchor, the place that is ours and ours alone.

So, to summarize our tentative strategy: sell the country house, spend the summer camping at the new property, spend next winter in an apartment, visit and enjoy our own little house in the city as often as we can. This is the plan while Attila must work at his present job. It has become painfully obvious that we are not going to find work near the little house in the city, we will have to wait for Attila’s retirement; thirteen years from now.

We hope that since the little house in the city will be the only house we own, we can focus our renovation efforts on it, and continue to visit and spend time with Terra and Lares.

Here is what all the excitement at our house is about.

The view from “the camp”, as we will call our new vacant lot in the country.
Vacantlot2 14 2
The view looking towards the back of the camp. There is a steep incline to a rocky point, offering a wonderful view of the surrounding landscape. This is rough and ready Canadian Shield. There is plenty of space at the front of the lot for camping, and one might even build a home there, if one were so inclined. I am not inclined, the little house in the city will be the only house we need, in my estimation.
Vacantlot2014 3
Our nearest neighbour. The house has a distinctive lean to the right, the building is rotting from the ground up, and has not been in use for over fifty years.
Vacantlot2014 4

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 11:00 PM EDT Sunday 27 April 2014
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 2.3°C
Dewpoint: -3.1°C
Humidity: 68%
Wind: NNE 4 km/h

Quote

“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”
Bertha Calloway

14 Comments

  1. Randy

    Hi from Australia …

    Attila seems to be pretty handy at fixing and remodeling things.
    Is there any way he could set up a self-employed handyman business in the town where your “Little House” is located? Doing odd jobs, painting, residential maintenance and repair type work.
    If you and Attila were move to the “Little House” city, would you have better luck finding a job that you could handle? Something akin to what you were doing before you were retrenched several years ago?
    These are just a few odd thoughts that have come to mind vis-a-vis your latest two blog entries.
    Best of luck on your new ventures — Randy

  2. Bex

    Oh fun! When you first mentioned the property, I immediately thought you might be going to try to buy and move your grandparents’ house that has been vacant over to your new spot… they do that around here… move houses down the road to a new piece of land… but I am so excited for you anyway. I love camping and you will have such an adventurous few years coming up! Best of luck and congrats for taking the leap and getting it! I’d love to have a little piece of country land somewhere “down Maine” or even better in North Yorkshire, England!

  3. Those are very good lines of thought Randy. Attila has considered the possibility of handy man work. The catch is, he has a very good job right now, and health benefits, so to leave that would be a crushing economic blow. The other crucial, and actually more important, factor is that Attila likes his job, and the people he works for appreciate him very much indeed; a truly rare experience. We have pretty much resigned ourselves to Attila spending the rest of his working life where he is, for these reasons. Thanks for your good wishes, and thoughtful comments!

    P.S. forgot to say welcome!

  4. I think it will be fun Bex!

    The owners of my Grandparents house would not part with the house, these sorts of situations often occur with families and property. So for the foreseeable future we will enjoy visiting the property. It is an area I love, where I will go for long walks, where I will wave at people who I know as they drive by, where there are few Mercedes SUVs, and $100 a plate dinners posing as community events…

    What we really love is that this property is affordable for us, and will not be a financial burden. Nor will it require a great deal of maintenance. Once we have the entrance constructed, and clear the trees where needed, we can simply visit; I can go for walks and visit my familiar, comforting places, and Attila can putter in the bush lot to his heart’s content.

  5. Steve-Paul

    ‘An easy 45-minute walk’ would be an oxymoron for many where I live! Not, I’m happy to say, for me, even though I tend to take long walks because I want to and not because I have to, which is the case for many of you in more rural parts.

    Life sounds exciting. Good luck with the new land.

  6. I am with you Steve-Paul, love to walk, particularly in the city, which I miss very much. The camp will offer me the chance to go for walks, down to the lake (family still owns lakefront property), down the road to my Grandparent’s house, down the road to the spring for water, into the bush to the sand pits, wild berry picking…

    Thanks for the good wishes!

  7. LOL, Reenie you are right, I did not see this coming. Sometimes good luck just comes up from out of nowhere, sneaks up behind you and gives you a wonderful startle. Thanks for your good wishes!

  8. Tom, as my children have noted, change in my life happens with a flourish. Life is great that way, you just never know…

    I think this is why, although I have great respect for the intellect, knowledge, and logic, I regard them as the backup system of life, not the guiding system.

  9. DH’s grandparents had a cottage not too far from that area, outside of Penetanguishene. He spent his childhood summers there, and I think his heart still yearns for that place. As with your grandparents’ place, the cottage wasn’t handed down to family due to ‘issues’.

    We’d also love to buy a little lot somewhere, preferably very close to a lake. I’ve got to admit to not being as hardy as I would like though, and I guess I’d prefer somewhere a bit further south. We’ve even looked along the St. Lawrence Seaway, around the Thousand Islands area.

    Being originally from the West Coast myself, I have this dream of having a small plot of land and build one of the tiny cottages that are in style now on the west coast. Some years ago I discovered the Ross Chapin site of homes and I go over there and daydream now a couple of times a year. http://rosschapin.com/Plans/Cottage/1plansCottagespage.html

    I’d love to have one of those tiny homes somewhere near a lake…

  10. I understand how your DH’s heart would for that place TopsyTurvy. The heart wants what the heart wants, and how lucky are those who have had experiences that are so precious.

    The St. Lawrence Seaway is a beautiful area, and the Gananoque area is on the Canadian Shield, so the landscape is picturesque, with lots of bedrock protrusions and pine trees. A small plot of land there sound wonderful!

    Thank you for the link to the Ross Chapin plans!!!! Really, I have been looking at plans for some years now, and all of them seem either super-sized and silly to me, or part of the tiny house movement and far too small for a climate where the weather is cold and confining for six months of the year. The site is a real gem!

  11. Sandra

    Oh my goodness Maggie, you are in for some new adventures! I wonder if our long and miserable winter might have had something to do with your decisions. Sometimes, however, we just go in a surprising direction and realize afterwards it was what we’ve really wanted all along. We just bought an acreage in Nova Scotia having never given it a thought until we went to visit family and saw our dream property just by chance. We both knew it was exactly what we’ve been waiting for within a few minutes of seeing it. Good luck with your new endeavours. How lovely for you to be so close to cherished family memories. Can’t wait to see how it all unfolds for you and Attila. (Sorry I’ve been a lax commenter lately but I am a loyal reader.)

  12. Sandra, it is always a pleasure to hear from you. I think this past long and intense winter was “the last straw”, as the saying goes! Seriously exploring options led to finding the land sale, and serendipity took over from there. My sister is very excited for us, and we will get to see her and her hubby more often because they purchased a cottage a few miles away from our property, some years ago.

    Congratulations on your new property in Nova Scotia! It is such a beautiful place, and family ties can enhance a beautiful setting beyond measure. How exciting and what a change that will be if you anticipate a move there!

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