Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I Think We Must Have Been Crazy

You know how your memory can be jogged into thinking of something you haven't thought about in a long time?  That happened to me today and I started reminiscing about when we first bought this piece of property eighteen years ago.

We have eleven acres, mostly wooded, with each of the properties on either side of us consisting of bigger pieces of land.  Both families on these properties had lived on their acreage for several years before we purchased our land in between them.

To the west, a heavily wooded area divides us from those neighbors and we rarely hear a sound from that direction.  Once in a while when the wind is blowing from just the right direction, but not often.  They couldn't be nicer folks.

On the east side, a smaller patch of woods separates the two properties, but we can't see the house.  These neighbors have become good friends and are simply wonderful.  They do so much for us that we have a hard time keeping even.

When we bought this land, it was owned by a gal who had moved to Florida years before and the property had been rented out to various different people for several years.  It was an undesirable case of an absentee landlord.  Our daughter had graduated from college and was living away when we purchased the property and when she learned exactly which piece of land it was, she commented, "Um, you do know that was a big drug house when I was in high school, don't you?"  Ooops.  No, we didn't know.  Nor did the real estate agent think to mention it.  (Ahem.)

We did know we got a good price on this particular piece of real estate because the "house" on it was a crude 16' x 40' building that was at one time a bunk house at a resort on a lake about 30 miles from here.  And we did know the property was a terrible mess.  Lots of junk lying everywhere, piles of garbage scattered in the woods along with old appliances, a shower stall, various outdoor grills (most of them smashed), broken windows, hundreds of beer cans and liquor bottles, disposable diapers (used, of course) by the dozens, and an old boat and trailer parked near the driveway.  The "yard" out the front door was littered with dog poop so thick I had to rake it up rather than using a shovel.

Yup, it was a dream piece of property, that was for sure.

The building was so bad we took it down to the studs (ask me how I tore my rotator cuff) and started over.

In the clean-up operation we found discarded syringes and other things about which I won't go into details.  We even found a grave-like mound of rocks in the woods with a huge, crude wooden cross at the head of it.  Let me tell you, that gave us pause.  I was all for calling the authorities until Papa Pea convinced me the ground was so rocky and full of tree roots that it would have been impossible to actually bury a body there unless one used a back hoe.  We did finally get big and brave enough to dismantle the "grave" and found nothing underneath the mound but more rocks and tree roots.  No bones, no nuthin'.  (Whew.)

The whole area to the south of the existing building had been heavily covered with gravel as someone, at one time, had visions of starting a trucking business.  This was the only logical area for us to put our gardens so we removed all the gravel.

One day while I was raking up debris behind the house, I saw what looked like a leather strap sticking up out of the soil.  I unearthed it and saw it was a dog collar with tags attached.  The phone number on one of the tags was our neighbor's to the east.  When we showed the collar to them, they said at least they finally knew what had happened to their dog who had gone missing a few years previously.  Not a happy situation for any of us to contemplate.

These good neighbors have told us stories of wild parties that had gone on making the neighborhood less than desirable.  They continue to say over and over how very happy they are that we moved onto the property and changed it so drastically from what it had been.

The bottom line to this little trip down memory lane is that despite what we went through to turn this into our happy little homestead, it was all worth it.  And we were so very fortunate to get fantastic neighbors in the bargain.   Which we all know counts for a whole big lot these days.  Maybe we weren't so crazy after all.

26 comments:

Michelle said...

I thought my friend Heidi was the only one crazy enough to buy property of drug dealers. But on hers they grow pot and hung it in the run down house to dry. Also like you they have turned it around. It's still a work in process but it's getting there. Her neighbors are also very happy to see them take over the property.

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

Wow.....what a story. In the end, you have a gorgeous place, great neighbors, and you're happy.

M.E. Masterson said...

We just bought a piece of property 10 acres and a house (Shack) the front half is 100+ yrs old and the back 20 yrs old so they say. The floors are falliing in the house is crooked like crazy because the foundation is broken on the front of the house has been for years, how we know is the "Remodel" they did inside is cut to the slope of the house. Tore into the walls already and not a stitch of insulation but is full of animals parts and pieces if you know what I mean and dead bugs galore. When we get serious about tearing it down I will get pictures. This place was used for a house at one time but it has been many years since anybody lived in it. The bugs have lived here full time!
So happy to hear that you have nice neighbors as we do so far.....
And that you were able to build your property the way that you wanted.....it is an on going process but I think it is worth it. Maybe some think we are crazy but when it is paid off in a short period of time we will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Little Homestead In Boise said...

Rock on, what a tale...

tpals said...

Wow! What a huge undertaking. How did you remove the gravel?

Kelly said...

Great story and how lucky your neighbors are to have you :)

Akannie said...

Ahhhh...a beautiful tale. Your neighbors are the lucky ones.

Carolyn said...

Thanks for the story of your homestead beginnings, I love hearing about other homesteader past lives and adventures. Although it does make me recall our not-as-interesting time getting the garbage out of this place. Ick.

Weekend-Windup said...

Happy to read about your story in buying the property. Wonderful neighbors!

Sue said...

Yea, I gotta echo the others---I think your neighbors got the better deal-YOU!

Lisa said...

Living in a rural area, good neighbors are EVERYTHING! and I agree with Sue - ya'll are the better deal! Enjoyed the trip down memory lane with you.

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - Despite everything, this property was perfect in so many ways . . . so we went for it. Hope your friend Heidi's situation turns out as well.

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - Yes, yes and yes! You are right!

Mama Pea said...

M.E.Masterson - Your bottom line is the important bottom line . . . financial security dictates a lot! Best of luck in your adventure.

Mama Pea said...

Little Homestead in Boise - Don't know if it's the "homesteading" type of life or what, but it does produce some experiences a lot of people never have!

Mama Pea said...

tpals - We had to hire a piece of heavy equipment to come in and scrape it up. What was left was the garden "soil" we had to start with. Ugh.

Mama Pea said...

Kelly - It's truly a great arrangement when everyone is appreciative of the other.

Mama Pea said...

Akannie - I can't imagine how it felt to have the previous "neighbors" living here. Yuck. But thank you!

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - Isn't it downright scary to see how some people live and the mess they create? We still occasionally find a piece of junk in the woods after all this time or something works its way up out of the soil where we garden now.

Mama Pea said...

Weekend-Windup - Thank you! We are continually grateful for our "neighbors."

Mama Pea said...

Well, Sue, we didn't have to reach very high standards to beat what they had before! Hee-hee.

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - Thank you, ma'am. We figure we'll remain on good terms with our neighbors if we can just hold down all those wild parties we have each weekend. (HAHAHAHA!)

Sandra J Updyke said...

Yes....life is interesting, sometimes.......

Anonymous said...

Loved hearing about how you came to own the place, thanks for sharing!

http://caffeinatedhomestead.weebly.com/blog.html

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - Interesting. Hmmm . . . Sometimes that's all we can say about it. :o) That kinda covers a lot of ground!

Mama Pea said...

Stephanie - Thank you!