Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Wish List

Our home in Florida was on the market for quite some time.
It was frustrating at times,
when all we wanted to do was move and get on with our dreams.
It finally sold at the end of December,
and we are now living in the great state of North Carolina.
Mission accomplished.

One good thing that came out of all that waiting,
was that we developed a wish list for our new home.
With time to think about our ideal homestead,
this is what we came up with:

2-5 acres
newer home (15 years or newer)
front or wrap-around porch
wood floors
2-car garage
outbuilding or barn
open concept
3-4 bedrooms
2 bathrooms
1800-2000 square feet
pond or stream on property
partially wooded
sun exposure for veggie garden
neighborhood feel but space between houses
near farmers' market/library (within 20 minutes)

It's obvious to us now that we've been looking,
 that we will not find most of what's on our list.
The idea of putting it in writing 
helps to  solidify in our minds what we want,
but it will have to be amended many times.
One very hard lesson we've learned since being here
is that the market is very different than even a few years ago.
We have found that the acreage will be right,
but the house is either too small or dilapidated.
The house might be fairly new and the right layout,
but it's in a neighborhood or only on 1/2  an acre.
We've come to the conclusion that we will most likely
have to be satisfied with 3/4 to 1 acre, at most.
Many properties here have no garage,
which is one of Big K's top priorities.

Our biggest obstacle is location.
We still don't really know where our ideal location is.
As Big K is only working a temp job,
our options are open.
That's a blessing and a curse.
Being near a busy city doesn't suit us.
The towns that we have preferred in the past
are now more populated than we like,
and sometimes out of our price range.
Another issue is that homes are being bought up
before we can even go look at them.
The market is very similar to the way it was
when we bought our Florida home in 2004.

It's a big task, finding a forever home.
So many things to consider.
I know it's out there.
I think it will have to find us.

"Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, 
all you have is all you need."
-Sarah Ban Breathnach

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Neighborhood

In our Florida neighborhood,
everything looked the same,
as we lived in a cookie-cutter development.
It was great to be able to walk or bike
nearly every day of the year because of the climate,
but I didn't find it very motivating.
 One thing I was hoping for when we moved,
was a place to do my daily walk that would inspire me.

 Guess what?  
I got it.
This road takes me across the street
into a neighborhood that is both unique and captivating.

One of the first homes I pass on my hike
is actually the type of house we are looking for
in our search for a new homestead.
We just love that Southern front porch. 
This home helps me to keep that vision in sight,
reaffirming that we will find our desired digs.

 In Florida, most trees stay green year-round.
It's almost shocking to see so many bare trees.
Against the blue sky, they are quite striking.

And the nature lover in me gets a kick
out of seeing where the birds have made their nests.
Imagine the view from way up there!

 Around every corner, something new is discovered.

Each home in this neighborhood is unlike any other,
and it is oh-so refreshing to see how folks have put
their individual stamp on their homesteads. 

Some have docks behind their  homes
which lead out to the many waterways here.

A few have gardens with amazing features,
like this friendly dinosaur who protects the premises.

Every day that I am able to stroll through the community is a blessing.
It gives me time to think, time to plan,
and time to just be.
I am reminded that 
the possibilities for our future are open wide.

Thanks for coming with me on this hike.
Wishing you a joyous day!

In this series:

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Impromptu Feeder

We used to feed the birds daily in our garden in Central Florida.
Since moving to North Carolina, we see a lot of our feathered friends
on the property and throughout the neighborhood.
I wanted to get back into the habit of providing a bit for them.

Along with birds, there are a ton of squirrels in the side yard of this rental house.
I've been placing peanuts at the base of some trees for them both.
This tree seemed like a good place to hang a feeder,
as it might keep the squirrels out with its gnarly, pointed branches.
Sometimes the birds end up with very little,
as squirrels can be mighty greedy when it comes to birdseed.

We plan to go thrifting soon, 
so maybe I can come up with a cake pan
or something similar to use.
For now, I simply fashioned a feeder 
out of the plastic insert from C's cookie package.
Some string from the birdseed package 
keeps it suspended on the branches.
A few holes were slit in the bottom, 
to allow for drainage should we get rain or snow.

So far, I recognize only the cardinals, 
so I'll need to learn more about the local bird population. 
It's been fun to watch the birds enjoying their surroundings.
Somehow, it makes it feel more like home.

Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Advanced Gardener Series

Last week, I featured our local library in Sherrills Ford, North Carolina.
Today, I wanted to share another great library that's about 20 minutes away,
and offers something I'd been hoping to find in our new location.

Main Library, Newton

The Advanced Gardener Series takes place at 3 different public libraries,
including the Main Library in Newton.
These courses foster the green thumb in newbie gardeners
and help those of us who have never grown food in this climate.
The program consists of once a month classes
on various topics which include discussion with
the Extension Center Director, who teaches the classes.

Here is a list of a few of the upcoming classes:

January:  Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage & More  
February:  Gardening with Chickens  
March:  Delicious Roots & Shoots  
April:  The Big 4 of Every Garden  
May:  Everything Herbs

Attending 9 out of the 11 classes per year 
and performing volunteer work
in community gardens as part of the program,
earns participants a certificate as an Advanced Gardener.
If you've heard of Master Gardener courses,
this is similar, but more geared toward folks
who don't have daytime hours available to attend classes.
I've been missing my Farm School visits on Sundays,
and this would be a great way to be of service to someone
in my community.

Along with a bevy of books from my local branch,
I'm spending some time this winter
getting ready for gardening season.
Reading is fundamental,
but there is nothing like learning by doing.
It's the way I learn best. 
I'm grateful for the opportunity to expand my knowledge
as I cultivate my Carolina garden.

 "Growth itself contains the germ of happiness."

-Pearl Buck  

Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop

Friday, January 20, 2017

Going Local-New Library

I've decided to start this new series.
As we are new to the area,
we will have a lot of discovering to do about resources.
We'll add to this series as we get to know more about our community.

I'd been jonesing for some good books.
Fortunately, there is a library about 10 minutes from our rental house 
here in Central North Carolina.

The Sherrills Ford library branch is easy to find
and centrally located. 
The address is  9154 Sherrills Ford Road
and their phone number is (828) 466-6827.

This library is LEED certified,
which means that it is energy efficient.
It's also a handsome building.
Using local building materials, installing native landscaping,
and using sensors that automatically turn lights off in unused rooms
are some of the ways in which the library saves energy and keeps costs down. 
You can watch a video about the process here.

 The woods make a beautiful backdrop
as you head back to your vehicle.

I love that Veterans get preferential parking spaces. 
These spots are also reserved for electric cars.

A new library is so exciting and full of possibilities! 
This branch replaces the previous one
at a nearby location that had served the community 
for almost 40 years!

Books, books, books! 
There are books, videos, music C/Ds
and a bank of computers for patrons to utilize.

 The children's section is expansive.
What kid wouldn't want to explore this massive space?
It's wonderful how inviting the library is for children.
What better way to get them hooked on books for a lifetime?

 Don't you love those fun seats around the table in the foreground?
I bet they are great for all the squirmers out there (including me).
I think I'm gettin' the itch to do another random act of kindness
where we place crisp dollar bills in childrens' books.
It is SO fun!

A large conference room is available for classes and workshops. 
A full working kitchen is available in this area.

Books for sale were very reasonably priced.
Wouldn't it be great to stock up on these
and donate them to kids during the holidays?

This library will be getting a lot of use from us
while we are living in this town.
So comforting to know that a whole host of books
are awaiting us in this beautiful building.

On the way home, I ran into this.
A bad accident was blocking the only road to our house.
Being new to the area, I wasn't sure how to get back another way.
Wouldn't you know,
I went to call Big K (my personal GPS),
and my phone wasn't working.
I sat for a while, quite content with my big bag of fresh library books,
but then was asked to turn around and get off the road.
Reluctantly, I drove to the fire station
(literally down the street the other direction),
and one of the firefighters was kind enough to direct me to my destination.
(We brought them an apple pie the next day to show our appreciation.) 

I think I'm gonna like it here.

Simple Homestead Blog Hop

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Recent Revelations

Sleeping in your clothes won't kill you.
Living in your pjs won't kill you.

My new best friends:  slippers, space heaters and hot water.
If you're tired enough, sleep will come.

Any room can be a bedroom.
Any room can be a yoga studio.

Lizards travel.

It pays to prepare for the worst. 
There are nice folks everywhere.