I sold my house today. The 1911 stucco Dutch three bedroom that I called my home for 15 years is now in the hands of a tiny Mexican woman who paid for it, in cash. I walked away with not much but something after paying the remainder of the mortgage and dropping the price more than 15k. I had the monthly payments paid up until January first and now I no longer have to worry about another house payment. A burden is lifted and my life of paying rent to a mortgage company for a house that I really didn’t own is over.
From the memories of that house are the beginnings of this blog. Years of gardening in the back yard. Learning how to compost just about anything. Canning, root cellaring, and cooking my first squirrel to include in the bundle. While trying to learn how to grow my own food I over did it with the backyard harvest, with the surplus going to co-workers because I ran out of canning jars to use. It wasn’t always good though. There was the purchase of my first shotgun after a police officer was killed a block from my house. There was the girl shot in front of my house walking home from school. The day a baseball size bag of crack cocaine was thrown into my back yard while a man was running from the police. There was the night three guys threatened to teach me whose neighborhood it was. Then the endless list of stabbings, break-ins, shots fired, meth lab explosions, hit and runs, graffiti, and crackheads knocking on the door at 3am asking for money.
Now I have no reason to ever go back to that neighborhood ever again. The house is no longer mine and is hopefully in the hands of someone who will appreciate it more that I have.
Considering the craziness that is 2020, the house that my wife and I bought this summer is more suitable for what we wanted to do. Our early 1900 Dutch houses were traded in for a 1926 barn house sitting on 15 acres in a town with a population of 250. Deer season is in full swing and if there is anything I learned in the last week its that these deer are not the tame, stupid and deaf variety that I hunted in southern Michigan, the type of dear that one could walk up on and they would stand in front of you dumbfounded as you pointed your shotgun. The deer in the north can hear you from half a mile away and you won’t see them the rest of the day. Snow plows are rare on the highway, as I learned today driving through a blizzard doing 35MPH. on a positive note, the hardware store had a new fuel line not only for my chainsaw but also my snow blower, both I bought second hand at estate sales before moving up here. The chainsaw I picked up for $40, a 1970s McCulloch pro master 610, and according to the YouTube videos I found on it I picked up a beast for a cheap price. The snow blower ended up being at a sale on day two which meant it was half off. The $70 of equipment I bought was fixed with $3.50 in parts from the hardware store.
The fifteen acres we own has room for small fields of corn and soy, a garden, fruit trees, and grape vines. Across the street is a no wake lake filled with trout and bass. Deer will be my biggest pest when it comes to the gardens, a fair trade from the crackheads who would break my fence and look over my tomato plants making sure it wasn’t weed they could steal. The chickens have been safe so far in their new coup and run that I built. If need be there is an outlet nearby I can plug a heater into. Freezing water has been an issue lately and I have yet to hear any good solutions that that problem. There is the pond that feeds the wildlife and plenty of firewood to be harvested from out woods. The birch trees are filled with Chaga Fungus. Outside the land is quiet. The rooster has learned how to push his voice beyond the backyard of a city lot and far into the dense woods of northern Michigan. On the way to work the other day I watched a group of sea gulls attacking a bald eagle over lake Mitchell. Signs on the side of the road warn of black bears for the next three miles. A sign going into town reminds drivers that horse and buggies are common in these parts. This is our new home. Neighbors wave from a distance. Piles of rocks sit randomly along the side of the road. Every yard has a deer stand. Here you can only be bored if you try. Here you get out of the land what you put in, if you aren’t willing to put in the time and effort you get back as much as you put in. in this place it isn’t the job that defines you its what you want to get out of it.