Outdoor Thoughts

Yesterday was a sunny day, although it was a bit chilly. But we headed to a nearby park and went for a short walk through the forest before settling on a sunny spot for our picnic that was sheltered from the strong wind coming off the water. We have “temperate rainforests” in our region, with lots of Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir, and lots of ferns on the ground. The trails feel spongy due to the buildup of pine needles over the years, and one can generally smell the ocean, its scent drifting on the lush, loamy smell of rich damp earth. I don’t do as much walking in the woods as I’d like, but whenever I do it just lifts my spirit immensely. It is as close to a “spiritual” experience as I can find, a feeling of connectedness with the earth and an awakening of the senses. I love all sorts of forest types, but the West Coast Rainforest feels like home.

In other outdoor news, DH and I are going to see a property in a couple of weeks. It isn’t the five acres we’d been hoping for; instead it’s only half an acre. But to these city folks in an apartment with a small, concrete balcony it is still a big-ass yard! What appeals to us is the price – it is almost half of what we budgeted for. This means we could buy it right now (if it turns out to be “the one”), we could put a bit of money into it right away to fix it up a bit (not that it needs much work), and we could substantially increase our mortgage payments so that we pay down interest and gain equity fairly quickly.

A half acre is plenty of room for the kids to play (I’ll start hunting Craigslist for swing sets!), there’s a chicken coop, a workshop, and a small barn that would make a nice home for a couple of goats. The place is really too small for horses, but we won’t be ready for those for at least a few more years – horses are a lot of work and the kids need to be more independent and mature before I can add that to my list of responsibilities. The plan is to move up to a bigger place when we’re ready for horses. Or, even better, if there is land adjacent to us that we could buy from a neighbour that would be awesome. Or perhaps we could pay a neighbour for pasture access.

I’d love to get a dog but we’re still trying to figure out how that would work when we’re in town – we can’t have pets in our apartment. Animals like goats and chickens can be cared for by a pet-sitter type person, but dogs are part of the family and it wouldn’t be fair to abandon them for half the week. We’ll try to come up with a solution in this matter, because I confess I would probably be a bit scared being on my own out in the middle of nowhere without a dog or two. As a city girl I feel comfortable and safe when surrounded by people, even though I suppose the chances of being a victim of crime are much greater in the city than in the country. I freely admit that t’s my imagination I need protection from!

The other benefit of a small place is that it’s a “baby step”. I’ve never lived on a large property before and it would be nice to have a smaller chunk of land on which to “cut my teeth”. The yard needs some leveling, the fences need a bit of work, but it’s small stuff. By the time we’re ready to move up to more acreage I’ll have experience working with landscaping equipment, and will have built up a decent set of tools and farm equipment (and skills). I can’t wait to get a garden going and plant some vegetables. The property has some fruit trees as well.

Finally, the house: it is adorable! It’s 1500 sq feet – the perfect size! It has pine floors, a huge kitchen with room for one of those antique farmstyle tables (the newest addition to my “must have” list), and a huge bathroom that is a few accessories short of luxurious. I’ve already picked out the Ikea kitchen I want, the rest of the place just needs some new paint colours. The master suite is huge and constitutes the half-size second floor. There is room for an ensuite and a walk-in closet. I’m in love with it already!

So, here’s hoping there aren’t any major structural problems with the house itself, that the water supply is abundant and clean, and that the soil isn’t crappy. If it checks out, we could be purchasing our first home this summer!!

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