It’s happening. It’s really happening. Financing, paperwork, everything is in order and …. we are moving September 30. Now it’s time to let all of you know where we’re going, what it means for us and, most definitely, what it means for all of you. (Yes, this is a dated post – we moved September 30, 2016. But it’s a good post, so it’s staying on the site!)
If you have already read my soul-baring Time for a Change post, you know that we’ve made the difficult decision to leave our cabin in the woods and move “to town”. I already knew the place where I wanted to live because of its proximity to health care, family members and much more. The issue was that, in such a tiny community, there is a small selection of homes for sale at any given time. And homes that met all of my criteria are even more scarce.
So I left that up to God. Which is a good thing because He is better at that miracle thing than I am.
When I started forming in my mind what my dream home would look like, and especially after I saw a few homes that were certainly not right, it became clear that I was looking for:
- an older home (I find that new homes lack charm and character)
- that was large enough for my large family (at least three, but preferably four, bedrooms), and
- had a separate dining room (because six people plus guests!)
- and main-floor laundry because I’m not getting any younger (but older homes don’t have that!), and
- was near enough to town but not TOO near (you know, something riiiiiight on the outside edge of town limits so that I could have town access without town problems), and
- already had a root cellar and cool pantry storage for home-canning (because why not look for the impossible?)
- had a good south/north orientation for solar panels, even though older builders never paid attention to that.
- A good yard, flat and usable, would be nice, but I already have a rural property and I didn’t need huge acreage.
- Preferably, the asking price was less than $100,000, too (because I’m nuts – even in rural Nova Scotia, that’s asking a lot!)
- It wouldn’t hurt if it were within earshot of train tracks for my train-crazy autistic boy (which just dropped my searching range)
- but the balance would really be tipped if it needed only cosmetic repairs. Most of the places in our price range need a lot of very expensive, very difficult repairs (like a furnace that didn’t work “because of frequent flooding” or a roof that was caving in, or upstairs bedroom doors that started before the stairs ended!).
- And please God, I started adding recently, can I have a dishwasher? Doing dishes by hand for six people is an all-day job even when you have plenty of energy, and I don’t anymore.
Pretty specific, right?
And some of those are things that just don’t seem to go together. A home that had both modern appliances and an old-fashioned root cellar? Big enough for my big family while still affordable on our budget? How about affordable and without a shopping list of major repairs?
How could a home like that exist? Especially when the area where I was looking was very small. I mean, not only is the county small and rather settled, but I was looking in some pretty specific areas of the county.
But I prayed and I waited on God’s timing, and wondered how we could possibly find a home and get moved before the winter.
Ready for the big reveal? Because it’s amazing.
So it turned out we didn’t have to wait very long at all. I’m still blinking about how fast this happened.
Next time I think I’m going to pray to win the lottery because, that house I envisioned in my mind? We are closing on THAT house on September 30.
I mean, no exaggeration – every single thing I wanted for my dream home is in this house. Even the heavy stair banister and large front entry that I almost didn’t want to wish for. It was listed as 81 years old, but that seems to be a guess and there are indicators that it is much older than that.
There are four good sized bedrooms, a main floor laundry, and a big kitchen – with a built-in dishwasher.
There is a full bathroom upstairs and a secondary toilet and shower in the laundry. The laundry is huge since it was converted from the parlour (or, as it’s known in Nova Scotia, “the good room”).
There is space for my children to run inside, a good sized yard to play outside, big enough to have a kitchen garden, raspberry bushes, even rabbits or quail, and a 30×6′ mudroom off the back door when the weather is bad. There’s also a vacant lot next door that I’d like to eventually get.
The trains go by, just four lots away, a few times a week. Because I grew up in a small town, with the train going through daily back then, it’s a familiar, comforting sound to me.
While there’s not really a basement, there is a dug out root cellar (which needs some work) and storage room under the house. Absolutely perfect for my needs and not something that would be found in a modern home. In fact, that’s probably one of the reasons we got it for such a great price. Imagine – people would rather a finished basement over a root cellar!
The previous owners have taken amazing care of the house, so it is sound and needs only cosmetic repairs. The wiring and plumbing are all up-to-date. The seller is including all the appliances – fridge, stove, washer, dryer, dishwasher, water filter, water softener, and a chest freezer.
And the price was … well within my budget. I like when both the bank and the insurance company are impressed at the purchase price.
One big downside is that the reported fuel oil usage for the house is horrifically high. I need to start an all-out effort to bring the cost of heat and hot water to something more manageable than …. $450 per month, year round. Told you it was high. (And if you comment that you’re paying more than that, you’ll want to follow along as I bring that down!) Now when it comes to glasses being half-full or half-empty, I’m more of a “my cup is overflowing” type, so what I see is a challenge to use everything I’ve ever learned about energy conservation!
Another challenge is the house was carpeted sometime in the 1970s and, while shag carpeting is wonderful on cold toes, it’s ugly and filthy (no matter how much it’s vacuumed) and must go.
There are two beautiful mature trees in front of the house that, unfortunately, are blocking all of my sun. They need to be removed so that we can add solar power. Which we will certainly be doing!
What will all of this mean for my readers?
Well, a lot.
I have been a city homesteader, an “out in the boonies” off-grid homesteader and now I’ll be homesteading in a little village outside town. It’s still very rural by anyone’s standards, with less than 200 houses in the village.
My readers follow the same range – from city dwellers who will probably never own land to a very small number of full-time off-gridders deep in the woods.
What I have wanted for a while is to keep my information relevant and helpful to all who are seeking a more sustainable and self-reliant life. When the majority of my readership, though, needs to know how to lower their power bill (for example), I am not offering a lot of helpful information. And so while I no longer get to be “that strange off-grid lady”, I can take everything I’ve learned from three years off-grid and apply it to creating a sustainable and self-reliant home in the village.
After the move, what can you expect from me?
A lot, actually!
- food storage recipes, and perhaps another cookbook, that include freezer cooking, home-canned foods and food from the root cellar, because most of you are not simply relying on pantry and canned foods
- small space and indoor gardening
- a return to small scale food preservation – cheese making, sausage, bacon, etc
- energy-saving ideas and tutorials because we need to get the $450/month heat and hot water bill on this place to something reasonable, and I’ll document all that we do
- DIY personal care
- self-improvement articles
- videos and webinars – you’ll see my face more because with grid-power and non-LED lights, I’ll be able to do that
- more personal finance, budget and frugal living
- renovation and home repair posts as we work on making this house not only eco-friendly (and solar powered) but return it to its original beauty.
There is a lot to be done, and this will be the practical, immediately useful information that many of my readers have been wanting.
Let the adventure begin!
Or wait … I’m not moving for another month.
And now I’m going to get a bit spiritual on you.
As I was coming home this week after church, I was thinking about how the house is ours. It really is. The paperwork is all signed. The bank and realtors and lawyers and the seller are all in agreement. The question everyone was asking at church was not “Will you get it?” but “Did you get the house?” The bank and realtor both said, “Congratulations. It’s yours.”
And yet – there are no keys in my hand.
The lady who sold it to us is still living in it, and we’re still in our moldy old cabin. We will be here for another month. A very long month, to be honest, because I want to move immediately! It might be our house now, but that doesn’t change the day to day reality that we’re experiencing at the moment.
What I want you to take a moment (or two) and think about is that God’s promises are often like that.
Just ask Abraham and Sarah who waited decades for a promise that seemed utterly impossible and were then given a command from God that seemed like it would undo everything. (It strikes me as amazing that Abraham told his men that “the lad and I will go up, worship and come back.” Now there’s faith!)
Sometimes we receive the promise long before we ever hold the keys in our hand. Sometimes, in fact, we are called to do things that look like they’ll destroy the promise.
We know that He will meet our needs but … well, that bank account looks empty.
We know that He will work all things in our favour … but right now those tears are burning as we cry our hearts out in pain.
We hear a calling or leading from God and follow gladly … only to stand and wonder “Wait – this doesn’t look ANYTHING like what You promised!”
It’s very difficult at times to look around the moldy cabin and know that you have a beautiful home. Believe me, I understand.
Which do you focus your mind on – the evidence of your eyes or the promises you have received? That is going to make a huge difference in what you experience and how you react to both.
In Hebrews, we are told that faith is the substance (that is, the actual reality, the true existence) of things hoped for, the evidence (that is, conviction, assurance, true knowledge) of things not seen.
If you’ve been waiting for a promise from God, I urge you to rest in faith and know that you have it. Behave as though you have it. Praise God as though you have it.
Don’t lose heart during the wait between “It’s yours” and the actual experience of holding it in your hand.