On Memorial Day of 1975, Cliff and I moved to this very house with our two children. With the house came six and one-half acres. I won't go into detail about why and how we sold our original twenty acres. But we came here with five or six Jersey cows; there was only pasture enough for one or two, so one by one, we sold most of my pets.
This is an old, two-story house. Cliff and I occupied the downstairs bedroom. We had one closet between us, a very narrow one (we still do). Our children each had a bedroom upstairs. They had one closet between them.
Those kids grew up sleeping in the upstairs bedrooms: unheated in winter (daughter took a glass of water up with her one night and when she awoke, there was ice on top of it) and hotter than hades in summer.
I was proud that we were so tough that we didn't need air conditioning. After all, we spent most of our time outside. My mother told me, "Wait until you're older; you'll have to have air conditioning."
Well, my grandma never had it, and I was sure I'd survive just fine.
Somewhere in the intervening years, we bought thirty-seven adjoining acres. Now we had room for several cows and horses.
The kids grew up and moved on. We purchased more and more electrical things: Fancier televisions, a microwave, a computer. Meanwhile, the hard water from our well clogged up pipes and coffeepots. There was no way an ice-maker would work longer than a week around here. Forget even trying a dishwasher.
The wiring in this house, probably installed in the 1930's, wasn't up to all our new-fangled gadgets, and I soon learned not to operate certain appliances at the same time.
Summers seemed to grow hotter, and Cliff and I finally bought a small air conditioning unit for the bedroom.
The living room here only has room for six people to sit, tops. There's a huge crack in the wall of the basement. Plaster started falling from the ceilings upstairs. If you tried to fix everything wrong with the house, you'd spend more than the cost of building a new home. And the living room would still be too small, and there's no place to put another closet.
I grew discontent, and we figured we'd buy a mobile home and bring it here.
Planning and zoning said no. We already had a trailer house, put here for my parents, on the property. It was "grandfathered in" before zoning became stringent. We would be allowed to put a mobile home here if we agreed to tear down our house within a certain time limit.
Unfortunately, we'd refinanced twice: Once to buy the adjoining land, and then to build Cliff's shop and put siding on the house. So the bank owned this old house and we weren't allowed to tear down "their" house.
Last week we told Cliff's brother, who is in real estate, to come and put our house on the market. We figured we'd buy a place across the road... an acre and a-half with a very well-kept, fifteen-year-old double-wide mobile home. We'd hope to get $200,000 for our place. We'd hopefully get their place for not too much over $100,000. We'd be out of debt.
Cliff would lose his nice shop, although there's a big shop over there. It's just not as well-equipped as ours. I'd get rid of all animals except Blue. We'd buy hay year around in order to keep him.
Cliff's brother came out to take pictures. Then he asked if I had the legal description for this place. I did, and produced it.
That's when we realized our property is in two tracts: The original six-and-one-half acres, and the thirty-five or so we bought twenty years ago.
Two tracts? Hmmm.
I called planning-and-zoning and found out that we could put any sort of structure we wanted to on the second tract, since there are no buildings there. We could live in a hog-house there if we so desired.
Cliff's brother told us which banks to contact; we obtained a home equity loan (at lower interest than we were paying). Our place didn't go on the market. And we started shopping for manufactured housing.
And that's the rest of the story.
I'll keep you informed as we continue this adventure.