Okay, so to back up for a moment, let’s consider the “what” since the what to a large degree will determine the where. (Who’s on first.) No, really. What I want is the primary part of the search, for me. And first and foremost, I want acreage. At least three acres and preferably five or more. After living in town for nearly eight months now, this has become even more apparent to me.
After selling my house in Sammamish I moved to a rental home on acreage in Carnation. Five blissful acres, bordered on two sides by a wildlife preserve, and two mostly quiet neighbors (both also on five or more acres) on the other two sides. THIS is what I wanted when I left my one acre in Sammamish. Elbow room and quiet, without feeling like your every move can be monitored by a nosy neighbor. Room for the dogs to wander, for Farley to do his bird dog thing, and for all of us to settle in the quietude we needed after four stressful months of real estate frenzy. Then, after eight months, real estate intervened again. My landlord needed to put the home on the market and we moved into town.
At first living downtown in a small town was a fun novelty. I hadn’t lived in a real neighborhood for over 25 years. I could (and do) walk to the library, to the post office (this is a necessity, since they don’t deliver mail to this address — it seems the house is too close to the post office to warrant that service), to local shopping and restaurants, and to the large county park along the river. This is hugely convenient, and during the December snowstorms, a great benefit. But with the closeness and convenience comes, well, the closeness. It’s a small town, so it’s not like there’s tons of traffic, but there is constant activity. Foot traffic and vehicle traffic (especially motorcycles, big trucks and bicycles) make the dogs a little crazy. Well, Farley anyway. He’s easily stimulated, and can be an absolute idiot when outside and there’s activity on three sides of the house.
The house here is on a large lot in the middle of the block, and completely fenced (chain link), with cross-fencing to keep the front and back yards separate. That being said, we’re surrounded. There are houses on each side and no privacy whatsoever. No matter where you are on the property, you can be sure you’re in full view of someone, should they care to look. This is true to a large extent for the inside of the house too, and I dress/undress furtively unless in one of the small bathrooms. The neighbors are all nice people, and have put up with and/or been charmed by my chickens and the dogs. But this closeness has just underlined my desire for more room, and the two homes in the past 16 months have provided great contrast and, in general terms, clarity. My interests and desires lean toward animals and farming, and living close enough to the hear telephone conversations of my neighbors on a warm day pretty much precludes both.
So, I know I need room in the form of multiple acres–literally, emotionally, spiritually, etcetera. And I need a house on that acreage, preferably stick built, and certainly move in ready. I’ve looked at a lot of parcels in the past 18 months, many very nice ones, some not so nice, some with nice bits, some where the preview pictures were totally deceiving. There was more than one that looked positively bucolic, only to arrive on site and find the Ma and Pa Kettle neighbors breathing down your neck, with pallet barns and blue tarps fluttering in the breeze in full view of your front window. I’m sure they’re very nice people. I’m still looking.