Refining the search for Place
Sometimes I think I’m looking for something that doesn’t exist. At least not in my price range.
As mentioned in previous posts, I’m hunting for a home with acreage. A farmette, if you will. I already have the chickens, my flock of 12 that have moved with me and the dogs twice now. I’m looking for a few good acres for all of us to live, with breathing room and with room enough to raise some food, maybe a cash crop of some sort (herbs?), and room for a few head of livestock. Dairy goats, some fiber animals (cashmere goats, sheep, alpaca?). A cow would be fun. Or a yak. Something a little out of the ordinary, easy to keep, and that would “return” in some sustainable way.
So yeah, a few acres with some outbuildings and a clean, move-in ready home would be nice. Fencing a plus! It sounds easy and doable. The chicken and egg conundrum, though, the Catch-22 of it all, hinges on my budget. I have a nice nest egg to purchase a place with a respectable down payment that the banks will like. But to stay within commuting distance to the job I have–a decent job with a good paycheck that would pay a mortgage–keeps me in the highest priced housing market in the state. The Seattle real estate market hasn’t taken the nose-dive like other parts of the country have. Prices are dropping, and there are some fabulous buys, but acreage that’s within commuting distance to work is still mostly out of my range. Those parcels that do come up tend to have some “fatal flaw” — manufactured home in poor shape and/or power transmission lines dissecting or bordering the property; a proximity to development, or flood plain, or busy highway that’s unacceptable. I’m looking for my homestead, my sanctuary, and want it to be peaceful and safe for the critters while being clean and livable.
I have/am considering moving out of the area and leaving the job. There are many places I’ve seen that could work, except for their distance from the job. Before the September 2008 meltdown of the national economy, I was much more blithe about moving where the Place was, and worrying about income later. Now that well paying jobs aren’t as plentiful, I’m feeling a little cautious about just pulling up stakes and assuming I’ll find a good job (one that I like) that will provide a liveable income.
I’ve looked in Northern California, western Oregon from Ashland to Portland, and pretty much all four corners of Washington State. All have their pluses and minuses (weather vs. jobs vs. remoteness/too far in the sticks vs. terrain/wildlife vs. weather vs. jobs vs. … well, you get the idea). I’ve made a lot of lists: a list of things I want, a pro/con list, and places to check out. And I’m still chasing my tail on all of it.