More Land Shopping

It feels like a long time since I’ve blogged, but it’s only been three weeks. I guess that’s because it feels like a lot has happened in the past two.

Mainly, DH and I went to Tennessee last weekend to do some more land shopping. After going with our friend a couple months ago, I knew I didn’t want to be as far from civilization as most of the properties we looked at then, so this allowed DH and I to look at a lot more, and we had a better idea of what we wanted.

In true HGTV House Hunters fashion, here are our lists:

Who wouldn't want to wake up to a view like this?

Who wouldn’t want to wake up to a view like this?

HIM–Must Haves:

  • 20+ acres
  • Mountain views
  • Mostly wooded
  • Evidence of Deer
  • Outside city limits so he can hunt
  • No building restrictions (so he can build his dream garage/shop)
  • Building site away from neighbors (we’re sure the people near us now don’t appreciate him revving up his car, sometimes late at night :D)
  • Wish-list: Pond or stream on property

HER–Must Haves:

  • Mountain views
  • Some trees
  • Sloped home site to accommodate a house with a walkout basement
  • Good Internet service available
  • Close to shopping, restaurants, and health care
  • Maximum 5 hour drive from my parents
  • Wish list: Large enough to get a building site away from neighbors (I’m tired of living 20 feet away from people who smoke on their patio)

Unlike some of the couples on House Hunters, we have a lot of wish-list items in common. The items that are only on one person’s list, the other is OK with, so that helps. 🙂 We both want each other to be happy, too.

Most of the properties we looked at, we could eliminate right away. They were either not wooded enough (mostly pasture), too far from town (or pushing it), or the lot was sloped up from the road, rather than down, or not sloped at all. Some were sloped correctly, but the area at the top of the rise where a house could be built was too small to accommodate both the house and the garage/shop he wants. One property had a big water tower in the middle of it. One had a nice pond, but its only frontage was the driveway, and that was too looooong. Another was pretty much the side of a mountain. And several were just “meh,” with no views other than of trees. We decided if we’re going to move out of state, let’s make it really worthwhile.

This is where we would put the house, should we end up getting this land

This is where we would put the house, should we end up getting this land

We did find one property that ticked off all the boxes. We met our Realtor there, a friend of a friend, and instantly clicked with her. She walked all over the property with us, even climbing a fence to see a cleared sloped area that would be a perfect spot for the house. And there were deer tracks everywhere–not only that, but someone had a deer stand and a trail cam set up (which DH made faces at). And WOW, did it have a fantastic view (see above). The only issue was that it was six parcels being sold together, for a price that was about twice what we wanted to spend.

Our Realtor checked into a few things, and found out the property has both a well and city water available–and broadband Internet. She also found that the sellers were willing to sell us four of the six parcels! So now it’s a matter of getting our money lined up and figuring out how much to offer, though we’ll probably want to do a more detailed walk of the property first.

On another note, we’re still finishing up with the little details in the kitchen. I have not yet gotten around to painting the doors and trim, but DH installed the tile transition and threshold, and put the storm door back up, and I put up the paper towel holder and wrap rack, plus cleaned everything again. DH had to grind down the tile edge a bit for the threshold, which generated more dust. Yay. The cabinet installers finally came back with the sink tip-out trays (those little trays behind the false-front drawers where you can put sponges, etc.) and replaced the broken glass in one of the cabinets. And yes, I will post lots of pics when it’s all done!

sm25sm26What I’ve Been Reading: with three weeks since my last post, quite a bit. First, I read Smith’s Monthly #25, including the novel Star Mist, by Dean Wesley Smith. This is part of his Seeder’s Universe space opera series, and one thing that strikes me about this series is that it takes place on a massive scale. I’m talking crossing galaxies, in moon-sized ships that carry millions of people, who are virtually immortal, so with lifespans that aren’t just millennia, but eras. With that large of a scale, he still manages to get the reader personally involved with the characters, especially ones who are new to space travel and the long lifespans, etc. The Seeders Universe novels all can be read independently, except that Star Mist did one thing that none of the others I’ve read so far have: it ended on a cliffhanger. Luckily, I already had Smith’s Monthly #26 (I’m about a year behind in reading them), so I could pick up with Star Rain, the next novel in the series, where the epic action wrapped up.

Sea and SkyI did take a break between the two, and read Sea and Sky by Patty Jansen, which I’d preordered, and came in that week. It was every bit as awesome and epic as the first installment in the series, though like that book, it also left off on a cliffhanger. This I expected, as it’s common in fantasy, and it was clear with book one that this is a “one really big book” type of series. #3 is already on preorder, and when I found the prequel trilogy on sale for $.99, I bought it to tide me over. 🙂

Writing Update: ROW80 has moved to Facebook, so I’m not sure I’ll stick with that as I’m not a fan of Facebook. The check-in post also isn’t there yet, and I may not remember to check it later, but I’ll still post my writing updates here. And if I do remember and you came here from Facebook, thanks!!

As you can guess, my focus has totally been elsewhere these past few weeks, so not much has been done on the writing front. It’s comforting to know this happens even to long-time pros like Dean Wesley Smith, who wrote a great post about it here, and detailed how he was working to ease back into it here (both worth a look if you are a writer). The week before last, I finished one scene that had been coming along all too slowly, but that’s it. Then we went to TN, and that was that for writing. After we returned a week ago today, I set out a plan to regaining focus, and this week’s goal was very, very small: to write 100 words five days this week, or 500 total. I made that, so on to this week’s goal: 250 words five days this week, for a total of 1250.

What about you–have you had trouble regaining focus on anything lately? What did you do (or are you doing) to get back in the groove? If you were shopping for a house or land, what would be on your must-have’s and wish list? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

15 Responses to \

  1. Jennette: You have got to be the most active writer I know. Your energy and ability to focus on many LARGE things simultaneously makes me jealous! I hope you get the land you want and build the house and garage you want, and manage to continue your writing (in peace)!

    I took a few days off to read my memoir manuscript at Cape Cod. And just that break helped me figure out how to get my other large projects done, while retaining some sanity. So last week was very productive for me, I’m happy to report. Sometimes I just need to go on a little “retreat” (that include nature walks with my husband) to get things back into focus.

    BTW: Like you, I don’t care for FB. I hope I’ll be able to continue to just come directly to your site as I do now.

    I’ll be looking forward to an update on the property. Best of luck with it!

  2. Being in the midst of property hunting, you can’t possibly have time for anything else. How incredibly exciting for you, though, to be close to making this dream come true. I watch too much House Hunters and always fantasize about buying a different house in a different town. I only have two must-haves, coz truly the rest can be changed. 1) Must be on at least ten acres. 2) Must have good well water. I am spoiled as the well water where I live now is perfect, no taste, no odor, just a tiny bit hard. This is the main reason why my husband won’t even consider house hunting. I bet HGTV has never run across that one!

  3. If I were to move out of state, I would like to be near the ocean. I miss living near the ocean. But frankly, I doubt we move far at all (I’d miss my kids too much). My dream house is a single story condo (with a two-car garage). That way I don’t have any more yard work. I hate yard work.

    October seems to be a busy month, doesn’t it? Too many trips and not enough writing time. Unfortunately, that won’t be changing this week, either! Good luck on your land shopping!!

  4. The rental property has become a “yuge” time suck. (Yeah. I used that word.) Cleaning is taking a lot longer than I expected. But aside from an expensive repair on a wall, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Once the basement’s cleaned out, it’s all painting, some minor deck repairs, and a carpet in one room.

    Fortunately, I write first thing in the morning, which is good. Because I have no energy when I get home at night for right now.

  5. Lynette, LOL I don’t focus on all of those things at once. That’s why I haven’t written much worth a darn lately. But it’s nice to know I look like I’m that together! And thanks for the good wishes!

    Thanks, Erin and Fallon!

    Stacy, I’m with ya on the yard work. DH does that, and with acreage that’s not in a neighborhood, I won’t feel obligated to do a lot of landscaping if we don’t want to.

    TS, ugh. Sorry you have to deal with that mess. We occasionally have a tenant like that, but ours are all one-bedroom apartments, so not as bad for DH when he does have that situation. Good luck with it!

  6. Your house must be in order before you can focus–I think it’s a thing. I’m excited about the property find, but that’s a heck of a yard to mow! ;D

    And as long as you stay connected to your story, you are Making Progress!

  7. Wow – that house site looks perfect! I know what you mean about wanting exactly the right thing when you move. We wanted that too when we moved. We didn’t want to have to “settle” or compromise. Which is sort of why we didn’t end up in North Carolina like we anticipated; we just couldn’t find the right spot.

    I think this is going to be so good for you. I’m excited to see what you decide to do.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  8. I’m having a little trouble adjusting to the Facebook transition – but, so long as you link there, I’ll be by to visit as often as I can.

    I’ve got enough goals that I’ll be posting to my blog, just as I have since I started in 2012.

    We would have at least a few acres, away from the bustle of settled areas, with good water, maybe a creek, and nice views (we like a variety of areas, so what the view would be of is up for debate. We’d love to have a log cabin – on the tiny side. I want a little shed to write in, and porches on both. He wants a workshop/garage.

    Looks like you’ve done very well, considering all the activity. I’ll be thinking good thoughts that you’ve found your dream land!

  9. Exciting! I hope the property you want works out! Even though we just moved a year ago, we talk about our someday retirement property. Some days we think country and lots of land–and other days city. Although the city wish tends to coincide with visits to daughter in nyc! 🙂

  10. Excellent! I’m so excited for you. The Smokies are so beautiful. What a wonderful to settle in. And it sounds like it meets both your needs. Score! And good for you for reaching your writing goals. I haven’t been writing. There’s been a lot of stuff going on at my house. I am working on something and when I’m ready, I’ll let y’all in on it. But 100 words is doable. I’m going to try that. Thanks for the encouragement girl. Have a great week! 🙂

  11. How exciting that your’re land shopping! Both you and your hubb’s list will make an awesome property. I hope you’re able to get the one you both love. Good luck, Jennette! I’m anxious to hear more!

  12. Shan, thanks so much! Those good thoughts are always appreciated. 🙂

    Coleen, there is an old barn on one of the other plots that reminded me of you! And thanks.

    Karen, thanks! Luckily, I kept my writing goals small. It’s hard to get to it at all when you’re focus is elsewhere, as yours is. But 100 words is easier to fit in, that’s for sure. Good luck, and thanks!

    Sheila, thanks so much! I’ll be sure to update here.