Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tromping Around Our Future Yard

We jokingly told folks when we began full-time RVing two years ago, we'd continue to do it until we found a state we wanted to retire in. We've found that state in Alaska.

We are in the "negotiating for repairs," part of buying a home. This is the spot where the previous home fell through. Mark, our amazing realtor, called with two questions for us. One had to do with where we'd like stairs on the deck the seller is building. The other was about a retaining wall; it may well not pass VA appraisal as is. The seller would like to remove it, we think we'd like it repaired. 
From the road - there's Nimo
Honestly, when we looked at this house it was not our first choice. Our first choice was a home on 9 acres, which turned out to be in a terrible location. The price on that home has dropped 20K since we looked at it.  Our second choice was "the motel" we put an offer on. I thought another home was our third choice, but Michael liked this one better and now that we have walked around it - I am 100% in agreement. 🐽 I'm one of those kinesthetic types. We hadn't  taken much notice of the externals of this home. We asked if we could go and walk through the yard (which turns out to be quite extensive), before forming answers to Mark's questions. 

We did that this evening.

Standing on a corner of the driveway - back of house. 
Arrow points to the offending wall 
Note the black septic clean out - we worry since the ground is already shifting, that removing the wall may cause more shifting than we'd like right there by the septic. We also don't want rain and melting snow running down to the basement door, instead of off towards the yard. We've dealt with flooded basements in previous homes. 
Wall is falling back, pushing  on the siding and has caused damage to door
Never know what the VA appraiser would say about this - but if he won't pass the home, our loan would be held up. 
Rebar is pushing out the top
French doors are the separate entrance to the basement apartment - it can also be reached from inside. 

This is where the deck will go. We think we want the stairs off the front, to the left of the door....save the lilacs and a bit more privacy. We plan a lower deck -eventually-  to house a hot tub.....and want the stairs to come down where we plan that deck to be. πŸ˜ƒ
 

First time the kids have been able to walk around the place. 
Alex, Stacia, Nolan
This is looking from where the deck will be - to the road. We'll want to clean it up, while maintaining the barrier from the road. 

Back of the house (left), side of house (center) and the road is beyond the trees

Looking towards the back 

These are two of the three horse pastures. They currently have electric fence around them.  I had been thinking of 1/2 being a garden, and planting grass on the other 1/2.  Seeing the price of produce up here, has me thinking we should plant a big garden/mini-farm really, and learn to can or freeze.  Anyway - maybe 1 and 2 will be garden/greenhouse areas and the 3 will be the chicken's yard. Or maybe we'll put chickens back beyond these pastures,  in the fenced pasture area back in the trees. I wonder if it's too far from the house to discourage predators.  There are a few dead trees to remove here ....Cory and the boys have already volunteered. We'll burn the wood this winter. 

Yay - wildflowers

This is in the third area sectioned off with electric fence. 

Alex found one corner of the property - outside the fence
See the wire in the foreground.....not sure about all this electricity
Stacia kept saying, "This could be my imagination center." I kept saying, I could put a little "meditation/escape cabin out here." I'm guessing they are  about the same thing - proving extroverts crave quiet times too, when they learn the value of the disciplines of silence and solitude. 

In reality, it will probably be an archery range until we are ready to seriously begin planning either a second house, or a guest cabin or such. We would also like a sauna. I've heard the guys talking about a smokehouse - which I suspect they plan to double as my sauna. Ewwww.....πŸ˜²πŸ˜΅πŸ˜‹ If Michael doesn't want a gym in part of the garage (which is heated), Stacia and I have fun plans of how to convert a big shed into a gym..... I don't know that we'd want either of those things this far from the house. It would be HARD to leave the warmth of a sauna or gym,  to run to the house in the winter. 

Nolan seems to be doing some imagining of his own...This is a really wide area. Yuuki loved all the new smells. 

I was a bit alarmed when I saw the missing bark. Michael and JaRissa (whom I texted) assured me bears wouldn't take it all off like this.  I don't know if moose do this. We suspect horses and JaRissa says there are porcupines up here - but that's fairly high up.....probably just horses.

Another "Imagination Center."

Standing at the back fence (inside the property line) and looking towards the back of the house. 

Alex has found the OTHER corner - also outside the fence. Alicia told us how to take care of the Devils Club next spring - let them die over the winter and till them......but on second thought they may be nice to keep hikers from the fence line. 🐽😜🐽

Part of the back pasture


Standing at the back corner.....this may be the chicken area - #3 in previous photo

Alex at the front property line

About this time a funny thing happened to the kids and I. We met the U.S. Marshal. It seems one (or two) of the neighbors had called him, concerned about people tromping around in the woods. It's a bit odd, as there is a 15' easement for "recreational use" behind the property line.  I told him we were the buyers of the property, the current owners and Realtors all knew we were here. He laughed and said it's a "tight-knit community," and we'd enjoy living here. I thanked him for checking and told him I actually loved knowing we could call the Marshal if there was a problem. I told him it made me feel better about being alone out in the country. He smiled and said we'd enjoy the area. I sort of wonder if he is one of the neighbors. 

 I told Michael later;  he replied, "Are you thinking I'm going to deploy?" BAM....Yes, I've always considered I may be alone 6 - 12 months when we've rented or purchased a home off base. 😡
Driving in from the road
The two arrows mark the front of the property.  The borough maintains the road. 

Front Yard

We do not own ATVs - yet.😜 This is where we think we can erect an RV barn for Uchi....and to the right is the woodshed. We are still  contemplating where to put an RV spot in - for visitors. We'd like it to be a full hookup - need to research how to put a small vault in for the septic. I would like to offer a spot for boondockers passing through the area. 

Standing in the corner of the above photo - looking across the back of the yard. I don't think I will tire of this view. 

When we KNOW the house has passed the VA appraiser part of this dance, we'll go and look inside one more time.  This will give the kids a chance to look inside and  start choosing rooms....and we can measure for furniture, see if we need to paint anywhere etc.

Just being able to walk around the house and really see it helped us all feel more at peace about buying this home. We're praying nothing goes wrong with the process and we can close within the next month. Although we're also praying, as we did with the other one, that if this ISN'T the right home, something would stop the process. We're psycho that way. 🐽 (Still haven't found a ::gasp:: emoticon).

We are moving to JBER tomorrow. We plan to stay there or travel around until closing. We are tired of the RV park lifestyle....need more of a state park/Fam Camp experience as we wind down our season of being a full-time family.  And BOY do we have MIXED feelings about THAT....trying to give each other a lot of grace as we process this transition.