A Morning In The Country

It’s 7:45 am as I sit in our shed and look over the latest in the news (a habit I need to curb). I’m the only one up. I hear gunshots from next door and realize Mr. **** (Lawnmower Man), is probably after some critter that is after his chickens. I wonder if he got “it”.

I also hear the usual dogs barking, the roosters, and from farther away, the whinny of horses. A morning in the country.

It was cold last night and I’m thinking we need to move the stove back in for the winter. Nothing better to take the chill off. We went from baking to chilly pretty fast. I ponder how humans have such a limited tolerance to temperature variation. One tip in either direction…

Fires have been raging across the county for weeks but the rain of the past week has cleared the air. The two-month-long stretch of smoke and heat left us dragging. Larger pieces of burned bits of trees were beginning to fall from the sky last weekend along with the ash.

I guess I’m glad for the cold and rain. The water is getting gardened. ūüôā

garden 1

Our garden is best classified as “wild” this year, with volunteer pumpkins and what I think is cantelope fighting for space within the narrow confines of the fencing. The beans never beaned. They just vined like crazy – most likely because of the excessive heat. The pumpkins are pumkining but are still small.

pumpkin

I’ve busied myself with projects such as the cat cabin Building A Cabin For The Cats. After it was finally done, I decided a zip line was the next “just the right thing”.

We have plenty of trees and hundreds of feet of old telephone pole cable half buried on the hillside. That’s most of the ingredients. I spent half a day digging the cables out and discovered they’re in excellent condition. Breaking the old bolts on the plates that secure them was tough.

Cable can be dangerous to work with. It’ll spring up and whack you hard if you aren’t conscious of it at all times. Hanging it requires a lot of tension. We had to buy a cable puller to get it around the tree trunks.

I ordered a trolley. It’s the thing with the wheels that runs along the cable. I’m going to recheck and reinforce all of the connections before we try it out. If it’s fun, we’ll run a series of them; just in time for us to move.

Speaking of that, Holdmybeerguy appears to be trying to claim adverse possession of the end of the easement by putting up a barrage of no trespassing signs with a note that says “Not a easement” (sic).

not a easement

We can’t let him do that. We have an ownership interest in fifteen feet on his side of the property line going up the hill towards his trailer. Once we’ve relocated, we’ll be having the road professionally graded and graveled – all the way to the end – where he can see everyone coming and going. He deserves it.

We’ll be adding an extra entrance to our own property at the very end. It’ll boost our property value and prevent him from claiming he has an exclusive right to access (adverse possession). A better road will benefit all of the land owners. If they want to chip in, fine.

I still have to tell the story of the skunk but I’m shivering.

Someone Paved Our Driveway – Sort Of

It’s that time of the year again – when the snow melts and the ground doesn’t. As a result, billions of gallons of runoff heads in our direction in the space of about three weeks.

The layer of permafrost won’t let the water soak in except for the topmost couple of inches; just enough to make a nice mud pie.

Our driveway, which doubles as a seasonal creek and has never been user friendly,  becomes a bog. It should have been regraded and graveled a couple of years ago but that would have required the neighbors to agree on something.

We have three times the traffic this year and every time someone drives through the goop, it gets deeper and threatens to suction the car in place – never to move again – and it’s one lane.

The prospect of becoming a ginormous speed bump the neighbors have to negotiate on their way home is enough to keep us far, far away from The Thing – The Road.

The destruction extends all the way to the main road. The postal service left a nasty-gram in everyone’s mailboxes telling us to fix the road or no mail would be delivered.¬† Luckily someone¬† dumped a load of rocks in front of the boxes, thus restoring our service.

The trek is so intimidating we stay home unless we’re out of oxygen or something. Don’t try to text during the ride or you may end up ruining a relationship with someone you never knew and becoming best friends with someone from Lisbon, Portugal in the space of a quarter mile.

By the time you reach the street, there’s a chance you’ll be seasick and may have incurred some sort of blunt force trauma after glancing off of some inner furnishing of the vehicle. The violent lateral lurches are capable of putting a head through a passenger door window.

The other day we needed cat food (oxygen), so we piled into the four-wheel  and braced ourselves. As we crept to the top of the worst part of the easement Рa steeply graded slope Рwe looked down and noticed someone had laid pavement at the bottom.

More accurately, someone had lobbed chunks of broken asphalt all over the road. They lay at all angles and sizes where they were chucked. Some slabs were two feet in diameter with smaller shards mixed in.

This project had our uppermost neighbor’s “hold my beer” signature all over it. Huge ruts from his truck now cut into and through portions of the road – which he missed with the asphalt.

What we were looking at reminded me of a school project. Imagine a four-year old with some glue and macaroni only big.

I told my husband to stop while I jumped out and I redistributed the minefield.

I  jumped back in and we skirted the construction zone as far to the right as we could without rolling down the slope away from the road.

Now we had to make it past Cowhead Guy’s house (explanation here).

Never a dull day.

The Long Long Long Driveway

7/10’s of a mile of hell.

It is a buffer between us and anyone who isn’t hell bent on visiting us.

The postal service won’t drive up after that one time they dared and left us a note saying “never again”.

The UPS driver delivers but only in summer. The first few times he drove up the easement, we could hear the overhanging branches scraping along the sheet metal shell of the box truck. He finally asked us to cut the trees back but we still know he’s coming before we see him because of the rivet-busting potholes.

The route is dusty in the summer, clogged with heavy snow and slush in the winter and becomes a bog in the spring. It hasn’t been graded and graveled in God knows how long and has a very steep incline towards the end.

It is our driveway – seven-tenths of a mile of natural disaster area. It is our only way in and out and it is the bane of my existence. We have been within eyesight of our front door and had to abandon the vehicle with our groceries to go get the shovels and salt.

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When the thick layer of snow and ice begin to melt and the ground is still frozen, crevasses open up and torrents of water with no place to go converge to form streams in the ruts. When the ground thaws, driving through the mud displaces giant slabs of Play Doh-like ooze. On subsequent passes, we drive on the tops of those and squish them down until the road is finally flat and dry again. We lay down rocks in the worst places.

We had the gauntlet to ourselves until the neighbors moved in. One of them drives a little sedan that isn’t suited for the terrain. I occasionally see them make a run for the last portion of road – speed helps. I can hear the wrenching sounds of the suspension as they lurch along, bouncing violently over the uneven ground. The scraping of oil pan against bedrock sends shivers down my spine as the car careens up the last fifty feet of hill to safety.

A couple of weeks ago we spotted what is still left of it abandoned halfway up the grade, with it’s wheels frozen solid in knee-deep mud. I don’t know how they got it out.

The sheriff once drove all the way up over an issue about a dog. We found part of a bumper near the gate the next day. The Washington State Patrol once stopped us because chunks of our driveway were calving off the underside of our car onto the freeway.

Someday we will have our little slice of heaven repaired. Until then, I shut my eyes tight and pray every time we back out of our parking spot.

Someone Has Big Plans For Our Property

We were the last ones to know.

Last week, our new neighbor of one whole month approached me out of the blue and asked me if I wanted to cut down our trees on the edge of our property or have him do it so he could move the cul-de-sac we share thirty-feet over and onto our property.

He was very casual about it – like it was a matter of an overhanging branch that needed to come down or something. It felt more like a shock-and-awe maneuver as this was the first I’d been clued into his plans.

I told him I would need to talk to my husband about the matter and I practically sprinted to the RV with the bad news. My husband was just as floored as me. We felt so blind-sided we couldn’t think straight.

Were we over-reacting or should we be wary of this person?

We scheduled a legal consultation and here’s what happened: Our neighbor had done his own survey and discovered the existing easement road was fifteen feet to the side of where it is shown on the survey so he decided he was going to move it – without consulting with us first.¬† The road, however, has been in it’s current location for decades and would most likely be considered an implied easement and remain in place.

To add to the confusion, the easement is also described as being the existing road in other parts of the same legal documents which would make it legally in the right spot. The contradiction might warrant another look by the attorneys to be sure.

We were advised that the proposed change would be to our detriment and the neighbor’s benefit. We would be the only ones out of the three property owners who shared the easement road who stood to lose acreage if it was relocated. A judge might take that into consideration if this ever goes to court.

The attorneys told us that it would save everyone a lot of money to negotiate rather than go through litigation. We could even propose a sum for the use of our property as an option.

Armed with this basic real-estate legal knowledge, we’ve decided to just watch and wait and hope the neighbor doesn’t push for this after we leave him a note informing him of our stance.

I could live without a freeway in my front yard.

 

 

Jackasses of the Year-Major Rework

Reworked to tell the FULL story better.

Our neighbors are jackasses. I’m not mentioning any names but a jackass is a jackass is a jackass.

We were working with a non-profit that wanted to build a home for a veteran with a child (I’m a veteran) but when we found out it would cost 22,000.00 to run utilities up our driveway, we were forced to call the project off as it had now become an unviable endeavor.¬†The only work-around was an easement on the Jackasses property that would have been a fraction of the cost and the Jackasses knew it. It would have been located underground and well away from the part of their property they actively used.

When I told her the project was off, the Jackette told me “I have lots of friends who live in trailers and they do just fine”. She also told us to stop relying on handouts (we would pay off the home as part of the agreement with the non-nonprofit).

This actually happened. And it gets better: they started to build a monstrous¬†shop and garage right within sight of our trailer as this was happening. We got to watch them build their behemoth from our 20′ abode on wheels.

We understand they’re not obligated¬†to provide access for an easement but they’re still jackasses because it wouldn’t have affected them in the least.

BTW, these people had plans on putting a fence up and forcing us to pay for half. A phone call to an attorney clarified that we are under no legal obligation to pay for half a property line fence. So sorry Mr. and Mrs. Jackass.¬†¬†I let them know we’d be happy to pay for half a fence in exchange for the utility easement. Haven’t heard from them since.

An example of what to do even when you don’t get along: We accidentally got a neighbor’s paycheck in our mail box and rather than send it back to the post office, we immediately brought their mail to them because people depend on their paychecks arriving in a timely manner. We don’t get along with those¬† neighbors either but that’s what you do. It’s a matter of honor in my opinion.

We don’t hate all of our neighbors. We just got the lucky role of the die. We have a full understanding that we have to live with these people for god knows how long. We’re not dumb, but if you knew about the dogs on one neighbors side, and the trucks revving at all hours of the day …..we’ve gone out of our way to just let it slide and get along. No drama. But some things you simply can’t ignore; like when they almost shoot you.

We hadn’t been here but a month or so when me and my husband were standing outside when someone from up on a hill began to shoot. That happens around here but then my husband heard a bullet ricochet off of one our trees. He said so and I hit the ground and yelled “there are people down here!” at the top of my lungs. The shots ceased and we heard a truck start up at the neighbor’s property and roar off. We didn’t call the sheriff as we believed they got the point.

I’m a little disappointed we don’t get along better. Generally we always have had good relationships with our neighbors in the past. We’ve had neighbors who are still very dear friends. I’ve considered maybe it’s somehow our fault but no, we really had to put up personal boundaries on both sides.

I just wish the nice older couple that lived on the hill when we moved here hadn’t sold. They were awesome and nice, and quiet.

 

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Jackasses of the Year

Trying to avoid drama but sometimes you just can’t.

Our neighbors are jackasses. I’m not mentioning any names but a jackass is a jackass is a jackass.

We were working with the help of a non-profit that wanted to build a home for a veteran with a child (I’m a veteran) but when we found out it would cost 22,000.00 to run utilities up our driveway, we were forced to call the project off as it had now become an unviable endeavor.¬†The only work-around was an easement on the Jackasses property that would have been a fraction of the cost and the Jackasses knew it. It would have been located underground and well away from the part of their property they actively used.

When I told her the project was off, the Jackette told me “I have lots of friends who live in trailers and they do just fine”. She also told us to stop relying on handouts (we would pay off the home as part of the agreement with the non-nonprofit).

This actually happened. And it gets better: they started to build a monstrous¬†shop and garage right within sight of our trailer as this was happening. We got to watch them build their behemoth from our 20′ abode on wheels.

We understand they’re not obligated¬†to provide access for an easement but they’re still jackasses because it wouldn’t have affected them in the least.

BTW, these people had plans on putting a fence up and forcing us to pay for half. A phone call to an attorney clarified that we are under no legal obligation to pay for half a property line fence. So sorry Mr. and Mrs. Jackass.¬†¬†I let them know we’d be happy to pay for half a fence in exchange for the utility easement. Haven’t heard from them since.

An example of what to do even when you don’t get along: We accidentally got a neighbor’s paycheck in our mail box and rather than send it back to the post office, we immediately brought their mail to them because people depend on their paychecks arriving in a timely manner. We don’t get along with those¬† neighbors either but that’s what you do. It’s a matter of honor in my opinion.

We don’t hate all of our neighbors. We just got the lucky role of the die. We have a full understanding that we have to live with these people for god knows how long. We’re not dumb, but if you knew about the dogs on one neighbors side, and the trucks revving at all hours of the day …..we’ve gone out of our way to just let it slide and get along. No drama. But some things you simply can’t ignore; like when they almost shoot you.

We hadn’t been here but a month or so when me and my husband were standing outside when someone from up on a hill began to shoot. That happens around here but then my husband heard a bullet ricochet off of one our trees. He said so and I hit the ground and yelled “there are people down here!” at the top of my lungs. The shots ceased and we heard a truck start up at the neighbor’s property and roar off. We didn’t call the sheriff as we believed they got the point.

Our basic philosophy is to let it slide if you can. Pick your battles. I make a point of realizing everyone has their side of the story. The neighbors with the dogs (all 100 of them it seems who bark at all hours of the day) and the other side (no easement).

I’m a little disappointed we don’t get along better. Generally we always have had good relationships with our neighbors in the past. We’ve had neighbors who are still very dear friends. I’ve considered maybe it’s somehow our fault but no, we really had to put up personal boundaries on both sides.

I just wish the nice older couple that lived on the hill when we moved here hadn’t sold. They were awesome and nice, and quiet.

 

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