Usually when I mention the house next door, I’m talking about the place that’s set a respectable distance away on a very large lot, occupied by a young family with a herd of little boys. Good neighbors. Not close. No problem. There’s another house next door, which is more problematic.
It’s the house on the other side, which is not quite at “reach out and touch” distance. But if I threw rocks at it, I’d never miss.
When I bought this place, that house was even more derelict than this one. It had burned down. Gaping holes in the walls. Charred wood. The owners had walked away from it. Nobody believed it to be salvageable and I assumed that someday after I’d recovered from purchasing this place maybe I’d be able to buy it for spit, tear it down, and have its small lot as a buffer.
I wasn’t counting on Andy. It turns out that my neighbor Andy (now deceased) was some sort of genius at salvaging unsalvageable houses and even making them into something quite cool.
He did that. When he started turning the house back into something livable, I put up a fence between the two places. And I was relieved when he moved his 85-year-old mother-in-law into the restored house. Nice, quiet neighbor. No problem. May she live to be 110.
Then the other day, while hanging out at the bee swarm, Andy’s widow J. told me she’d just sold the place.
Here’s the bad news: She sold it to a retired cop corrections officer.*
Here’s the worse news: He’s moving up from California.
Here’s the even worse news: He paid the sort of price only a Californian could imagine paying for this house in this area.
It’s an adorable little place. But little is the operative term. It’s tiny. Its lot is so small it doesn’t even own part of its own driveway. To a local, the house would have sold for $60,000 tops. Maybe $70,000 to somebody really crazy about its artistic touches. California Cop has contracted to buy it for $120,000, and since it’s seller-financed there’s no mortgage lender to demand an appraisal and give him a reality check.
Good thing for J., who’s a lovely person and deserves a bit of good fortune in her life after being widowed so abruptly this year.
But I am freaked out. I’m not only going to have a lifelong member of the Authoritah class within rock-throwing distance, but this might do terrible things to neighborhood property taxes.
I got taxed out of Cabin Sweet Cabin in 2009 when my property taxes extortion fees went up 43% in one year. I intend to stay here for the rest of my life.
I will be really, really, really upset if some ignorant Californicator on a fat state pension makes that impossible.
*Generally, someone who wanted to be a cop but couldn’t qualify. No offense to any cops or corrections officers who respect the Bill of Rights and have spent their careers working for liberty and/or to improve the justice system from within. (Don’t laugh; it could happen.)
My neighbor had another bee swarm. Three in the space of eight days! I missed the first two, but she called me as soon as she spotted the latest and I got to watch our friendly neighborhood expert deal with it.
Just a short post. I’m going to close down for most of the next three days. Will pop in occasionally to check comments, but otherwise be out in the sun hammering and nailing.
We had a big old bee swarm on our street a couple of days ago. I could have seen it from my windows had I known. But the woman with the trees full of bees didn’t have my phone number handy and wasn’t venturing out to inform the neighborhood.
Never saw a “live” bee swarm. I think it would be cool. The beekeeping neighbor who eventually dealt with the swarm looked at me incredulously when I met up with him yesterday and told him this was something I’d seen only in pictures. He and his girlfriend said, “We had four swarms last year.” So I guess eventually I’ll get to witness some swarming and humans dealing with it.
My next-door neighbor is also thinking of getting a hive, and I wouldn’t be averse to having a few myself someday.
I learned all the exciting details at a party. Yeah, not a party person. But every few months, a pair of neighbors hosts a lunchtime get-together for anybody who happens to be having a birthday. The birthday people get envelopes full of scratch cards and everybody catches up on things.
I’m gradually noticing that my neighbors are a bunch of very smart people. The regulars at the party range in age from 30s to 86, with three little schoolboys showing up toward the end. We’re of diverse backgrounds, from a former California vineyard owner to a Finnish housewife (and widow of a cop). Yet when hot-button political topics arise, I never feel like an outsider.
People like me (and you) are supposed to be so radical, so fringe, so out of the mainstream. Yet on every subject that’s arisen at these gatherings — from the woeful treatment of boys in public school to government curbs on free-market genetic testing to (of course) guns — we’re either in agreement or able to work with each other’s points of view.
Very liberty-oriented these people are.
Finally, I just did something a little scary but wicked good. Put the emphasis on both wicked and good. :-)
Might be a couple of months before I can say more about it, but for now, picture me with a cheshire-cat grin.
Police face recruiting challenges, according to this NPR interview with cop advisor Darrel Stephens. But know what? If that very last line Stephens’ speaks is what cops aim for, they’re going to face a lot worse than mere recruiting challenges in the long run. They’re gonna face us. (Both audio and transcript at the link.)
It was free spring-cleaning day at the landfill and furrydoc guessed that I might have construction rubble to add to her truckload. (Gee, wonder what made her think a thing like that?)
So she came over, we loaded my demolition leftovers on top of hers, and off we went to the dump.
And there it was, right on the nearest heap:
The center pane had a crack across it that someone had patched with blue masking tape and cardboard from a Cheerios box. The wood has a few dings. But nothing a little Bondo or wood filler can’t handle. Rick at the local hardware store cuts glass and I even have glazing points hidden in some drawer or another. A little sanding and a coat of paint — and it’s done.
A cheerful young man who helped us unload said we were welcome to it. So I smashed out the broken pane and this cool old door followed me home.
Not sure where I’ll use it yet, but I’ll figure something out.
The Sugar Pine Mine situation in Oregon, which a lot of people have been cautiously watching, is not yet (and hopefully won’t have to become) a stand-off with the Bureau of Land Management. But according to David Codrea, Oath Keepers (bless ’em) has been on the scene to provide security as the confrontation remains tense.
Oath Keepers is looking for responsible volunteers (no agenda-driven grandstanders/provocateurs) to support them at a noon rally in Medford, Oregon, today. They are also looking for a camp cook, medical personnel, and other volunteers with specific skills. They may need other help in the future, as well. Potential volunteers should take their lead from Oath Keepers and (other than for today’s rally) should contact local Oath Keepers organizers in advance; don’t just show up.
Josephine County, where this situation is developing, is one of the poorest (if not the poorest) county in Oregon. Much of it is remote and in many ways it is a forbidding, if utterly gorgeous, place. Like many areas that rely on income from natural resources, it has been economically crushed by regulations and there has been quiet hostility building for years between the people and the fedgov.
Josephine County is part of the State of Jefferson, a unique area that takes its identity seriously even if Jefferson statehood was never officially sanctioned.
Whatever happens with the Sugar Pine Mine dispute, expect interesting developments out of Jefferson. Eventually.
It’s been a year since I’ve scrounged anything good from the woods. Then it was the foundling end table (which got improved and which Commentariat member Pat eventually dubbed “Doorway to the Sun”).
This afternoon I brought home a small heap of equally unprepossessing but potentially useful stuff I found in a newly dumped trash heap. To wit:
This is tongue-and-groove beadboard from somebody’s old house. Depression-era, I’m guessing. Probably wainscotting from a kitchen or bathroom judging by the bits of ancient wallpaper clinging to it. This small amount isn’t enough for anything by itself, but I’ve got this ceiling project …
Last summer (you may recall all too personally, given that y’all were so involved), part of my roof collapsed. The fix involved cutting away large chunks of a beadboard ceiling. Which was bad because it was a lovely old ceiling. But which was good because working from inside made the roof fix relatively inexpensive. And which was also good because it gave me the opportunity to convert a formerly flat ceiling to a vaulted (well, slightly vaulted) one.
I just didn’t have enough interesting material to cover it. Could have drywalled it. But meh. And there was still a lot of beadboard left after the teardown, even if not enough beadboard.
Right now that ceiling is just bare rafters with insulation. Eventually I’ll turn it into a patchwork of the old beadboard, modern tongue-and-groove 1x6s, trim, and whatever the heck else might fit up there. The beadboard I picked up this afternoon is a different design than what I’ve already got and will enhance the patchwork effect. Remarkably, the tongues and grooves of all the different materials I’ve assembled fit together, too. Well, mostly. They will fit whether they want to or not. :-)
There’s probably more beadboard in the heap of construction rubble. I’ll go back and look later.
It infuriates that people dump construction leftovers in the woods. Aside from the blight on the landscape, the heaps are always full of rusty nails, sharp metal edges, and broken glass. I wonder if the creeps who use the forest as their personal landfill ever give a second’s thought to the excruciating death some animal might suffer, getting an infected wound from all those spiky protrusions.
The rubble heap this beadboard came from could have been left at the real landfill for about $7.50. But noooooo. Some cretin couldn’t be bothered.
If I ran the world, people who dumped dangerous junk in the woods would have to pick it up with their teeth. Serve ’em right. Still, for scroungers, there’s occasional gold in the rubble.
Walked to the grocery store this morning, arriving just before opening. The lot was nearly full and the street outside lined with parked pickup trucks and SUVs. Unheard of on a Sunday morning. Clerk opened the doors — and out of those vehicles poured guys. I’m guessing there were six men for every one woman.
It’s SuperBowl Sunday in the NorthWest and the local team is playing for the second year in a row.
We’re having another of those moments where the sky is blue, the sun blinding, and the air so mild that fleece sweatpants and a turtleneck under the tee-shirt are almost too much.
So the guy who helps with my yardwork turned up to do some long-discussed brush clearing, trash hauling, and felling of small trees. (Totally blowing my January “minimalist” budget, but that’s another story.) Twice this week he and a couple of grubby kids (one of whom is his daughter-in-law, a tough bundle of charm) have crawled down the slope across the road and dug in. They’ve attacked noxious giant weeds (which my beekeeping neighbors won’t let me poison if I want to keep peace in the valley). They’ve taken down and heaped up small, malformed trees. They’ve hauled out every sort of trash, from microwaves and broken toilets to dozens of bags of cat poop.
My apologies, all you people there on the upper east coast. I hear that the ghastly weather you’re having is our fault. Something to do with this monstrous ridge of high pressure plunging down on us; creates a monster low for you.
Believe me, I was thinking of you this afternoon while I contemplated whether or not I should wear the tee-shirt with a turtleneck or skip the turtleneck for a dog walk. I felt soooooo guilty.