On his last birthday, a few days ago, his favorite cow dropped dead, our water line froze to the house, and we found out that a developer bought the two forty-acre parcels, which were supposed to be going to the State, along our driveway, between the big pines forty we own and the road. He called the Realtor and she said he’s going to split them into ten-acre hunting parcels … for $33,000 each! ouch! Not only can we not afford that but possibly will have a bunch of hunting shacks between our place and the mailbox. How utterly lovely! We can’t figure out, though, how he’ll divide the 40’s though as 2/3 of them are very low ground. As in swamp. So far, the township hasn’t approved the split. But we’re afraid it will happen, which will ruin our wilderness setting. How sad! The cow and the water line, we can deal with; it’s just how things go. But the developer is another thing, which we have no control over.

Here are our sweet peppers, waiting to germinate where it’s nice and warm.
The first habanero peppers are coming up.

Yesterday, Will went down to St. Lukes to have his second stent put in. We’d thought the doctor had told him this artery was 30% blocked but we’d misheard him; it was 80% blocked. The procedure went quickly and smoothly, and he was released last evening to come home. Today, he’s resting but feels fine. Hopefully, with healing, he’ll be having more energy and good health. Right in time for spring planting! Already, my first hot peppers are coming up and the sweet peppers have all been planted in flats and are now keeping warm, while germinating, behind the wood stove.

Will’s recovering in his easy chair from his second stent procedure.

Buffy, too, has been recuperating from her spay last week. After spending a lonely week, locked in David’s old bedroom, today, she was released to come join the real world. She was so happy! She meowed and ran around, looking out all the windows and sniffing everything she’d missed. She also got into a fight with Mittens. But that was quickly broken up by Will, who was on the phone at the time. No damage was done.

Buffy is busily exploring the downstairs to see if anything has changed while she was in “exile,” recovering from her surgery.

More good news: Two of our wild turkeys showed up this morning! Remember the two young males, the sons of the old mom turkey hen? Well, I looked out this morning, through the heavily falling spring snow and there they were! I was so happy to see they’d made it all winter. They sure knew the routine, going into the storage barn for some spilled corn and ignoring the dogs when they went outside. Our spring birds are here! (Although they aren’t the songbird type). — Jackie


  1. I know I am answering this late, but it seems I can not keep up these days. From previous e-mails it sounds as if Will is recovering. Praise the Lord for that. I was sorry to hear about a developer waning to buy property close to yours. A lot of people are only interested in how much money they can make and have no other thoughts in mind. Keep looking up. Bette

  2. Jackie – From past experience on property issues: If you haven’t already, have your property boundaries surveyed – including all easements, encroachments, maintenance of entrances, etc. and filed on your deed with the county / state clerk. Mark the permanent pin locations with painted metal fence posts (if allowed in your area).

    Become very familiar with the permitting and zoning process in your area. Get an attorney involved for legal advice. Money well spent in my book.

    Post your property quite visually – Signage, tree painting, etc. In some areas, property owners provide notice of private property posting to the paper of record. Government property may be marked. You may have to contact local authorities for assistance if the markings are worn or not visible.

    Make friends with your local conservation officer. Express your concerns regarding the issues. They may not be able to do much at this time, but will have a ‘heads up’ regarding your concerns.

    Not that any of you will, but in some states harassment of legal hunters is against the law and can result in hefty fines and court appearances. Be careful and become very knowledgeable with the hunting laws of your area. Get your conservation officers involved if suspected illegal activity is observed.

    As homesteaders and preppers, I know you all don’t have the time to spend on learning the nuances of the law, but remember – Forewarned is forearmed. You may not be able to do anything about the situation as it stands, but just like having a good shelter and ample supply of food and heating sources, it’s part of being prepared.

    Best wishes – Mike
    p.s. I’m not a lawyer and don’t play one on t.v., and advice on the ‘net is worth exactly what you pay for it.

  3. Wow, sure hope that you’re able to stop the land grab. Happy birthday to Will and wishing him a speedy recovery!

    • There won’t be any stopping it. Our greatest hope is that folks, thinking of buying, will notice the land is a swamp and look elsewhere.

  4. Your best avenue to block development might be wetlands protection regulation. You might check to see what Federal and State laws and regulations exist to protect wetlands. Since outhouses have to have permits, you may be able to block any building on the basis that the acreage is a protected wetland. In our area, even vernal pools have to be protected. Unfortunately, developers have money, and money talks, but the folks in Duluth still have to obey the law.

    • Yep, they do. We, as individuals, can do nothing to block the sale of that land. It can never be developed as it is nearly all wetland. However, hunters can still buy and hunt on it.

  5. Praying Will has a speedy recovery. Sorry about all the negatives but atleast there were posi t Ives also:) Last week I planted the rhubarb I started from seeds I got from you. Hope you guys have a blessed Spring:)

  6. So glad to hear Will is doing well. My MIL “barreled through’ several stints and was out working again in days. At 5’10” and a little over 200#, she could scare and outwork a lot of men! One of 10 kids, farm raised during the Depression she could get things done. I hope things go as well for Will.

    • Yep, he’s out and about today, on the four wheeler. We’re so grateful he now has two stents and we’re glad we didn’t know how blocked he was in the past. That is scary!!! How things could have gone so badly…..

  7. Well dang, not the best birthday for sure. Frozen pipes, dead cow and distressing news. Whew, good thing birthdays are once a year,lol. Sorry to hear about those events but sure glad to hear Will is recovering from his procedure. Hopefully the price of the land parcels will keep the truly reckless hunters away. It is such a helpless feeling when these things happen. Hopefully there will be some like minded people who are looking for a bug out camp who buy rather than destructive hunters. On a happy note, my rhubarb is peeking through the ground. Spring is coming!

  8. It seems like you guys are really getting it from all sides.
    So disheartening!
    Will keep you in our prayers.

    • Trouble seems to come in threes so we hope that was our allotment for awhile. Thanks for the prayers!

  9. I would make sure your property is posted “No Hunting and No Trespassing without permission” on large enough signs that people looking to buy the hunting parcels realize they are limited only to their land.

  10. Friends did that and got absolutely nowhere; this is hunting country and folks look on actions like that as being “anti-hunting” and blow us off. Actually, David is the closest and he’s 1/2 a mile away so that wouldn’t fly, anyway. Thanks for the idea, though.

  11. Wow, you’ve gotten a lot of great advice. I’m sad for you also. We live in the middle of our acreage and will never be disturbed by neighbors. I know that my favorite vlogger was in the boonies of the boonies; but someone bought the property across from the end of his driveway. Turned out to be a stalker who saw him on you tube and didn’t like him, eventually found out where he lived, and spent a lot of money to live across from him, put up loud speakers towards his driveway and play loud music to chase him away. Course he got the sheriff involved, and sold his land and moved to his larger, further away hunting property to get away from the stalker. Amazing the evil in this world.

    • We, also, live in the middle of 200 acres. We’re about 3/4 mile from the “new” private land and a mile from the 40 he’s going to divide (first?). But it’s still sad. There really are some creeps out there and you sure can’t pick your neighbors!

    • That sure proves that some people do not have a life! It takes a pretty sad individual to buy property and move just to harass someone like that.

      Three quarters (160 acre parcels) west of us went to a husband wife pair of surgeons and their ‘land investment LLC”. Rough and rocky in areas, with draws and coulees. All in the neighborhood were interested. About 100 acres of crop and lots of pasture. It sold for $750k without ever going to auction. We may have been able to swing part of it, but you can’t cash flow agriculture with land prices like that. The farmers were out. That is about $1500/acre, but it is rough barren property compared to what is in Jackie’s area.

  12. Glad to hear about Will! Though it sounds like a tough birthday.
    Water rights is a big thing now. This may be a way to rein in the amount of development on those parcels of land. First, they may want to drain the swamp, that may affect your wells. Second, sewage into swampy ground spreads. That may affect your wells. Occasional use hunting property can also be a problem with hunters being stupid, drunk or both shooting at your livestock, out buildings and house. I was taught that you don’t drink and hunt, be very careful with your aim and know what is around you. But not everyone follows those rules. You may have to put up no trespassing signs and a fence line to keep people off your property. Go complain to county government. And keep complaining about keeping development from messing with your water supply. The developer will insist none of this will affect your wells. Not so, I have known wells to dry up due heavy pumping on adjacent property. Not sure of your ground water up there. They should have a county rep that handles ground water, mapping and flow.
    I’m sorry about this happening. Let everyone know if you can make headway on this mess.

    • I don’t think any development would affect our ground water or wells. We’re nearly a mile from the 40 he’s splitting with State and Federal land between us. I agree about the shooting and drinking. I sure hate that aspect of some hunters!! As the ground there is low, there is definitely a limit to what to can be done. Even an outhouse has to be permitted here, as David’s was. I don’t see that happening, so we’ll see…..

  13. I fully know how you feel about developers buying land. Upon the lady who owned the 129 acres next door passing, the kids put the land up for sale….. A developer bought it….. 6 tracts of 20+ acres each at OVER $10,000 PER acre! Gulp. We should hit the 90’s first of next week her NW of Ft. Worth, TX……. Fruit bearing trees/bushes are in bloom. Spring is coming.

  14. Jackie, I’m out west, but some of this info. might apply. When these land grabs happen here, the govt. agency usually tests the waters before they proceed. Getting all the notes of the town meetings and brainstorming, perhaps with other locals dealing with the same issues would help. The govt. agencies (at least here) take the land from the easiest sources (not the loud locals making their cases). Check and see if they have/had to re-zone to get the parcels that size. Let them know what you and others (if this affects others in your area too) have done to maintain this beautiful area and this lifestyle. Bring the low lying areas to their attention. Get on the city, county, state mailing lists for notifications of meetings or changes. The squeaky wheel still gets the grease and maybe they have another parcel they’re considering. Just thoughts…. Good luck.

  15. Praying for Will to get better, Jackie to stay strong in Joy, and your homestead to have its miracle too! Keep looking up especially when things get interesting:)

    • We are trusting God has a good plan for us. We sure can’t do a whole lot about our current problem but we’ll keep checking out things to try.

  16. Buffy is so beautiful! I hope and pray you don’t get new neighbors, but if you do, I hope they are real nice!

    • I don’t see us getting new neighbors but at worst, hunting shacks with hunters, come fall, to hunt the State and Federal land nearby. I don’t mind hunters but don’t like drinking, irresponsible shooting and noise.

  17. Terrible news about the developer’s plan. I feel very bad for you. What are the rules there on parcel size? Go to the township meeting and complain. Here you have to have 40 to have house/shack. We had a group that had an adjacent parcel always shooting and consuming ETOH-fortunately they had to sell and we were able to buy them out. Living remotely is to be guarded and treasured. I hope the division/development (devilment) doesn’t happen.

    • Already did; the county now governs splitting parcels. They accept 10 acres, pretty much rubber stamping the papers without consideration, as they’re 100 miles away, in Duluth. All we can do now is pray and see what happens. The land’s not dry enough for a permanent dwelling or even an outhouse permit on most of it.

  18. I feel your pain about the acreage being sold. We built way off the road in 1985. Sadly we built on the edge of 40 acres. Two years ago the large field next door was sold to a developer. Now there are at least 18 houses across our yard. If only we could have seen into the future, we’d have built back onto the other side of what is now our lawn. Never had to have drapes that we have to close at night.

  19. I hope Will has a good and fast recovery. On my 60th birthday I had a heart attack. So I know how Will fills. I told people that I’m never turning 60 again if this is going to happen! It was a funny for all. But boy did that set me back.

    You inquire of your town board why those parcels will be allowed. There isn’t enough room for wells and septics to be legal. It never hurts to ask.

    I hope all goes well for you

    • Already did as two of my friends are on the township board. They used to govern such things but now it’s turned over to the county who could give a rap for what goes on up here. The class it as “recreational” land for hunting; no permanent dwellings on the low land but RV’s are okay. No septic would pass, nor would a outhouse permit.

  20. Steve: I have a copy of the subdivision ordinance of St Louis County. We checked into this when the property on the end of Fall road was for sale. I also met last summer with the township over this issue. In order to sub divide property you have to go through a great deal of steps. The property owner would be better off just selling the forty acre parcels off. You can have my copy of the ordinance if you want.

  21. I am sick about the development along your driveway. We have lived on our 2.5 acres for 28 years and had deep woods at our back lot line for 27 years. Now those dense woods of mature trees have been clear cut for a housing development on 1/4 acre lots. We have an acre of woods behind our house but with the leaves down we can see the barren land and our peace will be gone forever once all those houses are built.

  22. Enlist the DNR if need be as hunting shack or not, septic is an issue. Perhaps an email to your state rep/senator to find out WHY the land did not go to the state. And do plead your case with the township (and may they NOT be idiots). At least only 8 parcels (which is 8 too many BUT better than .25 acre lots). I can’t speak to MN but not far from my neck of the woods, farmers would paint orange on their cattle hoping “hunters” (using the term loosely) didn’t shoot at them.
    We’re done with our county idiots as well as a few local idiots. As soon as the lawyer is ready, the acreage across from us will be ours. Worth every penny we offered which the owners quickly accepted. One cannot put a price on peace of mind. We’re sure some in the area will not be happy but too bad-so sad.
    Buffy at large was the first thought I had when I saw the picture. I remember my childhood/early adulthood cat would always have to inspect the living room when Mom switched the furniture arrangement from winter to summer or vice versa. Same swap (and furniture for that matter) for years yet it required a full feline inspection lol.
    Established cat is *finally* showing she is the established cat. Newbie isn’t willing to tussle (so far).
    I’m a bit puzzled as to how the water line to the house froze given it is almost April. But as they say, stuff happens.
    Glad Will is doing well. At least 50% of recuperation is mental IMHO.

    • Cold drives frost deep into the ground. Then, in the spring, the frost is apparently driven deeper by warm weather. Our local newspaper has had notices for residents to run a pencil sized stream of water the last month, even though it’s warming up, stating this reason. Of course, residents have to pay for running this water, but they say it’s cheaper than dealing with broken pipes, which you would have to pay for too.

    • Blossom’s right. But we still don’t know why it froze as Will dug down and double-insulated the water line two years ago and it didn’t freeze last winter, which was colder. Running a small stream of water doesn’t work for us as the house water comes to the sinks from our storage tanks in the basement. We only run water to the tanks when the generator is on so we can’t keep a flow going, which is a great option for folks on grid.

  23. AMDG+
    In regard to the sale of the parcels: if you own your driveway, I believe you can also refuse access to the property via your driveway. (We had something similar happen to us decades ago. Unknown to us, the seller told the buyer that they could access the property through our driveway. Unfortunately, we didn’t find out about this until the new owners began building. Needless to say, they were very unhappy about having to put in their own driveway.

    Praying that it all works out for you.

    • We don’t “own” our driveway but have a written legal access to it. But the flip side is they can’t close access off to us. I don’t see any major building on that land as it is chiefly low swamp. Maybe some hunting shack will eventually show up but they’ll have to have an outhouse, which must be permitted (i.e. inspected for drainage). We’ll see.

  24. I would suggest you, Will and your son as landowners close enough to be endangered by hunters shooting go to the Township and object to the division of the property for hunting purposes. If you have any neighbors close enough to be affected, have them file an objection too. Might not do any good, but certainly worth a try.

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