Friday, May 14, 2010

Past, Present and Future... Perhaps

The picture above was taken near the spot where I pontificated the origins of the oil filter on the fence post that I blogged about a earlier this week. In this picture, if you look carefully, you can see a group of taller trees on the right side perhaps a mile away as the crow flies where I grew up in an old farmhouse that has long ago returned to the earth from which it came. On the left side, you can see a group of buildings about two miles as the crow flies where I spent the latter part of my childhood and where my parents still live. This is the southern edge of a narrow plateau between two river drainage systems and some of the flatter ground in the area.

As a youth, I would walk from my house where the large tree on the right side are located, past this spot where this picture was taken to the draw you see in the photo below. This is one of the spots I hunted for mushrooms, where I found the deer in the previous post and for some reason, always seemed like a good place to build a house someday. It is not terribly scenic as far as locations but it is terribly peaceful there. You are over a half mile from the nearest road which is gravel and towards the north and a mile from the nearest paved road which is east. The nearest road to the west is another couple miles and now all farmed by my parents and to the south, I'm not sure where the nearest road is but it is a long ways and in another state for sure.

The only way this would be a practical site would be if I were rich or had an off the grid house because I'm a long way from utilities. I would need to gravel three quarters of a mile to create a road that I could drive on and then in the winter, there would be no guarantee that I could get out if needed. I'm a long way from anything, (30+ miles to the nearest town with a small grocery store or hospital) and would be even further from any potential employer which would mean that it would probably only be practical as a place of retirement. Yet when you retire, you are on the downward slide of health and perhaps such a remote area would not be the ideal place.

But this place has always called to me and if I had a means to support myself, I would like to build a house there. It would be down closer to the trees where I would not be able to see another man made structure in sight and where I could literally step out my back door to pick a few morels in season. If I were to die unexpectedly with no one around, well I guess it would be as good as place as any to let the scavengers pick my carcass clean and return me to the earth from which I came.


R. Sherman said...

It's amazing how certain places call to us. I fear most people these days have lost that sense of place, of connection to a particular spot of real estate. Another casualty of our modern transient age, I suppose.


Bone said...

At different times I have both the urge to be far away from everything and in the middle of it all. I guess we can't have it all.

I hope someday I end up beside some ocean somewhere.

Bone said...
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Ed said...

R. Sherman - Funny how though living a modern transient age, I have moved around and now reside about 40 miles from where I grew up. Perhaps the calling is deeper than even I suspect.

Bone - By then, all ocean front property will be ravaged by yearly hurricanes due to global warming or oil slicks due to the current fiasco. I'm hedging my bet that rural southern Iowa will still be a fairly safe place to live.

sage said...

the older I get the more I realize that there is a danger of being so far away, but such places do call... I've always wanted to stay a winter in a cabin in the northwoods

Ron said...

I think the weather possibilities and employment would be the toughest hurdles.

I know a number of people around here that are off-grid, and either haul their water in large containers or collect rain water to drink (after filtering).

The most practical option for electricity that I've seen is to simply use a deep-cycle battery in the trunk of the car, charged while driving around, plugged into an inverter at home to power lights (water is all gravity-fed, heat is propane, laundry done in town). Also, RVs have a lot of this technology figured out and one can get efficient appliances that run on 12V.

It's still not easy though. Doable, but not easy. It all depends on what one's goals are.

Myself, I'm pretty happy to be on a lightly-used paved road, a few hundred feet back in the woods. Being on the grid is very nice, even if we do a number of things to minimize our usage (no clothes dryer, low-wattage light bulbs, radiant wood heat, no A/C, wash clothes w/cold water detergent, small house).

All in all, I don't think there is any one right way to do things, just finding the compromise that aligns with one's goals and values.


Ron said...

Oh, I guess I should mention regarding the weather... a number of our more remote neighbors park near the pavement if we get wintry weather here. Just ride a 4-wheeler, lawn mower w/tire chains, or snowmobile to get to your vehicle. One could build a small shed out there to store it in so it wouldn't get snowed in while at work.

Just an idea...


Three Score and Ten or more said...

You have good taste Ed. I too have a place like that (that I probably will never see again).
One of Shakespeare's plays says "Screw up your courage to the sticking point" and we do, then we count our kids, study the needs of our spouses, and "screw it up" somewhere else.

Beau said...

A great dream, and I hope you do live there one day. Very possible, albeit with lots of resources as you've said. Maybe you could build a cabin... start small, and enjoy special times there.

Ed said...

Sage - Funny, I have thought the same thing. Is that a sign that I'm getting old?

Ron - Good tips. I think gas and electricity would be easy to come by. Water on the other hand is a bigger concern. Well water up here is all contaminated and needs heavy chemical treatment to be safe. To get hooked up to the rural water system would mean trenching a line from the group of trees on the right, almost a mile away as the crow flies. Not a cheap proposition.

3 Score - Excellent quote!

Beau - If I ever make it as "well-to-do", perhaps a vacation cabin is in order. I would certainly be able to get "away from it all" there.

TC said...

Seems that I feel the nostalgia for the peace and quiet of "home" more the past couple years. Definitely more than when I lived there!

PhilippinesPhil said...

From where I live I've got to see some high ground in the distance (either near or far, or both) and perhaps a large body of water or maybe a river or stream. It looks like a nice place to visit though.

"terribly peaceful" I really LIKE that bit of unlikely phrasing. I think I've said something like that before but I would never put it to screen. I'm glad YOU did though. Nice...