Friday, April 25, 2008

Spring Fever

I'm not sure if it's the weather or something else, but lately I've felt a tremendous pull to clean house, eliminate junk, keep only what I need, and use less. It's been in the 70s and 80s here lately, really beautiful weather, if a little hot in the afternoons. But I have done my best to keep the AC off in the house and the car. I've got the windows open and the fans blowing. The benefit is that right now I feel like I'm sitting outside in a lovely breeze, rather than actually being inside looking out my wall of windows while sitting in my comfy leather armchair (a hand-me-down from my parents, who got it for $15 at a furniture store sale). 

I think this weekend we're going to do a major evaluation of our personal property. We just don't need the things we have. However, I still feel a pull to buy more. I'm going to start asking myself these questions before I buy:
  1. Do I need it? (Or is it more likely that I already have a handful just like it at home)
  2. Do I love it? (Not just like it, but love it. Does it inspire me in some way?)
  3. Is it worth it? (The space it will take in the house, the effort to keep it clean and in good shape, and the money that could be spent elsewhere . . .)
On a related note, I stopped by Whole Foods to get my groceries yesterday. It was ridiculously expensive. I can't do that again. But I'm excited because our farm share starts next week--fresh veggie and meat straight from the farm. Yay!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Location, Location, Location

We've been looking at land. I was up 'til 1:00 last night searching realtracs for property in our price range, school zone, and acreage amount. It's not been easy. A few popped up last night that looked good. One had this amazing view. What the pictures don't show, however, is the massive power plant immediately to the left of the shot. In fact, I think they PhotoShopped out some of the wires. Not exactly the view you're looking for when you're going for an environmentally friendly house. So, back to the drawing board. We're still hoping that the property my parents' neighbors own will work out. That would be amazing. Heard today that it's 16 acres of meadow on the other side of the big hill they live on. Sounds beautiful. 

On the house side of things, we're trying to research some eco friendly builders and architects in our area. Haven't found many yet, but I'm sure they're out there. The struggle is finding green options in a moderate price range. It just doesn't seem to be widely available yet; it's still quite pricey. I want to make decisions that will help the earth we live on, but I need to be able to pay the mortgage at the same time. And no luck so far finding much on cottage-style homes with an eco bent, most are contemporary or modern. Still looking. If anyone has any resources, please let us know!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Nothing to Report

Nothing to report. I've asked agents (via email) to meet us at the property, but with no luck. My parents' neighbor has a lot of land behind his house that he is considering selling. That could be ideal--we'd be so close to them. And we've spoken to some friends about the idea of buying a bunch of land and splitting it up among us. I think that would be an amazing opportunity for community. 

About the house, it's been interesting seeing our different opinions come to light. We've never had a hard time agreeing on a house before, but now that we're talking about building the house we'll live in for the rest of our lives, most likely, it's a whole new ball game.  One this is for sure--we don't want a modern house. Our look is much more traditional--even the idea of a Federalist-style house is appealing to me. The challenge will be doing a "green" house in a traditional style. I've only seen contemporary or modern designs in magazines, etc. I want something that feels like home to me.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Day 1

Just two years ago the idea of living an eco-friendly life way out of the fringe of society--at least to me. The environmentalists I knew were mainly in the music industry, a little hippy, definitely Democrat, and usually pretty cool. I live a small life: I'm the mother to two, I work from home, I'm not cool. I'm a most-of-the-time Republican and I'm deeply religious. But I've become convicted. It's time to make some changes.

We joined a CSA. We quit buying paper napkins. My baby drinks from glass baby bottles. And I buy most of the kids' clothes used at consignment sales. And I don't think anyone notices, which I count as a good thing. My point is, we're not freaks. We're not extremists. We're normal people making small changes for a big difference, I hope.

A long-time dream of ours has been to build a house on a few acres of land. My primary reason is aesthetic--I love the idea of seeing beautiful, rolling landscapes out my kitchen window every day. Second: I want the kids to have a yard to run around in. Our 0.18 acres on a steep incline isn't conducive to play. So why not merge the two, build a sustainable, eco-friendly home while we're at it?

Today was the beginning of that journey. We found a couple pieces of land that look promising, and we've called the real estate agents. One emailed me the plot graphs, which are completely confusing to me. This is going to be an interesting road we're traveling!