Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wanted: Something less

So, our farm has been listed with our realtor for a little over a week. A few days ago he brought 5 of his agents out here so Keith and I could do a walk and talk with them.

We spent a little time touring the house but spent the most time outside. Afterwards I asked what any old HGTV groupie would ask. "So, what can we improve upon before you start showing ?"

Long pause.

Finally, Mr. Lyons himself, the firms first owner said. "I have no idea. I'm totally overwhelmed."
He was referring to all the parts of our business, the organic meat business (grocery stores, restaurants, private customers), the farm store, the raw milk business,my new soap making business,  the livestock we raise, the certified organic land, the house...

He was referring to our lives. Yeah, we're a little overwhelmed too. Especially when its 106 outside. True temperature. Not heat index, but actually heat of 106F. But, pity us not as we chose this life and now we are choosing something more manageable. A small home . Maybe one like this

Other than needing a porch, preferably wrap-a-round, this looks good to me. But Keith thought we might need a couple hundred more square feet for family visits. So we went back to one of my favorite blogs (Walter Jeffries) and his Tiny Cottage. Just 252 square feet for a family of 5. http://flashweb.com/blog/2010/12/tiny-cottage-at-three-years.html.

I spent several hours the other night reading every post Walter wrote about his tiny cottage and decided...he was nuts.

Nuts in a good way. Nuts in the way of making less be so much more when you are organized and creative. Nuts in how he made a curved CONCRETE roof without once dropping any of it on his kids heads.

 Keith however was still thinking he needed a tad more space. Apparently being cooped up with me in tinyland frightened him. So today he and ,I along with sister Mary and husband Dave toured the Anti-Tiny-Cottage when we looked at modular homes, those built in factories and delivered to your home site. http://www.homewayhomes.com/build/photoalbum.html

We thought them to be efficient, attractive and cookie cutter. Well made for the $115 sq foot price tag but not what we had in mind. Still it gave me some great ideas about space allocation and showers ! One home had this cool dual shower that could be entered from either side. I will replace the plastic wall the model home had, with the colored bottle wall Walter has in his Tiny Cottage !

Yes. Its fun to dream.

But in the meantime the temperature has plummeted to 100 and I best go water a few husbands...I mean chickens.


  1. I like the teepee idea but I'm also rather fond of indoor plumbing and air conditioning.

  2. MBJ. I must admit I also need Topee
    inside in relative comfort.

  3. I seriously need to NOT be drinking (anything) when reading your posts and comments- I keep blowing liquids all over my keyboard. I very much appreciate the entertainment as I read to learn about soaping, fighting the man over raw milk and managing not to work off the farm. Thank you, thank you!

  4. This post totally cracked me up! I think you are hitting the search for your "Goldilocks" stage, which I relate to. You've got to find a place that's not too big and not too small, but JUST RIGHT! It'll happen and I'm going to have lots of fun reading about it.

  5. Hey Charade --- I don't think I'm in your state, but very close due to the temperatures...I was a Real Estate Broker for years, owning my own brokerage with several associates working in my company and even though I am not in your state, I would highly recommend that a client such as you would get a specific kind of appraiser that has extra qualifications to appraise commercial-income producing properties. I understand the organic certification process because we are going through the same thing for part of our acreage and it is definitely of value to the right client. You have a specific niche for the right client, but your property would have to be "target-marketed" to those circles to find potential buyers. You might have access to some groups, etc. that would give you a starting point. Getting an excellent, professional video/slideshow of your property with details provided in an elegant forum would be excellent because you can mass copy these DVD's/CD's and send them out to every organization, group and potential buyer --- including other brokerages, especially those that specialize in farm and ranch properties. I have brokered farm and ranch properties in the past, so I know how challenging these can be, but with your organic certification, the value must not be under-valued. It will probably take longer to sell, but do not sell to someone who does not understand the value of certification and who does not want to pay the value attached. By the way, I just decided to let my license go...as of the end of April...we are nearing an early retirement. As you know, since you read my blog, I am trying to get moved to the farm. I have loved reading about your experiences. I'm sure you have MUCH MUCH MUCH more to share. And, the price per square foot for the modular homes is steep.

    It sounds like your broker is doing an excellent job with brining out people from the office to give their opinions. It's always great to have a bunch of heads locked together to figure out a challenge, such as your property.

  6. Sal, so sorry about your keyboard, In the hospital where I worked we had covers to fit over them to prevent just that same tragedy. Well, more it was to keep the body fluids nurses were often playing with, off the keyboards but same difference.

    Lana, THANK YOU for the fantastic advice. Our realtor recognizes our "niche-ness' but honestly tells me he is not sure how to market our farm/business. He has been very open to my suggestions to advertise in Mother Earth News and other specific markets but neither he or I thought of the DVD/CD idea. Fantastic ! I will approach him with that tomorrow. Really, I am grateful for the suggestion. You must've been a fantastic broker.

  7. If you are retiring, why not buy several small homes. One on a Greek Island, one on a Pacific Island, one in Scotland, one in S Carolina (maybe), and a tiny apartment in New York. The idea is to have A BIT OF EVERYTHING.

  8. Cro, may I call you that ? My daughters name is Raven and she was often teased and called Crow as a child, but she out grew that and is now a beautiful woman who just died her blond locks black and I am thinking it might have something to do with her being more comfortable with her name among other things.

    Where were we ?

    Mr Cro, ideally I would have an apt in my childhood town of Chicago, a cabin in the Black Hills of SD , the birthplace of the aforementioned Raven, a cottage on the Aran Islands in Ireland with boat trips to the mainland only when I ran out of coffee ( I am in constant ache for Ireland) and finally...the tiny totally self sufficient farm my husband and I are working towards.

    Want to buy a very succesful certified organic farm in The US ?

  9. That's exactly what I meant, I just got the spelling wrong.

    I'd love to buy an organic farm. Unfortunately I already have an organic (tiny) place in France.

  10. What about two teepees (family size), one for You, one for Your DH, and some acres of land in the Black Hills and on the Aran Islands? You could easily move with the teepees from one place to the other? ;-)

  11. Misc. I lived out those gypsy years in the mid 70's living out of my Chevy Nova for an entire summer. They were lovely times, drinking from creeks, washing out my jeans and then attaching them to the car door and drving 80 MPH in order dry them by letting them flap in the breeze. I'm ready for a concrete foundation now. However I would not mind doing a progressive Teepee dinner one evening

  12. Family of three and four on the way living in 315 square feet. It is not enough. We will begin construction of another 315 sq ft space next summer.

  13. Geoffry, I have followed your blog and have been fascinated with your home design. Rammed earth floors . Who would have thought ? Of course it was good enough for Pa Ingalls. Are you still planning for an end product of 6000 sq feet ? And why so big after living so small

  14. Hope you didn't minde me giving you a new name above...:-) I'm TRYING to keep up!