“Hey Rob, check out this 40 acre piece of land for sale in the Grandview neighborhood” I said. “It’s really affordable” I said. “I think it’s what we are looking for” I said.
It’s true, I really did say and think all of those things. I also thought “I wonder what’s the matter with it?”.
Rob had actually seen this 40 acre parcel of land for sale long before I came upon it, but it had been pending sale and it was glossed over in online searches. When we actually inquired with our Realtor, Kristen, about seeing this property, it had just gone pending once again and we felt a little sad somehow. As though we lost something. The more we had looked at this property on topographical maps, looked up the county information on it and did some research, we really wanted a shot at it. Turns out, a fourth pending offer fell through and we then had our chance.
With permission, we set out to wander the land to see what we could see. We didn’t get far. The aerial maps we found online were old and the land was not exactly accessible for over half of the property. We found all the trails we could squeeze through, as much as we could without getting cut up by branches and “poky things” as our son Judah calls it, but there was so much to see and it just wasn’t possible with the overgrowth.
(It’s impossible to really get an idea of the whole 40 acres and just how much work there was to do, but much of it was heavily treed and overgrown, kind of like this!)
Step 1 – Get a machete to cut our way through. In theory, it was a great idea, but when you are talking about 20 out of 40 acres that are completely covered in thick brush, it quickly became a really bad idea. I still remember that morning clear as day. It was bright and sunny and we brought breakfast with us so we could have our first meal up at the property and begin our little adventure. I like to think now, that we were well fueled for disappointment.
Step 2 – Get a chainsaw. We really thought this was going to get us going a bit faster. It didn’t. It was just a glorified knife. Here is also where a lot of men are probably laughing, but remember, we didn’t own this place yet and weren’t even fully committed to much. We were literally just trying to walk around and see things. Putting a lot of time and money out for a quick look didn’t quite register at that point.
Step 3 – Rent a skid steer. Now we were moving. Slowly, but we were moving through. We learned that this property had been logged once, many years ago, so as Rob plowed through the brush we found a few trails hidden underneath overgrowth and brush and crawled our way through a little further. I say a little further, because I mean just a very little bit. We saw about half an acre more. So, you know, a little bit.
(You can get an idea of how high the brush is here. And how small of a path a little skid steer makes. Rob made great trails, but when the brush is 2 feet taller than your head, it’s still hard to see what’s on the other side!)
Step 4 – Bulldoze through that brush like your life depends on it. We got out the big guns and rented a bulldozer for a week and just went for it. In hindsight, this maybe should have been Step 1, but you don’t know what you’re going to find until you’re there. Besides, Rob owns a really nice machete now, a great chainsaw, he got to mess around with a skid steer AND a massive bulldozer. So it’s not like he didn’t have fun. This final step was the tool needed to actually get through all of that dense overgrowth and be able to see what was on the ground. It did cost us out of pocket, but it was a risk worth taking for us.
What we found was pretty beautiful. Rolling, hilly landscape, that in most areas has never been touched outside of nature itself and grazing wildlife. The biggest, tallest, old growth trees that have been there for what seems like forever, and will continue that way. The most abundant array of tree selection as well – Alder, Cedar, Fir, Oak, Hemlock, Holly, and everything from apple trees to blackberry bushes. My goodness do we have a good start. The pasture areas that were already quite clear along the western side have beautiful, thick pasture grass and various wildflowers that pop up in random places but give it a really beautiful surprise of color and variance. Every season brings a new plant or species we haven’t seen before and because the land has never been disturbed, it’s so….natural….and lovely.
We came, we saw, we said yes.
(This guy right here makes everything out there look like someplace I want to be)
– The Homesteaders Wife