Monday, August 30, 2021

Monday, August 30, 2021

This morning, I treated myself to a solitary breakfast at my favorite (and one of the only) breakfast places. There was only one other customer- Ralph, a long-time Republic resident. Ralph was probably in his 70's and wore rainbow-striped suspenders and sat alone, having obvious difficulty breathing, which he seemed to take in stride without much anxiety or fuss. 

The server's name was Tiffany, so there were two Tiffanys and one Ralph in the room. 

Ralph asked server-Tiffany if she had a boyfriend. Server-Tiffany laughingly said Yes, yes she did, while Tiffany-me looked down bashfully at her plate of food and chewed behind a wide grin. 

Then, Ralph saw Gracie (there's a little store attached to the restaurant, with people coming and going) and Gracie wondered if Ralph would be at the fair. Ralph wouldn't miss it.

Last of all was Harvey, who Ralph implored could he mooch a cigarette? Harvey was who cooked our breakfasts. Harvey handed over the cigarette with a "You bet!" to match Ralph's gratitude, and was on his way. 

By then, I had read several chapters of Little House on the Prairie and was full of hashbrowns, bacon, eggs, toast, and strawberry jam, so with a final swig of coffee, I made my way to the cashier. As I walked past Ralph, he told me that today's special was The Ralph. I told him I'd have to get it next time, he said he gets it every time.

Then, I got into my sun-warmed vehicle and drove off over the mountain pass to the nearest town with large department stores to stock up on some meats and vegetables for the freezer. It's possible that Season 2 of The Coof is incoming and we could get locked down again, so I figured better go on now rather than wait. 

We got an offer on our land today. I countered and they accepted that, so it looks like maybe we've sold the land! That road was going to be tens of thousands of dollars to repair, and without widening and working on the grade, access to the property in winter was going to be mostly impossible. 

Living off-grid and homesteading are not simple lifestyles like some people might imagine them to be. Especially in the mountains. I think most folks see people living in a small cabin or a house they built themselves, and imagine things must be so easy.

Here are some numbers to think about:

Our raw piece of land was $50,000. Road repair was going to be $10-20,000. Installing a well was quoted at $17,000 (and even then you aren't guaranteed to hit water!). A minimal solar array about $15,000. So you're already close to six figures and still have no house!

You could, of course, get land with power and water already on it, but that isn't "off-grid" and besides, your land cost would just increase. 

Maybe taking on a mortgage isn't such a terrible idea after all, as long as you work to pay it off as soon as possible. Stretching it out for 30 or even 15 years seems like a pretty big gamble to me. Life can change a lot over such a span of time. I don't like debt, I like freedom and the two do not go well together. A man who owes is not a free man. 

Things to think about.