A book about living your dreams by Jenna.
So pretty much within an hour of writing last Thursday’s post, I figured out where to find unrestricted land within short driving distance to the city (not Austin, unsurprisingly, but that’s okay, surprisingly). After panicking that this was literally THE ONLY LAND (and by “only” I mean there were eight different listings) that was unrestricted, allowed mobile homes, farm animals, horses, etc (not that I want horses; it’s just a sign that no one cares if you have chickens), I went online to look at mortgage and personal loan rates. Because obviously, if we don’t buy this land within driving distance to downtown NOW, it will never exist EVER AGAIN in the next six months.
Then I ran some amortization tables on a $50,000 mortgage for kicks, with a 15-year loan and doubling our monthly payments to pay it down even more quickly. I stared at the thousands of dollars of interest that racked up before my very eyes, even if we paid it down in 8 years. And yet I still rationalized it: “Dave Ramsey says that it’s okay to have a mortgage if you are debt-free, have a fully funded emergency fund, and the monthly payments including property taxes are less than 25% of your take-home pay.” I was considering it. For a second anyway, until no less than two of my very favorite bloggers had mortgage posts up within days of one another. Reading the numbers got me to change my mind on getting a loan of any kind, ever. We could wait a few months, save up money and put cash down on a piece of unrestricted land. There will be land for sale in a few months. I know it.
The last two days that I have looked, actually, I’ve found even more properties, for even less money. I want to go take a look. You know, like a test-drive of a dream car. Even just thinking about it is getting both of us excited. What do we need in place once we are there? What is the basic infrastructure? How cheaply can we build a huge, open barn roof for rainwater collection? Can I also tell you how great it will be to have a house all ready to move onto the property? To not have to worry about shelling out a ton of money or even more time trying to build a shelter while also building up soil? Even though our house isn’t done yet, it will be eventually. And it will be ready to roll with all of our possessions and our own bed in it, safe from the elements.
The goal is for us to have a homestead, a place where I can teach people simple ways to live more deliberately upon this spun-glass, delicate ball of a planet. I don’t care how crappy the soil is; the worse the better. Then I can prove that you can do this anywhere. I don’t need ten acres. Two would be plenty. I want to take a desert of land and make it thrive with life with compost and time. I want fruit trees and cowpeas and a salsa garden with massive heads of garlic and purple heirloom tomatilloes. I want huge heaps of compost and full rainwater barrels and an outdoor dining area set up to have friends and family over for dinners of homestead food. I want our tiny house tucked back into a bit of gnarled Texas oaks for privacy, surrounded by greywater container wetlands filled with growing bamboo for cooling, tiny house shade in the summer. I still want to be close to the city, for selling things and Casey’s clients and an airport for the occasional trip out of town. I want honeybees for pollinating and gigantic sunflower heads and wildflowers everywhere. I want a huge mountain laurel in the yard to bloom every spring and fill the air with my absolutely favorite smell in the world. I want bluebonnets edging the property. I want a small area with an outdoor bathtub for summertime. I’ve also had an insatiable urge for several years to be able to pee with wind blowing in my hair, a luxury automatically afforded to menfolk but not women. So maybe a composting toilet outdoors as well. Just for the hell of it. To supplement the nice indoor one. And someday I want laying hens for eggs for my family. Hens that will come with a chicken-sitter for occasional out-of-town adventures.
If you think I’m crazy, good. This is my only life. The only evidence before me is that this is it. This is all there is, here in front of us, surrounding us. There is nothing more. And I want nothing more. I want to drink life until it’s all gone.