(If you know that reference, you’re in worse literary shape than I thought.) It might seem that I am flighty and fickle, making big decisions hither and yon. Not true, although my writing about them is the most scattered, air-brained journaling imaginable. (Oh. An aside. This made me laugh. At the zoo, the lead curator was telling us Monday about how all the flamingo eggs this year ended up being duds. We were musing about the nest-tending skills of the flock and she said, “Well, since they share one brain cell among the lot of them…” It’s true that flamingos are highly daft in unison- it’s like synchronized stupidity. Okay, enough about politics.)
So. The new home. It’s part of a carefully crafted five year plan and we are now in year two. The plan is for Rich to work like a demon while I manage our personal affairs and between us, we’ll be situated to retire while we are still young enough to enjoy mountain hikes, fly-fishing, time with friends, volunteering, kayaking in the bayou and so on. This will be possible because, other than real estate, I shop not one wit (okay. fiber. I buy fiber. You got me there.) and Rich can’t imagine a time when he is not consulting and speaking parttime. We knew already that we were interested in the mountains, staying east to be near family and not so far from our Florida respite and friends. We need to be near some smart culture, good food farms, medical care if necessary, lifelong learning opportunities and still feel as though we’re living side by side with the natural world. Rich and I have been blessed with work that we love and professional lives that have sustained us but after four decades of that, we’ve been thinking seriously about a time when work is not the focus. Okay, I have been thinking about that. Rich still sees his best work coming in the next few years. But it wouldn’t be a stretch to say we have each, individually and together, done a heap of living to get close to this home.
In any case, this trip to Asheville was not out of the blue but rather a part of a lot of research and inquiry. We looked at property now because it is clearly a buyer’s market and Wit’s Ends funds had been earmarked for this purpose. Who knew that we could trade one small piece of heaven for a whole hillside of it? We found the house about 15 miles outside of Asheville, to the southeast. The drive to town is very pleasant and relatively traffic free, passing along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is in an area of nice homes mixed with attractive small farms all with ample acreage. I vowed the day would come when I couldn’t see my neighbor’s lights and this place fits the bill. We purchased the house now and I think, I hope, we’ve found a lovely woman to rent it for the next couple years. She is a writer and a gardener and lives alone so I said she could have a dog. (Insert smile.) It will be hard not to be there, but I have a hunch it’s going to be well loved in the interim.
The house itself is humble and modest, clean and bright. It’s a 1956 cottage. Excellent vintage. It is less than 2000 square feet with only a few rooms, each large and full of light. Two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room/dining room and a study with glass doors onto a deck hanging over the hillside. The stone work outside is extensive and solid and moss covered and delicious. There’s a 20 x 50 full sun garden wrapped with a lichen embossed picket fence and lined already with chicken wire. There are woods and rhododendrons and azaleas and dogwoods and an apple tree.
Also, there are bats. What do you know about getting rid of bats? I mean, not rid of them, but out of the house rid of them. They have come in up at the attic vents. I suspect they have some young amongst them; it’s that time of year, but they should be mostly full grown. I need to come up with a plan where the bats can get out but not back in. Here’s the other thing I want to know: if I put up bat houses in the trees, say half an acre away, will they go find them and be satisfied? That would be the very best thing.