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» Hatrack River Forum » Archives » Landmark Threads » The Oregon Trail... or This Pilgrim is Going Home. A Landmark? (Page 3)

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Author Topic: The Oregon Trail... or This Pilgrim is Going Home. A Landmark?
TomDavidson
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I've actually grown to dislike land, to the point that I'd consider living in an apartment again if I thought Christy wouldn't wilt and die. [Smile]
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mr_porteiro_head
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I have read some Pratchett, but not much. I haven't read any with Sergeant Colon. Sorry.

quote:
And - land grows on you. You can't keep from loving land, it just gets under your skin and makes you fall in love.
Actually, my dad fell out of love with land. He grew up in the country, and pretty much assumed that he wanted to do the same throughout his life.

But when he bought some land out in Oklahoma, he discovered that he didn't enjoy being in charge of land as much as he thought he would. When he got transferred to Texas, he bought a house in town, and has been in town ever since.

That being said, I think I could really enjoy living in the country. The really convenient thing about land is that when it gets to be too much for me, I can always go back inside. [Wink]

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foundling
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Porter and Bev,
The area you guys are thinking about moving to is absolutely beautiful. And it's not actually that far out into the boondocks. You're about an hour and half from Portland on I5, and your maybe an hour from the coast. Salem, the capital of Oregon, is probably a little under a half an hour away. It's not the prettiest city in the world, but it's urban enough to meet all the needs of a city dweller who's stuck in the country. And the area of the coast that you're close to is wonderful. Newport is a great city. Lincoln City is, in my opinion, an ugly little tourist trap, but it's got a popular casino(I know, I know), and LOTS of shopping. And the Oregon coast is insanely beautiful.
You'd also be close enough to Corvallis, where OSU is, to make a trip there convienent.
I'm just sayin', you might be living the country life if you moved there, but you'd be close enough to alot of pretty big cities that it might not be as painful a transition as you'd think.

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breyerchic04
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No, i meant that that's the worst possible scenerio, and I see it as possible but avoidable.
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Mrs.M
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I grew up in a dairy farming community in rural Georgia and it had its good parts (great people, lifestyle) and its bad parts (terrible, terrible schools, far from everything). I'd probably live in a similar community, but Andrew is such a city slicker that he'd go bananas.

Have y'all talked to anyone about the snake and rodent populations out there? I don't know anything about Oregon, but there are lots and lots of snakes, bats, and mice where I grew up. There's fewer now, since stupid Atlanta has eaten everything almost to Athens, but still. You will need to know about things like that, especially with children running around.

Also, is there a large animals vet nearby? This is something you will definitely need.

If you do get goats - do not, under any circumstances, get a goat with horns. It will lead to a mess of problems and injuries that novices won't be equipped to deal with. It is especially important to have disbudded (dehorned) goats with small children in the household. Even if the goats are very tame and friendly, they can do serious damage just playing. They can also get pretty violent with humans, other animals, and each other. Kids should be debudded 3-8 days after birth, depending on the sex and breed. It's icky, but not bloody, and you'll most likely have to do it yourself - most vets know very little about goats. It does hurt the goats some, but you can give them painkillers and they'll be fine. Adult goats should never be dehorned - it is a horrible, bloody, painful process that can only be done by a vet (if you can find one who knows how and is willing to do it). So beware of anyone who wants to sell or give you an adult goat with horns. Also, goats with horns cannot protect themselves from dogs, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. Trust me.

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Mrs.M
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BTW, how's the baby?
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Uprooted
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Hatrack is the coolest place. I love the feedback you are getting in this thread.
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Mr.Funny
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quote:
You'd also be close enough to Corvallis, where OSU is, to make a trip there convienent.
Also where I live. And, I mean, seriously. Who wouldn't want to live near me?

Granted, I'll be gone by next year... Silly college.

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Tante Shvester
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Mr. Funny is going to Silly College? Figures.
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Farmgirl
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*waiting to hear from Beverly......*
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mr_porteiro_head
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In one hour is the big official inspection that we're tagging along for. This could be a show-stopper if they find something major and new.
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Tante Shvester
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Well, cross your fingers, I guess.
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katharina
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I would hate this. I know I would. I bitterly resent the hours spent weeding and yardwork I did growing up. We only had a little over an acre, but between the lawns and the gardens and the orchard and the grape vines every single Saturday was spent working. Blech.

I'm thinking penthouse with a rooftop garden that I pay someone else to take care of. [Smile] Maybe window boxes.

I have an ivy plant in my cubicle which requires only that I refill the vase once a month. That's my kind of farming. [Smile]

However, it would be fun for kids. If I had kids, I would talk y'all into taking the farm and then accepting wee house guests for a few weeks every summer. [Smile]

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pooka
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So what's up? Or is now a bad time to ask?
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beverly
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Hi! I guess I haven't come online in the last few days.

I love the house. It is quirky and tacky, and I love it. [Smile] I'm tired of perfect, cookie-cutter houses and manicured lawns. In a place like this, you can be your own person and do your own thing. The house has lots of windows, and I love the feel of radiating heat from the wood-burning stoves. I love the idea of no (or low) heating bills!

The land is overgrown and will require a lot of work to get things where I can do what I am wanting to do. For awhile, I was feeling pretty discouraged. On the southeast corner of the property, there is a fairly steep drop to an area that is probably filled with water or marshy most of the year (it is bone-dry, though, after a dry summer.) The previous owners were putting fill into it to get as much flat land as possible, and for that I am grateful. But the effect of putting fill on a slope of land is that the slope gets shorter and steeper as you fill. Down that slope are large blocks of concrete and whatnot that could conceivably be dangerous to children. My bro-in-law gave it as his opinion that the steep drop would not pose a problem for grazing livestock. The cows might choose to go around where the slope is more gradual, but the goats would have a hay-day. They'd love climbing on those cement blocks and boulders.

A lot of the flat land is very rocky. Some of it is a result of the fill placed out there. I imagine grass could grow up around the stoniness, but still. It isn't the best condition to be dealing with. It isn't ideal for grazing land, I imagine. But the owner says the great thing about it is that it will provide great drainage. But with the terrain being so varied, I worry that horses might have a hard time getting around on this land. There are fissures and holes that hooves could get stuck in. Does anyone know if fissures and holes fill themselves in time, or if I would need to fill them?

All the edges of the land are tightly overgrown with brambles, blackberry and scotch broom, primarily. So overgrown, in fact, that I didn't realize until yesterday that there is a fence lining the entire south and west border! That was very heartening news for me! The fences are a bit old and need some attention, but it is a start.

Those of you with goat knowledge, what do you think would be better--sending the goats out to "attack" the existing growth, or cutting it down myself and letting them feed on the tender regrowth that will inevitably occur? My bro-in-law leans towards the second option.

Quirky, unimportant things that I find charming: The front landscaped area has a weeping cherry tree. I took great pains to make sure a weeping cherry was planted in our current front yard. When I saw that there was one at this place, it just warmed the cockles of my heart. The pond is a poor excuse for a pond and depressingly overgrown (so much so that you can't even get to it or hardly see it) but it has plenty of frogs and salamanders. I imagine they help keep down any mosquito problems, but what's more, frogs are an important part of my childhood, and it just seems right and fitting that they should be a part of my offsprings' childhood.

Also, being up in the hills up above the fog-line and nestled in trees is so perfect for me. Many plots of land are out in the flat, open areas, exposed to the wind and full sun. I love the seclusion here! It is exactly what I would want. We have some neighbors with young children, but on either sides of us, is 1) Boise Cascade and 2) someone who only comes out to the property about once a month. Lots of privacy. But three miles from my sister! There is one place that, if cleared, would afford us a nice view across to another hill. The bus would pass right by the end of our drive way.

Overall, I am very pleased with the land. It may not be where I want it to be, but there is no reason why it cannot be brought there with time and hard work. The inspection did not pull up any deal-breakers. The only "big" unexpected thing is that we will probably need to replace the roof within the next 3 years or so. For being an old house, the place is well-cared for and in good condition. The next step is negitiations on who does what repairs and what items on the land we might be able to acquire as part of the house or buy off of them.

We still don't have a firm "yes, this is what we should do," but as we go through this process, it is my opinion that that is likely where we will end up.

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breyerchic04
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I don't have lots of goat knowledge, but I do know quite a few people who have let their goats in to attack overgrown properties like that one.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by beverly:
I love the feel of radiating heat from the wood-burning stoves. I love the idea of no (or low) heating bills!

Unless you have an endless supply of free wood (and even if so, what a waste!), you'll still have heating bills. They'll just be for wood instead of petroleum products. And wood-burning stoves are a dreadfully inefficient way to heat a space. I realize Oregon doesn't get as cold as some places, but I hope you have other options for heating the place during the coldest, dampest parts of the winter. Especially given all those windows, which will tend to lose heat, even if they are weatherproofed.

I'm glad you like the place, and I hope it works it for you.

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Farmgirl
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Love that you are able to see the potential, bev.

quote:
In a place like this, you can be your own person and do your own thing.
..and run around naked with no one to see if you it is hidden by trees well enough! [Wink]

quote:
Down that slope are large blocks of concrete and whatnot that could conceivably be dangerous to children. My bro-in-law gave it as his opinion that the steep drop would not pose a problem for grazing livestock
I'm assuming the former owner put the concrete blocks and such there as rip-rap to hole the fill dirt in place and keep it from eroding away. Your BIL is correct that it will not be a problem for livestock, as long are you don't have sharp items (random tangles of discarded barbed wire, sharp edges of discarded sheet metal, etc.) there. If it is mostly rocks, concrete and boulders, they will have no problem.

quote:
I worry that horses might have a hard time getting around on this land.
The horses will be fine -- they will learn their own way around the property and will know where all those things are. Your danger in holes and horses is when you are RUNNING a horse over an area that has holes, and they are not aware of it. If they are just grazing around, they will smart enough to see fissures and holes, and they will remember where they are.

As for the goats -- I think you could do it either way you mention. The main thing is -- with it so overgrown, can you tell if your fence is in good enough condition to keep your goats on your property? If the fence is in good enough shape to hold in goats, I would say do a compromise -- go ahead and put goats on it, and as they knock down some of the brush and begin making paths and clearing, it will give you more room to work in to take out the larger stuff.

Farmgirl

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Farmgirl
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What is the soil like? Is it in good enough health that you could seed in some of the range-pasture type grasses you would like to promote, once you get it cleared up?

(Be sure to use your local Extension Service for free advice on how to improve soil and growing conditions, or for advice as to what kinds of things do best in this area. That is what they are there for.)

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Unless you have an endless supply of free wood (and even if so, what a waste!), you'll still have heating bills. They'll just be for wood instead of petroleum products.
Out here, as long as you're willing to haul it away and split it yourself, you can get your firewood for free.
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rivka
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Still a horrible waste of a natural resource. Not to mention polluting and inefficient.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a nice fire in the fireplace on a chilly evening. [Smile] But it's just not a good way to actually heat a house.

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El JT de Spang
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That's right. The best way to heat a house is, as we all know, to pack up and move south.
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beverly
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Thank you for your advice, Farmgirl! I will be asking anyone in the local area I can for advice as well. The Extension Service is a good idea. I am very interested in talking to local pasture-farmers about how they solve various problems. Just a few minutes ago, I was watching horses graze on a pasture dotted with blackberry brambles. I don't think they horses actually eat them, but they work around them just fine.

Rivka, there are two other options for heating the home, propane and electric (I think.) But what Porter said is true--here in Oregon, free wood is easy to come by. My sister pretty much heats her home with nothing but free firewood. In fact, a lot is to be had right on our property. Inefficient it may be, but cheap and available it is.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Still a horrible waste of a natural resource. Not to mention polluting and inefficient.
At least it's a use of a renewable natural resourse (there is a lot of tree farming out here), as opposed to heating with propane or gas, which uses up an unrenewable resource.

You're probably right about the pollution. I don't know for a fact, but burning wood probably does release more pollution into the atmosphere than burning propane.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Inefficient it may be, but cheap and available it is.
Remember to factor in labor when computing cost. How much is your time worth?
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Farmgirl
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quote:
Still a horrible waste of a natural resource.
Not really, rivka. Wherever there are forests, there is tons of dead wood. Trees die, get blown down, or whatever. That wood would generally just rot into the ground and become humus is someone didn't chose to instead cut it up, clear it out, and use it as firewood.

Most people don't chop down live trees for firewood, because it takes too many years to cure and dry them out enough to be good for that. So they are clearing deadwood and underbrush and getting fuel at the same time. I don't see the problem.

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El JT de Spang
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quote:
I don't know for a fact, but burning wood probably does release more pollution into the atmosphere than burning propane.
That's my understanding as well.
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El JT de Spang
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Double post:

From here (a 1998 report on emissions from various heating sources nationally), wood is actually one of the best for the environment, at least in terms of greenhouse gases released and acid precipitation (this takes into account all the energy needed to supply the fuel to the end user). It's the worst at fine particulate emission (mainly SO2 and NO2), which makes sense.

I guess I agree with FG, especially if you're burning wood that's already down on the ground.

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beverly
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quote:
Remember to factor in labor when computing cost. How much is your time worth?
Well, when you take into account that it is a form of exercise, getting your body moving, building muscle, I'd say that it has value.

One of the things I am hoping to have in owning land is not *needing* to set aside time for exercise anymore in order to stay fit because I am getting enough exercise caring for land and animals. Staying fit is important to me, and I would much rather burn calories saving money on my heating bill (for example) than just plain burning calories.

I currently exercise for at least 1 hour 5 days a week. I could chop a lot of wood in that time. [Wink]

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Tante Shvester
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quote:
Originally posted by beverly:
Inefficient it may be, but cheap and available it is.

Yoda? Is that you?
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Farmgirl
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JT wrote:
quote:
I guess I agree with FG, especially if you're burning wood that's already down on the ground.
You guess???? You guess???!!!!

Don't understand why people are so reluctant to say they agree with me. [Wink]

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mr_porteiro_head
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edit: This is Beverly.

Update: There are some things that need to be done to this house. We requested that they do some of these things themselves, and they responded that they would not. So we are back at "square one."

In other news, Porter's last living grandparent just passed away. The funeral is in Lovell, WY this Monday. We are currently trying to figure out how best to get from here to there. 1000 miles, and 18 hours of driving. Not to mention MUCH colder weather. O_o

[ October 13, 2006, 02:19 AM: Message edited by: mr_porteiro_head ]

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Uprooted
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m_p_h: My condolences on the loss of your grandmother. And may you and your family be safe driving to and from her funeral.

Edited to add: I don't know what made me type "grandmother" -- it just says grandparent in Beverly's post. I'm sorry all the same.

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ElJay
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Sorry to hear that it didn't work out, Beverly, and deepest condolances to the entire family.
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Noemon
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[Frown] Sorry to hear about your grandparent, Porter.

Bev, how important was it to you that they do these things? Is their refusal to do so a complete deal breaker? When you said that things are back to square one, did you mean in terms of the negotiations for this house, or in terms of the house search itself?

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beverly
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Sorry for the lack of clarity. It was Porter's grandfather that died, and it was very much anticipated. Porter knew before we left that his health was going down fast, and the day before we were told that he had been taken off of the machines that would keep him alive.

As for the house, nothing as of yet has been a "deal breaker." But because this is an old house, there are many things that need attention. There are things about the electric wiring that are not up to code. The roof needs to be replaced within the next few years. Nearly half the house doesn't have a gutter system in place. There is some trim in back that wasn't finished with a recent remodeling. The toilet is loose where it connects to the floor, and the list goes on. We requested that they fix some of these things, some major, some minor. We also asked that they drop the price of the house to cover approximately half the cost of the roof.

We already had their offer to pay for half of a water holding tank, spraying for wood-eating pests and repair of the damage caused by said pests. They basically said that they would either stick with their original offer to pay for half of those things or they would drop the price of the house by $2,500, but they would not do both. The original offer is the better of the two.

Honestly, for a house originally built in 1940 and added on to multiple times, this house is in remarkably good shape, and they know that. They aren't highly motivated sellers, they know they are already selling for a very good value, and they aren't willing to negotiate further. I don't blame them one bit, nor am I surprised. This house probably wouldn't be a "money pit", but we would inherit some problems that would need fixing and repair. The problem with that is that we will already be stretching ourselves financially to get our own house ready for sale, move, and all the costs involved. Because there is a gap between the price we can get for our house and the price this one is going for, our mortgage will be higher. The concern is that we won't be able to afford this move, at least, not easily. Though, honestly, that's exactly how we felt when we moved into our current place. And truly, things were tight the first year. But we made it through and we have been OK ever since.

So, after the added time and expense of making it to Porter's grandfather's funeral, we need to go home and take a good, hard look at the numbers. Can we afford this? I think the answer will be: Yes, just *barely*.

This will be a leap of faith. It will stretch us. We don't like to be stretched. We are financially conservative in the extreme. We don't like anything to endanger that. But honestly, I think this is the right thing to do for so many reasons and the amount of risk is justified. Porter may not feel quite the same way I do, I will let him speak for himself.

What I meant by "square one" is that we still have a hard decision to make. If they had been more willing to negotiate, saying "yes" to this property would have been easier. We do not yet know how much their refusal to negotiate will cost us. We are getting bids to find that out. The actual difference cost may actually be fairly mild compared to what we were already planning to take on.

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mr_porteiro_head
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Concerning my grandfather: this was no surprise. He's over 90 years old, and hasn't been able to care for himeself for years. He went into the hospital about a month ago, and his health has been steadily dropping. A few days they took him off of the IV because his kidneys weren't processing the fluids, so we knew that he'd pass away within a week. I expected to go to his funeral next weekend, not this weekend.

I'm actually really looking forward to the funeral. The funerals for my other three grandparents have been fabulous experiences.

Concerning the place we're looking at: honestly, I like it. There are some annoying things about it, like the fact that it has the world's ugliest fireplace, and that we'll have to pay a yearly fee for full access to the local library, but overall I like the place and I like the community. I also really like the childhood I envision my kids having out there as opposed to the one I envision them having where we live now.

The only thing keeping me in Utah is my brothers. I worry about them, and I want to help them out, but so far I haven't been terribly effective at that even when I live two miles away. :worry:

The finances are a big concern. I agree with Beverly's assesment of the situation that we'll probably be able to do it, but it will be tight.

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Telperion the Silver
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((mph))
((bev))
You guys rock.

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Shan
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Wow. So much going on for you all! Thanks for keeping us posted. I know you'll come to the right decisions. Where are the pictures, eh? *smile*

Condolences about your grandfather -- mine just passed this Saturday, too. Being as he is in NY, I'll attend the service in spirit.

RE: goats -- I have some friends that have set their goats loose in very overgrown fields for the clearing effect -- it worked very well for them.

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beverly
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Ugh. I didn't even think to get pics I could put up! My camera's battery was dead anyway, I came to find out. But I have some pics that my family took when they first went that I could scan in.

Also, I linked to the real estate page before, it had several decent pictures. I wonder if those pages are still active? We are under contract, though our contingencies are still in place. We have just over a week before we must give our final answer.

The services were very nice. [Smile] It is wonderful to celebrate someone's life in that way. We give them honor, we learn about them from each other's memories, we ponder on the impact the person had on us. Funerals can be such wonderful, healing ceremonies.

I am very excited about setting goats to this property. The idea makes me all smiley inside. [Smile] I also read today that llamas love to eat blackberry and poison oak. (Some rescue llamas available on the Salem, OR craigslist.) Well, this property has a *lot* of both! Llama or dog to fend of predators? Or both? Hmmmm....

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Shan
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OOOhhhhh! Llamas -- get llamas. Did you know they hum when they are happy?
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beverly
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I am reading up on llamas now. I am a bit wary after what I have read. Apparently not all llamas have the instinct to guard, and the ones that do are more likely to develop dangerous behaviors.

I guess that is a problem in dogs as well. You want a dog that will be a good guard and yet be absolutely safe with your children and livestock.

Shan, what do you know about llamas? I like getting the scoop from multiple sources, especially since people running rescues can tend towards certain biases.

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beverly
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Blansjaar, eh? That is closer to the original French pronounciation. [Smile]
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Alcon
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Darnit. Reading this thread has reawoken my need for a little bit of land to play with. But I'm stuck in a dorm with not so much as a small garden I can play around with. *sniff* You guys are making me jealous.

I hope everything works out for you Bev and Porter. That place sounds amazing!

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ginette
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Right [Smile]
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Shan
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Ahhh -- llamas. In my very limited experience helping a man who used llamas as pack animals for hiking trips, they always seemed very gentle and affable. They never acted up to me or any of the hikers that may or may not (usually not) have any experience with llamas. I.e., they never spit at me, or nipped, or stepped on my foot, or tried to shoulder me off the path, etc., nor did they do that to anyone else.

At one point, this man was out of town for two weeks on business and I cared for his 30 llamas, 8 sheep, 3 dogs, and one teen-age son. Guess who caused the most problems? *grin* One of the llamas was a blind baby that needed a variety of special medications and help feeding around the clock.

On more mature reflection, I imagine the timing of this trip may have been his way of saying "I need a break!" A sick baby llama may have been just one thing too many for his wife and him. Her name was Keera, and she was the sweetest critter and lived to be a mama herself.

Wow. Thinking about being in the mountains with llamas humming as they walk sure brings back memories . . . *happy smile*

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beverly
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Huh. Almost thou persuadest me to get a llama. [Smile]

One of the things I read on one of these websites was to the effect of: "Contrary to popular belief, llamas do NOT hum when they are happy!" They were saying that humming was more a sound of aggression or consternation. I like your story better. [Smile]

The gal I've been corresponding with says that guard llamas are really hard to come by and all too often the llamas available are more likely to run from a coyote than chase it down. But again, that is one person's opinion. I am not going to drop the whole thing based on that. I think I will just have to wait and see what comes my way. [Smile]

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Tante Shvester
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Llama Llama Not a Llama
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beverly
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We are moving to Oregon. We will send in our acceptance today.

I don't know whether to shout with excitement or shiver with anxiety!

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ElJay
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Oh my gosh! Good luck!
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