Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Country Roads, and a Dragon + Shameless Self Promotion and Begging*

With some economic news to fuel our hopes, we have been venturing out across the county, looking for that ideal place, at an ideal price. And we have found ourselves in some remote spots, and in places with beautiful and unexpected views. We've even seen some of the "ugly climb" in the form of beautifully priced houses.

We have not found our house. Not yet. Yesterday, after 3 hours of looking and driving in one area, I decided on something I never thought I would choose: Gated... Ugh. I am so ashamed. I think gated communities are pretentious and isolating. Maybe they work for some, but I have never seen myself feeling comfortable in a gated neighborhood. Never say never?

Geoff and I have stumbled upon a development with astonishing views and huge lots, pretty homes that are large and inviting... sigh, and the best part is that some are in foreclosure and some are priced to sell and the rest are lovingly maintained, so the neighborhood feels welcoming and nice. Even the name suggest everything I would like: "____Ranch." Ranch, as in freedom and wide open spaces, and barns, stables, chicken coops, tractors and windmills. Not.

I spent 3 days daydreaming about one particular house, but could not get over that gate, until I realized that I can't let a gate stop me from something that is really nice in every other respect. So, I convinced myself of the benefits of living there, like slower traffic and peace of mind when the children ride their bikes. Naturally by this point I was deeply attached and excited and full of big hopes. It was more than enough to get me to the next step and I called the association to ask about a few things. That's when the red flags started dropping from the big blue sky. In their Ranch no one can make home changes without committee approval. In their Ranch no one can have livestock! No horses, cows, goats, donkeys, sheep or chickens! A monthly fee is paid for the privilege of letting other people to tell you how to live in your own home. Feh

I never should have stopped at that feed store yesterday. Yes, I needed rabbit food and some parakeet seeds, but I should have just picked those up from the market. I should not have gone into the back corner of the store where Maria and I could hear the distinct peeping and chirping. I shouldn't have peeked into the cages where it said "Banty Chicks." And Maria and I should not have pet the tiny, tiny chicks with the loveliest plumage I have ever seen, the tiniest chicks that would sit in Maria's hand like a cotton ball of downy fluff. No pictures. I had to drag myself away. On Friday they are expecting a shipment of Araucanas. My favorite. Geoff should take my keys on Friday.

William took this picture of his brother sketching. The boys are taking their state tests this week. Standardized, fill in the bubble tests. I guess I sympathize, because when we got home I didn't ask them to do any more school work. Max begged for 30 minutes of PS3 time and I gave in. Alex was happy to play for 30 minutes too, and then he immersed himself in sketching dragons and making electro-magnets. Coming soon: A post featuring the things Alex has made and revived from thrift shop junk. You can probably understand why we are looking for a home with room for a workshop!

Thank you everyone that took the time to vote. Time is up and the votes are being counted.
* OKay. Here comes the shameless self-promotion and begging!
Vote For Me! Vote For Me! Won't you please vote for me and my wonderful octopus photograph? And after you vote, please, please ask your friends and family to vote. What?! I would vote for you. Hmmm. I wonder if this is enough. Should I send out emails? Get on the phone? I wonder which is more humiliating, begging or not getting a response to shameless self-promoting. I'll get back to you on this.


amy smith said...

I voted for you!

Andylynne said...

Hey that's a great picture, and voting for you was a piece of cake. Do you like the greenish or bluish or pinkish eggs the best :)I found a wild turkey feather on my way to the car yesterday, it was almost as good as a chicken feather. Ranches should have chickens and horses and what ever else that makes them ranches.I'm so glad you didn't fall for the gates:)

village mama said...

I'm a voter, I vote. Good luck chica!

Tami @ Lemon Tree Tales said...

I voted for you too!

Ugh, the rules in homeowner's associations always make me want to do the very opposite of what they're doing. Not that I'd want to paint my house pink anytime soon, but I LOVE knowing that no one is going to stop me from doing it. Yes, some of the neighbors may not like it but so what. In turn, I may not like some of their choices.

Hold out for your dream house. And you know, some of the suburbs allow chickens (not many, but some). A block and a half from us I hear a rooster every now and then and we're deep in the 'burbs just a few blocks away from one of the major thorough fares of our city. So go and check that out. You may be surprised by what zoning is allowed in different places.

Do you want to have more animals than just chickens? It doesn't require that much land to get horses too. My aunt has a little tiny bit of property in Riverside, CA that allows her to have a couple horses and an aviary that she built a few years ago. But it's close enough that you could easily drive to either large city, LA or San Diego, to get the big city things (museums, zoos and art centers).

Keep looking!

Speedcat Hollydale said...

Because I love chickens, blog about chickens, and indeed found you through a search of chickens .... "I will vote for you"
Hello from Speedy!!

tilly said...

I will vote for you too! I loved that photo and the words that went with it. Magical.

Tilly said...

There - I voted. Hope you win!!!

Tarie said...

Awww re: the house possibility. :o( *hug*

Alex is the man! Alex is da bomb!!!