Looking around the country

Normally I do my real estate searching via the Internet. I know I'm missing lots of properties but it's a way for me to get a general idea of what an area looks like. It's also fun to start looking at the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) for an area. They love to post pictures of them operating during the last disaster. One small town in Kansas looked very good...and then I saw the pictures from the DEM. Apparently large areas may be prone to flooding. I have an aversion to seeing all or portions of my house underwater. So I quietly crossed that area off my list of possible areas for a new homestead.

This past week I got the opportunity to do a little traveling. Down through Oregon and into Northern California. It's a beautiful drive. A little less lovely when it's 105°F in Grants Pass but still nice to see that part of the country. I've made a permanent note to self to never drive Hwy 199 between Grants Pass and Crescent City, California again. It's beautiful, wild remote country. But the twisty, little highway hanging above the river in the canyon really eats up the time and gas and tends to make passengers carsick. Ok, the driver felt sick on occasion too!

Driving along the California coast was nice and much cooler than the inland Oregon temperatures. It's nice to think about the bounty of the sea. There's salt to be produced from the salt water, fish, mussels, crabs, and seaweed to be harvested. I also wonder if it would be safe to eat those items or whether we've managed to pollute the water so much that we've created toxic food sources. If we lose power and can't process waste water, will we further pollute the coastal waters? My feeling is that we would see more pollution being dumped there.

There were Tsunami warning signs. Some of them were in areas where you couldn't even see the ocean but it was flat and marshy towards the west; an easy path for water from the ocean to your front door if you lived there. My husband and I began asking ourselves just what is the size of tsunami wave that is used when they determine which areas are in or out of tsunami danger. All the upwards grades were marked 'Leaving Tsunami Danger Area' but all of them didn't seem that safe to me. I'll have to do a bit of research and see how high the tsunami wave was in the computer simulations used to post the signs. I'm thinking it wasn't as high as I'd like. I wonder if it takes into account rising sea levels as various glaciers and ice caps melt. Will they need to move and repost the signs every year to stay ahead of the rising water? As we're driving along, we notice a large power plant located between Hwy 101 and the ocean, on flat lowland. If a tsunami hits, the area will lose power, for quite some time it would appear.

We drove inland and upwards out of tsunami danger. It was dryer. Not arid, just not the lush, squishy wetness of my current location. A nice flat plot of land. An old plum tree grew near the old house. There was a bee hive in an old apple tree. Other apple trees grew on a steep slope. There was a drainage ditch that came into the property and runs in the winter. There's a nice three feet of drop which would make a nice spot for a little hydroelectric generator. In the early morning, I watched four deer grazing on the upper edge of the property. Over the years of suburban living, I've lost my ability to gauge acreage. Six acres sounds big on paper. It looked tiny to me. There are supposed to be lots of survival/sustainability types in the area. It's all about organic in this area. There is apparently a fair amount of bartering going on in the area.

I was sleeping on the floor while I was there. I felt a familiar rippling feeling the first night. Either an earthquake occurred nearby or my inner ear is messing with me again. It's happened before and I've been convinced that the foundation of our house had become unstable. When that trembling unstableness followed me to get my haircut at a strip mall, I admitted that it was me and not our house. This didn't feel the same. Just about three ripples of the earth and it stopped. No one else felt it but me. I love the Internet for earthquake research. A 4.6 earthquake that was nine miles deep near Trinidad, CA doesn't make the news. It's nice to go online and confirm that there had been an earthquake nearby.

At first glance, this little corner of California seemed like a perfectly idyllic sactuary for a retreat. The more I thought though, the more I decided that it wasn't perfect for me. I like warmth. I don't mind hot days. Sure hauling hay or building fence on a 100°F day isn't that terrific but with fluids one can survive and get the job done. I also like snow. I've slogged through mid-thigh deep snow to feed cattle and haul wood. It's not fun but where I lived at the time, it didn't last more than a week or two at the most. This particular area of California doesn't provide me with those weather patterns. While this region may be perfect for other people, I'm not sure it's my first choice for a hideaway. It's a just a reminder that everyone is different and we all have to consider all aspects of our lives when we're making decisions about the best location for us and our families. What is perfect for one may not be perfect for another. Of course, there are things that all good homestead sites have in common: water, good soil, a good building site, etc. I won't enumerate all of those qualities. There are many articles on the subject so I won't reinvent the wheel.

So I'll continue searching for that perfect utopian homestead and perhaps one day in the near future, I'll find it.


Post a Comment

Blogger Template by Blogcrowds