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Friday, September 18, 2009

DO WE OWN THE LAND OR DOES THE LAND OWN US ?

Diane and I were now the proud owners of a soon- to- be vineyard. Well, I guess it isn't technically a vineyard until we plant our first vines, but that will come in ample time.

Shortly after the long distance closing we made it down to Virginia to see what we had purchased.We decided to spend a long weekend down there, getting the keys from Mike, and opening and closing all the doors and drawers to get a basis point on what we needed to do over the coming months before we could use it as our working retreat from our professional lives up north.

What we found was a fairly well built house (fortunately), though the interior design was somewhat confusing and the last time the interior was updated must have been back when the Brady Bunch was popular. We could see where the previous owner must have taken the advice of the realtor and completely painted the interior.....and I mean completely painted the interior. Ceilings, walls, moldings, door, cabinets.....all one color, a sort of beige. Look at it this way, it made for a great basecoat for our redecoration plans !

There were little things that bugged us.....toilets all seemed to have small leaks in the flappers, one of the dual ovens didn't work, the well pump seemed to be set wrong, and there was a leak near the hot water heater. Oh, and there were the field mice that decided winter was coming and the house provided an opportunity to stay under shelter. All of this was irritating but not too unexpected moving into an old dwelling on a farm. But then came October.......5 inches of rain inside of 24 hours washed out our driveway ! And I mean washed out. A Sherman Tank would have had difficulty getting up the driveway. The way we heard about it was from our oil man. We had ordered a delivery of heating oil to top off our tank but when he drove into the property he was unable to traverse the washout. They called with the bad news, and $4500 later we had to bring in a crew to regrade the driveway and put in a gravel base which had been swept away. Diane and I went down to the vineyard to watch them do the grading, and along with this issue Diane discovered that the furnace didn't work either ! The good news was that the local Surry Hardware store was also an all-purpose operation that had someone on staff that fixed these kind of things, and within a very quick timeframe they got it working properly.

Welcome to the neighborhood !

All we could do was grin and bare it, and start planning for the upcoming year of land prep. and planning, and getting the house so that it was livable. Pray for no more catastrophies. A vineyard is an expensive enough venture without these unknowns creeping in.

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