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Golden oyster mushrooms
We couldn't resist trying these golden oyster mushrooms from the Athens farmer's market.

Sauted with salt and pepper, they tasted almost exactly like our ordinary oyster mushrooms.

I still prefer shiitakes.
Posted Thu Sep 21 07:20:40 2017 Tags:
Trailer living room

So what did we look at when we started considering potential used mobile homes? Given that the abodes are technically wheeled vehicles, I turned to used-car know-how. First on the agenda --- finding one as young as possible within our price range.

Two by four walls

Our current trailer is about 50 years old...which puts it before the cutoff when mobile homes beccame manufactured homes. On June 15, 1976, HUD tightened their rules and changed the name of the result. So this is a smart age to look for --- if you can afford a trailer that dates past this era, you're likely to end up with thicker walls, better insulation, and overall higher quality of living. (Plus, you can rightly tell your parental units that you didn't buy a trailer --- you bought a manufactured home. Bonus!)

Mobile home

Next up --- potential trouble spots. Roof leaks and bad floors are two of the most likely flaws of a used trailer. I go into this in much more depth in Trailersteading, so I won't bend your ear again here. As when hunting an ugly-duckling property, it's just a matter of figuring out what you can live with (and fix) and what you can't.

Old trailer

In the end, Mark and I got lucky. Our septic installer is also a trailer mover, and he knew of a 1993 Skyline Sabre less than a mile down the road from our new place. There are some obvious trouble zones we'll have to fix --- a few holes in the floor, lack of a furnace, pipes that likely burst when the space sat unheated for three years, and single-glazed windows being the worst of the downsides. But the trailer was a steal for $1,500 and will be very cheap to move given its proximity to the eventual destination. Success!

Posted Wed Sep 20 06:43:50 2017 Tags:
Checking out a trailer

Despite parental dismay that we're planning to live in a trailer again, the first phase of our closing trip to Ohio involved hunting for a new mobile home. Well, actually, for a used mobile home.

Trailersteading gives details about our first mobile home, which Ancient trailerwe were given for free since the structure was windowless, ancient, and a liability to the trailer-park owner. Given our budget at the time, that trailer was the perfect choice. But we've since saved our pennies and wanted to move to the next step up. The question became --- how high should we go?

Just out of curiosity, I took a look at the selling price of new mobile homes. These started at $24,000 and definitely seemed like a very bad financial decision even if we'd Trailer bedroomhad the spare cash on hand. If we'd had to borrow to make the new mobile home a reality, the financial situation would have been even darker, involving a high-interest loan. Bad idea!

At the lower end, I was still able to find free mobile homes for sale on Craigslist. One didn't look at all bad...although the listing did mention an infestation of bedbugs. Elbow grease would definitely have made these livable...eventually.

Then there was the Goldilocks middle ground. For $3,000 to $7,000, there are a slew of trailers to choose from. We made a list then started making calls. More on the results in tomorrow's post!

Posted Tue Sep 19 07:39:34 2017 Tags:
Red sweet peppers.
Red sweet peppers at harvest time.
Posted Mon Sep 18 15:32:26 2017 Tags:
Peppers

We are now the official owners of a tract of bare land outside Athens, Ohio! Our closing was Thursday, and we went up Monday to start getting a bunch of balls rolling. Enter a mass of gut-wrenching and expensive problems that made me doubt the entire endeavor and ask Mark if I could just crawl under a rock and live there instead. (For the record, he said, "No.")

Gluten-free baked goods

In need of a quick emotional fix, Mark and I headed straight to the farmer's market on Wednesday morning. Wow! All doubts were laid to rest at this midweek gathering (about a third the size of the main one on Saturday morning)...although part of my mood lift might have been due to that excellent gluten-free brownie.

Green Edge Gardens

But it wasn't just the brownie that floated my boat. I'm so impressed by the town's commitment to locally-grown food, which varied from fresh ginger and oyster mushrooms grown by the certified organic Green Edge Gardens...

Farmer's market fruit

...to multiple orchards with dozens of fruit varieties I haven't even tasted yet.

Pretty pies

I'm really looking forward to being part of a community that puts such a value on high-quality produce. A wise person once said that all boats are safe until they leave the harbor...but if you never leave the harbor what's the point of being a boat? Despite some squalls, I'm starting to get my sea legs under me as we continue to navigate our transition.

Posted Mon Sep 18 07:02:29 2017 Tags:
Bowl of volunteer tomatoes.
A harvest barely big enough for a two person dinner.
Posted Sun Sep 17 07:07:22 2017 Tags:
Inaugural visit

16.8 acres of mostly bare land + a new state = the first step in a grand adventure!

Forest

There's a water tap and an old camper on the property...and not much else. I suspect the amenities will be easier to establish than they were on our first farm, though, since the area that will become our core homestead butts right up against the road.

Edibles in trunk

Okay, and I'll admit it --- the land isn't quite bare any more. I couldn't resist filling the trunk with mushroom logs and potted plants before heading up to our closing. If the deer don't find them before we drive north again, we'll have the tiniest bit of a homestead waiting for us upon our return.

(This last picture is at our AirBnB. The actual property has no houses in sight.)

Posted Sat Sep 16 06:59:24 2017 Tags:
Clearing a lettuce bed

Will we be in Virginia long enough to eat fall lettuce? I doubt it, but I went ahead and planted a bed at the beginning of the month anyway. The seedlings are now up and growing even as our summer crops begin to slow and fade.

And as soon as I expressed my impatience by planting, the endless array of paperwork leading up to our close started to come in. More on the first steps involved in solidifying our foothold in Ohio coming your way soon!

Posted Fri Sep 15 07:00:10 2017 Tags:
Helping ben replace headlight bulb.

Helping our friend Ben to see how easy headlight replacement is on a Toyota.

Posted Thu Sep 14 07:00:11 2017 Tags:
Cicada

As soon as the weather turned cool, the cicadas began to drop from the trees. This one came to visit our grape vine, sluggish now that its job of mating and producing next year's offspring is done. Imagine being an insect who lives for only a few short months above ground!

Posted Wed Sep 13 07:00:14 2017 Tags:

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One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime