When you contact an adjacent land/homeowner to ask if he/she would be interested in selling his/her property to you, and said land/homeowner says he/she will think about it and get back to you, you generally expect one of three things to happen:
- The land/homeowner will eventually get back to you with a, “No, I’m not interested in selling.”
- The land/homeowner will eventually get back to you with a, “Yes, I’m interested. Let’s sit down and talk details and see if we can figure something out.”
- The land/homeowner will never get back to you at all.
What you don’t expect, though, what you really don’t expect, is for the land/homeowner to get back to you and say things like:
- I feel like I’m being forced out of my home, but I want to retire here.
- But then you’d own two houses. What would you do with two houses?
- That seems like an expensive thing to do for your horses.
You don’t expect any of these responses because:
- You merely asked, “Would you be interested in selling?” You did not go over to his/her house with jack-booted thugs and tommy guns, extinguish a cigarette on your forehead in a show of threatening intimidation, and say with a growl, “You want to sell your property to me, don’t you???”
- Pretty much anybody who owns a second house, especially one adjacent to the one in which they already live, uses it as a rental property. It’s an investment. It’s not a vacation home in Aspen or something (though that could also be used as a rental and still be an investment).
- Yes, yes it is expensive for us to buy an entirely new house and piece of property to keep our horses on, but boarding isn’t cheap. We can pay hundreds of dollars a month to board the beasts (and rarely see them because they’d be miles away and we don’t have time to just drive over and hang out at somebody else’s barn every day), or we can pay close to the same hundreds of dollars a month on a house payment, rent the house out, recoup that money, and still have our horses on the land adjacent to ours. And all that aside? Our money is ours. I know that’s a foreign concept to a lot of people, but it is ours. If we feel like we can afford to buy a house and let it sit empty and rot, that is entirely our business.
When we first moved here to Canada South, we really liked it. It was much better than Little Town, or so we thought. But in the six years we’ve been here? It’s just been one crazy thing after another. Crazy church, crazy school, crazy neighbors (this one and another one who threatened to shoot our horses).
We boarded the horses when we first moved here, but then we spoke to the land/homeowner adjacent to us who owns the land that is properly zoned for horses, (ours is not) (unless we had a lot more of it), and he/she was happy to lease us some acreage. The land/homeowner said he/she loved horses and was glad he/she would be able to see horses on his/her walks through the property.
We said, “Great! Name your price.” The land/homeowner did, and we did not haggle, did not dither, did not bargain, wrangle, quibble, or deal. We just happily wrote a check and signed a contract. For five years, we have been doing this, and for five years it has been a win-win, or so we thought.
A few months ago, when the contract was up for renewal, the land/homeowner informed us that he/she would renew for one more year, but this would be the last time.
- “Your horses need to be on 10-20 acres to run,” he/she said.
- “Sometimes I see them standing in mud,” he/she said.
- “I feel like I’ve been taken advantage of,” he/she said.
Three horses don’t need 10-20 acres. In fact, many horses are stall boarded and stand in confining little rooms for most of their lives, so the couple acres we do have them on are really sufficient. And? We feed them. They aren’t dependent upon the grass on those couple of acres.
Horses stand in mud sometimes, especially if it has been rainy or the snow has recently melted. They stand in their own waste if they are stall boarded. They don’t have to stand in the muddy area of their pasture. They choose to do it. I don’t pretend to understand why. I’m not a horse.
We have been paying the exact price that was asked. How have we taken advantage of anyone?
I really shouldn’t be shocked by any of this at this point. We’ve been here long enough that I should know better. Crazy church, crazy schools, crazy neighbors. That’s just how it is. I can’t decide if we’re in Wonderland or The Twilight Zone.
“I feel like I’m living in a bowl of fruit loops,” I told my husband last night.
“I almost expect Rod Serling to show up at our door,” he said.
“That would be the first thing to happen around here that actually makes sense,” I replied.
Tewt the Newt agrees.