Friday, May 15, 2015

Got land?

"It's the only thing they aren't making any more of," as my mom has been known to say.

(Will Rogers said that too, as I learned this week while reading Thomas King's amazing book, The Inconvenient Indian.)

I have had a bit of a rough spring in terms of living arrangements. I felt very displaced in March and April, although I've been feeling much better since Salinger and I were able to return to our Wholehearted House on May 1.

Putting down roots

In the midst of my spring of being under-housed, something in my heart snapped into place – or something in my brain just snapped – or maybe a little of both.

I realized that I've been perching, for quite a while now, unable to settle. Everything has felt transitional; I haven't been taking responsibility for my living situations and that has left me open to a certain volatility. Changes happening around me have had a bigger impact on me than I would have liked.

Last fall I was contemplating my great escape. I wanted to get away from the grief, depression and heartache that had settled on me. I was all for making a fresh start – going somewhere unknown to me and where I was unknown. (If you want to know more about what a familiar feeling this is for me, check out my song Run Away, written back in 2007.) 

Over the winter, I explored various options – some in Québec, some elsewhere in Nova Scotia. I even did a little research about what it would take to move to Argentina.

Introducing... The Land

For all of my dreams of new adventures, in my heart of hearts I know that what I really want is to put down roots. The thought of being responsible for – and in charge of – my own bailliwick called to me, loud and clear. After so many moves and so much uncertainty, I long to stay put for a while. I crave as much certainty as anyone can expect in this world. Knowing that I am always at the whim of the VERSE (Very Enormous Random Swirl of Events), I long to be only at its whim and my own. No other.

And then, a piece of land went up for sale in my neighbourhood (west of the LaHave River). It is not right on the water (I could never afford that!), but it's only an 8-minute drive to Crescent Beach. The sellers were motivated. I had some help coming up with the lump sum (Thank-you-very-much-to-you-know-who-you-are!).

I could see my way clear to making the investment.

So, I bought it. All it took was a realtor, a lawyer, some paperwork, some money and some time. The sale went through on May 13, 2015. I am a landowner. Or, as I prefer to think of it, the officially-recognized steward of 3 acres of Nova Scotia's south shore.

Alexandra Hickey, Esquire.

It's an awesome feeling and a strange feeling at the same time. The land is the definition of stunning beauty for me – home to a number of old, crooked pine trees like this one in the photo below.

I have named the three pines that are visible from the road Orwen, Orduu and Orgoch
in honour of the three Fates in Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain.
This photo is of Orwen. She's the kindly one with the wacky hair.

And at the back of the parcel there is a sluggish brook with wetlands which hopefully augurs wild mushroom harvests in the fall...

What now?

Understandably, I feel rather overwhelmed about the process of getting myself and my Wholehearted House situated on this piece of land – especially without disturbing those pines – or anything else on the land – more than is absolutely necessary. There is a lot to do to solve the challenges of access (to situate my house, car and any equipment temporarily needed to prepare the site), water, power, waste treatment, Internet access. In each case there are decisions to make about the type of solution: on or off-grid, all of the hows and whys, and of course, how much money will each part of the project take, and how quickly can I earn that money and earmark it for its purpose?

Many ideas are dancing around in my head: conventional and way-out-there, short-term and long-range.

It will take me a while to figure out my master plan. I'm going to do my best to take it one step at a time.

Fortunately, I have time on my side. There is no pressure.

Since they are not making any more land (apart from occasional harbour infill projects (which don't count, in my opinion) – we're lucky that the land we've got is not going anywhere anytime soon.

VERSE willing.


  1. May the goddesses, stars and fates be with you--VERSE willing. Mushrooms there will be in plenty, I suspect--pine boletes, anyway! It's a lovely piece of the planet!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Goon! (Just seeing this comment now – I'm not always the best at checking for comments!)