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GoogleEarth has updated the satellite image of our property and the roads we mapped out earlier are much more distinct now:


Also, we're having a sort of "face on Mars" moment, because there's a distinct shape in the image. It could just be a trick of shadow and light, but it's weird nonetheless...


It looks like a perfect circle, or at least part of one. Next time we're there we'll take a look. I expect it's just coincidence, but it's odd looking, to say the least.

Property Search, week 4

From property20070425

(As always, click on the photo to see the whole series)

Today we went back to the last lot we talked about, to meet with the owner, Veazy, and verify the borders and get more details. The borders on the property are the road to the east, a barbed wire fence to the south, and the middle of the creek on the western and northern edges. We also mapped out what we could on the GPS. We still haven't gone into the northeastern section and the property already seems huge.

Basically, we are guilty of that first rule of real estate: never fall in love with a potential purchase.

Things are getting closer. Cross your fingers for us.

Property Search, week 3

From property20070415

Oh my.

That WAS all I was going to say, but really, I should say more.

We visited a lot today that I really didn't have any expectations about. We were actually supposed to go look at another 300+ acres just a few hundred yards from here, that the owner was willing to divide, but first we visited the initial lot we had heard about. It was 47 acres of land that was really very affordable (because otherwise 47 acres would be out of our price range). The reason? A planned power line bisecting the lot diagonally. But after some discussion we agreed that, with 47 acres total to deal with, the planned lines and their easement would still leave tons of land available, without even needing to worry about giving birth to flipper babies.

Even so, from the photos we had it was easy to tell the land was sort of barren, not many trees. Loggers had cleared most of it back in 2000. I think Sarah was more excited than I was about this lot before we saw it, just because there was so much land so cheap. Also, a lack of trees is actually better for her plans, since it means, rather than needing to clear off a bunch of space, all we have to do is plant where we want. I wasn't terribly excited at the prospect, though, because I was hoping for at least some of it to be woodlands.

Well, forget all that. The property had more than one "oh my GOD" moment, things we weren't expecting or were so much more than we had expected. I don't think we had any conception of what 47 acres would look like. It's huge. We're still sort of curious about the western border of the property... by all the maps we have it appears to be the creek that runs along the western side, but we came across a marked line stretching across the property before we hit the stream. But the area around the line had been cleared (about a two foot wide line) and we haven't come across anything like that before. So we're beginning to think the line may be for the proposed power line.

And as far as the lack of trees goes, I was taught a valuable lesson when we got home, where the strong winds had knocked a huge tree into the house next door.

So, at any rate, we've got an appointment for a proper viewing next Wednesday. If that confirms what we believe, and assuming we can arrange the finances in time to nab it, this may be it.

EDIT: Sarah just got off the phone with someone in the Georgia Transmission office about the power lines. They will, unfortunately, be the giant metal 500-kilovolt lines. We were, however, right about those markers marking the location. So now we REALLY have to debate.

verdict, week 2

Well, the last lot was a big disappointment, though I really do think we dodged a bullet in having it happen. We were so excited about the lake we really weren't thinking about how tough the land might be to work with. We were already vaguely talking about creative financing, because we were quickly heading toward buying it as fast as we could. So, I think we're very lucky in the long run to have had that little run-in.

The first lot, though, which I'll call "33-D2," was a surprise from the outset and in posting the photos today it's really grown on me. So far I think it's the only lot on our list. But then again, we've only been at this for two weeks and there's a long way to go.

Even the process is a blast.

Property Search, week 2

From property20070331

Another Saturday, more property. This time it was several lots about an hour outside of Augusta. Most of them it was apparent pretty quickly they weren't suited to what we're doing. But the first one we saw, which wasn't a lot we were expecting anything from, was a real beaut. Its only drawbacks being a water feature that was very small and several mysterious campers that looked abandoned. Its pluses will be apparent in the photos. 30 acres, topographically great, with a couple of nice clearings and a really beautiful but odd feature.

Following that were several lots that didn't require much looking, along with a few other mystery campers. Then we hot the last lot, the main one we had headed out to see. It was around 30 acres and very affordable, backing up to a small lake, according to the maps. The property itself was very dense woodland, but the lake was not at all what I expected from the map. Much larger and beautiful. Honestly, we were really won over, just because of the lake. We didn't go very far into the actual property because from that side it was almost impassable. We went back to the truck and drove to the other end to see if we could find any ground inside. That's where we met our supposed potential neighbors, the details of which I'll leave to Sarah. But the short version: we got very lucky. We were probably well on our way to making a few stupid financial moves to get this property based solely on the lake. If we had, it would have been too late once we found out there redneck jackasses nearby who weren't thrilled with the weirdos looking around. Taking our leave, it was already becoming clear this was not an area we wanted to live in when I drove past the clincher: A right turn sign with "KKK" spray painted on it. Nice. So long, Washington County.

verdict on week 1

I don't know how long it will be before Sarah's here to explain anything. So I thought I'd keep people posted as it goes. We liked the property for a number of reasons. We weren't exactly sure where the lots extended, that was why we were so comprehensive on the photos. So, we sat and mulled it over and waited on word from the agent on them. Once we finally got the map, the lots are 7 acre lots, very rectangular. We'd be looking at buying, say, 2 together. The area was a good mix of pasture and woods, which we like. But it did have 2 major issues that we've decided are a big deal: no water feature (though there was a dry creek bed that looked as if it must see water from time to time) and heavy power lines cutting right through. Looking at the map of lots it was obvious why these lots were still available: they were the only lots with the power lines cutting through.

So, in the end, we're still looking. We've got leads on a couple of areas for this weekend that look promising, but possibly a bit too pricey.

Our priorities are 1) land that is generally flat and 2) a water feature of some kind. Pond, creek, whatever. Beyond that, we'd like to avoid giant powerlines. Otherwise, the mix of pasture to woods is not as important. We'd just like to grab as much land as we can. Sarah might be a bit more specific.

Property Search, week 1

We spent today about 50 miles south of both Atlanta and Athens looking at property for Garden Fantasma. I won't even begin to try and explain what Garden Fantasma is, other than where we'll live in about 5 years or so, hopefully. I'll let Sarah explain the rest. Anyway, here are the photos from today:

From property20070324