Friday, January 8, 2010

a day of panic followed by a day of rest

Yesterday I went out with my band to play some music at a bar and eat good food. We laughed and sang and it was just what I needed. I am still worried, but calmer. (Or maybe just tired from being out till 1AM) Regardless, I'm determined to figure out the next steps, however daunting. I tracked down some information on the cabin, and yesterday Steve and I went to see it in person on our lunch break. There it is in the photo! My instant reaction was great, just look at that place. Tucked into a hillside with a winding staircase. A neighbor with ample land to loan or possibly sell. A small, affordable, cabin almost waiting for me to bring it back to life. I could make this place everything. I could start new. I'm trying not too get too excited, but honestly, just the idea that this might be the perfect solution is what had me smiling as I sang last night at the bar. This could be home.

All I know right now is that it is in fact for sale and the woman with a connection to the owner will call me tomorrow. It's a long shot. Everything from getting approved for a mortgage to finding a new rental is a long shot. But I feel like I am finding my feet after being knocked down and starting this new part of my life.

Everything is up in the air right now. I'm running on fumes and gut feelings. It's been a raw week: both in good and bad ways. The hit of finding out I was losing my home, followed by a night of music and friends and forgetting, followed by the slightest hope I could buy this small house and start all over again—has left me emotionally exhausted. Tonight I am just staying in to write and enjoy the fire and maybe sew. It has been one good day of work in starting over, possibly mildly hung over. I am okay with that moral deficit in this situation.

I am constantly amazed at the kind words, emails, offers of help, moving buddies, and letters I have received since I announced the cabin vacating. Thank you so much. The longer I write this blog and read your comments the more I feel like I'm building my future community. I am lucky (even when I'm not) to have all of you. If it takes me a while to reply to your email, or if I forget, please know I read everything and am deeply grateful. You just can't know how much.


Blogger Debi said...

That spot is amazing! Sending you lots of good energy for a new beginning in such a beautiful place.


January 8, 2010 at 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks beautiful! Good luck to you!

January 8, 2010 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

hey hey hey, don't jump the gun! I have no idea if it's even a possibility yet. I have to track down the owners across a continent....

it's a BIG maybe. but it's something!

January 8, 2010 at 7:27 PM  
Blogger Jen R. ( said...

I have happy thoughts being sent your way. :)

January 8, 2010 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger Abi said...

it's so cute jenna. SO cute.

January 8, 2010 at 7:42 PM  
Blogger Tami said...

Good Lord Jenna! I just caught up on posts for this week and again you are stung with a crippling blow. I am so sorry you have to go through all of this. are right to be thankful that you have plenty of notice. You have time to plan and take care of the loose ends that would have been difficult with only a few weeks. Sounding optimistic...maybe this is exactly what the big guy upstairs feels you need to move into the next pahase of your life. You know, inside, that you are meant for more and perhaps this is what's needed to be that 'greater' person. Maybe it's a good thing and looking at it that way will make it easier. Besides, the faster it happens, the faster Finn comes back, right? Positive thoughts going your way...Tami

January 8, 2010 at 7:43 PM  
Blogger Lil said...

Oh goodness how I know that sinking/drowning feeling of finding out you HAVE to move. I just went through that myself. Things just have to work out for the best for you, Jenna. We've all hijacked onto Cold Antler Farm and are pulling for you all over the globe. I hope that beautiful little cabin owner connected person gets in touch with you tomorrow and please do let us know what happens. My fingers are crossed for you! :-)

January 8, 2010 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger troy said...

Jenna, You are a wonderful person, I am confident that everything will work out for you. I will keep you in my thoughts as you continue your journey and share your wisdom and stories and adventures with all of us.


January 8, 2010 at 7:56 PM  
Blogger Conny said...

And, I hope that cabin owner will read your blog to KNOW that you would be the perfect buyer for her place. It's obvious you would take good care of it.

Hopefully it's meant to be[come] yours. Best wishes.

January 8, 2010 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger Unpacking Treasure said...

You know,if you keep posting pictures like that , you may have everyone moving to Vermont! If its right for you, I hope it works...if not, there is something better awaiting.

January 8, 2010 at 8:49 PM  
Blogger Monika said...

That sounds promising! Hopefully all turns out well for you.

January 8, 2010 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger melinamarie said...

I'll follow your blog no matter what the outcome of your news is tomorrow. I'm patient and confident this story will come with a happy ending.

January 8, 2010 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger ammamcp said...

It's just nice to have possibility...

January 8, 2010 at 9:06 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Nice to have some good things happening to lift your spirits. The cabin certainly does look snug in it's winter blanket. How pretty, and the possibility of leasing neighboring land for the stock makes it look better. Fingers crossed.

January 8, 2010 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Can you feel it? That energy is called Hope, and sometimes, just sometimes the stars line up with a little put from hope.

My fingers are crossed for you, heck my toes are too. Some praying never hurt either.

January 8, 2010 at 9:19 PM  
Blogger Earth Witch said...

Looks lovely. Maybe the seller will be willing to hold the mortgage. It might be a good deal for both of you.

(Does anyone know why the Google account will not hold my password and I keep having to resign up? I also cannot get onto the message board.)

January 8, 2010 at 9:21 PM  
Blogger Rois said...

Always listen to your gut.

January 8, 2010 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger finsandfeathers said...

It's post card perfect!


What's the sun going to be like in the summer for the garden? Can you clear enough trees for pasture? And someone who lives on a hill, is there enough flat areas for your out buildings; barn, chicken coop, tool shed, wine and apple press, etc?

Just a few questions. We're on the CAF team and big time menbers of the fan club! Oh, how close is the trout stream?

January 8, 2010 at 10:09 PM  
Blogger KIMagination said...

I've been reading your blog for 8-10 months now and you are an amazing woman. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog and your book Made From Scratch.

This house is absolutely perfect! Please know that prayers for you and your animals are coming your way from Virginia.

January 8, 2010 at 10:16 PM  
Blogger finsandfeathers said...

One more thing... outside wall fireplaces look amazing, but all that thermal mass that could be heating you house is wasted. Be sure you have a good primary heat source ;>)

January 8, 2010 at 10:21 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Even if you could just rent that place, it would be pretty sweet. It's beautiful. And something tells me with the owner out in CA, you wouldn't have the same issues you're having now with landlord micro-management.

If they won't sell, maybe make an offer to rent or lease?

January 8, 2010 at 10:31 PM  
Blogger Lane1021 said...

Jenna, you're such a good person with a great heart and with all the positive energy being sent your way surely wonderful things are in store for you. Just trust your instincts and keep you goal in mind. Crossing fingers and sending out good vibes for CAF!

January 8, 2010 at 10:41 PM  
Blogger John Taylor said...

That cabin looks amazing! I hope you get some good news or at least promising news tomorrow. I am keeping you in my prayers and as others have said will help out with some well needed donations. What happened truly sucks, but like so many have said in the past door closes so that another may open.

Grace and Peace,


January 8, 2010 at 11:09 PM  
Blogger Deborah said...

Good luck!! Everything will work out for you. We had been tossing around the idea of moving from the burbs to the country, but really thought it was like, a five year plan. The last week of August my husband said, "I made an appointment with a realtor..." Uh, okay? Our old home sold after 21 days on the market and we moved into our new home on 13 acres on December 4th!! So it can be done! I've so enjoyed reading your book as I try to figure out this whole farming/homestead/country thing. We don't even have a dog yet!!

January 8, 2010 at 11:21 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

Jenna this place looks great. I hope you can get it. Good luck.

January 8, 2010 at 11:46 PM  
Blogger Sparkless said...

She looks like a beautiful little cabin. I hope it works out and you get your own place.

January 8, 2010 at 11:50 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

It's gorgeous! But Fins is spot on. Rent it, by all means, but make sure it will do what you need it to do before you buy it. I know all this will work out - these things always do. I just hope it works out on the side of awesome. :)

January 9, 2010 at 12:07 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

It sounds promising! Hope the inspection goes well and the house and land is everything you want.

January 9, 2010 at 1:23 AM  
Blogger helenabelle said...

Life is good, Jenna. You will find a path to your dreams, I just know it.

January 9, 2010 at 1:39 AM  
Blogger SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Good luck with it all . You've settled in so well and , through all your local contacts , you'll find just what you need .

January 9, 2010 at 2:47 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

If this is the place with 1 1/2 acres, I don't know if that would be enough room for your ambitions. I agree with those who advise renting first, if possible, and also investigating the availability of the additional acres before committing to a place that might not be right.

I am certainly pulling for you to land on your feet and make the right decisions. Best of luck!

January 9, 2010 at 4:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll keep my fingers (and toes) crossed for you... I just wish I could find a similar place around here, that I could afford!

January 9, 2010 at 4:44 AM  
Blogger kate said...


I said this once before when the issue first came up, but....

VT is heavily forested, and if there is not a clearing already, it could be expensive to create one. I paid $4,800 to remove 14 trees that had creeped into a clearing. But sometimes people can work out a deal with a farmer to knock down the trees with a tractor -- and then you figure out how to use or get rid of them. If there is a sugar shack (i.e. maple syrup), they will probably take your pines.

Just make sure you don't get smitten by a good price without figuring out the improvements you will need to make.

Good luck!

January 9, 2010 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

The reality is if i do rent or even buy this place, it isn't my last home. Right now I need to find a place to live, period. If I bought this place, it wouldn't be perfect but it has more land cleared than I have here.(believe it or not!) and an older neighbor (70s) willing to let me use her land for free (possibly) and maybe even sell me some.

I haven't been inside yet, hopefully soon. With locals pulling for me, and you guys, and a little luck maybe I can call this place home for a little while, even if it's just a year while I figure out the rest.

January 9, 2010 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger j.c. said...

It looks really cute.

My advice to you, though, is don't buy it if you don't think it will work long term.

January 9, 2010 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

It looks so cozy! Maybe you could see if she'd agree to contract terms with the option to buy in a year or two when you'd have more money saved up. Wishful thinking!

January 9, 2010 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger kate said...

Couldn't tell about the clearing from the picture -- so it's a good thing there is one!

I wouldn't buy if you aren't staying 8 to 10 years or more, unless you don't mind losing money.

January 9, 2010 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger shellywoman said...

remain positive - you never know - you may be on a path toward a comforted future not yet visible - eyes open lady - and chin up, literally, i find keeping the chin up helps.

January 9, 2010 at 9:56 AM  
Blogger K. said...

Keeping my fingers crossed that it all turns out as it should. Good luck!

January 9, 2010 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger omnicharm said...

I know the feeling of not wanting to get too excited about something in case it doesn't pan out. Whether this place or another, you will find something!

January 9, 2010 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger Patsy said...

I am just catching up also on your posts. Be careful of your current landlord. It does explain her previous actions. She is moving back. She should have just said so in the first place. Be prepared to lose any security you have put on the place. She will fight you for it I think.

But on to the new place. Check it out thoroughly and if it is meant to be, it will come. Sounds like it may be the place for you right now. Wouldn't it be wonderful to get Finn and the goslings back. Good luck to you. Praying.

January 9, 2010 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Jenna, the cabin looks incredible!!! I hope it all works out and that it become the next CAF! Can't wait to hear what unfolds next - hoping it's going to be wonderful things!!!

January 9, 2010 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger kerrick said...

There are two really good posts from Sharon Astyk up now that might be helpful:

And the follow-up post:

They both talk about her experiences looking for a homestead. Everyone's experiences will be different, but I learned a lot about some considerations I never would have thought of.

You might send her an email--she's teaching an online class right now for homesteaders seeking a place. She might even have some resources for you.

January 9, 2010 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger kandy Gray said...


we bought our little place in the burbs because we needed a place to live right away. we were not planing to stay. 6 years later and we don't want to go! all the "problems" with the place, well, i fixed them. now we have a second bathroom, it is fenced now. we finished the basement and put on a back patio. it all went slowly, we did all the work ourselves, and we did it on the cheep using recycled materials, but you could never tell.

the place looks like it has potential if you want to work; especially if you can use/buy land from your neighbor. that mountain at your back looks a bit scary, i think of spring runoff and seeping, but i have no experience with it. please get an inspection before you buy.

January 9, 2010 at 12:41 PM  
Blogger Affi'enia said...

It is beautiful. Even as a stop gap it would be lovely. I really hope that you either get this one or something as good/better.

I've very glad you've got your head round things. Friends and music are a wonderful medicine.

January 9, 2010 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

If you decide it is not for you, I know someone else who might be interested in purchasing a small little cabin in VT. It looks like the perfect place. When you have details, price, pics, etc, and a definite answer in your mind, let us know? Yay or nay, we're all pulling for you.

January 9, 2010 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

If you decide it is not for you, I know someone else who might be interested in purchasing a small little cabin in VT. It looks like the perfect place. When you have details, price, pics, etc, and a definite answer in your mind, let us know? Yay or nay, we're all pulling for you.

January 9, 2010 at 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm mostly a lurker in this space, though constantly amazed and humbled by how you chose to lead your life.
I'm learning a lot too, actually.

Just a few words to tell you I'll keep my fingers crossed, I'll be sending some good thoughts, some warm heart, in your direction.
But no matter how or where, I'm sure everything is going to fall into perfect place. In the meantime, I'll look at the night sky and send some good wishes.


January 9, 2010 at 3:54 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Dream in sight, cautious steps to get there. It looks so lovely, so you. No doubts that you'll do the right thing either way! Sending my best from southern Minnesota, where it's a toasty -6 degrees in full sun...

January 9, 2010 at 4:09 PM  
Blogger Flartus said...

I have faith that, in the future, you will look back at this as a turning poing. It's something that's kicking you in the ass to make your dreams happen on life's schedule, not your own.

It'll still cause you plenty of heartburn and sleepless nights, but in the end, it'll be good for you. Right?

January 9, 2010 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger Flartus said...

Ahem...point, not "poing."

(Although poing in French means "fist," so maybe that is just as appropriate?!?)

January 9, 2010 at 7:41 PM  
Blogger Flartus said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

January 9, 2010 at 7:41 PM  
Blogger Tina B said...

Fingers crossed and prayers going up for you.
Tina B.

January 10, 2010 at 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so, if you need some help fixing something on the cabin maybe we can husband is a master capenter,builder,fixer person...we'd love to get around to meeting you.

January 10, 2010 at 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and....i have no idea how to fix my comment username on typepad....! so, i'm more than a number!

January 10, 2010 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger Kristina said...

The cabin is adorable! When you do get in touch with the seller, perhaps you could bring up the possibility of a rent-to-own situation if the need arises. Who knows, she may be open to the idea.

Sending you positive thoughts!


January 11, 2010 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger Texan said...

Beautiful just beautiful.

January 11, 2010 at 7:23 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Hey Jenna- sorry it's taken so long to comment on this post (LOVELY PICTURE!) but I do want to tell you (after the caveat I last wrote) that this cabin has mighty good feng shui- that hill at the back of the cabin is very protective mojo. If it had a creek slowly running in front of it, that would bring much good chi and wealth. I hope that it's facing a good direction (south first, then north, but not west or east). More than anything, it looks like a Christmas card.

I will try not to get my hopes up for you (I have enough of that going on myself- tomorrow I'm applying for a job I want very much) but will send you positive thoughts. You know we're all hanging with you even though we're not there physically.

Ciao bella.

January 12, 2010 at 12:35 AM  
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