Well, after the news that my Darlin' Man may be heading back to Iraq, we have had to mentally regroup and shift some plans around.
The consensus is that we would be better off establishing ourselves on property in Vermont while he is away.
Even the Girl, who will be a senior next year, has enthusiastically agreed we should move...and the sooner, the better! (She somewhat hates the schools here..they teach to ALL students as if English was their second language, which for 90% of the students is true) Girl, Boy and I looked online and checked out the schools in the district we think we are moving to, and they were very pleased. The entire student body of the local high school is one tenth of the size of the student body here. No football team...but they have skiing teams for boys and girls--J.V. and Varsity. Soccer and baseball and hockey as well. Basketball teams for boys and girls, too. Since it is a rural area, they have almost 100% participation in 4-H! We also checked SAT scores, etc and the school is very solid academically with over 50% of graduating seniors going on to college, university or technical schools.
I contacted a realtor I found up there. He mainly works as a buyers agent. The way it works is I gave him all the *must haves* for property we are looking for and he goes through all the MLS listings to find a property that meets our needs. He sends me the information on all the properties that the Darlin' Man and I think are within our budget and meet our needs. We look over all the info (photos, plat maps, google maps/views, listing info, deeds, tax papers, etc) and decide which properties we will consider. When time comes to buy, the buyers agent will negotiate the best price for us and handle all the paperwork.
The *Must Haves* for us?
Minimum of 5 acres
Water source on property, preferably more than one...a drilled well AND a brook or spring AND a stream, etc.
Electricity already to or on property. (anybody that ever has had to have electricity brought to their property knows why we put this down!)
No restrictions on livestock, etc.
We also gave him a price cap. Actually two price caps---one for bare land, one for land with a home on it.
We have been pleasantly surprised that in our area of choice, the realtor has been able to find around a dozen properties that meet our needs.
So, we are winnowing through all the properties and cutting our choices down to 5 or 6. One of us will go up to Vermont in June and make the final decision.
In the meantime, we are waiting for the final word on whether or not the Darlin' Mans orders for deployment are 100%. Right now, he still has a 10% chance of staying stateside, but like I said, nobody here is holding their breath over that. We should find out Friday. So, Army life being what it is, the old adage of "Hurry up and wait!" really applies in this situation!
Today I am making cheese from our goat's milk. I started this morning and the milk made a lovely curd that I have been draining almost all day. Tonight I will be salting the drained curd and making some feta cheese and some hard cheese that I will put in a maleshift cheese press. Will let y'all know how that goes!
I intend to keep posting throughout the moving process here...since we have 3 cars, 7 goats, 2 children, 11 chickens, 2 dogs and all our worldly possessions...should be a fun time!