Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Sign

Keep your fingers crossed, we think we've sold our house. For those of you new to my blog, we've had a a plan for some time to sell our home here and look for a new place to live and to set up a larger studio. The day after the folks made the offer on our house Gary went to town to check the mail and he found a pure white feather at the top of the driveway. When he brought the feather in the house I immediately took it as a sign of good fortune.

Despite my post about Faith in Humanity, our yard sale went fairly well and we made a few dollars and minimized some of the items we don't need and don't want to pack or move. Next we are planning on having an indoor estate sale to reduce the amount of furniture we have so we'll have even less to move. We are planning on traveling around to look for a location which better fits our needs. Some criteria important to us are:

a mild climate
low property taxes
reasonable home prices
close to an art community
close to a city, but still rural feeling
art and cultural amenities
stable job market

Some states and countries we're considering are Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Australia, New Zealand, Vancouver, Canada. Places we've ruled out for various reasons are ones with severe winters and also California, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. We've read Retirement Places Rated, not that we're ready to retire, but we're close enough and the book has some good information in it. We also look on the World Climate where we can check the average high and low temperature, rainfall, and heating and cooling degree days, by typing in the first three letters of the places we're researching. We look on Craig's List and various house for sale sites dreaming of our new home.

So what do you think? Tell me about where you live, why you like it, and why we should move to your state or country. Go ahead and really try to convince us. I think there's nothing better than hearing the facts direct from a resident. Or if you wish you could move, where would you move?

Meanwhile we're packing and sorting, sorting and packing, and Gary's working on our magic bus. I'll tell you about our current magic bus and a few previous magic buses we've had real soon, so stop by again. And please don't forget to convince us where you think we should move.


  1. Linda, that is such good news. We do hope the sale goes smoothly for you.

    Happy Dreaming and Planning! All the Very Best to you and to Gary.

  2. Congrats alright! You have a pretty poperty, its true.
    I'd move to Canada in a heartbeat, I would if I could.....

  3. watch out for the kool-aid!

    I have to give this some thought.
    After living in the country for 34 years I dream of an apartment with a view in walking distance of food and fun- with no grass to mow.

  4. Congrats on your progress. :-)

  5. Linda, I suggest OLympia, Washington.
    Small town, lots of artists, Evergreen College, South Puget Sound College, St Martins College, lots of rural close by, bus service,
    Good medical, state capital, great gardens, lots of potters, great farmers market to sell stuff,under two hours to Seattle. 5 minutes to stores and pharmacies etc.
    Reasonable houses. mild clomate with alot of winter gray but not too much snow. JT

  6. Hi Peter, thanks so much, we've got our fingers crossed.

    Hi Gary, thanks, what part of Canada, we probably don't qualify due to our age, they have a point system.

    Hi Meredith, I am with you on the grass to mow, we have three acres of work here, but I still like it rural, but who knows - we might end up in a loft with a rooftop garden - wouldn't that be a switch? and the walking distance to food and fun really appeals to me, just not the crowds, maybe a trolley that takes me there? Gary would never go for it, maybe I can blindfold him or drug him?

    Thanks Miri, I don't think we can drive the magic bus to PR, but then again we can't drive it to New Zealand or Australia either.

    Hi Joan, we almost moved to Sequim before we moved here, but it is expensive and so far away from a bigger city, I hate gray though - um will have to give that some thought. I have a friend that lives in Bremerton and they hate the gray there and we have friends that live in Corvalis and they hate the winters - so much to consider.

  7. Come live in Central Maine! Inexpensive, rural or town, easy drive to city, lots of artists, sweet summers and (relatively) mild winters.
    Here in Augusta there are lots of homes for sale within an easy walk of town.

  8. HOOORAAAY! though I'll keep my shouts quiet until the deal is done :o) I so hope your deal goes through. I know Alaska is ruled out (too hot -ha!), but you can do what my folks did and move to Sequim, WA. They had very similar requirements. PLUS, Linda we could visit when I come down for the big Lavender Festival :o)

  9. Hi Lori, thanks for the info, we have relatives who live in New Hampshire and we want to visit them on our trip so we could probably check out Maine too, but it will be winter and we will be living in our motorhome so winter travel will be limited, although we do have 4wd vehicles to drive. I have heard such good things about Maine from several people. The winter is what scares us and the heating costs.

    Hi Cindy, thanks, we thought about Homer, we know some folks who live there in summer and then in Todos Santos in winter, but I don't think Alaska is in our cards. If we were 15 years younger even 10 maybe. We did love Sequim and almost moved there, but the house prices and 9% sales taxes and I think property taxes are high too. When we compare to say Tennessee they have much lower taxes. We have worked so hard the last five years we're worn out and need a break to relax for a while which means our income and nest egg (about the size of a robin's egg - pretty blue but not very big) will dwindle and then there's the cost of moving - but the magic bus will save us lots of cost. I would love to come up there for a visit, but by the time we close it will be late October and not the best time to travel up there. So perhaps next summer I can come up there, depending upon where we move.

  10. Linda - that is such great news -- I'm hoping all goes smoothly for you. We like where we are -- GA - the seasons are true with mild winters. Right now we are a little too close to Atlanta & want to move either near Athens or to the mountains. Lots of small CSA farmers, artists & colleges - hospitals & such.

    Keep us posted on the sale & let us know what you decide.

  11. Hi Judy, thanks so much. When we lived in Arkansas we took a trip to near Atlanta, I think to go to some gardens with butterflies, can't remember what the name was, but it was August and it was so-0-0-hot and humid. We're thinking some southeastern mountain communities might be a good choice because they might be cooler in summer? Not sure if that is correct reasoning. I do like the CSA farms for fresh produce. What mountains would you move to if you did? I'll keep everyone posted as we go along in the process.

  12. Well COLORADO is first on your LIST YIPPY!~ It's home to NCECA in Erie ( not my choice to live but still). Boulder is fun, artsy, but expensive. I live in town called Castle Rock, small, 20 min drive to Denver, still can have gardens and horses,etc. Hummm I think you might think about COLORADO. We get snow but mostly sunshine!

  13. well, it's cooler in the NC mountains than it is here in Charlotte during the summer. There is art all over NC. It's a potter state, I think. Don't rule it out; you could meet some other potters in a heartbeat, plus it would be fun for you to visit here in Charlotte. Congrats on the house selling! Hoping you just 'know' where to move next... that it becomes clear to you.
    Wishing you the best,

  14. Congrats on the house (fingers crossed)!

    I'm with Amy on the location. I moved to NC 29 years ago for a six month stay and fell in love with the place.

    Good luck wherever you land.

  15. Hi Mary, thanks, Gary used to live in Golden many years ago. how are the heating costs there? I don't know about all that snow either. We really need to think of costs as we get closer to retirement age. I'm not going to have much of a garden any longer, can't keep up with it, need more time for clay too. I'm thinking native landscape.

    Hi Amy, we have lived in the mountains in Califoria most of our married life and we really miss it. Cooler is better especially since we are used to dry heat and humidity will take us some time to get used to. I think once we start out - maybe we will just "know" where to live - I hope so traveling can be expensive with the fuel prices the way they are, thanks so much.

    Hi John, thanks, we considered North Carolina a long time ago and then moved here. We would love to move there, but when we looked at the property taxes in North Carolina they were $2200 a year and a similar property in Tennessee was $400. For someone retired on a fixed budget that is a significant difference. We thought we might look in the Smokey Mountains near the border of North Carolina, we shall see. Maybe not all counties are the same taxes in North Carolina?

  16. Linda, Golden is in the FOOThills. Lots of snow there. I live on the edge of the foothills, where there is a buffer so to speak. If it snows it's gone next day. Rarely does it stick around for more than a week even in Jan and feb. Utilities are low,110.00 for electric per month and that includes 4 kiln firings per week. Gas is around 40.00 and the highest is 88.00 in the winter but if you get a fireplace or pellet heating you could be less. Towns have lower taxes,etc. Douglas county is highest tax rate in Colorado but I think you'd fall in love with Elizabeth. Oh and 3 bed room 2 bath 2 car garage home.

  17. WOW - terrific news!!! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you....

    I live in Denver, CO as you know which in an urban area - so that's out. But, I highly recommend smaller cities/towns on the Front Range such as Castle Rock, Fort Collins (home to the Northern Potters Guild), even Colorado Springs. All of these cities and the towns sprinkled along I-25 have reasonable home prices and low real estate taxes. In Denver we pay about $1000 annually on a 3 br home. CSAs abound, over 300 days of sunshine a year. It does snow, but is mild compared to our winters in Maine. That said, I have heard fantastic things about NC -

    Good luck making a's a tough one!

  18. Hi Mary, thanks so much, well we have lots to think about, and we have to drive near Colorado to get East so we will definitely be looking there. I am surprised at how inexpensive utilities are there. This gives us food for thought.

    Hi Cynthia, Gary has always raved about Colorado so we shall look there too. Taxes don't seem too high compared to here. We pay $2600 so averaged over a year that's quite a bit if you are on a fixed income. CSAs souund good and also the sunshine and dry climate which we are used to. Thanks so much for the info, don't know what we'll do but it will be an adventure.

  19. You don't know me, but i found your gardening blog while trying to figure out how to dry peaches! Thanks for the good instructions--mine are looking beautiful. I live in Charlotte, nc and would like to suggest the area around Asheville, NC. It is in the mountains and very beautiful and artsy and a top retirement location. If you don't want snow, the piedmont area of NC is also great and more mild.

  20. Hi Flori, so glad you found me here. I rolled my gardening blog into this blog. I am glad you found my description useful for drying peaches. I have also dried roma tomatoes that way too and they are so good. That way you can enjoy the fresh taste of tomatoes in the winter. We are definitely going to check out North Carolina. The only thing which concerns us are the annual property taxes, so we shall see. Come back for a visit again. Thanks so much for the info of your state.

  21. Congratulations on the house front. If its low costs you are after then come to Spain. Our electric and gas for a month is around 80 euros including the electric kiln. House rates at 110 euro a year! Water 45 euro a year. And the weekly shopping with lots of fish and absolutely no stinting is 80 euro a week. Petrol is 89 cents a litre, beer is 1 euro + a tappa and lunch out mid week is up to 7 euro each for 2courses and a bottle of wine and coffee, called the menu it is state controlled for the workers.
    There aren't any down sides really, where we are it gets very cold in the winter but all the wood is free from the national forest. Language is a problem but it can be learnt, telephone is expensive. Health care is fantastic.

  22. Hi Kitty, Spain sounds fantastic for low cost. I would love to come there. I'll have to talk to Gary tonight and see if we can at least come for a visit. Can you not use skype or magic jack for telephone to reduce cost? I haven't tried them yet, but some friends in Republic of Georgia just called me the other day and they sounded like they were next door, very clear. I will look at World Climate website and see how cold is cold. Do you heat with only wood or can you use gas? I hate hauling in all that wood - we did that for too many years when we lived in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and up near Mount Lassen. I'm looking or creature comforts now so I can spend my time doing other things.

    I thought you might be on your way to the Joze show already? How is your "taste" vase coming along. I love it so - can't wait to see it finished. Have you ever shipped your pottery overseas? Once we get settled I really must have one of your pieces - even if only a small one.

  23. Taste is in the kiln now! I fly tomorrow with it in my hand luggage all the other pottery is there already. If you like you can become a fan of Kitty Shepherds pots on face book look on my info section on my profile. I post up other photographs there and in particular ones of the 09 Joze Show.

    Yes we can heat with gas but it is so damp as a fuel. The winter is quite hard here, better on the coast.

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