Something about the property listing spoke to us. Maybe it was cute little house in need of salvation. Maybe it was the elevated front porch. Perhaps what piqued our interest was that it sat on 7 acres in Nelson County, just 30 minutes from Charlottesville, and within our price range.
Need to know how it works. Need to do it ourselves. Need to know that when technology fails us all, certain survival instincts remain intact. Don't want to depend on a plumber. Don't want to depend on an electrician. Don't want to depend on anyone, but would rather know how to sustain life and comfort on our own and with the help of family and friends.
We first visited the property in November 2006. This visit was an early morning reconnaissance mission. What does the house look like from the outside? Is the land clear enough to consider growing a significant amount of food on it one day? Which direction does the property face and slope? How does it feel?
We arranged to see the inside of the house the following weekend. The house is mostly gutted, but what was left intact was enough to convince us that the building has the potential to be a cozy little home. It seemed that several projects were abandoned, mid-stroke in some cases. Tools and supplies left behind in position. Torn paper bags with half-spent bottles of caulking, paper dust masks, random tile, rags. Old black boom box faded inside chalky sheetrock powder.
Hundreds of thousands of ladybug carcasses crunching beneath our feet with every step. Insulation and broken sheetrock hanging from battered ceiling joists. No bathroom walls, no sink sitting atop the soft bathroom floor, just a sad crooked toilet snuggled up to a narrow, cast iron tub, together staring out an old double-hung window through a lopsidedly cinched venetian blind. No ceilings.