Granny’s Landing on Fantasy Bay – The Countdown

As of today, I have four more weeks in Mexico, then my adventures here will end. I’ll fly to Minnesota, the house will get moved onto this finished foundation platform, and life will …

…will what?

Life will be a race against winter – an all-out effort to have a warm, secure place to live as temperatures plummet. I’m almost as eager to write about that process, the ongoing saga of Granny’s Landing, as I am to experience it.

In my absence, electricity is being trenched to the site. The underground cable will follow the red line from the pole, around the white stake, to the little flag… ‘

My sister keeps me updated by sending photos like this while my brother-in-law clears brush and trees from the ditch along the roadside to widen the area so the house can pass. They met with the electric company and made arrangements. They found the house mover and ferried him around to find the most direct way to get a 20 X 22-foot structure from point A to point B. They’re tirelessly helping me. They say they’re as excited as I am to have me there. That’s my family.

Far away from the action, I tune into Tiny House Nation. I’ve never been a crowd-follower but come to find out, small houses are trending worldwide. It’s a movement and I’m part of it. I watch DIY how-to videos on YouTube, and research heating possibilities – baseboard, in-floor, mini-splits, heat storage units, and off-peak options.

What I really want is a wood-burning stove, the kind you can see into and watch the flames, like a fireplace but more efficient.

A red one.

The decor isn’t quite my aesthetic, but look how cozy that fire is!

I’ve been counseled that a stove could be a backup heat source but I’ll need something less high maintenance for the long frigid months. Something that doesn’t require chopping massive amounts of wood, hauling it, splitting it, stacking it, and, okay, okay, I get it.

Or do I?

There’s something innately appealing about that process, about not having to depend upon electricity. Being self-sufficient.

Then again, I’m seventy-two. Should that end the conversation right there? I don’t think so. I’m in excellent health, strong, able bodied, and my sister adds, Now. Okay, granted. I could do it now and when I can’t I’ll hire someone else to chop, split, and deliver firewood to my door.

These are the types of debates that are carried on continually with people who know a lot more about what I’m doing than I do. But I’m a risk taker. I love a challenge. I need a large measure of that in my life. So I’m tempted to just do it. JUST DO IT! I can always add one of those befuddling other heating systems if tending a fire proves to be too much.

I’m also told I’ll need a vehicle. Bah! Humbug! I haven’t had a car for eleven years. I’ve lived in places where I could walk to everything I needed. But they’re right. It’s thirty miles to the grocery store. There are no Lyfts or Ubers (or a trusty Ketut with his motorbike). If I must have one, I want a Jeep. Does anyone have an old Jeep they don’t need anymore? I’m serious!

Meanwhile, the succulents adorning my San Miguel rooftop suck moisture from frequent showers and grow fat. Sun-filled days kept cool by drifting festoons of fluffy white clouds lure me outside. I wander cobblestone streets meeting load-bearing donkeys and the bronzed, wizened men that tend them. Church bells, firecrackers, mariachis – two nights ago at midnight I awoke to a procession. A group of maybe thirty, maybe fifty local people paraded in the dark singing with loud, melancholy gusto to the steady beat of drums. They stood in the street in front of my house for thirty minutes, serenading the shrine located there. It was haunting. Beautiful.

At a fair last weekend, my friend bought medicinal herbs from a vendor. In the course of their conversation in Spanish, we were invited to Temazcal, a thousands-of-years-old sweat-lodge cleansing ritual performed by indigenous women in a nearby village. Thrilled, we accepted. As we walked away I said, Do you think we’ll do this naked? Barb went scurrying back to ask and returned with a look of relief. Clothing, it appears, is optional.

Remember The Sound of Music, that iconic movie starring Julie Andrews? I saw it seven times and one line from a song she sang toward the end is embedded in my memory. Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good. That’s how I feel about my life now. Since I retired it’s been touched by magic and there’s a knowing in my gut that says in spite of outrageous politics, global warming, and never-ending covid, there are plenty of good times ahead.

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. JS
    Jul 22, 2022 @ 12:56:58

    Hope your move back to America will go well. You should share your new house (and maybe a Jeep too!) in the future blog post! I’m looking forward to it! Adventure goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. shanemac
    Jul 22, 2022 @ 13:53:06

    I’ve lived with a wood-burning stove as my only heat source in a climate much warmer than yours (Sydney). I wouldn’t recommend you use that as your only option. But all the rest of your plans look so exciting; a brand new venture with family close by.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 22, 2022 @ 21:43:16

      You and everyone else advise against my rebellious plan and I know you all have my best interests at heart. I’m inclined to agree that I should probably have something that responds to the click of a thermostat and fulfill my idyllic notions of a cozy woodfire as the backup rather than the ONLY heat source. I know in the end I’ll thank you for being honest!

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  3. ReAnn Scott
    Jul 22, 2022 @ 14:05:16

    I had that very same fireplace in my house in Lake Elmo. The house was passive solar and it was our only heat source (Did you know that MN is second only to Florida for the sunniest days in a year!). It kept a very large, 2-story house warm and cozy – and was the biggest pain in the ass to maintain during days (months) of snow up to the roof, plastic tarps covering the wood pile that froze to it solid, and then there is just the basic mess of a wood stove. So if you want my suggestion – even though you aren’t asking – get the red fireplace. Enjoy the smell and warmth of burning wood- but have someone cut and stack the wood for you – and stack it VERY NEAR your front door (covered porch area is perfect!) and then get a backup heat source for the days this is just too much trouble! 1-2 solar panels on your little roof might be the answer – and you’d get a tax break.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 22, 2022 @ 21:37:07

      I actually spent one Minnesota winter in a house about the size mine is and had to keep my fire going as well as the neighbor’s. Long story. I’d wake up at 2 a.m., fumble into my snowmobile suit and paks, trudge across the lot, crawl on my belly through an opening to their basement, and throw logs into the woodburning furnace. I did it, but that was going on 50 years ago. I think the writing’s on the wall here…thanks for weighing in!

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  4. stevecastley
    Jul 22, 2022 @ 19:44:27

    Hi Sherry, The countdown is on. Your sound excited by the next chapter. I hope it is magic and filled with loads of adventures, friendship and family. Hugs. Steve

    Liked by 1 person

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 22, 2022 @ 21:26:46

      Thanks, Steve, I have no doubt whatsoever that it will be all those things. And I wish you well as your time in the Torres Straits draws ever nearer completion. I’m too old to wish time away, but I sense you know the feeling of anticipation as you contemplate the future.

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  5. Susan Casey
    Jul 22, 2022 @ 20:19:03

    Trust me – you’ll need more than a wood stove for heat – ReAnn Scott’s post. I’m amazed at your courage to move to an area that requires strength and many abilities for survival that you’ve not had to face in your last adventure. As I’ve aged my abilities and mental attitude have less and less that require physical strength.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 22, 2022 @ 21:24:15

      Everybody’s right, of course! And in the sensible part of my brain I know that. But the romantic in me loves the ambiance of a crackling fire, especially as the bleak, monochromatic scene outside lingers on and on and….!

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  6. Scott Bullock
    Jul 22, 2022 @ 20:32:56

    Sherry you are a interesting and talented writer. I enjoy your adventures that you convey so well in words. Keep up the fun work.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Pat Malcolm
    Jul 23, 2022 @ 01:17:11

    And you know, dear one, if you are going to have an alternate heat source the time to install it will be pretty quickly after the house is moved. Minnesota may have lots of sun, but it gets cool early,

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 23, 2022 @ 01:29:57

      I remember that first trip home in December after I’d been living in Hawaii. I sewed a fake fur coat with a satin lining thinking I’d be warm enough. I’d lost sight of how bitterly cold it gets. I don’t want to make a mistake like that again. That’s why I’m doing my due diligence as much as possible from Mexico. I need to have the decision made and be ready to act ASAP. I appreciate the many words of warning!

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  8. carole mclachlan.
    Jul 26, 2022 @ 05:39:07

    sherry, the idea of a fireplace always sounds great, the reality is a great deal of work and a house that gets too cold. electricy in the floor, or panels on the roof seem the best way forward. megan and tom had a house heated with gas in washington state. it was a pretty small unit in their living room that did heat the whole house. if you were ill or disabled for a few days, the wood one would be hadr to tend to. so glad you will be back home soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 26, 2022 @ 06:19:20

      I’ve been warned! It’s actually not a fireplace but a woodburning stove I’ve been fantasizing about. They may heat the room better, but they’re no less work. Rest assured that won’t be my only source of heat. I so appreciate all the people who have weighed in with advice! It matters!

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