January 04, 2003

Your Place or Mine? Part Two

Read Part One for the topside of the story...
Gulp. "Well", says I, "that'd be a helluva sight seeing as how we have a clear title registered at the courthouse and such".

"Yes, well. When did you build this house?" She shuts off her engine. I ramp the BS detector up a notch.

"Mam, this house has sat on this spot for 130 years. We are re-building it, and it sits squarely on property that we own, for certain". I was starting to get that line down my back that Buster-the-dog wears when he feels threatened or suspicious. If she wanted to arm wrestle, I was ready.

The momentum shifts to our side as she backed off, stammered, and apologized slightly. "I own a piece of property somewhere in here. I have only seen it once. There used to be an old house on it, but I understand it burned down some time ago".

"Yes'm. That'd be the next piece up this way" I said, pointing up the road west of us. And she skulked off with her Jersey tale twixt her legs. We of the construction crew by that time had totally lost our minimal momentum and took a break, during which I was the target of razzing about how they thought for a minute there that I was gonna grab that lady by the collar and pull her through the window of her Explorer.

I would never had done that! Being the country gentleman that I am, I'da opened the door for her first, then pulled her up by her collar. Please, guys!

And that, dear friends, was the end of this bizarre little encounter with our New Jersey neighbor. Until earlier this week.

On Monday, two white utility trucks stop in the road, pulling just barely into our driveway. Three fellas in baseball caps get out and spread a large sheet of paper out on the hood of one of the vehicles. I could see a logo on the door, but couldn't make it out. With the binocs, I read the name of Hillendale Surveyors. Hmmm, sez I. We had better investigate. I don my most authentic Crazed Hermit of the Woods outfit and prepare to do battle.

No adrenalin necessary. The nice chaps tell me that Ms. New Jersey is having her land next door surveyed. One of them lets it slip that she is subdividing her 80 acres, plus or minus, into tracts! This bodes ill for the neighborhood. Needless to say, as soon as Ann had a day off on Wednesday, we marched next door to see in what manner she had marked her territory, so to speak.

Off we set up first one and then the other common boundary, north and south of the road. And I emphasize the word UP. Four knees with a combined life of 220 years ventured places they had no business being, and we wouldn't have gotten far had not the surveyors hacked a line of sight through the dense underbrush. What a spectacular place we live in, I think, between deep lungsful of mountain air with my heart beating audibly in my ears. How magnificent the view from the top and what a royal effort to obtain it.

Yet, there all along the steep pitch of mountainside, someone, many decades ago, had cut American Chestnut from those once majestic trees that grew here or yet persisted dead in place. Felled, sectioned and split on this steep hillside, those chestnut posts spoke of those who had come up this way long before this week's surveyors came to tie bright ribbon around them as they lay half buried in the forest floor.

I have seen aerial photos of these hills, taken back in the mid 30's. This steep land had all been pasture long ago, home to mountain cows who have two long legs on the downhill and two short legs on the uphill side... a marvelous adaptation to grazing on steep inclines. Just kidding. This lady owns more 'mountain land' by far than we do, and way less flat land. There is scant loggable timber, so no worries there. It includes two meager homesites right along the road, and that, as they say, is the rub. Pull a third-hand camping trailer in there and set it up on blocks, add a couple of four-wheelers and a case of beer, and now, that would pretty well spoil the broth, buddies.

Rather than answer all my questions, the three amigos handed me a business card, with the number of the head honcho, back at the main office in Blacksburg. No, there is no indication that the land is to be subdivided. So, if all she is doing is paying these young men to blaze a trail for us to the top of our property, I guess this will be the anticlimax to our little story.

But maybe not. Stay tuned. There may be a couple acres for sale nearby, and if so, I'll give you folks a heads-up. I'd rather have one of you blogging buddies as a neighbor than Scooter and Shirl and the Rattail Twins. I think.

Posted by fred1st at January 4, 2003 10:45 AM | TrackBack

Your post reminds me of a run-in with a fellow that didn't want to take 'no' for an answer.

It seems that this fellow from the Boston area decided he liked my little plot of land on a hilltop in the tiny town of Alexandria, New Hampshire. I've owned this land for going on 5 years now and have plans to build my home there.

He'd found me through the Town Clerk's office and made me an offer on my land. I told him it wasn't for sale. That didn't deter him. He upped the price. I told him no.

This went on for about a month and I thought he'd finally gotten the message that I wasn't interested. I didn't hear from him again.

About a month after that, one of the neighbors called me about someone nosing about the property - surveyors. Normally, if I'm going to have someone doing work on the property (taking out some trees along the power lines, etc.), I let the neighbors know ahead of time. It's the neighborly thing to do.

A quick call to the Alexandria Police Department got the Chief up there to start asking questions. The surveyors said they'd been hired by the owner to survey the land. After the Chief asked for the name of the owner, it became obvious that the jerk from Boston had hired them to survey the property.

To make a long story short, the surveyors were asked to leave, I ended up going to court for a restraining order, and the jerk was informed by the Chief of Police that he would be a non-person in Alexandria, making it impossible to get things like building and occupancy permits even if he did manage to buy some land.

And so ended my adventures with that particular flatlander.

Posted by: DCE at January 4, 2003 01:16 PM

Oh No! If she does decide to sub-divide, maybe (by some miracle) she'll leave a section of trees between the plots and your land? :(


Posted by: witchy at January 4, 2003 02:44 PM

Bloggers for neighbours...hmmmm. I could use some peace and quiet.

Posted by: Bene Diction at January 4, 2003 07:04 PM

I think there's potential if you stalk around menacingly frequently enough. Maybe she'll leave altogether!

Posted by: Da Goddess at January 4, 2003 08:51 PM

It's a good story and goes quite well with the morning coffee.

The house is what we call "TV houses", because we only see that style with land around it, on TV.

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Found your site through Bene Diction--wonderful stories!

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