• Your new life and its keywords

    by  • August 24, 2011 • Design, Home Building • 5 Comments

    House place, mountain, barn wood, waterfalls, these words describe the place we found in the mountains near Yosemite and Bass Lake. When we made the momentous decision to buy property in our favorite vacation spot, it started a whole series of changes, of mind, of lifestyle, of financial decisions and really, the meaning of our families’ lives together.

    Thinking of keywords can help when brainstorming about what you want a new home to be like. When faced with the task of creating a new home, you have to come through. Planning is glorious fun, but at some point you have to make the decisions on what to build, what to decorate with, what possessions to keep and use and so forth.

    Home Planning notebook cover

    Home Planning notebook cover

    On the many trips over five years to and from our new plot of land in the Sierras, I had lots of time to think.  In each trip, five hours long, I’d pack a tote with magazines, and a notebook and my precious “Home Planning Notebook”. These all fit in a canvas tote bag which always got packed in the car for our treks up to our new home property.

    On one trip, I made a list of words, that described my new home (which did not exist yet), or which came to mind when thinking of our new mountain lifestyle. This kind of brainstorming can help when you are in this situation or when redecorating.  It was a help to steer us in the right direction and keep the process from becoming too confusing. Here’s the list:

    From this list you can tell that the natural surroundings are as important as is the wildlife here. Children, grandchildren, family and friends are also a priority. Protection from the elements, warmth and good food,…are all necessities for a comfortable enjoyable life. Clay, rocks, barn wood, redwood, gravel,…practical building materials.

    Reading, learning, riding (motorcycles), camping and parties, …were those things I thought I’d be doing? I didn’t know yet about wood chopping, wood carrying, fire building, clearing brush, hauling our own trash and helping with neighbors and friends work projects: a way of life here in a small town.

    Osprey, dragonflies, blue jays and deer. Wind, heat, shade and clouds, satellites, stars, campfires and kids. Bull pines and bear clover, chaparral and moss, towhees and grosbeak and hawks and skunks.  Coyotes and snakes, mosquitoes and quail.  Sunrise and sunset and time going by.  These are the things that for us mean home.


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.

    5 Responses to Your new life and its keywords

    1. August 26, 2011 at 11:27 am

      What a very clever idea of yours, Sue. And, I loved reading that list from then, and comparing it with what home means to you in the here and now! What a wonderful life you have made for yourselves, in your idyllic surroundings 🙂

    2. September 2, 2011 at 8:12 pm

      Wow, makes me appreciate the cool weather we’ve been having in the Bay Area. Some people have complained that summer never arrived, but I actually enjoy the 70s.

      BTW, I think anything in the first 7 days of a month counts as a first view. I’m enjoying keeping track of things that way.

    3. September 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm

      Thanks, Desiree, I’m glad to look back on these artifacts. I always wondered if the building process would be more enjoyable than actually living here. Planning and building was exciting and made us happy. Now I think we are contented.

      Hi Mouse, the weather extremes are different here than your mild weather…I’m glad we can grow some of the same plants. First Views is a great idea!

    4. September 4, 2011 at 4:52 pm

      A thoughtful post. We leapt before we looked, unlike your story! Still, it took me about five years living in this spot to actually arrive here though! It’s an endless process of discovery – I love it!

    5. September 5, 2011 at 8:20 am

      It does take time I think to sort things out whter you do something like you did or like we did. Buying the property in 2000 was very exciting and we had NO idea how we’d manage the whole thing. Maybe that’s why it was exciting. Coming from a life in the suburbs of Orange County, we never thought we’d ever have a house built. This planning notebook really helped and there’s no reason why anyone couldn’t make and use one no matter what stage you are in.

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