This Is Not My Beautiful House Part III

I was writing a few words the other day for a New Zealand curious friend of a friend, and as I went over to Tribe to look for a relevant blog post that summed up some key points of my experiences moving here, I noticed that I had written not one, but two earlier posts entitled, “This Is Not My Beautiful House”.

I found this quite funny since I had managed to submerge myself into the flow of living on Clyde Rd in Christchurch, appreciating its virtues and dealing with its faults, planning on keeping the building forever, redeveloping it and making it a model oasis of urban permaculture, driving at will from there to our new property in the country.


How amusing that I had lost touch with my earlier wisdom on the topic. Because I was walking the path all along, at times poking my head up and looking into the distance, but mostly watching each footstep. So maybe that’s why this latest bit of plan/life change/emotional whiplash is going so smoothly.

First, we began to realize that a permaculture oasis requires an active human presence, and we wondered about our ability to split our time between the city and the country. At first we thought we might find a friend to be the anchor person and help us manage the city property. A very productive talk with friend Amba led us to start thinking of other options including flatmates, if only as a transitional step. That opened up further speculation, and we considered just renting the house out to a family and perhaps developing the back workshed into a cottage.

In the meantime, we continued to spend more and more time at the country property in Wainui. The quiet, the beauty, the je ne se quois of the place continued to work on us, and we also saw that the projects there could easily consume all of our energy.

One night at Wainui we developed a matrix weighing all of our options in terms of ongoing time management costs, flexibility, and cash flow – all very important since we spent more than we really wanted to on the purchase and we need capital to continue developing Wainui and we also need to generate a continuing income stream. Added into the mix of options was the idea of throwing some money in with friends Tobi and Alex, who are looking for a house; we’ve discussed a joint partnership where together we buy something with an in-law flat for our city adventures.

Interestingly, all of the different options, despite their different initial effort and follow up admin levels all penciled out the same financially, except for the option of just plain selling our house in the city and moving whole hog out to Wainui. And of course that’s going to be the easiest option as well.

This pretty big major change of plans idea rolled around our heads for a bit, then slowly settled in and made itself home.

Of course we thought that we could make a nice leisurely move of it. We certainly couldn’t move before the bazillion pumpkins we are growing at Clyde Road were harvested! And we’re so busy with Kiwiburn and trips and visitors at least to June…

A few discussions with friend and agent Maggie about the reality of the current real estate market upset these comfy notions. December/January are really the best time to market a house in our neighborhood. Especially since our house will not show well in winter (June here, for you folks above the equator). And the whole real estate market is slowing down, beset by high interest rates, low affordability at current prices, and the evident slowdown in the United States.

It felt really good as we loaded up the van for a 10 day stint at Wainui over Christmas and New Years not worry about bringing “too much” out—we were moving there!

And then during hours of great conversations with Dennis, Tobi, Alex, Maggie and Roelf, somehow by Boxing Day we found ourselves agreeing that it made sense to show the property while we were away at Kiwiburn for two weeks at the beginning of February!

After that who knows? If the property sells fast we’ll count our lucky stars and move wholesale into the charming but cold-as renovated 1900s farmhouse at Wainui until we get our new house built out there. Pretty tame compared to what a lot of homesteaders go through, actually, since we have wall heaters in every room, a fireplace and a wood burning stove. It’s just a matter of gritting our teeth and paying the power bills, and dealing with cold in the proper Kiwi fashion, which is to go outside, get some sun, and do some work. Amazing how that warms one up!

So here we are, new year, new property, new plan. It seems crazy and ambitious, but despite our new projects and the continuation of the old ones (me – building the centrepiece of the Kiwiburn 08 temple with orgone generator; Kathy – Kiwiburn Kostume Korner; us – the Green Fairy) I think it’s doable. Given that I was distilling until the day before we left for Kiwiburn last year and it all worked out fabulously, I think our new plan is equally doable.

I take two lessons from this. One, is that if you stay in touch with your feelings and keep your eyes for the most part on what you are doing in shorter time scales, you will stay on your strategic path.

The other comes from my recent increase in reading in astrology and other similar interpretive systems. When troubles come up, you can brace yourself for them and fight to hold your place, or you can use the chaotic energy to propel you forward towards your goals faster than you thought possible.

So I count myself very lucky to be able to say, it’s time to hold on to our hats and get ready for a wild ride! Because the bucking bronco we’re riding is heading toward paradise and the fulfillment of our dreams.