Home by the pond

Vermont’s a place where barns come painted
Red as a strong man’s heart
Where stout carts and stout boys in freckles
Are highest forms of art.”
~ Robert Tristram Coffin

Though hampered by the overcast sky, I was still able to capture a little of the beauty of this Vermont home.

Dutch Colonial

“Home is not where you live, but where they understand you” ~ Christian Morganstern (1871 – 1914) German poet

My grandad had a Dutch Colonial style house – see the barn-like roof profile? Lots of room in the attic. I’d love to own a 5000 sq foot dutch colonial :D.

Wood for the still

The maple sugar house I visited uses the one fuel they have plenty of for distilling the syrup – trees. Maple sap is 98% water, so it has to be boiled down quite a bit to make the syrup we all love.

As in a dream

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” ~ Douglas H. Everett

On an overcast day in Vermont, this house just looked kind of dreamy. Here’s a posterized view:

Tree eats house


The trees are God’s great alphabet:With them He writes in shining greenAcross the world His thoughts serene.~Leonora Speyer

This little one-room barn is on my way to work – abandoned, and being eaten by this tree.

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Neighborhood sunset


“How strange this fear of death is! We are never frightened at a sunset.” ~ George MacDonald, Scottish author, poet and Christian minister (1824 – 1905), particularly for his poignant fairy tales and fantasy novels 

Just another sunset outside my front door – wish I had a direct view of the western hills, but no, I see houses.  Sigh.  Next home, maybe.

Birdhouses for Sale


“When birds burp, it must taste like bugs.” ~ Bill Watterson 

June10b I am a birder, and look forward to taking my kids out to the various game reserves. In the meantime, I think I need to buy some bird feeders – or a designer bird house from this guy along Hwy J17 near Turlock, CA.

Water house


“Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.” ~Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (Hungarian Biochemist, 1937 Nobel Prize for Medicine, 1893-1986)

Mar26a This water house is at a small local farm reservoir, pumping water through the culverts used to water the local orchard (see yesterday’s photo).

Hard times for owners and renters


Many a man who pays rent all his life owns his own home; and many a family has successfully saved for a home only to find itself at last with nothing but a house.  ~ Bruce Barton

Two of my neighbors have to move because their landlords are being foreclosed on.  The guy across the street is very angry that he has to move, and feels that his landlord cheated him by collecting rent by not paying the mortgage with the rent money.

Of course, this doesn’t make a lick of sense.  First, as a tenant, he got what he paid for – a place to live.  So in a sense, he got what he contracted for.  I’m not sure if a lease includes the guarantee that the house will be available for the duration of the lease – if so, perhaps he *would* have a reason to be angry about breach of contract.

We lost our homes, including a rental home, to foreclosure, and I guess our former tenants could be mad at us for the same reason.  However, it was not an easy or fun decision to lose all that money I had invested.

Interestingly, this morning on NPR I heard Why Some Homeowners Hope For Foreclosure. Seems that more homeowners are no longer looking at foreclosure as an ethical dilemma (which it was for us), but purely as a numbers game.
I mean, if you owe $400K and your home is now worth $200K, it’s probably better for your finances to

  • Buy another home at current, low market rates (for around $200K)
  • Default on your first home, and take the credit hit for a few years
  • Live with half the mortgage at the low rate you secured on your new house before default

Wish I had done that now.  I’m still working through the huge debts that foreclosure foisted on me, and may have to lose all my assets through Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in order to start fresh rather than be saddled with hundreds of thousands to pay off.  Crazy world we live in, and lots of professionals I know are in the same boat.

By the way, I was twice interviewed on NPR’s Marketplace Money on this subject in Ghost Town USA and Who wins in a cash-for-keys deal? about two years ago. Seems like a long time ago now.