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Mountain Living
The Pros and Cons to living in the mountains

Nature Abounds!

Nature abounds in the mountains of North Carolina. The Spring displays are so inspiring that I found my creative expression the first year we moved into our new home. The fact that the house was a "blank slate" as they say, was just the beginning. I found that I couldn't find enough hours in the day to complete all the experiences that I was craving.

Walks in the woods to catalog wildflowers, became my favorite activity. I would photograph each one, then rush home to look at the books I had to identify each one. Turns out, I didn't have the right books! A whole new world was outside our door. We made several excursions to town and to the Smokey Mountain Parkway, to look for more relevant books for my identifications. After adding at least three new books, I settled with my pictures and books to identify the beauty of our woods. I have been forever thankful that I took the time to get to know our woods. From that first step of identification came many creative endeavors, both for personal use, and later as a business.

Fall was glorious! Our view of the color change just couldn't be captured on film. WE TRIED! Then we took on the task of identifying the tree species in our woods. Hickory, Black Birch, Red Oak, Post Oak, Scarlet Oak, White Oak, Tulip Poplar, and more. Each one with it's own special properties, bark, leaf color, and benefit to both nature and man. Squirrels scurrying to choose the best acorns and nuts for the Winter to come.

We finished our home with a wood-buring stove to serve as our 'central heat'. We chose not to have air conditioning or central forced air heat, because we felt we just didn't need it. The wood stove is more than adequate to heat the living areas of our house. In fact, with all the excess trees in just our yard alone, we could keep wood on hand for many winters to come.

Yes, nature definitely abounds in these mountains. No doubt about it.

We had nooo idea..........

The Modular Home

 

The Modular Home

 

Before moving to the mountains, it’s safe to say that, we had never had the occasion to really look at how a modular home fits into the scheme of building a new home.

 

To start, we poured over pages and pages of floor plans and designs, trying to decide what style and size of home would be the best fit for us. The “best fit” was dictated by our desire to live in comfort, yet get the best price.

 

We finally settled on a style and floor plan, but wanted to change the floor plan, ‘just a smidge’. Our changes were reviewed by the modular plant engineers, and approved.

We were ‘on our way’ to having the best and last house we could live in.

Of course, ‘best’ just means that it fit into our budget.

 

Having chosen our plan, we set out to prepare our land to accept our new home. The home itself would be ordered and produced in a modular home factory in two pieces.

The actual building of the ‘boxes’, as they are called, would only take two weeks!

Amazing! We were so excited at the prospect of having our new home.

That order would be held until we were two weeks from being ready to ‘set’ the boxes on the property.

 

Foundations had to be built. First, a concrete footer had to be poured, and then concrete blocks to form a full two-car basement garage. Finding someone to complete that task was not easy, but it was finally done by February of 1997.

 

The ‘boxes’ were built in the modular factory, and were scheduled to be driven here on trailers, behind specially outfitted trucks. The drivers were also part of the ‘set crew’, and traveled from the factory with a few other men that were specially trained to ‘set’ the ‘boxes’.

 

During the months since we had moved to our little rental in town, my husband had been working for the local builder for the modular company, and he had learned a lot about how to properly ‘set’ and finish a modular home. It’s my belief that had he not had that experience, we would have had much more trouble with the processes involved. He knew, for example, that iron piers had to be ordered from the local welding shop, to be placed down the center of the basement, to support the weight of the ‘boxes’ and secure them to each other. He had to follow up to make sure that the correct lengths were ordered and shipped to the welding shop. Advance preparation and measuring was of the utmost importance in this step. Once the ‘boxes’ arrive, it’s too late to decide that the dimensions are off.  The same steps had to be taken with the block and sill plate. Of course none of the steps could be completed without the inspections from the county building inspector.

That’s another story………    

Building Inspections:

 

Each county has its own building codes that are based upon the state’s codes. Each county has its own inspectors. Their job is to visit a building site to determine whether the codes are being followed for each step of the building process. The fact that every home owner and builder hopes to pass every inspection, leads to conflicts and sleepless nights.

We had our share of conflicts. We had our share of sleepless nights.

Through it all, we kept our hope alive by visiting our building site to just stand and look at the view of nature that would some day be ours.

 

 

 

My view of Mountain living from a retrospective viewpoint

Since 1997, we have lived in a small cove in the North Carolina mountains.

Our introduction to the cove came by way of a friend of my husband. That friend, having had a second home in this little cove, invited us to experience the joys of living "on the mountain". He often quipped, "we don't leave the mountain, once we get here".

I thought: My, how idyllic it must be, to be so secluded and so close to nature! Surely nothing could be so sweet as to be so close to nature.

And it was, so beautiful and green. Wildflowers and trees everywhere. Soft breezes blowing through the trees. Dappled sunlight, gently touching the forest floor. Like a dream, we floated on air; more alive than we had felt in so many years in the city. No noise from traffic. No sound of sirens, day and night. No neighbors pushed up against us from every side. Ahhhh, what a wonderful life it would be to live on the mountain, in the woods, for ever!

So, we rushed back to our busy city, and immediately set the wheels in motion to sever our ties to the city life. We were energized for the first time. We felt the "pull" to return to the mountains and make our lives complete. We were giddy with joy, looking forward to a new life. New to us both, (my husband having been raised in Kentucky, and myself in Wisconsin), we saw nothing but positive change coming.

After making several weekend trips to the mountains, to find just the right property to purchase for our new home, we settled on a piece in the very cove that our friends had invited us to visit. We were in love!

We sold our house in the city, loaded up a moving truck, and headed to the mountains.

We didn't have a house right away, but rented a small unit in the nearby town. The living quarters were cramped, but we knew we could survive it, because we had a plan. The plan was to find work; find a builder; and build our house we would live in for the rest of our lives.

My husband found work with the franchise owner of a modular home builder. The fact that our rental agent introduced us to the builder, and the builder became my husband's boss, was a bit of luck that we weren't counting on. The more we became involved in the modualr home building process, the more we were convinced that the best home solution for us, was a modular home.

We had no idea what we were about to experience............