Free House With Purchase

cottage in the morning sunlight And you believe that?  Nothing is really free, of course, even if it seems it might be.  We only paid what the acre would have been worth even without the house on it in order to build the MoHo shed, so technically the cottage was free.  Until we decided that maybe putting a roof on it might be a good idea since it was leaking.  We really didn’t plan to stay in the house at all when we bought it, but somehow it just seems to work out that it is fun, kind of like camping with water and heat, and the funky little cottage has something about it that feels really good.  Maybe it is the light.  Maybe it is the fact that it was built in 1926, and even though small and funky, there are big strong beautiful fir beams in the ceiling that haven’t warped in nearly 90 years.
interior wall that was full of ants! But a free house definitely must have some “issues”, and of course we found them.  The kitchen wall had some mold in it where the roof had leaked.  We replaced the roof and decided it was time to take out the moldy kitchen wall.  Uhoh.  Mo took a sledge hammer to the wall (aka HGTV style) and what should come pouring out but ants!  yup, ants.  Bazillions of ants.  I think the entire ant population of Grants Pass was living in that wall.  Needless to say, a simple job of just starting on the wall turned into a must do project of getting it out of there.  In the process, we found that what was a kitchen wall had once been an exterior wall, complete with cedar shingles, even an old window, all covered up by several layers of varying wall types.  Needless to say, it was a mess. 
burn day in the morning sunshine on the cottage acre We had spent the previous two days at the cottage burning some huge debris piles left over from the previous shed and roofing projects.  Burn days in Grants Pass are rare, and involve calling at 6am to see if it is indeed a burn day.  We haven’t had much luck lately so on Friday morning when the phone call gave us a resounding yes, we jumped into the pickup and made it to the cottage in less than 2 hours from waking up.  We had two gorgeous burn days in a row before the inversion set in once again and no more burning was allowed. I raked and hauled leaves for two days straight while Mo managed the burn pile. There is a price to pay for those gorgeous huge oaks, and I never had a chance to get it all finished last fall. We don’t actually LIVE here, remember?! We were a bit worn out, and on Sunday morning Mo said, “Let’s just enjoy a nice easy day relaxing here before we head home”.  Great idea.  But that was before the ant wall was discovered.
wall is almost out between the kitchen and the bathroom Late on Sunday afternoon we celebrated with another great Abby’s pizza before we headed back over the mountain to our snowy home with the ice covered road up to the house.  There is something about being able to leave, to actually get out of the funky cottage and back to our beautiful beautiful well water and warm wood stove and roomy bathrooms and all the goodies of living in a “real” house that make it all fun instead of depressing. The woman who lived in the cottage before us raised many sons there in the 60’s.  We still can’t figure out where everyone slept, unless she sent the boys outside to the even funkier bunkhouse.  Who knows.  People did live differently then I guess. I know I did.
well pump house at the cottageThe cottage has a well, but the water has some salts in it, and it only gives about 2.5 gallons a minute.  We had a long hose from the well house to the fire and after running it for about 20 minutes, we suddenly had no more water.  Uhoh again.  Neither of us has a clue how to prime a well pump, so had to go to the internet to discover that we probably had a submersible pump that didn’t need priming anyway.  Just turn it off and wait two hours and see if it recovers. 
We went inside, and waited, then back out to start up the water and uhoh again, no water at all. As Mo was walking back to the pump house, she discovered what we had missed earlier…a kink in the hose…can you believe that?!?!  We never really ran the well dry at all.  It was such a relief that we were all excited again about having 2.5 gallons a minute after all.  We do bring drinking water from home, though, and there is no way we will put that salty water in our MoHo tanks.  Guess we can’t ever really ‘move’ over to the cottage even when we get too old to shovel snow and haul wood at home in Rocky Point.
Ah well, we are home again, and I am working this week, but next week we will go back to the cottage.  Only this time it will be what it was supposed to be, just a little stopover place for us to relax a bit before we load up the MoHo and head for the beach.  Brookings here we come!  Rain or shine.  Rumor has it there might be at least a couple of days of sunshine at the ocean and we are going to make sure we find it.morning sunlight in the cottage kitchen

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

12 thoughts on “Free House With Purchase”

  1. Love that whole cottage idea. Just my kinda place to hang out for awhile too. Would have enjoyed joining in for the big yard clean-up. Most always find that kind of work constructively rewarding. Making something nice out of a big yard mess is my idea of a productive & fun outside day…..


  2. ANTS?!?!? Egads my least favorite critter in the whole world I think. Hope they weren't carpenter ants. Oh well, you have a nice place for the moho and a fun campout place. Sure hope you get some sun in Brookings. I've been wanting to get over that way. Love it there. Have never camped there but stayed in that nice Best Western next to the ocean. Are you headed for Harris Beach again? Have lots of fun.


  3. hmm, at least we are sure they weren't carpenter ants, and they weren't the tiny sugar ants, and we don't have fire ants here…so who knows. little medium sized ants that would bite but not horrible. and they obviously didn't care about food. we never saw them in the house or on the counters until the wall was opened up.

    We ran for some chemicals, sorry to say I am a fair weather organic person…Home Defense, and then let off a bomb when we left. I think they are toast!


  4. Holy Moly! I hate swarms of ants (and usually say bad words!). I think I'd have to resort to chemicals also, tho use them only as a last resort. Love the part about a hose kink (ain't we somethin'?). Just think, one day your “free” neat cottage will be a nice 2nd home… or 3rd home if we count the MoHo!


  5. Some small fixes don't stay small for long. But to find that it was a porch or just and outside wall is added bonus. Just never know what you will find ripping things apart.

    Good luck hope the ants are all gone when you go back.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: