Monday, December 19, 2011
A Peek At What's To Come
So I'm happy to say that we've found a new place to live - well at least for the next 18 months. It didn't take us very long, which is nice considering several folks have warned us of how difficult it can be to find decent housing in Burlington, Vermont this time of year. Like other college towns, most rental units in Burlington come onto the market during the summer months when the vast majority of students are looking for housing. In our case, we were lucky that the present occupants of our future home had to break their lease. When we entered the front doors, Marc and I looked at each other and we both knew instantly that we were destined to live here.
I have to give Marc all of the credit for finding this gem. It was by far the best place we'd seen on Craigslist. Interestingly, it is located in a cohousing development in Burlington. What is 'cohousing' you might ask? Well, you can learn more about it here. I will admit that the concept of cohousing is something new to me. (In my mind, I was picturing a 60's style commune.) But the more I read about it, the more confident I am that it will be a very good fit for us. I'm looking forward to living and on occasion breaking bread with other families who share similar values and interests.
This particular co-housing development is situated on 4 acres, was built using green materials and designed for energy efficiency. There are also solar panels on the roof of this unit. According to the property manager, the owner intended to spend the rest of her life here and as such made extensive upgrades to the interior and exterior of the home. Sadly, she had to relocate a couple of years ago. (We assume the reason was health-related.) She was an avid gardener and had installed four large raised beds in the back and two rain barrels on the side of the house. There's also a small composter. Around the unit she planted strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, blackberries and several fruit trees.
The exterior space could be considered tiny in comparison the the half-acre we currently have, but this just means that I'll have to be much more creative in utilizing the limited space available for growing food. I'm actually looking forward to the challenge as I've long had an interest in urban vegetable gardens. Besides, the way I see it, urban farms may one day be the norm and and not the novel.
I'm looking forward to planting in these beds this upcoming spring. From what we've been told, they've remained unused for the past couple of years. I'm sure the owner will appreciate the fact that they're being put to good use again. (Maybe I'll have the property manager send her some pictures this summer.) I will try to grow more vegetables in pots as well, although up until now, I haven't had much success with this. The development also has a small common garden but space appears to be extremely limited. There are several community gardens nearby so I'm hoping to get a plot elsewhere.
My favorite feature of this home is most definitely the glass conservatory. Since it's an addition to the home, it's also heated. The room has a sink, work surface, adjustable shelves and a drain built into the floor for easy cleanup. It also has a fan and remote controlled shades installed in the event it gets too hot during the daytime. I can't wait to start sowing seeds in there. I'm certain my citrus plants will appreciate the space has well.
In addition to all of these things, the unit also has one of the most beautiful kitchens I've ever been in. As you can imagine, I'm feeling much better about the move (which is in three weeks) now that we've secured a place to live. I'm just happy that I'll be gardening again next year!