What I've been learning though is that a) land prices on the Mesa, like everywhere else, are rising; and b) you can still get those dirt cheap pieces, but they're not necessarily in a savory spot. You get what you pay for, as we all know. It didn't take long to realize that I was willing to pay substantially more than I'd initially factored to get Rusty's land, largely because it's located in an ideal spot near the slope of Cerro de los Taoses, also known as Two Peaks, meaning its features are more interesting than most of the Mesa, which is just plain flat, and it's in a good "neighborhood," which is extremely important on the Mesa for a variety of reasons I'll go into another time. But beyond these practical reasons, the truth is I already felt that this was where I belong. Graeme and I both felt it as we stood there watching the moon rise that first night.
That sense of certainty led me to wrongly believe that I could make an offer to Rusty and he would immediately agree to it, tra-la, even if it wasn't for the amount he wanted. I had decided on a maximum amount I could put down, and I wanted him to let me finance the rest over a period of a year, but he wasn't keen on owner financing at all.
The other trouble that entered paradise at this point was that Rusty was less than excited about my plan to use earthbags, as they involve plastic, something he considers ugly and evil. He spent a good bit of time in the beginning trying to talk me into a different method of building, and I found myself conflicted, because just as strongly as I felt his land was the right place, I believed that earthbags were the right method.
After a rather intense week of spending a lot of time together both socially and negotiation-wise, I decided I needed to leave it alone, and let go of what was already an attachment to this land. I resisted the temptation to call Rusty and badger him to make a decision about my offer, and I began to look at other land for sale on Craigslist and such, albeit halfheartedly, I'll admit.
I began to wonder if the serendipity was running out, especially when I didn't hear from Rusty for close to a week. However, during that time, a wonderful new aspect of this project developed, which was that Nicole, my very best friend in the world, and I began to discuss buying land together, as we've often longed to live together as single mothers, building community and supporting each other. If she bought a quarter acre of Rusty's land, which is what she could afford, then I could afford to pay him the minimum he would take for all of it up front. (This minimum, however, was less than what he thought the land was worth.)
We were on the phone one night discussing this, and I was telling her I just wasn't sure anymore what was going to happen with Rusty's land, that I hadn't talked to him in many days. Then the other line beeped. And guess who it was, calling to tell me he'd decided he was fine with me using earthbags, and that he could divide the land into an acre parcel for me and another quarter he'd sell to someone else, if I could come up with the the exact amount Nicole and I had been discussing pooling together.
I called her back when I was done talking to Rusty, and get this: She'd been doing a Tarot reading while I was on the phone with him, and the card she'd gotten in the future position was a picture of women building a house together. No lie.
|from the Motherpeace deck, the card Nicole drew|