Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bluebird Cove 9: Finding River Trails In Nelson County

Yes, we had found land in Nelson County with great diversity of plants. The small development of one road with about 12 homes was called River Trails. It was far enough off the main highway to have an absolute stillness about it. You drove back to the entrance to the community alongside a running creek and the cove was surrounded by mountains.

We had found our own little piece of Heaven.

We had a forester out that the state provided and she identified so many wonderful native trees and plants that would be great wildlife habitat. We even had persimmon trees and Umbrella Magnolia. This type of magnolia only grows in a very small area of the Appalachian Mountains in that part of Virginia and stretching over into West Virginia. What a treasure. We had hazelnuts, mountain laurels, white pines, a hemlock on the bank down near the creek, and an endless supply of wildflowers to be discovered.

We had chosen a conservation/green builder to build and he was willing to work from my floor plans since he and his crew preferred not bother with the excess of architectural plans. We certainly didn't mind saving the architect's fees, so I began drawing in the format he requested. We had agreed the land would be disturbed as little as possible and all trees would be kept close to the house. The builder did a great job of putting in the driveway winding around the large trees and we were thrilled beyond belief that our little wilderness paradise project had finally begun.

The floor plan task became a spiral of time pressures and revisions and it seemed the grade of the land and placement of the home didn't allow some of the things we had designed in, such as a two-car garage and side pedestrian door. The problem was that it wasn't discovered until building had begun. Little by little it seemed one important thing after another was removed from our home plan as the builder discovered issues with the grade. Randal began to feel like it wasn't the home he wanted ..... and it also appeared to me that our dream was slipping away.

Slipping away is what it actually did. The year was a very wet one and the builder had one problem after another because of the rain, but we were patient. We didn't have a deadline other than the excitement of living there. We didn't realize that living there was not going to happen.

Delivery of the septic tank was scheduled and the driver of the truck turned into an old driveway at the beginning of the property that was put in when the small community was developed about 12 years earlier. It was very overgrown with young trees coming up, but that didn't seem to alert the driver and he plowed right through down to the house site 90 feet away and got stuck. They had to tow him out and the entire area was horribly ragged and I was heartsick. We'd lost some trees I had already become friends with.

If that wasn't enough at the same time the equipment that was right behind the house digging the septic tank hole slid down the hill. Until they got that out of there, they had removed a 40' x 75' area of trees. This was behind the screened porch that ran the entire length of the house. The tall old trees that would shelter the porch and provide high in the trees views of the birds and squirrles were gone. The porch was to be "my space." I knew I would live out there and work out there in as many ways as I could and it was to be where I would write. It was now destroyed and with it were my dreams for River Trails.

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