New House: Lot Clearing

Several new houses have gone up in my neighborhood in the last year or two. What do I consider “my neighborhood”? Mostly it’s the area within about a half mile of my apartment that Travvy walk through at least once and often two or three times a day, where I recognize the vehicles and the people even if I don’t know all their names — where they recognize me and Travvy, even if they don’t know who we are or exactly where we live.

On the map, my neighborhood is bounded by Old County Road on the (more or less) east, the West Tisbury dump and the Island Farms subdivision on the west, and the Dr. Fisher Road and Pine Hill Road on the other two sides. Old County Road is a sort of straight line. It’s paved. Dr. Fisher and Pine Hill are neither straight nor paved. I can’t tell you what direction they run in or what shape my neighborhood resembles if viewed from the sky. Maybe a scone?

Overdevelopment is a matter of some concern around here. So is the housing crisis. Overdevelopment and the housing crisis are both abstract concepts. The houses being built around me aren’t abstract at all. Most of the people who build them and buy them live and work here year-round. At least two of the houses were built with affordable housing restrictions on who could buy them.

So my little digital point-and-shoot and I have been keeping our eyes on a house being built close by. As a person with no useful skills whatsoever, I’m fascinated by (and somewhat jealous of) what people can do with their hands and their machines.

You probably figured this out from my October post about the installation of my neighbors’ new septic system, right?

The other thing is that two of the characters in what will probably be my third novel, The Squatters’ Speakeasy, are carpenters. I have some idea of what they do all day when they aren’t playing music or, in one case, drinking, but my muses love detail and the more I can visualize, the better.

The house is now framed and enclosed. As of yesterday, the doors were cut but not the windows. But I’m going to start at the beginning and document the building in several installments. As a matter of fact, I mentioned the very beginning in “Little Changes,” an end-of-last-summer post about changes in my neighborhood. Here’s a recap.

The first sign appeared in July 2013. A well-digger appeared and put in a well. Travvy, my constant companion on these forays, wooed at it.

travvy woos

truck lifts

Travvy has a thing for machines, from ATVs to tractors to humongous well-diggers.

Nothing happened for over a year. As the summer of 2014 came to an end, the owner started clearing the lot the old-fashioned way. Well, not quite the old-fashioned way, but his chainsaw was hand-held and he worked bloody hard.

A driveway appeared. With use it got wider and flatter.

20140928 driveway

Then at the very end of September the Cats appeared.

20140928 cats in clearing

The dog was quite taken with them.

20140928 trav & bucket20140928 dog & cat
At the end of the day a couple of days later, we had a big hole.20141002 hole & stick

All that dirt had to go somewhere. Travvy thought it was great fun.

20141012 hill 1

20141012 hill 2

20141012 hill 3

20141012 hill 4

Next step: the foundation. Stay tuned.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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