Friday, March 22, 2013

So Here We Are - Local Area

Back in 2007 and 2008 one of the main reasons I hadn't decided on the Small-Hold as a viable permanent residence despite it's immediate availability was the ever encroaching suburbia. As a teenager I can tell you this property was isolated. A person could stand naked in the yard jumping up and down and if a vehicle (either a truck or a tractor 50/50 chance on which) came by it was more than likely a relative. By the turn of the century all the lovely fields of cattle and corn had sprouted up new houses and in a few cases whole new streets and rows of cheap little houses.

In 2007 the massive corn/bean field across the road had sticks covered in surveyor tape and a dozer on a flatbed parked and waiting. The Small-Hold was about to be enveloped into the suburban sprawl on at least one side. Then before much could be done the hammer dropped and the bottom fell out of the housing industry. The bulldozer sat there for a while, like it had no where else to go, then eventually disappeared along with the sticks of brightly colored tape and corn once again pushed it's way up toward the sky.

The other little sub-division down the road sprouted up a good number of for sale signs and the little town beyond that even showed a few repossession stickers on doors.

I noticed many cars sitting along side the roads on my way in to work. By 2009 you could once again step outside at times and hear nothing. I think it had been years since I could remember not hearing at least an engine off in the distance. The steady stream of stay animals began showing up then as well.

By 2010 gardens began appearing in backyards all over even as small shops began closing. The nearest actual little almost a city that once boasted four video stores within a few blocks of each other today has one. A newly completed warehouse of some few thousand feet completed in 2009 is still sitting empty. We now have one gas station to choose from in a 10 mile radius where once we had four.

The houses are still occupied but it looked like the tide was going out. Last Summer I noticed construction starting up again but on the edges of the next towns over. Nothing even remotely this far out and then mostly multi-family rentals or duplexes not actual houses.

Most of the gardens that were started in 2010 are gone now. One year of failure was about all they were good for and then they went back to lawn or untended field the next year. More stores closed and roads that were repaved every year were now left untouched or hastily patched.

This year I will say I have noticed a bit more traffic once again but I still do not know of anyone who was without a job having found a new one. In fact the only little convenience store left in the area that used to have a new employee every month or so has had the same five clerks for three years running now. That is a total change right there. I have not noticed a new business anywhere in my range of normal travel in the last four years. The local farmers market picked up from a few visitors in 2009 to almost a horde during 2010 and 2011. Last years draw was a bit lower.

The roads are still very rough, even my son noticed how bad they were as he was practicing for his drivers test.

Politically the local area is very divided. Scores of people who were never politically minded in the past are now rabid Republican backers. 20 years ago a Republican couldn't hope to win much around here. Of course being so close to the State capital we have many an old Democrat retiree mixed in but this last year the glares between the two (including me) were almost physical. Other than the long serving Sheriff I don't think a Democrat won this county back in November and several places that sported Democrat signs get the "eyeball" when people drive by.

I believe this was one of the few counties "legitimate Rape" Akin won.

People I know, co-workers of my wife and old one's of mine will call, email or catch me out and ask about property out here and about gardens or bees. They are all interested but few take the leap.

Things have definitely changed out here. I think for the better but many would differ with that opinion. Once again we seem a little further out, a little more remote and a little less suburban.

As I have always said you will notice the decline at the edges first and I have certainly noticed things pulling back.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


  1. Well written report, informative. Here, crime has increased and most of the democritters live off the government. The flea markets are the first choice for sustenance shopping. The black market is very healthy. And yes, back yard gardens flourish.

    We needn't worry, His Highness of the Dark shall wave his hands and all will be well....

  2. Sounds like you are in the perfect place to witness the outer edge of a property bubble.

    Although people see the eye-popping prices in the fancy areas, and think that is where the action is, the big price swings are in the periphery.

    To my mind, once their is grading and you see the sewer lead-ins on the lots, it is over an done. Most of the expensive part of the development is done. Until that point though, there is no telling.


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