We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Sunday, February 22. 2009
Massachusetts' Berkshire County (and northwestern CT Berkshires) has been a popular summering area for 150 years. The nightime is cool, even in August. It is filled with second homes and country places for those from NYC and Boston. The area is artsy and full of pretty-good, small-scale skiing. There isn't much work up there outside of once-industrial Pittsfield - and there never has been. As we have commented, 2009 is a good time to have cash to buy things, because these second home prices are falling. Take a look:
This 3-BR 1942 Cape on 0.3 acres overlooks the town of Great Barrington. $620,000:
This 1793 eyebrow colonial in New Marlborough has 1/2 acre, 3 bedrooms. $185,000;
This 1770 center hall colonial is on 1/2 acre near downtown Sheffield. 6 BR. $725,000.
The village of Alford has a Congregational Church, an 1830 schoolhouse, and a town green. Not a single store, shop, or restaurant. This is a 4 BR 1810 farmhouse (with additions) on 4 acres. $700,000:
Here's an 1825 village colonial in Becket. 5 BR, one acre. $430,000:
In Lenox. Not an antique, but just a walk to Tanglewood and to the pleasant antique village. 4 BR, 0.5 acres, $1,000,000.
In Stockbridge, this 1795 renovated farmhouse. 8 BR, 4 acres. $1,000,000. I like it, but 150 acres would be better.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
OK, B.D. $700K for your average house above, and you say prices are falling?!
I think I should have gone into law, too, because I don't have that kind of dough laying around, and no-one will loan it to me, either!
I'd guess that they are 30% lower than a year ago. They will go lower.
By the way, I am not a lawyer. Barrister is, of course, but he is more solicitor than barrister.
Sorry, I got y'all confused!
I'm not southern, btw...I just like the word "y'all!" But man, if that seems cheap to you, what am I doing wrong?
And to be serious (and introspective), I'm going to get a little philosophical with you here...and of course, with anyone else who may read this.
So, speaking of "what am I doing wrong," I've been doing a little self-analysis lately. I am probably the wisest as well as the most stupid man I know on this planet, in my own mind.
I've been exploring this concept: There is some sort of disconnect in my brain, which somehow screws up what otherwise should be an easily successful life, considering my vast intelligence and knowledge. (I am only half kidding about that.)
Anyone else have this problem?! Why can't I even be moderately successful, when I see complete idiots every day buy cars, houses, make gobs of money...
I'm not joking here, this is a plea for help. Is it my sinfulness? Certainly I am a sinner, but I believe in Jesus and by human standards I am "good." (Human standards, I said. "No-one is good but God alone.") So, does God have it in for me? I don't think that's it.
Not everyone can be rich, I know that. So am I just one of the ones designated to be destitute for my whole life?
I don't believe that one, either, as I look at it again. It has to be me. There is something wrong with ME, and I don't know what it is.
I'm going to cut this off now, because you're all going to think I'm looney. But I really want to know if anyone else knows what I'm saying and asking here.
I think I need a mentor. Grasping at straws? Maybe.
Big plea, Big__Al. And either brave or desperate for you to be so open... even if anonymous. I'll choose brave.
You get what you want. That's my simplistic answer.
And if you want it... never give an inch toward obtaining it.
I didn't follow that path by the way. I'm still working out what I want. In the interim I let myself be side tracked by other considerations. Comfort is a weakness. That's what got me.
Damn near all of us shy from our potential greatness. Whomever thinks they have done great things... could usually have done much more.
Perhaps what you really want is comfort (a life well-lived)? What's wrong with that?
I don't know enough to say anything about what you are or are not successful at, but I can say that you are very thoughtful and aware. That's a good thing because it will help you figure out that success is what you want it to be - not based on an artificial standard that works for the very few. You mention a disconnect, but I see it as very earnest thinking on your part followed up with lots of doubt. The doubt is a tough thing to handle, so if you can figure out where it comes from and shut it down, maybe you'll feel less disconnected.
For sure, you wouldn't want to be those stupid people who 'have it all'. They got nothin', if you know what I mean.
Knowing you're a good man is the best thing you've got going for you. I sure hope things work out for your happiness.
nice forthright post.
you're correct,sometimes life doesn't seem fair
- there is no such thing as fair by the way-
Sometimes the, apparently undeserving are showered
with worldly things,cool things,things that others might
covet and be envious of .
After the basic needs of life are met,
I believe if it takes a new Aston Martin a pretty wife
or that Mansion on the hill to bring happiness..
then happiness will never be found.
Happiness is a state of mind, your view of the world,
your role in it, and your relationship with your creator .
there is nothing wrong with material things,
if it's the Yacht you want, figure out an honest way
to get it..but don't expect it to bring happiness.
If the truth was known, you are probably more
content than some of the High-rollers we see
Elvis had Everything the world had to offer,
he wasn't happy.
Ha... an Elvis reference. That can't be beat. Very good.
There are plenty of normal houses at normal-people prices in the Berkshires, just not in the picturesque towns surrounding the ski-areas and big-name cultural institutions.
When, as a bachelor, I started working each summer at one of the latter, I found a room to rent nearby and loved the drive to work over quiet country roads with fields and forests to each side, along with a section of twisty mountain road to provide spice. Eventually that was no-longer available and I found a flat to rent in Pittsfield. The drive to work was no longer enjoyable, and seemed to take twice as long. Eventually I timed it, and discovered that the two places were near-on equidistant from my parking place, and the travel time averaged over several trips was exactly the same as well. Just the difference between city and picturesque made it seem twice-as-long.
Finding a reliable affordable summer rental was becoming a problem, so we bought a little 700 sq.ft. 2-bedroom place that is just about standing up. It even has electricity and running water. And it cost nothin' near any of the prices listed above.
Wow. What a kind and thoughtful bunch you all are. It brought tears to my eyes to read your responses, so I think it's only fair that I reply as well.
Brave? Definitely. I probably waited 1/2 hour before I pushed that "send" button. But desperate works too. It shows, eh? Haha!
Your "simplistic" answer? If it was simplistic to me, I wouldn't have asked! Laughing here, don't take that wrong.
And I get what I want? I see that you're in the same boat as I am, possibly, in that regard. A riddle wrapped up in an enigma.
Comfort, yes. A great deceiver. Is that what I want? Not sure. Maybe so. It brings to mind another scripture:
"Money answers everything." But we've got to answer that with, of course, "The love of mammon is the root of all evil."
As to our potential greatness, I guess that's what I'm reaching for and falling flat on my face in attaining. So it ain't the money, comfort, none of it. My misery results from that...the fact that I have not used my talents.
Which brings us back to the original question:
What the heck is wrong with me, and why can't or won't I use my God-given gifts?
Regarding "comfort," I answered it above. And, since you're an obvious Beatles fan as am I, what's wrong with silly love songs? Last night our family was listening to that McCartney song. We all love ALL the Beatles, but I explained to my 11 year-old son that this was McCartney's response to Lennon's stupid comment to the effect that all Paul ever wrote were "silly love songs."
I told him, that I'm sure that before John was killed that he probably regretted that statement, and took it back. I don't know that for sure, but John was an intelligent man and a heck of a "mate," so that is what I choose to believe.
But by the end of the song and my story, my son was bawling his eyes out. He was so sad that John was killed, and I think he realised for the first time what was killed with him...a great duo that will never be matched again.
Thank you for your incredibly kind comments.
What am I successful at? Hmmm...
A lot, actually. I may have painted a picture of abject failure in my previous post, but I have been, for 25 years, a really good contractor in the remodeling and painting trades. Unfortunately, that business seems to be going down the tubes, for obvious reasons.
And I have managed to "self-educate" myself to the degree with which I can hold forth with you all here on Maggie's Farm.
Meta, I'm getting so tired right now (it's late!), and I'm afraid I can't do justice to all your kind and thoughtful words. But let me say this: I don't doubt my abilities, or God's. So we'll see what happens.
Good comments. I just pick interesting varieties of architecture, but figure people might be interested in the prices too.
The examples are certainly interesting for their various styles and several are very attractive (to me at least). But it's hard to appreciate them when, except for the 1793 "eyebrow", the prices are 2-3 times what the same would fetch in the eastern mid-west areas.
I just love timber houses. We don't get them over here.
My wife doesn't share your opinion of stick-built. When we relocated to the US from the UK her words were "I'm not living in one of those -- I've read The Three-Little-Pigs !"