The Blue Heron

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We weren’t looking for land. In fact, we had agreed that we would try to be content with what we had. No more craving for something else. We had what we needed in our current house and were comfortable enough living where we were. We really didn’t need to make a change. However a couple years ago we agreed that if we happened to find the “right” place – something we just couldn’t pass up – then we would jump on it. It was a series of interconnected and fateful events that led us to this property.

My grandparents have owned an acreage just outside of the city since the 1960s. Less than 10 minutes from town it’s an amazing piece of land. Since they’ve been there the city has grown closer and closer to it. Estate acreages of 3-5 acres selling for $200,000+, their 80 acres seemed pretty spectacular.

My grandfather’s health had been failing and although my grandma was still very active, maintaining an acreage seemed neither safe nor wise.

“Well maybe we could buy it then?”

Could it be feasible? It seemed to be something that had strangely never crossed my mind until my mom proposed the possibility to Darcie and I.

Woah, this could happen. It was my grandparents land. Why wouldn’t they want their grandchildren to enjoy what they had had for 50 years?

Now our potential dream of a sustainable acreage could happen.

We knew though that given the cost of land in Corman Park (the rural municipality surrounding Saskatoon) we would only be able to afford 10-20 acres. So we would need to subdivide the land for us to purchase and then the remaining 60-70 acres could be sold off. I called the RM and found out that 10 acres was possible to subdivide. Amazing! We were pumped.

Ok but do we really, actually, really want this? Like for real?

We had to sit down and figure this out. We wrote a pros/cons list. Initially I thought our current living situation might be what we wanted… But it wasn’t even close. The pros of owning land massively outweighed the cons.

We were in.

Then things started to fall apart. Turned out the RM didn’t really tell us that you can only have 1 house per 80 acres. Meaning if you subdivided off 10 acres the other 70 would have to stay as bare land, making fit far less valuable to any purchaser other than a farmer. Also the waiting list for subdivisions with the RM was several years long. With the huge amount of rapid development of Corman Park they are in a state of transition and trying to control the development and work with the city on its expansion. So if we wanted this to happen in the next 5 years- maybe there was a chance. Unfortunately we didn’t have that time. My grandparents wanted to sell and we had to say that we couldn’t do it.

However now we had a predicament. We knew we wanted land. We had pictured that life and realized that that’s what we desired. Now to be content in our house and little piece of property seemed like a major task.

And so Darcie started to scour MLS again. It wasn’t more than three days later that there it was: 13 acres, riverfront, south of Saskatoon, undeveloped bare land.

The photos left a lot to be desired. It was one photo of a couple trees and water. But we drove out that very night to see it anyways, the price was right and land on the river just seemed too good not to check out.

Normally in Saskatchewan people don’t get too excited about the prairies. It’s like being on a boat in an ocean of wheat and canola and peas, but this particular drive has rolling hills, large expanses of trees, and a view of the flood plane. There are numerous landscaping gardens along Valley Road, the Berry Barn restaurant (for a tasty waffle), Strawberry Ranch, Solar Gardens (for succulents and also wood fired pizza), a golf course and even a corn maze!

When we finally arrived at the land we drove over a hill and there was the river. We saw the for sale sign and drove into the lot beside it (there was no road on the one for sale). We walked to the end of the lot and stared at the river. “Wow, could we do this?” I asked Darcie. “Could this be our life?”

“Yea we could do this.” She said.

And just like that we decided we would buy land.

There were a few other lots there but none with houses on them. There were 3 with large metal walled shops. We drove to the end of the grid road and onto the last lot. The one with gates and a Blue Heron marking the entrance. We drove in and got out of the car. “Wow whoever owns this has it made,” I said to Darcie. This lot was larger than the others and was pie shaped with the long side of the lot facing the river which curved around the property. There was a horse shoe shape of mature poplar and pine trees four rows deep surrounding a spectacular building site. The view was ridiculous. Over 180 degrees of river view.

Not wanting to linger too long on someone else’s property we left. Excited to call the realtor about the narrow undeveloped lot- dreaming about making it something like the one with the Blue Heron on the gates.

-K

(Originally posted July 1, 2014)

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