Publisher’s Letter: Changing the Meaning of Vertical Living

The Kubota BX23s is a workhorse! It removed this 15 inch stump in just a few minutes; photo by Blaine Howerton
By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

When I took over this newspaper, I had no idea how much it would change my life. On weekdays, I spend most of my time operating the newspaper and leading the team of people who work so hard to keep it going. The complexities of running this organization continue to surprise me but I’m always up for the challenge!

Four years ago, I purchased my mountain property through a classified ad in North Forty News. In 2012 it had burned in the High Park Fire but the moment I stepped foot on the property, I knew one day I would call it “home.”

For the past four years, I have fallen in love with both the newspaper and the property but day-to-day stress requires time to relax. Those who know me well, know that the property is my sanctuary — where I go to get away from it all.

Burned property presents unique challenges and requires a lot of time, research, and effort to rehabilitate it. For example, nature rebounds quickly without regard to the plans of man and a brave little tree might spring up right within the roadway — to save it from destruction, it needs to be carefully uprooted and replanted in a safer location. And acres of dead trees left standing on the property are an invitation to an igniting spark flying on the wind of a distant seasonal wildfire. Certainly surrounding the location of the home you plan to build, dead trees must be removed.

After years of heavy physical labor and countless hours of planning, I made the decision to begin building a home in my sanctuary — I also made the decision to go tiny while I build!

Last week I began packing up a 2 bedroom apartment into a storage unit and moving only essentials into Revela, my second-hand vintage 24 foot RV. In a few weeks, I will work on securing permits and then start the build.

Of any move I’ve made in past years, this has been the most challenging. In a recent staff meeting when I mentioned my property, the phrase “Vertical Living” came up. For example, when you set a box down you expect it to stay put — but on my property, set a box down and it rolls! So as a person who loves a challenge, I fix it — not the box — the land!

Out of necessity, over the past 4 years, I have learned how to “level.” My new 2800 pound small Kubota BX23s tractor is perfect for the job. Thirty hours of leveling resulted in a driveway and a place to put my boxes! And the small writer’s studio I built with my boys last summer will serve as a workshop and storage for my tools.

When this all began, whoever thought I’d be changing the definition of “Vertical Living” from high-rise apartments to high-rise mountains!

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