How to Find your Ideal Country Home by Gene GeRue. 1999 Edition, Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-67454.
I had my first look at this book back in 1994, when the author contacted me after having read the draft edition of my novel The Gray Nineties. (Which was then available as shareware.) At the time, Gene GeRue had just come out with his first edition. I was impressed with how thorough he was. His premises were sound, and his research was excellent. Imagine my surprise this year when I found an updated edition. It is even more thorough, and even more detailed!
GeRue systematically details the criteria to look for in a country home. He hits all of the key factors: climate, topography, soil, vegetation, water, demographics, agriculture, services, taxes, land/home prices, and so forth. He includes a lot of fairly detailed maps.
The author also includes a section on analyzing you. This is important and shouldn’t be overlooked. It is important to understand your personal needs, expectations, and personality. Some people just aren’t cut out for living in the country! The book also delineates between wants, needs and fantasies. Sometimes people have preconceptions that require a “whack upside the head.”
This book is not all “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.” There are some great doses of reality–such as finding a job or developing a home-based business before you move to the hinterboonies. He also discusses risks such as flood plains, fire prone regions, prisons, toxic waste, radon gas, incineration, and so on. he also describes the factors in choosing an existing home versus building on bare land.
I highly recommend this book. Referring to the content of GeRue’s book as a baseline, you can add the factors that you find important for a true survival retreat. (See my previous blog posts for some suggestions.)