Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Simple Woman



Outside my window...

Barn
via Tim Fitzwater on Flickr - one of my favorite photographers!

I am thinking...
about 100 years ago or so, my great-grandfather, Daniel Leckrone, and his brothers and father bought a piece of property, sight unseen, up in northern Michigan.  They had seen handbills about how beautiful the country was and how great it was for farming.  So they left their homes and in Elkart Indiana and moved north to this new farmland.  It was indeed beautiful - but being so close to Lake Michigan it also had very sandy soil and turning it into good farmland was not exactly everything it was cracked up to be. Nonetheless, there was one piece of this huge farm land, about 40 acres, that became my grandfather's  property.  It had an apple orchard and a meadow and even a little rock quarry.  I guess grandpa looked into selling rocks from the quarry for commercial gravel but it wasn't the right rock, or the right consistency, or something. It didn't work out other than to sell rock to neighbors for building barns and houses. Looking for work, grandpa moved four hours south to Flint, Michigan.

Grandpa gave that land to his son, Calvin Jr.  My uncle was so proud of owning this property! He would head north whenever he got a chance to hunt on his own property or to just walk around on it.  With Uncle's untimely death, the property passed to my mother. Mom held on to it and paid the taxes on it from 1986 until her death in 2009, about $500 a year.

With Mom's passing the property went through probate and came to me and my sister.  We were indeed honored to hold the property's history and vowed to keep it in the family. And every year, after the family reunion, we would go to our 40 acres and walk around on it and think about what we could do with it.  But Michigan has a peculiar way of handling property taxes.  Once it passes into your hands, they "cap" the property taxes.  You pay the same tax every year for as long as you own the property.  But if you sell it, or pass it along, the tax jumps up to the new level that takes into account all of the tax increases that weren't paid over the years.  Our tax bill went from $500 a year to $2000 a year.  And that was just ridiculous.  Mr. Pete and I don't even spend that on a vacation for the family per year, or the dentist for ourselves, or many other things.  It just didn't seem like good stewardship to hang on to this piece of property just for the sake of family history, only to see it once a year.   We did think about building on it and then renting out a little cabin to other families but that would only increase the tax, and it's hard to take care of something when you live 8 hours away.  I also thought about planting trees on it to preserve it and get a tax break, but that seemed like a lot of back breaking work  and a lot of hoops to jump through just to keep a hold of something that was costing us money.

This was also a case of taxation without representation.  Because this wasn't a homestead, and we aren't residents of Michigan, we had no say so about anything that happened in the county where the property was.  This just seemed like another reason to let it go.

So a few weeks ago, Sis and I managed to sell the place and with a heavy heart last week we signed the  papers.  I don't think my ancestors would be too disappointed with me.  I can't imagine any of them thinking that it made much sense to hold on to it for that price.  Farewell to Uncle Cal's 40.  Good bye Mom's meadows.

Aday in August 2011 190


I am thankful ...
for Trophy Class Real Estate that hung in with us for over a year until we sold the place. They did a great job and Rick Rybicki was awesome.

From the learning rooms...
Other than light math for Noah and Gabe - we are doing absolutely nothing this week or next until after New years.  We are a family of church musicians. Mr. Pete and I have had concerts for the last three weekends.  Last weekend the kids performed in Lessons and Carols.  And because we are homeschoolers and flexibility is our middle name, we are taking a prolonged and well deserved Christmas break!


December 2012 040



    From the kitchen...
    Shepherd's pie tonight!

    I am wearing...
    Gray pants, t shirt and sweater.

    I am creating...
    Lots of cookies for my transcription clients and for some other special folks who will get cookies!

    I am going...

    • To get over this cold that I came down with.  As per usual, it went right into my chest and now I have a lovely hacky cough to go with it. I m trying to nip this in the bud so I don't hack my way through Christmas Eve - which I am also playing for.
    • To make lots of cookies today. 
    I am reading...
    three books I got out of the library about Jacqueline Kennedy.  I was especially looking forward to reading Historic Conversations.




    Maybe it's because of my cold, may be it's because of my age... I don't know what it is but I am just finding this book to be VERY BORING!!!  And I think the reason is because it is all about HIM, President Kennedy.  I would rather read about HER. It's a little disappointing.



    I am hearing...
    Humm of my computer and the girls getting ready to do school.

    Photo I am Sharing

    December 2012 041

    Christmas Cake designed by Izzy!



    Click here to shop the Gooseberry Patch Christmas Cookbook Collection!Holiday Cake Discount, Bake Me A Wish, Seasons Greetings Cakes
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    2 comments:

    Love Bears All Things said...

    I know its hard to see property which has been in the family so long belong to someone else. My husband's Great Grandfather and his boys did much the same as your family when they came to Alabama. Some of the original property is still in family hands but some has been sold to others. The memories and history will always be a part of us though.
    Hope you get over your cold soon and enjoy the music performances.
    Mama Bear

    Elena LaVictoire said...

    Thanks so much for your kind comment Mama Bear! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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