I promise I’ll get around to posting photos eventually, but for now the sad news is that Artemisia is uninhabitable at the present time. A freak storm comparable to the 1975 storm on Lake Superior that sank the great ship, the Edmund Fitzgerald, hit the western end of the Lake in mid-September, 2014. Subsequent storms continued to tear away at all of the work we had done on the bluff to stabilize it. Where there was once a steep, vegetation covered slope there is now zero slope. “Wild sand” rises straight up from the lakeshore to the top of the bluff. And by December it had undermined enough of the earth at the top that the edge of the bluff was just one foot away from the porch of the guest house.
The Guest House has been emptied and everything taken to storage. It is much too old a structure to spend $40,000 to have it moved back away from the edge. All that work on the bluff and all that work fixing up the house (that I’m still paying for)…going, going, gone.
The main house, where my mother had just begun living full time (back in June 2014) was evacuated too and mom, her four cats and cocker spaniel are now living in an apartment in Hancock. Although it was still safe to be in our house in January, I couldn’t cope with the risk of getting an emergency phone call once the snow started to melt and spring storms would take more land, making that house too, unsafe. By some miracle, the slope directly in front of the house has held but we are quickly losing ground on both sides of the house. Now I’m thinking that house is not worth moving either. At any rate, doing so in winter is way too complicated and expensive. The center of the house is very old, already in need of upgrading and has already been moved one. The bedrooms on either end of the house were built well in the 1980s but it is not feasible to just move the newer parts…or my new roof (2012).
So…we are feeling the loss and hoping for a future that allows us to live on the land again if only part-time during the warmer months. But my income stream from renters and the joy of sharing the beauty of the land and lake with vacationers is halted.
The silver lining to this very dark cloud is that I’ve been meeting more of my neighbors and have been amazed at the helpfulness of complete strangers. Small town, rural charm is working its magic on me.