Saturday, January 22, 2011


Ojakalda means 'river bank' in Estonian. It's also the name of the property right next to ours. The parcel is a little smaller than Paia, just under a hectare.

It has a small house with one room and a kitchen and a dilapidated kõrvalhoone,

as well as some old sheds allegedly used for larcenous purposes sometime in the not too distant past.

And of course there's the storks' nest. We remain hopeful that a pair will come back next Summer.

One of the most important things to us was the rest (about 50 meters) of the riverfront between Paia and the main road.

There's a picturesque culvert where the river flows under the road. It looks better in the Summer.

We were also interested in the 80 meters of frontage directly on the Imavere-Viljandi highway.

We decided that expanding our existing property would add a lot of value in the long run. We also have a landscaping project in mind for the old riverbed, which we thought would be simpler to do if we owned the rest of the bank.

We made inquiries about the property through our local contacts, and the owner was indeed willing to sell. Which is how I ended up coming to Tartu in January to do the closing, which went off with the normal Estonian low-key efficiency. Everyone showed up on time, all the paperwork was ready, and all the bills were paid electronically. The previous owner, Rein, volunteered to go with us to Eesti Energia to get the electrical contract transferred. All very Estonian.

We now have a little over 2.3 hectares or 5.75 acres in a nice contiguous piece. This Summer we'll see if we can consolidate the 2 parcels and perhaps the electrical service as well. Fortunately only Paia has village water, though ironically the well is located on a small parcel of municipal land which is entirely surrounded by Ojakalda. The water line for Paia runs from the well through Ojakalda, which was another point in favor of acquiring the land. Rein had kindly allowed us to run the line through his property a couple years ago, but it's simpler if it's all on our own place.

It's interesting to think about consolidating the properties physically. There are various overgrown boundary plantings that separate them, lilacs and spruce trees and lots of scrub. There's a kitchen garden plot that hasn't been used the last few years. This Summer we'll at least start taking down some of the bushes and trees that separate the two parcels. The Paia house is pretty well located to see the entire property once we cut back the foliage.

I'm not sure what we'll call the consolidated property. Paia is an old name in the area and appears on the land office maps. Ojakalda is a fairly recent name. Apparently it used to be called Kõre, which is a kind of toad, called a Natterjack in English. I've thought about something like Paia Ojakaldal, Paia on the River Bank. It would help differentiate it from the Paia Talu on the other side of Imavere.

The sheds and the kõrvalhoone will probably all have to be torn down. I should be able to get into the house in March to see what kind of condition it's in. The snow was very deep when I was there last Friday, and while I could probably have made it back to the house and gotten the door open, I could see not being able to get it closed again, or possibly not reattached.

I suspect the best case is that it's condition is about like the Paia house was in 2006, which means it will need to be completely gutted, saving just the log walls and maybe the roof beams and some details like door and maybe ceilings if they're decent looking. If the house is salvageable, I'd like to rebuild it as a kind of guest cottage.

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Location:E 88,Sharjah,United Arab Emirates

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