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Catskills - Sullivan County - Ulster County Real Estate -- Catskill Farms Journal

Old School Real estate blog in the Catskills. Journeys, trial, tribulations, observations and projects of Catskill Farms Founder Chuck Petersheim. Since 2002, Catskill Farms has designed, built, and sold over 250 homes in the Hills, investing over $100m and introducing thousands to the areas we serve. Farms, Barns, Moderns, Cottages and Minis - a design portfolio which has something for everyone.

April 26, 2024

Friday Morning Reflections

I tried to catch up with my framer today, but he was heading to Chicago to attend his daughter’s medical school graduation.  He shows up, for 16 years, like the postman of years past - in snow, ice, rain, heat, cold - he shows up to do his job in such an efficiency of movement of he and his crew you would think it was choreographed by a professional.  We’ve traded $2m+ without a contract. I think most of our $1m+ of construction activity is done without contracts. Good faith goes a long way.

One of my earth movers asked me to build him a home on the 90 acres of gold coast real estate in Gardner that Mark Zuckerberg (or in his words, ‘a Mark from Facebook?’) has been offering him untold escalating millions for a few months.

My mason of a decade plus owns several hundred acres, houses in Florida and his family is part of the business.

My painter since 2007 has seen his son enter the Marines, and his daughter enter her 3rd year of college.

My employees have collectively set aside $1.4m in retirement in our small business 401k safe harbor and pension plans.

Having just finished my taxes and related financial tune up, realizing that all the hard work has really paid off.

Our clients have literally made tens of millions of dollars off the appreciation of our homes.

Our clients have literally lived cumulatively over a 1000 years in our homes, and that’s probably a low ball.

Municipalities and small towns have earned over $30,000,000 of school and real property tax income.

Sales tax income of $20,000,000.

Transfer tax of real estate in the millions.

23 years and counting and getting up in the morning and dealing with shit you rather not be dealing with.  I’d like to wax poetically about the beauty of America, but I’m not feeling too great about this place and all that’s going on and the continued subversion of the people by the representatives.  It’s ungodly.  More disappointingly is the collusion of the media, being a student and read-in veteran of deep reads of journalism.    Annoyingly, proving Trump right once again with his ‘fake news’ mantra, though, I do admit, it’s fake news but not in the way he was saying it, but fake is fake in the end.  It’s weird when you realize the world around you is conjured up.  I’m pretty sure I won’t be living in this country full-time forever.

That being said, and off-setting that flex, is, you know you're a loser when… you had the sudden realization that your new routine of grocery shopping on Saturday nights at 8pm8 may be efficient, but is actually kind of sad.

I actually had a few questions and observations that I wonder if occur to other people - 

  1. When is the media going to stop referring to X as ‘formerly Twitter’.  Duh, we know. Everyone knows by now.  
  2. Everytime I go to NYC, it seems like everyone is stoned now, and the smell of pot is is wafting everywhere
  3. It’s patently unfair that not drinking for a year has resulted in no dramatic weight loss.  It just seems like the math should be on my side, even if all else remains equal.  Guess I’m maybe sneaking more sweets or something?
  4. On Google flight search, has anyone ever selected their flight based on the ‘total emissions’ category on the search?
  5. Why in gods name would a banking app like Venmo think it’s a good idea to default your transactions to “Public”.   I mean literally, what is the purpose of listing your transaction and the people they are to with little disclosure?
  6. Does anyone actually select ‘with bag’ when weighing their produce in the self-checkout lane?  For me, that .00092 of an ounce is never going to paid for by me.
  7. How is possible that a ¼ of nuts is 215 calories?  Seems to me that healthy nuts should be like a hard boiled egg or a cup of coffee - low in calories.
  8. I think my NYC inspired ‘SuCo’ for Sullivan County NY should have seen more viral acceptance among the cool kids.

I continue to work away one or two hours a week at the Pinchot Estate in Milford PA, helping to catalog its vast collection of books, many originals, from the late 1800’s.  As a veteran traveler to Yosemite, when I came across this John Muir original - legendary for his outdoor exploits back in the 1800’s -  that was pretty special.

And I’d love to read this book about the family and home life of the Borneo Head Hunters in 1870 - “... after a long day of capturing, enslaving and eating their regional foes, the Borneo men loved to come home for games and trivia with their extended families over a campfire.”

A lot of the books I open to inscribe the new catalog # in my chicken scratch have notes or inscriptions in them, many times from the author to one of the Pinchots, who served as original American conservationist, and as the Governor of PA. Famous people, authors. For the most part, their handwriting is exquisite as you would expect when that tool/talent - handwriting - was the primary source of information transfer.

Building building building.  Sold out of everything we have to offer (or have admitted we have to offer, lots of secret stuff I want to push a little further to completion before telling anyone).  Just finished paying $350,000 to my building supply company, which is a lot.  That comes close or exceeds our lumber bills in 2021 pandemic-fueled go go days, but this is different because lumber is half the price it was back then so this reflects a much larger tally in actual construction activity.  Not an easy cash flow event for sure.  We killed it, in shitty weather, in March and April, and that’s going to set up a bonanza of 3rd and 4th quarter sales. 

Below, our new Four Square on 6+ acres with a raging stream in the far backyard.

30 days till the French Riviera with my nephew.

My abode, looking sharp after the Spring cleanup. Nothing says 'nice' like mature landscaping, which is something our new homes lack, to their value detriment.

6 pretty spring days in a row. Without a doubt has lifted everyone's spirits, even those preternaturally programmed to be grouchy.

Our 500 sq ft airbnb venture in Narrowsburg. I think the Airbnb game has gotten really challenging for a lot of people as the marketplace is saturated and the pandemic visitors have declined.

I'm honored by gestures, large and small, in any given week. For instance, when someone who works for me asks me to build them a house. And when a homeowner who we have built a home for asks us to resell it for them.

First baseball game of the season on Sunday, 10am. We will see how that goes. My body is still super stiff from the rotator cuff recovery.

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