We managed to salvage this house 45 years ago from a certain slide into rubble, and it has served us well.
When we moved up here we had been married, incredibly, only 4 years. (My mother nearly had hysterics when she realized we meant it) We both had basic survival skills and the willingness to let go of preconceived ideas of comfort (laughing hysterically over that one), and were willing to compromise on NOW wth the carrot-on-the-stick of LATER.
My husband said, not long ago, I cannot believe we actually rebuilt the foundation UNDER the house. Or a new shed because the old one was beginning to (literally) sway in the wind. A lot of things we did were major renovations (new roof, carrying timbers, siding, porch, new windows) not to mention wiring, plumbing, a kitchen, restored chimneys and a garden. Internal walls, ceilings, a full kitchen. Eventually running water and a real bathroom (don't ask). The house is an L shape,with two long sides, which is why it looks lopsided at the roof edge.
this is what a house looks like with no foundation under it and yes, you could see sunsets that way--we were also working on the chimney, as well.
I learned how to make a load of hay, how to deal with a garden, mix cement, how to deal with wildlife (mostly just take pictures and be vewwy vewwy quiet--so as not freak the poor critters out), how to plow the driveway, build a stone wall, split wood and stack it. and understand the 'why' of when it fell over. Aha, she says, One mistake I won't make again...we each brought our growing up skills along as well (I could build brushpiles and burn them flat without blinking, he could use a chainsaw and drive a tractor) , and figured out the rest of it as we went. I became a passable carpenter and am still amazed at how much you can do with a skillsaw and hand planes, and he now knows how to navigate a grocery store and keep a fire going in the stove.
I've never regretted a bit of it. And we've both learned a lot about leaving things too long, or fixing the tiny hole so it won't become a huge hole. The nature of the beast up here is proactive. Fix the wobble now, or the wheel will fall off when you need it the most. Getting up at 6 a.m. to find there is no fire in the stove and the dog's water dish is frozen solid is something you only want to encounter once. After that you get up in middle of the night and feed those stoves. It grows you up very fast.
And not long ago we both realized that if we hadn't moved up here when we did, in five years the house would have slid too far south and collapsed. The bedrock under this house is apparently on a southern tilt, and any structure, from a house, shed or barn to a compost bin or fence, will eventually tilt or lean or drift in the same direction. We even had the power company replace a power pole in the yard because it had begun to lean south as well, and since it was the pole nearest the house, at some point it would overbalance...and now, ten years later, the new pole is beginning that same southern tilt. Sigh.
It's like a moveable feast. No matter what you do, something, somewhere, is creeping up behind you, ready to fall or drip or come undone at 2 AM, or come down with a crash and the dreaded tinkle of broken window...
But the day is thundering toward us when this old house will be somone else's old house (with all those wonderful restrictions in the Conservation Easement), and even though I know and like the people involved, I also know that there is nothing they will do here, for whatever reasons, that I will approve of. Being aware of that helps, immensely. When I leave here, whether I'm driving or being carried out, I don't want to know what they do, what they plan to do, or see the cool pictures. No, please, no.