With no small effort, the house consumed what remained of the forest.
Some other time, earlier, ago (the house had never supported a clock on its walls), the whole thing would have been a breeze. The house simply showed up, a solid league or couple miles or many furlongs out past the center of population density. (The clockless house had basements upon basements stuffed with maps, being, all things said and done, a house). It minded itself, mended its traps. A little landscaping.
Then it would be found, miming its surprise, the door never open but never locked, and the rest just fell into place. Axes took to the forest and carried it hewn into the house. Paths trenched into shape. Thieves paced the paths with high collars and pried the rich and poor alike from their things, which too were brought into the house, before the thieves were hung and dragged quartered inside. And the house swelled. Laid away for winter.
Things were tougher, later. It got coy, crafty, full of snares and day beds. Learned style. Wrote gender. Shuttered its slate. Took out ads.
Now it was hard, plain and simple. No hands helped. The house was dying. That much was sure. Its spidery center whirred and crunched the numbers. Played the angles. Nothing doing. Things had to be direct or not at all.
It unhooked the roof and got busy. Shook the forest out. Could have been worse. Lathed it right, sloping, tuned. Checked its records and did it right, old-fashioned, heat and pressure. It even spared a bit of non-forest it had been saving for some time and fashioned the thing, set it out front. No traps now. Open field, free for the taking. It waited. Snows came and went and came. The blade rusted. Nothing doing.
The house, shivering, shuffled its slate. Thkesinsg guhist! sang the spider. It cut the vacant forest free. Guhist, gutist! So it moved on, pace by pace, a foundation laid, then torn, then laid, creeping mosaic across the salted highway and making a break for the sea.