bears, yahoos, and security needs

Late September 2018 “I hate to be the bearer of bad news.” Sam’s words were difficult to pick out over the intermittent cell connection, but this one sentence came through loud and clear. My heart sank. I was an hour into the two-and-a-half-hour drive from my parents’ house in South Carolina, where I’ve been staying…

mountain men cracking themselves up

Mid-September 2018 “You know…they make good saws, too.” Darrell punctuated his assessment of Sam’s Stihl chainsaw by spitting on the ground, a smirk playing about the left corner of his mouth. Sam lowered the saw he’d been trying to start and shot mock daggers at Darrell from under the brim of his baseball cap before…

accepting struggle as part of the story

the messy road to progress Hello there. Sorry I’ve kept you waiting — not that I think you’ve been sitting by your computer, wondering if there was something wrong with mine because there’ve been no posts in such a long time. But I know you’re there, somewhere, and I feel like something like this might…

inroads: construction (and destruction)

Late August, 2018 “You know I’m going to cry the first time I see all these trees down,” I told Sam, the man I’d hired to excavate my land. He chewed his lower lip a little, glancing sideways at me from under the brim of his baseball cap. “I’ll get over it,” I continued, “but…

the perc test that launched a thousand dreams

slow beginnings The thing delaying all the other things related to living on my newly-purchased mountain land was the road. The thing delaying the road was finding an excavator. I’d spent most of the winter months trying to get a road guy — any road guy — to answer or return my calls to no avail….

collecting soil samples on my mountain land

Wherever I go, I grow things. Flowers. Ferns. Hostas. Berries. Vegetables. Whatever the soil will take and hold. It’s my gift: to myself, to my neighborhood, to the land. I learn the land by putting my hands in the soil. I pick out and collect the stones. I wrap my fingers around the roots. I…

walking the mythlines

I am engaging in the process of walking myself into this land. Feet pounding the tracks, eyes and ears open. Every inch of this old, old country sings of story, and I am walking the mythlines. The stories of rocks, and streams, and trees; the stories of fox, and badger, and hare; the stories of…

is permaculture really for me?

“What’s your plan for the land?” I really liked Zev, the permaculture designer I’d hired for a consultation, but he kept asking hard questions. As I looked around us, the immensity of the land — the towering trees, the enfolding ridges, the tangled clearing running along the west edge of the tractor road — intimidated…

newbie notes: due diligence before buying rural land

I’m a bit behind and my next few posts are out out of order, from a storytelling perspective. But paths generally aren’t as tidy as trails, so perhaps you won’t much mind. So, you’ve found a property you’d like to make your own. Congratulations! But this isn’t the time to take your foot off the…