We are just about exactly one year into our move to the new farm. It was one of our busiest years ever, growing-wise, and one of the mildest seasons we could have been given for our transition. Plenty of rain, warm-but-not-too-warm, great CSA members and just an all-around great year.
It was also a confirmation of our decision to move: abundant family time, a reconnection to community and involvement, and a new opportunity for us to serve the food-insecure. We miss our friends and neighbors, but we know this is where we are supposed to be.
We just returned from vacation (a real, actual vacation!) in Asheville. We had an amazing time, eating and hiking and eating some more and visiting farms and farmers markets. One of our days was spent in Pisgah National Forest, where we sort of stumbled into “The Cradle of Forestry” – a museum/tour that explored the old Biltmore Forest School established by the Vanderbilts in 1898, known as the “birthplace of science-based forest management.”
We walked along a paved hike and explored all of the old buildings from the school – the residence cabins, the schoolhouse, the offices, the store. Jesse and I both felt a twinge of sadness walking into the log cabins – the smell very reminiscent of our own house in Bugtussle. Touring these structures made us realize that there has been one thing missing this past year at our new farm: our cabin.
Now, to be clear: we are not homeless. We have a perfectly decent house, a mobile home, in fact. It is lovely and, in many technical aspects, an improvement on our tiny cabin. It has almost double the square-footage, with running water and electricity, a REAL bathroom and even a washer and dryer! We are SO GRATEFUL for this home.
But we do not love this home. It is the polar-opposite from our little, hand-built home. It is not attractive, it is not solid-feeling, it is not ours. Again, we appreciate it SO MUCH and have admittedly appreciated some of its conveniences, but we actually want to get back to some of the simplicity of the cabin. We miss being in control of our water and power – we had a string of tragic plumbing issues this summer, not a good thing when your garden depends on irrigation! The desperate calling, trying to find a plumber (how are there not more plumbers?!), being at the mercy of their schedules and their prices – it was horrifying to us. Same with electricity – we have yet to install our woodstove, because it is just not safe for an older mobile home. We never had these problems at the cabin – it was hard work, but we had control (and peace of mind) when it came to our water turning on or our plants staying warm enough in the greenhouse. Our walk through those handmade buildings in the woods in North Carolina really affirmed something for us, or perhaps simply ignited it: let’s build another cabin.
We came back from Asheville feeling inspired and refreshed. We are so fortunate to have this house – we live our lives in it everyday, sheltered, and we will be able to continue to live here while we (one day) start to build a new home, with our own hands, our own ideas, and our own needs in mind. Being excited and inspired is such a good feeling – and exactly the way you hope to feel after returning from a vacation. We also ate a lot of great food and a visited a beautiful farm – leaving us equally inspired to strive for better in the kitchen and the garden. We really had the best time in Asheville – thanks to everyone who offered tips and suggestions!