THIS OLD HOUSE.

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.”

lodge at Pisgah.

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!

-Hannah.

 

THIS & THAT.

Some random still life scenes from inside the house this week.

woodstove.The trusty woodstove.

shelf.Our “pantry.” 

piggies.The piglets live here when it is too cold outside. 

living room.The living room.

charlie and the knitting.Charlie is a huge fan of messing up my knitting.

stairway.Our favorite letters on the staircase.

 

WHY WE BLOG.

For a couple of off-the-grid small farmers, blogging can be a bit ridiculous at times. It seems ridiculous when we are driving into town each week to check email in the public library. It seems ridiculous when I am making Jesse pose with his ax mid-swing to get the right picture. It seems ridiculous to chase our giant dog around the farm each Wednesday for his weekly appearance on the website.

But the truth is, as insane as it sometimes is, this blog is incredibly important to us. We started two years ago, simply documenting our journey, using the blog as a space to share and a way to motivate us to stay creative. And over time, we started connecting with people. In small ways at first, but then in real, tangible connections that led to actual friendships.

This blog literally built our cabin. You readers built our cabin. We now have friends all over the world, some we have met and some we hope to meet someday, friends that wouldn’t exist without this site.

So as much as we like living in the middle of nowhere, and as terrible and artificial as the internet and social media can be, there is good here. There is value. Our trip to Louisville last week was proof of this – as we stayed with some of the best human beings I know – friends we would not have if not for this here blog. We spent time gathered around their table and in their kitchen, sharing stories and meals (and donuts), and Jesse and I were motivated and inspired and uplifted and encouraged – what more can you ask of your friends?

So as we continue to live a life striving to disconnect, trying to free ourselves from dependence on oil and electricity and corporations, we will never stop connecting in ways that matter – with the people we love and the mouths we feed. Thank you, Tim and Emily and Molly, for reminding us why we write this silly blog.

– Hannah.

breakfast at the harvest house.

THIS & THAT.

Some random photos from the past week.

cabin.Corn hanging from the outdoor kitchen.

garlic.Garlic ready for our first round of kimchi.

ducks.Some of Ira’s ducks (Mary, the drake, in the front.)

juggling.Jesse’s been getting pretty good at juggling walnuts.

poblano.One beautiful, red poblano pepper before the freeze.

 

CAUTION: WET PAINT.

A little cabin progress report: we have real walls! With paint and everything!

We picked out some colors and spent a long day painting. It is amazing what a difference it makes – the house looks like a house now. I can visualize the pictures on the wall, the shelves and cabinets and the life that will fill this place. And although I used to dream of perfectly clean, white walls, the green and brown are growing on me. Next step: furniture!

– Hannah.

painting day. avocado green. painting day.painting day.

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