Since this is the first one, I'm going to put a bit of description of how we got started at the end, but first, here are some pictures:
Day 1: spreading tick granules. This will fend off the ticks where we'll be spending lots of time working. It was a nice drizzly day, which is perfect for what we were doing since the granules need to be wet to activate.
Christie is making sure I don't breathe in the dust from the tick granules. All while enjoying the beautiful forest scenery.
Here is a shot of the untamed woods that we hope to transform into our homestead.
It was such a beautiful day on top of the mountain. It felt a bit Irish, with the misty woods and this white horse roaming about the field adjacent to our property.
Day 2: a week or so later. We started cutting down the more manageable trees. This was a slightly embarrassing shot, but it shows some ax-slinging action! We mostly cut out dead trees and scraggly pines and cedars.
Days 3-13: About 5 months later, I had a chance to come back and start clearing out more trees. I learned that it was much easier for me to cut down the cedars a few feet above the ground, mostly due to my height and my novice ax-wielding skills.
Here are some of the sandstone rocks we find all over the property. We are thinking that we will build a rock house using these and others from the area, since the whole mountain top is littered with sandstone.
I raked the underbrush off of what will be a driveway. The stumps left behind are looking a bit scraggly, but they won't be there for too long.
Christie had the great idea to use a hand saw to trim the branches from the trunks on the big cedars that we cut. We used it for cutting out smaller trees, as well.
This is a little less embarrassing picture of me. It was in the upper 90's and 100's out there and I was soaked through and through. I drank gallons of water a day.
Here are some trees waiting for me to lead them on to glory
This is the pile of cedar trunks that we plan to use for various projects. So far we've thought of raised garden beds, fence posts, and an open garage. If you have any other ideas, we'd love to hear them!
Lots of work yet to be done
A Parting Shot
Thanks for checking out the progress. I've written a bit about what and why we are doing at the end if you'd like to read more about it. And, if you are ever passing through the Russellville area, you are always welcome to stop by!
Christie and I want to create a homestead. A house, with a garden and peace to spare. We also love being part of a tight-knit community. We have had a close group of friends since before we were married, being in the band as well as our church family. Some dear friends of ours have decided to buy a big plot of land and use it to facilitate a community by way of a community garden, as well as potential for much more. These friends have extended an opportunity to us to own an acre of land and be even more involved in the community and the property. So, after months of deliberation, we've decided to go for it.
While we were recording last Fall, I read a book called "Living The Good Life" by Helen and Scott Nearing. The Nearings moved from NYC to a tiny farming community in Vermont during the Great Depression to create a homestead, learning to be self-sufficient and life off the land. This book really got me excited about the potential that we have to be free to live a simple, yet rich life. I think we were already pretty keen to the lifestyle in that Christie and I are both fond of simplicity and elemental things.
We decided that a homestead is an ideal way to go and we were going to try to make it happen. The first step was finding the property. That part was kind of handed to us, so we were ready to start toiling over the land and house designs and anything else that pertained to our goal. So, we walked around the property and get a feel for what we were getting into.
I am now in the middle of clearing the land of poor trees and other unwanted vegetation. I am learning a lot along the way. Things like using an ax, felling trees, getting rid of briers and the joy of manual labor. I've done lots of manual labor in my life, but none has been so rewarding as the physical act of working toward a better future. That's a little cornball, but it is very much a different motivation than I have had in the past.
Thank you for reading!
Andy & Christie