For those of you following closely this is not new information… I simply haven’t had time to write a blog post until now.
We closed on our property last Wednesday and it is been a wild ride. There were a number of bumps in the road (isn’t there always when dealing with real estate?) but I won’t bore you with the details of all that…. The important part is that we got our place! It does need a ton of work but it’s ours!
The property is a little over 12 acres with a double-wide on it. The property has a nice creek running through it, at least one spring, and a well. We had the well water tested during the inspection process and the water is better than bottled water. No, I’m not exaggerating or biased, it is literally cleaner and more alkaline than even the best bottled water– and that’s with NO filtration; it comes straight out of the well that way! How neat is that! There is some land that is cleared already, maybe a couple acres. The rest of it is wooded. We will likely leave most of it wooded for privacy and wood for burning in the woodstove we plan to install. But, some of the forest will be converted to a food forest!
Since this is the mountains, some of the property isn’t “usable” in the traditional sense. As a matter of fact, I’d guess only an acre of it could be considered “tillable” due to the slope. But that’s ok since we don’t plant to till! The cleared area right in front of the house is southern facing so it will get great light and be the perfect spot for the giant kitchen/herb garden I am planning. We will likely do some terracing to get some more plantable space.
In the last post I told you I was reading all of Bill Mollison’s books on permaculture and was thinking about doing a PDC. Well, I took the leap (as if I needed something else to do) I am currently in a Permaculture Design Course. I am getting and refining all sorts of ideas on how to set up our homestead to be as efficient as possible. You know how I hate wasted time and energy! That’s why I felt like I needed to do the course now. If you haven’t learned about permaculture yet, I highly recommend it! It is truly an eye-opening, amazing, epiphany-inducing concept. It’s about more than just gardening or raising animals, it is about whole-system design. To me it seems like the science of everything; it’s part biology, chemistry, botany, geology, psychology, philosophy, etc. Permaculture touches it ALL. My mind is constantly processing and planning with the new information I am learning.
The former owner of the property left his chickens behind. There were about 50 of them and when he left they opened the coop door and let them all out. When I went to do the final walk-through on purchase day, there were chickens all over! I ended up talking to a neighbor who was able to take a bunch of them since we aren’t there to properly care of them yet and we want to be somewhat selective about the chickens we will have going forward. There are about 15 chickens left on the property and I think that’s a good place to start. I made sure they had access to plenty of water and am told they will get enough to eat free-ranging on the property (their crops looked pretty full at the end of each day). We left the coop open so they can still roost in relative safety at night. When we were there this past weekend I spent so much time just watching them scratch and peck and wander around the property. I couldn’t help it; they are such funny little creatures. We even got fresh eggs for breakfast one morning! The yolks were SO dark! I have bought eggs from farmers markets plenty of times but these were definitely the darkest yolks I’ve ever seen. It might be because they are solely foraging right now. Most people, even if they free-range their chickens, feed them store-bought chicken food. We also were awakened by a rooster crowing each morning; perhaps preferable to an alarm clock… except they can’t be turned off on the weekend. Even so, I can’t wait to be there full time to be able to better care for and enjoy them.
I have already begun to attempt to identify the existing plant species on the property. I noticed a number of medicinal herbs like plantain (so much plantain), jewelweed, mullein, goldenrod… There are also a number of black walnut trees and at least one giant hickory nut tree. We haven’t found any fruit trees yet, but there are some raspberries and blackberries. I am hoping I can find a local plant expert to help me identify the infinite other plants I don’t know what they are yet.
I will do a more detailed post (probably several) soon about the renovation projects we are doing to the house. For now, suffice it to say it needs a LOT of work. It’s got good bones (for a trailer), as they say. The structure itself has a good layout and is in great condition, solid even floors, solid walls, new metal roof, great big back porch, large windows letting in plenty of natural light… That’s where the positives end though… The double-wide was constructed and placed on the property in the 90’s and absolutely no updating has been done since then, it also seems like it may not have been cleaned since then… It’s got popcorn ceilings, horrible blue carpet (that is literally covered in crap), and the walls are VOG paneling that has a wallpaper type look to it that is not attractive (IMO). We plan to rectify all those issues ASAP. We can’t quite “move” there yet because some of these projects are messy and we’re going to tear out the carpet. So, we can’t move our stuff into the house until we at least scrape the ceilings and get the crap-covered carpet out. We “camped” in a tent in the living room last weekend though so we could get as much work done as possible and not waste time traveling between the new place and the rental we are living in…. The plan was to continue this camping there on the weekends until the home renovation was (at least mostly) done…. but I am thinking that plan is going to need to change.
For the last few months I hadn’t been feeling well (on and off). I eventually came to the conclusion it was allergies and started taking allergy medicine and felt mostly better. I have had allergies for as long as I can remember but have never needed to take allergy medicine until now. I was a little concerned that after our years of planning and dreaming I was allergic to North Carolina! Wouldn’t that have been a tragedy? Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the problem…. As it turns out, our rental has a SERIOUS mold problem! As we were packing some things to move to the new house we were finding mold on more and more things! It’s disgusting. And apparently, it’s making me sick! The whole weekend at the new house, I didn’t take my allergy medicine and I felt great, despite how filthy the new house is…. As soon as we got back to the rental Sunday night, my allergies went crazy again. So, YAY! I’m not allergic to my dreams… BOO! I am allergic to the house we’re living in. I am still debating it in my head but I am thinking I will just take my clothes and go to the new house semi-permanently to get out of the place that’s making me sick. Plus, then I will be able to get more work done on the new place!
Brace yourself, folks! Mountain Bound is about to be a lot more active and exciting! Make sure to follow the Facebook page as I will be posting photos and progress updates there too, probably faster than I am able to get updates to the blog.