I've been swimming in visions and possibilities over at the farm in Virginia. I imagine a yurt built on the landing above the main house and overlooking a concrete floored pavilion in the area we sarcastically describe as the "internet cafe," because that's the best spot near the house to get good cell phone service (only with Verizon). I see us finishing a lot of reconstruction work ourselves, tiling the bathroom and kitchen, making a mosaic backsplash where the laminate was on the walls, pulling out all those old dusty, moldy wood cabinets and replacing the kitchen surfaces with movable racks & counters, (for fewer corners) making it easier to keep clean. We've got a couple of great sheds that we can use to store supplies and large gardening tools and one that can be turned into a chicken coop, a big basement that can be used for processing and curing plants, and a 3-acre paddock just waiting to be cultivated. We'll have to build a couple of bridges over the creek to get to the paddock with ease. I'm thinking of privacy green fencing...
I've got a lot of research to do on growing bamboo in the area- what type(s) can we grow? how long will it take to reach maturity? can it be safely grown near a creek bank? will it have unwanted interactions with other plants we may grow in that area? We know we can use bamboo for building things like trellises, fences, stakes, etc.
In other news, people in the country are so much more equipped to help other people than they are in the city. Most people take care of their land themselves, or they know someone close by who can do everything from bush hogging (tall grass mowing) to taking down trees that endanger the land and property we frequently use. I've come to understand that when you're tasked with stewarding land, cutting down mature trees is a necessary step to keeping the living quarters safe for people and for other trees.
Poplar trees, for instance, can grow to 150 feet at maturity. The winds and rains in this valley are strong when they come, and they're known to knock down trees, especially the mature ones that are finished growing. When a tree like that comes down, its root system completely rips out the ground under it (unfortunate especially for water banks), plus it takes less mature trees down around it as it falls. Trees grow from rhizomes- an underground network of many, many tree possibilities. Taking down one tree is more like trimming a hair than it is like shaving a head. It's sad to see any of them go, but it ain't bad to cut some bangs to keep my hair out of my eyes on 60 wooded acres, so to speak. We only live on 4.
J just found out that she's connected to the land through more than just her feelings- she's actually family to the family that owned and kept this land before our neighbor and the auntie of the land got here! It was a very emotional moment of realization for J to learn that the man who sort of made this possible for us, fathered her godmother! They both cried. It explained so much about why J has always felt an ease and pull toward this particular piece of land. And why she was so adamant about meeting the man when he came for a visit, bringing newly found family members to the family cemetery on the land. It's really so special. This land has already made quantum leaps for us.
In that same week, we got offered a large donation that will help us complete some integral work on the home, making it more ready to receive visitors, learners, and supporters. Last month, we met a gentle root-shining herb-mama and biodynamic farmer who lives in a super cute town 30 mins away. In that same town, we met some coffee traders from Baltimore and ended up with a key to their cafe after a short conversation. Country trust.
The man who knows how to do everything on the land lives within walking distance, and he's a good man. His wife bakes real sweet potato pies. And finally, there's the aunty- our sure connection to the history of the land, plus some learnin' about how to take care of it. She appeared to me in a dream on June 19, 2018. A year later, here we are, always looking to her for direction, saved by her knowledge and respect for this piece of the Earth.
I'm feeling pretty blessed and in the right place. More to come...