Our Philosophy

Festina lente
-make haste...slowly

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Summer Solstice Photo Tour of the Homestead

Last thing I mentioned in the comments section of the last post was the 9 lbs of chanterelles I scored on our property and surrounding neighborhood in mid-June before the rain turned off.  This is the last 4-ish pounds picked just before the East Atlanta Village farmers market two weeks ago, where I sold 7 lbs for $30/lb!  Not a bad racket really...

Well, there it is.  Strapped down, adjusted, and holding 480 sq ft (including the porch) of our most useful possessions.  There's an apple guild developing to the left that the cobbing crew and I started back in April, and a little berry garden just out of the frame to the right.  The native community on this part of the property is loaded with huckleberries, blackberries, and muscadine grapes, so around the "campstead" we're majoring in blueberries, raspberries, and improved grape varieties, under apples and stone fruits.  There's a lot of shade - and we very much want to keep it that way - so we're slowly figuring out through trial and error what can handle it and what can't.  Surprisingly, my magic comfrey isn't doing well here.

On the porch, this is our summer kitchen.  Two-burner propane stove, dish and prep table, big bad cooler, and a big pantry that serves as our main storage unit for kitchen goods and service.  Improvements are on the way for this area, but it gets it done for now.

Coming from a 1600 s.f. farmhouse to this we've definitely streamlined our daily needs down to the bear necessities.  And a pair of small bungee cords have managed to keep the bears out of our necessities so far.  (And they actually have been challenged by the bears!  Lightly challenged, I would assume.  I highly doubt that this cabinet would stand up to a determined bear, even a young one, bungeed or not.  I ran that bear off with a primal yalp and a hickory stick!  The same hickory stick that I protected my new French doors with in the hood back in Macon while I camped in the Camry overnight.)

There's our chill spot on the porch, with our beautiful chanterelle-loaded forest in the background.  Geez, I'm in heaven.

This is the only barrier between my sleeping family and greater nature.  Living this way makes you think differently.  When connection to nature is a full-contact sport you quickly realize your true role in the whole general mish-mash.  Sequestered behind solid locked doors in a climate-controlled environment, it's easy to understand how man might adopt grandiose ideas about his role in the universe; out here, you sleep lightly and carry a big stick.  Homo sapiens is a top predator, but out here that role must be embraced openly and reinforced mentally every day.  It's very empowering...and very sobering.

This Hoosier has been in the family for at least 5 generations, and is our main indoor storage unit.  Thank you, Gran and Joe!

This is my work desk and the childrens' table.  I make all of the Small Batch Garden products here.  I bet my great-great-aunt Joetta, who built the table with her husband decades ago, never envisioned it serving this duty.

Ella's corner.  She's so spoiled;)!

We've added another 40 watts of PV capacity now, but for the first two months here this fan, powered by a tiny 11.8-watt solar panel was our only non-battery powered electrical service.  And what a welcome thing to have around!

You know, for a tent this place is pretty darned comfortable...

I think the little guys would agree.  They love it here.  And I get to spend an awful lot of time with my lovelies.  And no one ever died wishing they'd spent more time at the office.

Well, that's it for this time.  From the 50-watt family in Talking Rock, Georgia, here's wishing you an equal measure of the joy we find in our lives every day.  May your own embrace of a simpler life increase with the happiness you find therein.  Peace.

Tripp out.


  1. Love it Tripp!
    Thanks for posting on CFN to get our attention.
    You are living the life! Chanterelles look great.

  2. So how much would a 480 s.f. apartment go for in NYC, (L)BT? Never mind the 2.3 acres of mushroom paradise around it...

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Thanks for the fantastic photos! It looks like you've made that patch of earth your own pretty quickly!
    I wonder how your wife is doing with all of this though- it seems like leaving material things behind is harder for women usually- even if it means an increase in the quality of life. I know that if we went this route, there would be some marital fireworks. Is all well on the home front?


  4. ozone say
    Great photo tour!
    Thanks a bunch.
    (You too, Being There/LB; much appreciated help.)

  5. Hey, Jeff, good questions. Jess and I talked the other day about what her life might be like if I weren't a part of it (for whatever reason). Not much chance of that happening by my or her choice, but a fair question to consider all the same. She admitted that living out here, in this big tent in the deep dark woods, really depended on my being there. She didn't think that she could physically handle the day-to-day (and night-to-night) demands of life like this. Said that she would probably adopt some sort of a "half-back" lifestyle, mixing a lot of the behavioral innovation we've engaged together with solid walls and running water closer to town. That said, she is every bit of the driver I am in adopting such a low-energy life. She came to grips with composting toilets before I did, suggested the solar attic fan modification, and ordered the gear for washing clothes by hand at home. She is also the real business manager between us. I'm constantly amazed by her fortitude...and by her honesty about her physical shortcomings in doing this without me.

    So I think as long as I stay healthy and invested in the project, she's all in! How did I get so lucky!?
    Best to you and yours.

  6. O3, thanks buddy for making the effort to get a comment to register on this gall-darned blogger program. I can't tell you how many emails I've gotten from folks who wanted to say something publicly but couldn't get through the machine's defenses!

    And thanks, Dad, for joining my blog as a follower! There's a special new member to be sure...

  7. Tripp,
    Not too many hoops to jump through with OpenID, as they don't want any info other than your e-mail. (We don't know just what they can glean from that, but it seems to be a small nugget to offer them; one can expand a profile if desired, of course.)

    At any rate, I had thought perhaps there was a "universal" direct-drive pedaled machine for running day-to-day specialty chores, such as a small washing machine, food processor, juicer, mixer, etc, perhaps even a vacuum device. It appears this is a limited concept (for the most part), and I'm a little surprised to find it so. I'd think that some truly "universal attachment" pedaled contraption would be ideal for your configuration. Wish I was a good engineer/mechanic!

    Here's a link for those of good skills and barns full of "parts"; some great ideas and practical apps here:


  8. (I must say that signing on with OpenID is a bit of a pain, unless you let them "remember" your password. That would indicate to me a desire to track your movements on the intertubes, so I always decline that option and have to go through "re-signing" for every posting. Oh well. ;o)

  9. Happy July, Ozone et al! This is the beginning of my "birthday season," as Jess calls it. My birthday isn't until the end of the month, but I do love to celebrate it for as long as possible;) Thirty-nine this time around. Forty seems a lot younger to me these days than it used to...

    Thanks for the link. JMG mentions occasionally the universal stationary bike apparatus you describe, but I'm no engineer, alas. My two year old boy shows some predisposition toward mechanical ability, and I'm pulling hard for that outcome!

  10. Ha, Tripp
    This past month was my birthday month and I always relate to it the same way---must be summer babies!
    I'm quite a bit older, so 40 seems really young to me!
    Have a wonderful growing season!

    1. Just a spring chick aren't I?

      I got a horribly late start on the gardening season, but my next-door neighbor was kind enough to offer some sunny garden space and I'm slowly re-contouring her raised beds to harvest rainwater. They are performing admirably so far. We had heavy rain the other night and I swear my sweet potatoes doubled in size overnight. Those mycorhizzal symbionts have probably reached the next county by now;)

      If I can manage to lay up a store of sweet potatoes, winter squashes, and storage beans in my cob "cellar," and get a solid patch of greens going in late summer, I'll feel like I've salvaged the season. A few gallons of tomato sauce and that late potato crop would be nice bonuses too!

  11. Oh i love it! So glad to see pics of the inside!

  12. Hey, Jess! Thanks for stopping by! Next update will probably be a detail of some of the off-grid systems upgrades we've installed in the past two months. Hope all is well with your crew in Mizzou!

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