May Homestead Update

May passed us by in such a whirlwind of activity that I didn’t think much of consequence actually happened in those 31 days. But a quick scan of the contents of my camera  proved otherwise. Low and behold! Exciting things happened! Lots of them!

Some have already made it to this blog; most have not. So let this post serve as a catch up for you on all the not-to-be-missed happenings at our mountain home.

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Very Exciting News about Our Future!

That’s my man!

I’m one proud wife today. After months of thinking, praying and stressing about our futures, Ian has made the courageous decision to accept the job offer of Director of The Big Laurel Learning Center, starting late summer. This means that we will be living and working at our crazy homestead for at least two more years. When we first moved up to this mountain last August we were only committed to living here for eleven months through AmeriCorps. The whirlwind of graduating college, getting married and moving far away from society as we knew it created enough chaos in out lives that it took several months for us to settle down enough to even consider what could be next. There are so many things we love about living in such a rural place, but some things have been hard. Many many hours are logged in the car every week, and dark midwinter evenings can be cold and lonely. Yet, we’ve found ways to adapt along the way. We adopted a lovable rescue dog, filled the old coop with chickens and guinea fowl, and enjoyed every visit from friends and family. And after six months of rural mountain life, we were ready to consider the role that Big Laurel could have in our future.

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piece by peace

Peace by Piece: The Midyear of Notre Dame AmeriCorps

To be brutally honest AmeriCorps was not something I had strong, if any, feelings about until this past weekend. Though Ian and I have been working for the organization since September, I merely saw it as a way to make living and working at the Big Laurel Learning Center economically feasible for us. The day to day impact of being part of the entity that is AmeriCorps rarely seemed to extend beyond biweekly meetings and lots of paperwork. The four hour drive between us and our team members in Cincinnati prevented us from seeing much of them, making it easy to forget we are part of an organization bigger than southern West Virginia. But this perspective has changed dramatically for me after a four day Notre Dame AmeriCorps midyear conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

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late winter

Late Winter Homestead Projects

The quick thaw of all seventeen inches of snow jump started our lives out of snow day mode and into the mindset of spring projects. Though the warmer weather is fickle and likely to give way to at least one more big snowstorm, here is a quick look at where we are now on our homestead and what we hope to be working on in the next few weeks.

The Time When Our Road Was Reduced to Sticky Sludge

The main logging access site is less than a quarter mile from our home.

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DIY Seed Starting Table from Recycled Materials

One advantage of being snowed on the mountain for the past few days was that Ian had lots of time to work on some homestead improvement projects. First on his list was making the garden shed usable for me to start seeds in a few weeks by building a seed starting table.

Yes, we could have bought a folding table from Walmart very cheaply, but where’s the sustainable living spirit in that? Besides, Ian had so much fun reclaiming the old chicken coop on the property a few months ago that he was eager to start another construction project, but with the goal of only only using found materials already on the property. We didn’t want to spend a dime.

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