One Year In: The Truths I’ve Learned

“Not killing you.”

That was Ian’s response when I asked him what he was most proud of accomplishing this past year.

WOW. What a romantic.

Granted, he did giggle right after saying it so maybe it was tongue in cheek. (I hope?!)

As we pass the one-year mark of our young marriage, I suppose I’m grateful that his homicidal tendencies have at least taken this long to manifest themselves.

Here’s to hoping that won’t change after some practice with our meat rabbits.

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Monthly Garden Update for April

April has been an action-packed month for us. The garden is producing, the hummingbirds and butterflies are back and the dog(s!!) are getting covered in ticks. And it’s time for a general property update. Lots of projects have been started at our homestead- some expected, some a complete surprise. Below is a series of photos that highlight some of these changes.

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The Many Layers of a Newly Logged Forest

It’s been a busy two weeks. In that time we have hosted three college groups on the mountain for varying amounts of time. Ian and I are the program directors, so the task of entertaining these groups largely falls on us. One activity is hiking. Because Big Laurel is located on a 400 acre land trust, we are surrounded by hardwood Appalachian forests. Ian and I like nothing better than scrambling through the underbrush, neurotic dog in tow, exploring the uneven terrain until the scrapes on our knees can no longer be ignored. It’s a pleasure to be able to simply walk out of our home and wander in the woods for hours, often without encountering a single home or well-defined trail. We’ve spent weekends walking the boundary lines, and now, six months in, feel that we have a good sense of where the land trust begins and ends.

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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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Nesting with the Clubhouse Bedroom

“The groups are coming The Groups Are Coming THE GROUPS ARE COMING.

Such has been the chorus in my head as the calendar days slide through February and approach March with alarming speed. With March comes spring breaks for college students around the country, meaning that Big Laurel will soon be inundated with service groups seeking respite from their workaholic lives. But the beginning of their break signifies the end of ours as Ian and I reenter our roles as program directors and help to lead these trips.

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