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Seeking a couple or small family to potentially join our homesteading community in West Virginia

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Hickory Ridge
West Virginia

Community Description

Hickory Ridge comprises 72 acres of ridge-top land and the wooded coves below, located in central West Virginia near Spencer, a town of 2400. The ridge-top land is divided into four leaseholds and a common area. The land is owned and controlled by a land trust entity with its board members consisting of the Hickory Ridge community and friends of the community.

All four of the leaseholds are already taken by families (leaseholders). However, there is now a possible opening on the longest-running leasehold. One of the leaseholders, Robin was widowed in March 2020, and is thinking about having someone live in the adjacent guest house, or nearby small cabin, to learn homesteading skills and perhaps eventually take over the leasehold. He is also preparing to probably move to another community. So we seek a person, or preferably a couple or family, for a short-term arrangement as a probationary situation, until Robin is sure he's really moving, and the rest of us agree to accept the new people for a lifetime lease.

While we exist as separate households, it’s our intention to share some resources and trade produce. Homesteading, self-sufficiency, living in harmony with the Earth, love of freedom, and helping others are some of the values we share.

Our land has great views and nice woods, but we don’t have a year-round stream. We do have wells, and average annual rainfall here is about 40 inches. We have four seasons, with a few small snowfalls in a typical winter, a long hot, humid summer, a colorful fall, and as for the Appalachian Spring, it inspired a symphony.

One of our members was part of the original community nearly 50 years ago. The second couple joined fourteen years ago, and a single man eight years ago.
The fourth couple joined in spring of 2016. Our ages range from 40 to 80. Two households are grid-tied solar powered, two are off-grid. Moving toward collective self-sufficiency is a goal, so we want people interested in projects like bee-keeping, mushroom growing, keeping dairy goats or other animals, alternative-energy production, etc. You pay your share of the property tax and cost of gravel for the road, around $400/year. Robin's house is small, and he has an outhouse (this seems to be a problem for many people). But he has a cozy, wood-heated house, guesthouse, garage, shed, large garden and orchard.

Additional comments: There is a “common” land on the property that is 15 or 20 acres of dramatic coves with mature forest, on the hillsides below the ridge.

• Membership Process: One leasehold is now being tentatively vacated, so we seek a family or couple to take it over, with a provisional lease that may be made permanent after a year. The board makes the decision.

• Decision Making: Consensus (everyone agrees)
• Identified Leader: No
• Additional Comments: Because we live as separate autonomous households who make their own decisions, we have just one board meeting a year.

• Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes.
• Shared Income: No.
• Additional Comments: All leaseholders are responsible for helping with road work, including the costs to maintain and improve our shared portion of the road, and helping with some group projects. Each household’s share of property tax and road gravel, calculated yearly, comes to around $400/year per household.

• Common Facilities:
o Tractor and farm equipment
o Washing machine and freezer
• Internet Available: Yes; speed is fine.
• Cellphone Service: Good generally, but no service in some locations.
• Shared Meals: Rarely.
• Additional Comments: We are separate households, but we do share some things, like my husband's pickup and a washing machine at Robin’s, and do favors for each other; we have cider presses we’ve used together.

Additional Comments
If someone leaves, they can sell the improvements (mostly meaning the house) to a newcomer who must be accepted by the board.

If you’re interested in possibly joining our community here at Hickory Ridge, please send an email to johnmichaelperseo@zoho.com
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