My name is Thomas and I fell in love with the Forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains a quarter of a century ago. Finally was able to find a little piece of heaven on 5.69 acres that was an exception reserved out from the family that homesteaded here when the US government purchased the many thousands of acres around it in 1913 to form the Pisgah National Forest. Their old fallen over stone chimney is still here, but their house has long since rotted back to the Earth. Of course, the Forest has reclaimed it's hold on the land with the canopy now being 60-80 feet tall, where once there was a field. Old American Chestnut logs and stps still can be found here.
I've come to call this place Star Gap Farm and its located 4 miles north of Old Fort, NC, 6 miles south of Mount Mitchell and 3 miles east of the Eastern Continental Divide.
Along with foraging for wild edibles and establishing "wild" colonies of edible plants, I'm clearing the land to plant an orchard of Pecans, Hazelnuts, Apples, Pears, Cherries, Serviceberries, Peaches, Plums, Paw-Paws, etc, etc. Beneath the orchard trees will be a broadcasting of tasty, domesticated plants being allowed to grow wild with a focus on perennials. Oh, and Muscadine and Scuppernong Grape vines. I do enjoy a bit of wine with a nice cut of Tobacco.
There is an abundance of clean Water here with two large creeks and two springs. Eventually I'll build a spring house and pipe water to my little cabin, but for now, fresh drinking water is 10', and lower than the cabin.
I don't own a car and the nearest regularly traveled road is a 50 min hike through the Forest, so getting materials in here to build with and general supplies are a challenge, but the benefits of being here far outweigh the inconveniences. I've built a 14'x8' cabin with a sleeping loft to live in until I can get the reclaimed brick in here to build the main house.
There is a gated USDA FS road that comes close, so I hire folks with trucks to bring heavier materials up here and carry them in pieces the 1/4 of a mile rest of the way on my back. Roman wasn't built in a day. Brick by brick. Sacks of seed by sacks of seed.
I will create a paradise out here. Will build a modest, energy and labor efficient, but comfortable brick house. Wood-fired Sauna. Trout ponds. Solar power (gas genies currently). A place from which I can feed those I love and hand off a life's work to a successor when I pass on.
Mollie and Maggie (Plott Hounds) are my constant companions, who I adopted from a local hunter last October and they do the job I "hired" them for which is to keep the critters away from the plants I'm raising. Dogs a certainly better than a fence, although there has been a Raccoon hanging around that keeps out smarting them, much to Maggie's frustration.
Well, if you've read this far, it's great to be able to connect with folks doing similar things. There are other folks homesteading here in the mountains, but its always good to connect with new people who are understanding of the challenges of living outside the generational imprinting that has brought on by modern life.
And possibly find that one in a billion woman who could handle making a life here together with me. A tough as nails woman who can work through her fears of the unknown and realize that fear exist only in the mind, which is a terrible neighborhood to be in the first place. I'm 40 years of age and have a 17, going on 30, year old daughter, so I'm open to a woman who has children already.
Great to internet-meet you all! If you want to see connect, drop me a line. And if any of you are getting married, I photograph weddings to make the green. You can see my work here - www.thomasmarlow.com. Mostly I shoot in Chicago, NY and LA, but can travel anywhere in the world. If you want to see photos of my progress out here, look me up on Facebook by searching Thomas Marlow.
Hey Thomas, sounds like a great plan. Good luck with finding the one in a billion, but hope you find joy and happiness in your time spent single. What a beautiful part of the U.S. Hope the winter went well.
I too have plans on working up a permaculture style orchard. The property I purchased already has an established peach & apple orchard, so I'm in the process of planing the next orchard area & general soil building with mixed cover crops.
It was interesting looking through the wedding photos:) thanks for sharing and beautiful work. I'm not a gambling person....but a few of them, well, the body language just don't look promising, of course some of them really look connected.
I live in the little town of Marshall, and can completely understand the beauty that these mountains hold... I have lived all around the world and knew, just knew in my heart that this is where I wanted to stay.
17 your old daughter huh? Mine is 3 going on 16. heheh... She is so wise beyond her years and constantly amazes me how much she understands. But I am sure every parent feels that way about their little one. She is great in helping out with the chickens, not getting scared if we find snakes in the yard, and knowing when to stomp her feet and tell our pig "no" when she is up to no good! Oh and she is learning from the best (well so says me) on how to cook over a campfire. No better way to raise a little one for sure!
Your vision of your homestead sounds ideal... Living self-sufficiently is a great dream of mine. But realizing that i cannot do everything myself, finding a community that is supportive and on the same path was just as important. I truly feel that I have found it here... But plans are always so much different when you are single with toddler in tote! LOL What led you to being carless? Although they are inefficient ways of consuming fossil fuels, it does make meeting people so much easier.. I refer to my minivan as my Homesteading Honda! It has helped me haul everything for carloads of tires to sheep and pigs...
All the Best,
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry. I wrung this tiny ad and it was still dry.
Ernie and Erica Wisner's Rocket Mass Heater Everything Combo