Welcome! We are a small family living on 85 acres in an underground, passive solar house in central North Carolina. We focus on ways to be self-sufficient and live off the land, with a big emphasis on “old time” or “lost” skills that were used by previous generations. We grow as much of our own food as we can, practice seed saving, food preservation and general frugality. While we now cook and bake solely in a wood cook stove, we do still use and enjoy some modern conveniences. We are still connected to the grid and have deliberately chosen to forego the trend of solar power and generators because of the dependence on batteries and fuel that must be obtained commercially. Instead we have chosen to stay on grid but position ourselves to live without the electricity we currently have if that becomes necessary. We could still position ourselves that way if the batteries for the solar went out, but the money we would have spent converting to solar can instead go to things that make us immediately sustainable. Utilizing the natural slope of our land for engineering gravity fed water systems are one example of this. Another concentration of ours is the use of herbal medicine; specifically using only plants and herbs that are native to our area and thus readily available without depending on the commercial supply chain. Our view is that if you have to order it from the exotic country where it grows, you are still dependent on someone else to get it to you. (similar to our reasoning to not do solar) I have studied extensively with some of the foremost foraging and herbal medicine making experts in the neighboring Appalachian mountains and I enjoy utilizing this knowledge in our daily lives as well as passing on these skills to others. I am extremely blessed to come from a family that practiced many of these ways and then to have to been able to add to our bank of skills. Now, I enjoy sharing this knowledge with others.
How we got here… Almost a decade ago, before our adventure out here began, we had moved back inside the city limits of our small southern town as was dictated by care needs of elderly family members. I wouldn’t change a single thing about the decision to live in town to take care of family, but once those obligations sadly came to an end, my husband and I made the decision to move back out and get as close as we could to “pulling the plug”. We literally drew a circle on a map of our area that represented the farthest boundary that my husband could reasonably commute as he would continue to work in town. After some looking, we finally found a secluded subterranean house just a few towns away on a beautiful, wooded 20 acre piece of land with an almost 3/4 mile, two rut driveway that snaked its way through the woods. The property had no official road access, only an old fashioned handshake easement with our mile-a-way neighbor. “Landlocked”, so it came at a great price. We had told our realtor that we wanted to be far enough out that the house wouldn’t be visible from the road. His response was “well, you’ll like this one because you can’t even see the DRIVEWAY from the road!”. It was perfect. We bought the house and 20 and then a couple of years later, took a risk and purchased a second wooded 20 acre tract that took us closer to the main road, still landlocked, so still at a great price. Shortly after that, we negotiated the purchase of enough land to connect us to the road, then another 40 acres beside us to ensure all that wooded area stayed intact.
Even though it’s a lot of work, we enjoy being able to grow and raise our own food. The spring, summer and fall planting rotations are therapeutic and adding to our own seed saving bank so that we aren’t dependent on anyone else for what we need to grow always seems to lend a sense of security. We keep chickens, hogs and rabbits for part of our meat source and hunt deer and turkeys on our land to supplement that. The wood we burn in our kitchen cook stove is harvested solely from dead fall on our own land. My dear husband is a US Marine Veteran and is proficient at all things survival and hunting and has a totally weird but comforting knack for being prepared in any situation. After all these years I’m still not sure how he does it. He cuts and splits the wood for our cook stove and also a second free standing wood stove that is the only wintertime heat source in our underground home. Thanks to the cool earth behind our walls in the summer, we can get away with open doors and air circulation most of the time. Other times we use a window air conditioning unit or a dehumidifier. One of the drawbacks to our underground house is that underground, humidity is really more an enemy than the heat in the summertime. This is an issue that we are constantly trying to find an answer for.
We hope you will enjoy our blog about how we do things and that you will learn something along the way as well. We are always learning and will still be learning for decades to come. I’m no literary major, so I’m sure my grammar and punctuation will sometimes be “off”. I’ll do my best but won’t make any promises, we have WAY more important things to worry about. 🙂
I sincerely hope you find value in what you read here and will return as often as you can. Thanks for spending some time with us!