Who We Are: Hello!  Welcome to our tiny, very unsophisticated blog about how we try to “live the old way”.  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 practice seed saving, food preservation and general frugality.  While we do still use and enjoy some modern conveniences, we constantly work to establish self-sustainable substitutions and implement them one by one.  Another big focus of ours is the use of native plant medicine, specifically using only plants and herbs that are natural to our area.  We like being able to substitute nature’s remedies in place of store-bought whenever we can.  I’ve been extremely lucky to be able to study with some of the smartest herbalists and “wise women” in our neighboring Appalachian mountains over the past decade and a half and I enjoy sharing this knowledge with others.  We are happy to host groups of 3 to 5 for on-site classes and also have a couple e-courses under construction.  I’m also an instructor for American Survival Guide Magazine’s University Program where you can take courses from experts on everything from food preservation to how to survive in the wilderness or a grid-down society.

How We Got Here:  About 8 years ago, before our adventure out here began,  we were living inside the city limits of our small southern town as was dictated by work and care needs of elderly family members.  I wouldn’t change a single thing about the decision to live/stay 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 our family farther out and pursue our desire to get as close as we can to “pulling the plug”.  We literally drew a circle on a map of our area that represented the farthest feasible boundary that my husband could commute without it becoming too much.  After some looking, we finally found a breathtaking sub-terrainian 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 and viola, here we are.  We keep chickens, ducks, turkeys and rabbits for meat and goats for milk, soft cheese and soap.  We also hunt deer on our land as our main source of meat and burn our own wood in our woodstove as 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 even in the hottest months.  We enjoy growing and raising our own food, practice spring, summer and fall planting rotations and are continuously adding to our own seed saving bank so that we aren’t dependent on anyone else for what we need to grow from year to year.  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.  This lifestyle is hard work for sure, but so very worth it.  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 still learning and without question will be students of this lifestyle 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!

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