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 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 maintenance items for these that must still be obtained through a supply chain. Instead we have chosen to stay on grid but position ourselves to be able live without electricity if that becomes necessary. Installing old fashioned hand well pumps and utilizing the natural slope of our land for engineering gravity fed water systems are just a couple of examples 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.
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, domestic turkeys, hogs and rabbits for part of our meat source and hunt deer and wild turkeys on our land to supplement that. Our milk cow supplies milk for us to drink and the leftover is used for butter, cheese and as a feed supplement for the hogs. 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. The house layout and door positioning creates a substantial draft when everything is opened up and is vital to keeping the air moving. Humidity in the south in an underground house is a real problem in the summertime and is something we are constantly trying to find a solution to.
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 adding to our skills. 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! ? Thanks for spending some time with us!