Well, I’m here–in this spot–in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. I arrived on the 8th of May and moved into the cabin on the creek on the 9th. Because I am currently renting while going through the mortgage process, I have not built any gardens, vegetable or fruit, nor planted any wildflower meadows or begun the orchard. I also haven’t started the chickens or goats. I want to make sure the property appraises and the flood insurance isn’t out of this world and then I can begin. If all goes well, and I’m feeling pretty positive it will, then I might be able to have a fall garden. I did plant about eight different herbs in two window boxes.
The property is about 2.24 acres with a three-story A-frame cabin that is about 941 sq. ft. This is a big change from a 2200 sq. ft. house (of which part of that was an unfinished basement). No longer am I living in the suburbs of the south metro area of Denver. I’m back on the East Coast, living in West Virginia. I grew up in Maryland and have lived in West Virginia for two other short periods of time as an adult. After ten years in Colorado and learning how to adapt to shorter growing seasons and very dry and arid conditions, I find myself having to readjust to the heat, humidity, snakes, critters and stink bugs.
Mind you, I am not snake phobic, but within the first two weeks I have had three snake encounters. All black rat snakes. Two juveniles and one very long adult! The black rat snake is a good snake to have around. From what I have read and been told, they keep the Copperheads away and the rodent population down. It’s just when you come home and find one INSIDE the house that kind of gives my heart a jolt. Luckily, it was a juvenile and the day was very rainy. So, my thinking tells me he came in to get out of the rain and was not just leaving!
Along with that, Woody, whom I’ve introduced you to in earlier blogs, has kept the field mouse population down in the house. They’re between the two fireplaces. At night, he sits on the fireplace ledge waiting patiently, like only a cat can. After tucking myself into bed and all is quiet, there will soon be a crash-bang-boom that lasts several seconds. It sounds as though the bookcase has toppled over onto the floor. But no, it’s only Woody, who now has a semi-delirious semi-dead mouse and playing juggling games. Cats and torture! Ah, but then he tires of the game because the mouse has died and leaves it for me right in the middle of my path to the bathroom. He eventually shows up on the bed and snuggles down behind my knees and begins his songs of contentment. I look over at him as he gives me a look that says “I killed him for you!”
It’s a good thing that I am renting. It gives me a chance to check things out and make sure it’s the right place. To be honest, I have gone back and forth, thumbs up, thumbs down. Am I too far out? Does the house need too much work? How am I going to manage all this? The property borders Back Creek. And the property is in the hundred year flood plain. Several times since I have been here, after heavy rains, the creek is high. But so far, the creek has not flowed over its banks, much.
And it’s quiet and peaceful here. When I wake up in the morning, my two dogs and I wander down to the creek as the sun is rising, listening to the different sounds of wildlife. When I return in the evenings after work, and the dogs and I play catch and run around the property, and sit by the creek listening to the sounds of the evening, I know I am home.
It’s been a month since I’ve been in the house. I’ve had to find the farmer’s markets, the co-op grocery stores, health-food stores, chiropractic doctors, naturopathic doctors, and cross-fit gyms. I am about 15 miles out of town and am learning how to plan my trips to best utilize my time and gas and keep my carbon footprint down.
In the past few weeks, I’ve found a Farmer’s Market in Berkeley Springs that’s held on Sundays and located others throughout the area. Tomorrow I am heading to Charles Town, WV for their market. I became an “owner” of a co-op in Frederick, Maryland at The Common Market store, which is a drive of 50 miles from home. I purchase beef and chicken from Back Creek Bend Farm, which raises grass-fed beef and pastured chickens. I found a new naturopathic doctor and we meet at the end of the month. The only need I have is for a chiropractic doctor that specializes in network spinal analysis therapy. So far, not one in the immediate area. At another market I met a young lady specializing in cranio-sacral massage therapy and will have my first appointment in the near future. My drive to and from work, while having to pay attention to deer, is very relaxing and always moving with maybe one or two other cars on the road. And I have had my first encounter with a doe who collided into the side of my car on Saturday.
What I miss the most is working the soil, planting seeds and watching them grow! I can’t wait to get started on a hillside garden, a new orchard and begin a chapter in raising chickens and goats. So many things I want to get started. It’s going to happen and I just need to breathe and let it flow. If I don’t get a garden in this season, it’s okay, I’ll purchase from the local farmer’s markets. And hopefully soon, I will begin a the process of raising a small flock of chickens and ducks. By the way, one of my neighbor’s had three roaming New Hampshire reds that I have not seen in the past week. Hmm, I wonder what happened to them?