Well, its certainly been awhile. I don't think I can begin to fill you in on the amazing journey our family has been on, but I will try to give you the short, short version.
It all begins with a decision to move from our beloved Boone to Damascus, VA. We had been working on this move for the last 4 years. Our goal was to find a place where we could buy a few acres, live a little more simply, and share a house with our friends, Jon and Carole. Well, after much ado, we finally did it.
Our place is located right on the Virginia Creeper Trail and the South Fork Holston river. The creeper trail is a wonderful old railroad trail that runs 30+ miles from whitetop mountain to Abingdon, VA. Damascus is about the halfway point. We are about 12 miles from Abingdon by trail and 3 miles to Damascus.. by trail.
Damascus has more bike shops than roads. So needless to say, I was pleased. The late summer started was all infrastructure - fences, painting,
putting in garden space that we would plant and then end up waaay too busy for and would let the weeds claim - however the potatoes did great... until they blighted... oh well. Next year we'll have our game face on.
It turns out that this area is amazing when it comes to being amazed - tons of wonderful festivals - like this 4th of July (amazing fireworks) celebration, Trail Days, the VA Highlands festival - this one goes on for weeks - it just goes on and on.
and Saltville (this was Labor Day in Saltville) - speaking of being amazed - Saltville is perhaps the most historical place I have ever been to - and it begins about 14,000 years ago when people were living here eating mammoths. Saltville sparked my interest in the geology of this area - and it has consumed me. I would go into the amazing-ness of the geology here, but I don't have that kind of time... patience
We settled into life here and quickly realized that the best thing about our location is our next door neighbors - Homer and Evon - they are wonderful people and master gardeners.. and they kept us in fresh food all summer...and fall...
And more festivals - the Washington County Fair is indeed a County Fair. My students at school were all excited about the fair because most of them had entries or were showing livestock, etc. The agricultural roots here still run deep - and I love it. The Fried Oreos weren't bad either. Adia is riding a pony above - and if you know Adia, she has some link to horses that is imbedded in her soul. The bottom pic is a duckling water table - the kids have a blast, the ducklings... eh, not so much.
Time goes by, babies like Esme start crawling around, eating food, creating havoc, but somehow through it all...
She remains a-dor-a-ble.
Zoe learned to ride a bike (this is from the first day she rode) and then within a week, she was riding to Damacus with us - 6 mile round trip. Riding with Zoe has been a dream come true for me.
Food has been great here. The Sharestead eats well.
I got my chickens to raise chicks - which is a whole lot easier than that dang grow light. We did get an order of meat chickens - and they were tasty, but of the 25 meat chicks I got and the 6 hens I got for my friend, Richard - only a handful made it. It was heartbreaking. I think I will let mama do it from now on.
Here is my world - I was happy to get this shot when someone wasn't crying ...
The paddling from our house to Alvaredo is a beautiful ride (class I with a couple of II's) along limestone cliffs. One day when my folks were up, my dad and I went down the river with Zoe and Adia. Zoe is a great swimmer and Adia I keep tethered to my life jacket... you probably know where this is going. I usually only paddle with the kids and I forgot how tippy a canoe cand be with 2 adults.. well we went over in the only rapid of any consequence. And when I popped up - I looked at the over turned canoe and saw... nobody. I gabbed the tether and followed it under the canoe and grabbed Adia and pulled her out. Then I still didn't see Zoe, so I turned the canoe over and there she was smiling. All this time we are going downstream in a decent current. Dad was at the front and somehow caught the paddles as he bashed his way along the rocks:) This probably only took less than 10 seconds, but it seemed like a lifetime. Its funny now... but just barely:)
Ash and Zoe searched and searched the milkweed for Monarch Butterfly caterpillars - it wasn't a big year for them, but they found a few and hatched them. Then Ash took this amazing picture.
I got a job at the last minute at Abingdon High School and it was one of those things that just seemed to be ... perfect. I had already traded my car for this little 250cc Ninja.... (yes, the ninja rides a ninja)... and when I had finally let go of my expectations of what I wanted (a job here) - what I needed happened. This little lesson has been taught to me over and over and over. My goal is to ride to work on 2 wheels all year long. In the worst case, I ride the motorbike and get close to 70 mpg.
And on the best days, I hop on my trusty singlespeed - hop on the trail at the bottom of our yard and ride 13 miles to work... all on the trail. That's about infinity mpg. Notice the sweet yellow fenders. I can't believe I ride a bike with fenders, but it really is the commuting way to go. I folded the sprocket yesterday, however. This pic is Ash coming up the chicken trail by the round gardens.
Speaking of round gardens, here they are. There will be much more on these later, but the idea is really intensive gardens and really good soil. There is about 18" of manure, hay, and cardboard - just waiting for spring.
My buddy at school, Lisa A.. (who prefers nicknames... she calls me "cycle-man" and we all call her "momma") invited us to this amazing thing her family does. Its a massive molasses-making, apple-butter stirring, ice-cream churning, meat-grillin community event. They do this so that the young people can still see how things were done. It was inspiring. After that we did our fair share of pear butter. Mmmmmm-mmmm good.
Then Halloween came. We went to Wytheville and went through a corn maze (below) and went on a hay ride and did some pumpkin picking. The corn maze is below. We spent halloween in Damascus and had a wonderful time going up and down main street. It had a hint of how things used to be.
So that's it for now. Reid is off to Ironman in 2 weeks and the Triabetes documentary will debut there (Arizona). I will write more on that later. Hope you all are well. Hopefully I will keep this up a little better from now on.