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December 9th 2008
Published: December 10th 2008
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Close in heart but States apart...!
Dear all, you guessed it, we are still farming our way down the east coast of the US and life is still good and everyone is happy. I wish I could say something drastic or dramatic has happened but I'm afraid we are still playing the part of country bumpkins and living a wholesome, relaxing life, perhaps even finding some inspiration for The Future!
We have been at the current farm for just over a week now, staying with a couple Nick and Thea and their two-year old daughter Madalyn, plus goat, cat and chickens. It has certainly been different from the previous farm but not in a bad way - I was a bit apprehensive when I saw toys outside the house when we first arrived (they say never work with children or animals but both at the same time?!!), however, after adjusting ourselves from near hermit-tisation at the last farm, we have enjoyed our stay here. Madalyn is a really cute child and well looked after, so we have certainly got used to living alongside a young family, although the sleep-interrupted nights will never be welcome!! However, it is safe to say that M has been practising his uncle-type skills in preperation for meeting his new nephew on our return.
The work here has been varied, from scrub-bashing to chopping wood to digging plants and ripping up carpets! M has had plenty of chances to prove his 'manliness' by using a chainsaw, chopping firewood with an axe and a bit of DIY, all of which I'd say leaves room for improvement! I on the other hand also had a chance to prove my worth by driving the stickshift (manual) truck across the field but failed miserably when I couldn't even figure how to start it (it's been a while now and automatic cars are sooo easy)! We haven't learned so much in the way of farming but that's okay, some good food and a roof over our weary heads is all we need. And we've done lots of reading too - M has read about the adventures of Huckleberry Finn and I read The Secret Life of Bees, both of which were appropriate to our current location (South USA, slavery, civil rights etc). I've also read some magazines titled Mother Earth News, and together with the book, have decided bee-keeping is the way forward! Imagine all that yummy honey,
Blue Ridge MountainsBlue Ridge MountainsBlue Ridge Mountains

Enough of the mountains perlease!!!!!
and food recipes with which to use it (cue Mum), plus beeswax candles and toiletries (ideal Christmas gifts), it's surely a no-brainer. M is yet to be fully inspired by this idea (The Swarm is only a film dude!!) but I'm sure he'll come around, especially if I try and fix us up with a bee farm next...
We have certainly enjoyed being away from it all though, and being at one with nature gives you plenty of time to think, perhaps too much. I keep fretting about coming home already and what we gonna do, aaarrrggghhhhhhhhh! It's safe to say I'm not missing the world of work (even though it was a good job), or Basildon, though obviously family and friends (and Rosie), but since everyone here asks what we gonna do when we get back you can't help but think, what the heck am I gonna do?!! I'm trying not to think too hard on this subject and just enjoy the travels, but working on these farms and being more self-sustaining by raising animals and growing your own food is definitely in tune with our ideals and aspirations, as well as these big houses with verandas and wrap-around porches!
What else have we been doing? Well we visited Asheville, the nearest town, which is pretty cool sitting within the mountains - lots of art shops and individual boutiques, my kinda town (but not my kinda prices!). We also had a day off and headed east to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited NP in the US. First stop was Cherokee, a native Indian town within an Indian preservation - descendants of the original Cherokee tribe living there before they got booted out by the new arrivals. There was an interesting museum there too but we only got as far as the gift shop - once we had bought some things, we thought we better save on the entrance fee! So we took a drive through the mountains hunting for bears and moose instead, no luck there, but what we did find was plenty of snow, I mean real thick stuff, not a measly smattering which sends the whole of Blighty to halt and disappears the next day! We crunched our way through the snow on a hike in the mountains, alongside a pretty stream, and there was beautiful muted silence - heck this is what I gave up a career for! We were half expecting/hoping to startle a bear along the way but we should be so lucky as to see a glimpse of one let alone be attacked by one! We also crossed the border into Tenessee and drove through a faux swiss tourist village right next to the National Park - only in America folks. A shame we didn't get to Dollywood whilst there (a tribute to Country Music's finest) but we did listen to country music on the radio on the way home - the closest we'll get to Nashville me thinks. I've also been hoping to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway since hitting Virginia - it's a long scenic byway that crosses into N Carolina too and ends at the Smoky's, but it's either been too wet and foggy (hence dangerous - lots of hairpins and steep drops) or closed due to snow, though we did end up being able to do eight miles of it yesterday before it was closed at the highest peak.
So that's it, and tomorrow we go forth unto God's own land and the Intentional Christian Community in Georgia for more farming frolics (or not, as the case may be!). The place itself is called Koinonia, I can't remember what that word means, but they have a website you can check out of interest (ww.koinoniapartners.org), just in case we go missing and you never hear from us again (or if you do, we'll be preachin' at ya!). We're also looking forward to it being warmer in Georgia, as it's still cold up here in the mountains (highs of 5-10c or 40F mum!)
Until the next time folks, and don't let the Chrimbo shopping stress you out too much.
xxx



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10th December 2008

Hello guys...
Seem you`re both getting into the rural/farming way of life..when you both return to Blighty,looking for a new occupation?...continue to enjoy,guys,things reasonably busy here,taking Victor to his first school panto,Friday.....If we/I don`t hear from between now and Xmas,then seasons greetings..
13th December 2008

Hey y'all!
Hello! Finally I'm back on hotmail and found the link to your blog... What a fantastic time you're having! Loved reading about your very varied exploits, keep em coming. I have definite wanderlust myself right now... this has fuelled the fire! Good for you guys, lots of love Anna xx
13th December 2008

Hey you guys!
Hey, well dont you worry about working here chick, there probably wont be anything, so just join the dole and we will shout you, we do with everyone else! lol Glad to hear its nice and quiet there, its bustly here with the christmas rush on - but im all done for a change! :0) keep safe and please dont be preaching!! ha ha Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year guys. XX

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