dreams and sweepstakes

Browsing through a recent issue of Yoga Journal today (how nice to be on holiday!!), and saw a feature on gorgeous, exotic yoga retreats. (The online YJ site doesn’t seem to mirror the print version, so I can’t post a link to this.) What caught my eye were the sorts of things I could do on my land… a treehouse deck, a meditation space created in the forest with candles circling a mosquito net canopy (that’ll be essential in the summer), a candlelit labyrinth… Yes, I’m still thinking about one of those! And I’m also thinking more practically about solar heating, and the job of clearing parts of the land, which is why I’ve just entered the Mother Earth News sweepstakes to win a solar hot water kit, gardening stuff (including what looks like a little tractor), and also the chainsaw sweepstakes. Would love to win a chainsaw!

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beating the bounds

… as they call this activity in Britain. At the end of last week I took my parents up to visit the land. We wanted to check out the newly surveyed tract, and make sure the boundaries are clearly marked. They are! Lots of pink tape, and the surveyors cut their way through any denser woodland where the boundary of my tract subdivides the plot originally for sale. It took us nearly two hours to walk the entire perimeter, and it was nice to see water in the creeks. I didn’t see those lovely rocks… but that doesn’t mean they aren’t somewhere on my tract. I realize now that on previous visits (even with the agent) we were getting a little directionally confused… Most of the leaves had fallen a week ago, and whatever the crop is that had been growing around the old homestead buildings was dead. A hunter has put up a brand new hunting stand at the edge of the homestead (deer season has just started here). He will need to reclaim it. But there’s one task to accomplish quite soon: posting the land with notices to keep it private!

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wood-fired oven

In planning mode now for what to do first on the land. Obviously I’ll need to cut back the plants that have grown up around the old buildings, and get that area cleared, but then what? I found quite a few useful ideas in Mother Earth News’ Guide to Country Skills, not least the article by Steve Maxwell detailing some of the lessons he has learned over the last 20 years of homesteading. But for fun – and because I really think I could make this on my own – I’m tempted to upgrade my firepit early on and build the all-in-one outdoor oven, stove, grill and smoker! It’s probably good to have one or two projects like this lined up, because as I clear some of the old building debris away, I can be looking out for materials I know I can reuse… concrete blocks… I’m sure there are some of those lying around. (Update from Nov. 19 visit: Oh yes, there are certainly concrete blocks!)

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