New Beginnings: Back to the Land

Where do I begin? 

I’ve laid back on writing here for a while. Life has been incredibly full, replete with cross-country travels, moves, work & fun, land purchases, puppy acquisition!, and the overall beginning of New (though longstanding) Dreams.

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How could I be more excited? Probably couldn’t. 

What’s so exciting?

We are now the caretakers, lovers of an 18 acre parcel of land in the Ozarks of Southern Missouri. The land search went alright. Finally, it came down to me forgoing getting realtor help in actually finding the land and just picking through the MLS search religiously… Narrowing it down… Literally visiting dozens of properties. It was a good experience, though of course bearing the expected strains at times. After it was over I even wondered if I would get my realtor license to keep a tab on land for sale in order to help other permie/likeminded people who want to move to the region. Could happen. A lot of the land for sale is done through word of mouth and never even gets listed.

 

The first land we went to purchase actually felt through- due to hyper radical Christian preppers who befuddled the title by putting it in a “pure trust” (which doesn’t work to safeguard -from anyone- the property anyway, be forewarned). We got back to the search and opened it up to an area that for some reason we had deemed not worthy of our search. Early on people had said it was really rednecky. But, it’s not too rednecky for us… Not after living there for a couple of months, meeting the so-called rednecks and learning that most of them are actually really cool, generous, down to earth people with loads of information to learn from. Plus, barter culture is already in the mix around here. In fact, I have reason to believe it never ceased. Carry on wonderful hillbillie nation in your incredible trading culture! I am happy to join you.

 

Back to the land:

The 18 acres is slightly sloped (south facing) with 16 of the acres in mature forest (so gorgeous and peaceful in there! Definitely some good treees for TREE FORTS!!! ((Forever Dream Since Childhood))). Mixed conifers (Pine, cedar, etc); Deciduous (lots of varieties of Oak, maple, hickory, black walnut, persimmons, ironwood, cherry, dogwood, etc). There is incredible diversity. From what we’ve heard about the history of the land, it has changed hands many times over the last 30 years, but no one has done anything on it except grade a 14 ft road and add a bit of gravel here and there & they’ve cleared/bushhogged the same ~2 acre patch at the apex of the property. So this area has a lot of poision ivy, a few incredibly old and gorgeous oaks that were left, and general pioneer species. It was probably last done at least a few years back so it is overgrown a bit, but will for sure be the easiest place to begin putting in gardens, structures, and mobile fencing for animals like sheep, a few goats, etc.

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The western edge of the property is a 1/4 mile of a creek that is spring fed and which has its spring (hundreds of thousands of gallons of water/day– read more here about the other mind boggling springs in the area) origin in the nearby Caney Mountain Conservation Area. This protected place offers thousands of acres of hiking trails, CAVES, gorgeous views of the Ozarks and free camping for anyone coming through. Our entire watershed, in fact, is in an incredibly protected area, much of the Eastern edge being Mark Twain National Forest. And as we learned when we went to the annual Ozark Area Community Congress (incredible -and one of the first- bioregional congresses; created in the 70s I believe) gathering in October, many of the properties which back to the landers started caretaking in the 70s have been recently put into Land Trusts (I will probably write an article on this in the near future). That’s thousands of acres of land trusts, all within our watershed. I feel very good about that. Lots of gratitude!

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This is our watershed region. We are not far from the town of Dawt. A lot of Green Space, eh?! Much of it is conservation land.

We are also a few miles from Bryant Creek, which is a beautiful natural river, more for fishing, bird watching, canoeing, paddling and less mechanical forms of recreation. And less than 10 miles from the North Fork River which boasts incredible trout (rainbow & brown) fishing for flyfisher people (we went there and fished; it is a gorgeous place out of time) as well as (so we’ve heard) a large population of rafting tourists from St. Louis and Kansas City, et al. We already got commissioned by a local fly shop to make flies – on the to do list as we cuddle up for winter.

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Our spring. It comes out at a pretty good speed from beneath some rocks up a ways there, is edged by watercress, and continues to join the Caney Creek.

And just how will we cuddle up, you may be asking? 

Well, last year we paid around $4000 to live in an old two bedroom adobe in Taos, NM for a few months. This winter we’re buying a 5 year old 15 ft yurt (from Laurel Nest Yurts) in WV for that amount (complete with repurposed poplar barn wood floor, base, insulation,  and stove). We are so stoked!  Eventually this place will likely turn into a guest house/library/yoga/meditation space as we build the gazebo, sauna, and eventually the “main house”, which will probably be a straw/cob/local stone and wood combination.

All of this news I’m sharing brings seriously delicious joy to my heart. These desires have been burning for a quite a while inside of Ini and me. So so so thankful it is this stage of their unfolding .. where we can see some tangible results. Goddessa knows there is a lot of intention, visioning, traveling to others’ like-minded/hearted places going into this.

So, so thankful.

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Our western border of the Caney Creek; a clear, spring fed perennial wild water way! And yes, that incredible rock outcropping is present nearly the entire stretch of our western border. A cliff edge!

 

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