Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
My husband, Rob, and I used to joke that we liked nature as long as we could see it through a windshield. I have no idea when or how that changed; one day, we had a gym membership and prepackaged food in our pantry, and the next we were cranky if we couldn’t get out for a hike and chafed at any food that we hadn’t bought directly from the farmer.
Our organic transition was kicked off by a chance encounter with the joyful movement called Slow Food. After a while, it seemed natural that we would move to a rural area, somewhere mountainous and beautiful, private with a decent garden space.
We found a house — the house — a red-roofed 1941 farmhouse in a community where people smile at one another and offer useful advice.
We’ve lived here for two months now and I can finally admit that we have no idea what we’re doing. Our major previous garden success was a squash plant that we couldn’t have stopped had we wanted to. Rob once camped out at a festival. I like to can jelly and preserves, despite my 60% gel rate. We have a lot to learn.
We expect to work hard, but after all, we’re chasing some pretty major goals. We moved here in hope of reducing our environmental footprint, and to get away from total dependence on the grid. But we also moved here to start fresh: to redefine our idea of success, to move backburner dreams to the forefront, and to become the people we want to be.
But first things first: finding the local cheesemakers…
Sarah Beth Jones is taking a break from a career in newspaper, magazine and business writing to learn how to live more wisely in Floyd, Virginia.
Photo by Rob Jones