Profiles: Homesteaders Doing Work They Love

Learn how these MOTHER readers turned their hobbies into small businesses and other homesteading stories.

| March/April 1977

Airborne Earth Mama: Gail Eames

In February 1975, Swedish-born airline stewardess Gail Eames saw an ad in THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS for a small farm located in the hilly southwest corner of West Virginia ... a farm that came with a house, running water (most of the time), and several acres of tillable land. So Gail decided to fly down to the Mountain State from her home in New Jersey and look the place over. When she got there, she inspected the six-room farmhouse (a bit dilapidated on the outside, but cozy inside and surrounded by tall trees) and met her prospective neighbors (some old mountaineers, plus a few young back-to-the-landers) ... and it was love at first flight!

Gail was able to muster the money for the down payment ... that was no problem. Her biggest hassle — the one she most needed to solve before she could make her dream of living in the country a reality — was how to commute a distance of 600 miles from the remote hills of West Virginia to her job in New York City (where her real travels just begin).

"I found," Ms. Eames recalls as she mixes together herbs gathered from the surrounding countryside, "that I could drive from here to Huntington, West Virginia, then take Allegheny Airlines to Pittsburgh, hook up with TWA to New York, and check in for work at Kennedy International."

Although Huntington — the nearest "big city" — is 40 minutes of winding road away from her mountain home, Gail doesn't mind. "It's a beautiful drive!" she says. And while all the flight connections may sound like a lot of trouble, Gail — being a stewardess — gets specially reduced fares. So life on the farm is not only logistically possible, but actually quite economical.

A mystical blend of old-time mountain life and international, cosmopolitan influences permeates Gail Eame's West Virginia home. And it should. For it's here that Gail's fast-paced lifestyle blends with the serenity and harmony of nature.

"The place isn't fancy," Gail remarks as she pours more herbal tea into her cup. "But it's mine, and I love it. And it's always good to be back." — John Fanning.  

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