Leaving Detroit for a Tennessee Homestead

| 1/4/2012 2:41:46 PM

Tags: Shuddering Squirrel Acres, leaving Detroit, Tennessee homestead, keeping chickens, honey bees, beekeeping, John Deere, tractor, backhoe, front loader, tree-covered landscape, gray squirrels, root cellar, better composting, blacksmithing, blademaking, woodworking, woodshop, Ric Bohy,

The winter is just a little older than it was when we moved to our Middle Tennessee farm only two years ago. From this we take heart in spring being that much closer.

BohyLarryTheRoosterUntil then, our tree-covered landscape is gray-on-gray, and usually the sky matches. I could say this bleak scenery has its own loveliness, or is graceful in its starkness, much as puffing academics and breathless art poseurs claim there is a particular beauty to the crumbling remains of my hometown, Detroit. They call it “ruin porn.”BohyGreenhouseBuild2 

Fact is we mope some in winter, wife Vicki and I, unhappy when there’s sleet and black ice, just as unhappy when things warm a bit because the rains turn the wispy topsoil on our rocky ground into slippery mush. We see the Tennessee sun far more often than the one we saw in Michigan, but still not nearly enough.

Are we fair-weather farmers? No. Things move forward on Shuddering Squirrel Acres, our homestead in the hills of Middle Tennessee about 45 miles southeast of Nashville. We’re just as happy and enthusiastic about our five-acre property, mostly woodlands, as at any other time of year.

It’s just that, as much as a fair shot at peace and solitude, we moved here for renewal, so our moods are better in spring and summer, though Vicki also blossoms in autumn.

I get a little grumpy and more introspective in winter than in brighter times, and it just happens that’s how you find me in this first blog post for MOTHER EARTH NEWS. I’m not trying to bring you down, just give you a little context for what else follows. People today like to speak of what has “informed” their lives. Mine, unavoidably, was mostly shaped in a tough city, one of the toughest. Sometimes it shows. Just so you know.

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