Life in Hooty Hollow 2
by Connie Lukens Black
First off, let me tell you a little about me. I am a southern country girl, who has lived in different places but never in any place where it got real cold. The coldest place I have been in (when it comes time for winter) is Florida. Mine you I have lived out side of Florida, I even lived in the jungle of Belize, C.A. for two years, but the winters there are about 75 degrees.
So when I first arrived in Hooty Hollow, I was totally amazed. Tony had shown me pictures of the place and told me what to expect but it wasn’t even close to being what I had seen. Pictures do not do it justice. It took my breath away. The first thing I thought of when I saw it was, this is just like “Little House on the Prairie”, with the stream running out in front of the house. It was in December when Tony and I arrived and I being a Florida girl, never seeing snow except on television, was amazed. It was cold but there was no snow anywhere in sight. The trees were bare of their leaves, except for the cedar trees. The streams were flowing fast, the air was so fresh and clean smelling, and there were mountains every where I turned. Yes, I was in a hollow. At first I just stood there taking in all the scenery and when I turned I saw the log cabin. I was told that it was over 100 years old and built just like the one Daniel Boone had. I just had to go inside.
As I open the door and stepped in, the first thing I thought of was I was home. It was a three room cabin with a loft. The rooms were; a main room, a storage room and a bathroom. There was a wood burning stove off to one side and in the center of the room was the table, which was wrapped around a pole and four chairs. The kitchen consisted of a sink, a microwave above the sink and a one burner Coleman cook top. The fridge was outside on the back porch. There were two couches and one rocking chair.
I then went up to the loft which was the bedroom. There were 3 beds, and one dresser. The stove pipe from the wood stove was on the right side of the room. I made my way back downstairs and that is when I realized that I was cold. I asked if we could get a fire going in the wood stove and Tony just smiled at me and said, “Yes. Are you cold little Florida girl?”
He started the fire and then went out to start the generator so we could have lights. Yes there is no electric, not even a phone. Everything runs off of power from a generator, battery or propane.
We had towed an 18 foot travel trailer with us to live in, which is set up the same way.
We then went out to park the trailer next to a stream and small waterfall, so we could hear the sound outside our window.
Tony’s sister was due to come down later to stay in the cabin for a week or two. But we needed to get it ready for her first. There is a lot of work to do here at this place so we can live off the land. That is why Tony and I moved from Florida.
So we can start getting it ready. The plan is to be self sufficient. Grow and raise everything we need to eat. Make our own power from wind, water and/ or sun. But it takes hard work, time and the will power to do it.
And since I lived in the jungle of Belize, I have already had the experience of living like this, minus the cold and snow.
I couldn’t wait to see snow and start living the life I always dreamt of.
It was going to be different living out here, in the woods with no city noises like: traffic, sirens, neighbor’s dogs barking, and the phone ringing. But then again we did have a cell phone but only if we could get a good signal.
Well as days went by we found out just how hard it was going to be.
After a few days it began to snow and Tony’s sister and brother-n-law came and later two more people came to help.
We had to get as much done as possible while they were here. But since it was the first time I had ever seen real snow as I call it, I took time off to play in it. I made snow angels, snow men, footprints, snow balls and threw them at Tony, and yes I had to take pictures of all my first’s. Then it was time to work. The first thing to do was get running water to the cabin. They had already tapped into a spring, ran the water lines, and now they had to be buried so they would not freeze.
(Remember it was already winter and the ground was frozen.)
We dug a ditch from the water tank to the cabin by using a backhoe, and then there was a pump house that needed to be built and insulated, not to mention having to wrap all the pipes under the house. The days were around 20 to 30 degrees and the nights were in the teens.
Every day we had to boil water on the wood stove and pour it on the pipes to thaw them out so the water would start flowing.
Not to mention thawing out the water in the toilet tank so we could flush it. Then the rain came and with that brought mug. Now I knew it was going to be cold and I was (at least I thought I was) prepared for it. But I never thought I would have to wear all my winter clothes at the same time just to stay warm. I wore two of everything except boots. If I could have I would have. I wore two: pants, shirts, gloves, hats, socks, and jackets, light weight then heavy weight.
With it being wet and muddy I decided to gather rocks from the creek beds to make walkways everywhere to try and keep the mud out of the houses.
After everyone left and Tony and I were the only one’s staying there, it was all up to us to finish what needed to get done. It seemed like every other day we had to go to town for a part or pipe insulation or something to try and stop the water from freezing up so we could use it. Since our trailer is better equipped with the essentials we stayed in it and not the cabin. As long as we have gas, we have electric. The generator runs just a few hours at night and long enough in the mornings to make coffee which charged the batteries. Then we shut it off to save fuel. The trailer has a furnace and a propane heat for a back up. It has LED lighting along with electric. It has 4 6 volt golf cart batteries that are wired together to make 2 12 volt batteries. It has an exhaust turbo fan that blows the air in or out. The stove has 2 small fans that use to be in a computer, a small exhaust fan in the bathroom and in the middle of the trailer just for sucking the air out. The roof has a raised roof built over it which is equipped to catch rain water and store it in the water tank. The trailer is painted with a regular exterior paint and then with a thermo additive added to the paint to make it insulated.
So in the summer the trailer reflects the heat and in the winter it holds the heat.
We turn the turbo fan on to suck out the hot air which blows it out and makes it cooler inside. This winter it was really cold and the trailer kept us nice and warm. The only trouble we had with it was the vibration from the generator made a water connector come loose and it seemed that every time we would light the pilot light on the hot water heater to take a shower, it would come loose and all the water would flow out. Of course it was at night after the stores were closed. Then if we used the microwave and the coffee pot at the same time it would blow the fuse every now and again. But the entire trailer worked out just fine.
With it rained the streams ran fast and n some places it flooded the yard. Not to mention the water coming down off the mountains causing waterfalls.
We had to gather a lot of rocks to make walkways just to stay out of the mud. Dig ditches to drain the water from the yard to stop the flooding. By the time March came around we finally got those things done. Now that the snow is gone we are looking forward to the warm weather.
This brings a whole new set of problems. The snakes start coming out, the ticks, bees, mosquitoes, yellow jackets, spiders, and the rain. We hope to get a garden spot made along with a few places for some goats, chickens, and maybe a pig or two, which requires building the houses for them and the fencing too.
We also have a place picked out to build our log cabin up on a mountain. We just have to cut a road up to it. That is going to be really hard because of all the rock and mountains.
Every where you dig you hit rock. But we are here and getting started on our dream. Soon Tony’s sister and brother-n-law will be moving up here to live and we all will be living the dream.