(Life in Hooty Hollow)
by Connie Lukens Black
(Life in Hooty Hollow)
The mountains, cliffs, streams, waterfalls, hills, trails, wildlife, neighbors, sunsets, snow, mud, winds, rain, copperhead snakes, biting insects, that is what Hooty Hollow has to offer. Oh, let?s not forget isolation and being cut off from the hustle and bustle of the city life. If this is not for you then stay the hell in the city. It takes a special kind of person to live in the Hollows of Virginia. Where deep in the woods there are no phones, no electricity, and your nearest neighbor is not in walking distance. Unless you like to walk that is. Where every night when you go to bed, your first thought is, ?What is going to go wrong tomorrow?? Because, everyday in the Hollow, brings out the ?Murphy's Law? in full force. A good day in the Hollow is when you wake up and nothing froze, broke; stopped up, fell apart, blew away, or you?re not snowed in. The most important thing you have to overcome, is wanting a clean house. It is never going to happen in the Hollow. As long as there is snow and rain, the mud is always there.
Hooty Hollow is a wonderful, peaceful place to be, you just have to know how to survive here. You have to like being in the woods and back to nature. Rely on the sun and moon to tell you what time it is; the clouds to tell you about the weather and love snow, wind, rain and mud.
You never have to wonder what you are going to do in Hooty Hollow because there are lots of things nature has planed for you. For instance, gathering firewood. Since there is no electric, the only heat in the winter you have is a fireplace, a propane heater, or a wood stove. Then there is gas, you have to have it for the generator if you want lights at night. Not to mention a way to cook. If you have a propane stove or a propane heater, then you need propane too. It is always good to have propane heat as a back up, for those cold nights, when you don?t want to wake up and add logs to the fire.
Every few days you plan a full day trip into town for food, gas, and propane. Since you have no refrigerator you can?t keep anything cold except in the winter time. Then you put everything in ice chests and leave it outside in the snow. So therefore you either hunt your meat or make lots of trips to town. It is an all day trip because you live so far out in the woods and you need everything when you do go. You need to gather rocks to make walkways to and fro where you walk the most because the ground has either water or snow on it. Either way you look at it, there is mud.
There is always something to fix or clean up because of what happened over night. Like boiling water to unfreeze water pipes, or for dumping down the toilet to thaw the pipes out so you can flush it. Cleaning out the rat traps and resetting them for the next night. You have to fill up jugs of water, bring in wood for the night, and fill up everything that needs gas. Now that you live in the Hollow, you have to have equipment like a tractor, chainsaws, a backhoe, and trailers to haul stuff, all things that need repairing from time to time.
And since you have these, you need a place to store them, which is some kind of building that will need repairing. You have to have a four-wheel drive vehicle to live in Hooty Hollow that requires several different kinds of tires. Street tires for spring and summer. Mud tires for the rainy times and then the dreaded snow tires for winter. Living in the Hollow is really rough on tires because you are always running over something that causes them to go flat, so your best friend just might be the guy who sells and fixes your tires. Or you?re nearest neighbor who you can call on at any given time for help.
You really need a four wheeler to pull the trailers around the Hollow gathering wood, rocks and other things. That way you save gas in your truck for going to town
every other day or so.
Now let?s talk about what a person needs that lives in Hooty Hollow. By the way, if you thought I just did that, think again. Clothes and lots of them is an important necessity. Since in the Hollow, there are four seasons, that doesn?t mean you have a small amount of clothes for each season like living in town among city folk with electricity.
In the Hollow you have A LOT of clothes for each season.
Just in winter alone you have enough to clothe several people who live in town for all winter. Here is what you need: At least 9 pairs of Long Johns, One for each day and the extra just in case it takes more than one day for them to dry. Jeans are the only pants to wear everyday, even over the Long Johns. (By the way, you have to wear several layers of clothing in the winter each day.) Thermal shirts, sweatshirts, heavy insulated weather and waterproof jackets, overalls, coveralls, thermal gloves, insulated waterproof gloves, thermal high top wool socks. Sock hats, full face masks, hats that cover your ears.
Then there are springtime and summer clothes.
Regular socks and light weight. But they all have to be high tops because you are always wearing boots. Shirts: Undershirts, t-shirts, long sleeve for working. Gloves: riding gloves, light weight and heavyweight work gloves. Fall is the time you have to guess what you are going to wear. You look outside to see what kind of day it is going to be. Then decide what you will need. Not to mention the normal everyday under garments. Now with all these clothes, you guessed it, you have to wash them. Now that is another chore that will take all day or a couple of days by it?s self. Either by hand or machine (if you are lucky to have a washing machine), it still will take time to dry. With using a machine that means more gas for the generator. Then trying to dry them all in a single day where there are only a few hours of sunshine is hard to do. So most likely it will take several days to dry outside. But in the winter it is impossible because they will freeze. So you hang them inside and stoke up the fireplace or wood heater and that means more wood and more gathering of wood. I think by now you get the idea of why I said in the beginning, that it takes a special kind of person to live in Hooty Hollow. It?s where the work never ends and it is all hard work at that. You need things that anyone who lives in the city never thinks of owning. Like: A headlight to wear around your head, a flashlight to take everywhere you go. You never know where you are going to be when it gets dark. Waterproof, snake proof, insulated boots, walkie talkie?s, a gun to carry everywhere you go. Just in case a wild animal decides you look good enough to eat. The list never ends.
But life can be fun to. When it all gets to be too much and you need a break, there are things you can do to take some of the pressure off.
Never start your day off without taking the time to watch the world wake up. Step outside to listen to nature. Listen to the streams running and the waterfalls flowing, the birds chirping, sit back, breath in and enjoy the smell of a new day. Watch the deer bring out their young to eat, the squirrels playing chase, the birds teaching their young to fly. Take a walk to see the beauty of the woods. Go down to the waterfall and wash you?re hair. That is a refreshing thing all in its own. Take the weekend off to go four wheeling with friends along the trails of the Hollow. Make sure you take the necessities with you of course: Beer, toilet paper, snacks, gun, phone, and chainsaw to clear the trail. Have a gathering of friends on the front porch with a band of guitars, washtubs, spoons, fiddle, and banjo, and good food. And let?s not forget the moonshine jug being passed around.
At the end of each day watch the sunset and thank God for what he gave you, ?Hooty Hollow.?
© Connie Lukens Black