Saturday, February 9, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I guess I should tell you a bit about where we've put ourselves...

Rachel is a tiny town, unincorporated, with a post office that's not much bigger than a postage stamp. The general store is about the only business, unless you count the cemetery and a greenhouse two miles up the road. Pollock's Store has been there for decades and still has the wooden floors,countertops and glassed-in cases of yesteryear. They have an adding machine, but most of the time add up your purchases on the outside of a brown bag. They sell everything, though I suspect some of the less popular inventory has been there since my childhood, if not before. You can buy things in any increment---for instance, once my sister bought a dozen eggs, only to arrive home and find two were missing. Apparently someone came in earlier in the day and needed two eggs for some baking, so the shopkeeper promptly sold them to her. You can also run a tab, which is nearly unheard of in this day and age.

It used to be a coal-mining town, but the mine has been shut down since 1982. Most of the houses began life as identical mine houses, circa 1917, including ours. There are a few exceptions---Boss's Row has large, elaborate homes, and the original farm house looks to be from the mid-1800s. Across the road from us is a long, two-story house that used to be the miner's boarding house. There are 7 houses in our part of town, 4 mine houses, the boarding house, and two new constructions. We are 1/2 mile from the lake, 1/2 mile from my parents in the opposite direction, and 1/4 mile from my sister's. Hell, I could see her house if it weren't for a huge pine tree in the way. As it is, we are literally within hollering distance.

We are at the end of "The Camp" that is the quietest and the darkest. No one has the dusk-to-dawn lights that plague the more populated part of the camp. The dogs don't bark all night. In August, we spread a blanket on the hill and watched the Perseid Meteor Shower late into the night, and Maggie saw her first shooting stars. On a clear night you can see the Milky Way and the satellites gliding smoothly overhead. The owls call in the distance and the crickets chirp. In the day, it's so quiet you can hear a cardinal cracking seeds in the feeder on the far side of the yard, and the wings of the titmice as they flutter back and forth. It is heavenly after years of the constant dull roar of traffic and the orange glow of the suburban night sky . You can hear the rain on the roof and the rush of the creek in high water. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

We're still sort of misfits of society. The perfectly manicured lawn seems to be the norm down here. Even the laziest, drunkenest lay-about has his riding mower up and running on the weekend, ensuring that his lawn is clipped short and smooth. Ours runs more toward the raggedy side, with patches of Joe Pye weed, brambles and multiflora rose left intact for the critters. When asked why I left the Joe Pye weed, I said "for the butterflies" and was told "They've got wings"... But I got an extra bonus when I found that the goldfinches love the seeds in late summer. I could look out my window at any given time and see a flock of the squeaky little charmers flitting about, so that's better than the neighbors approval. I'm now contemplating turning part of the upper hill into a meadow of sorts...I say "turning", but what I mostly mean is letting it go to do as it wishes, and supplementing it with some seeds. I imagine this will cement our "eccentric" reputation, but I see no need to hoard the whole yard to ourselves, when it's more fun and entertaining to share it with our wildlife friends. Oh yeah, the reduction of mowing time is a plus too:)

Pie is getting restless, so I'd better wrap this up for now:)


geminiwilder said...

oh amy, it sounds so wonderful. i hope you all continue to flourish there!
i always loved the goldfinches coming to my feeder - they were my very favorite. i can't put out feeders anymore, one of my cats was killing an average of two birds a day. so i had to stop putting out the 'bait'. damn cat still gets a bird once in a while, and mostly mice in the summer. she belongs on a farm.  

it's nice that you're so close to your family and that you can stargaze at night. :) sounds heavenly.

xo phinney

punky5678 said...

Sounds like you are in your own private heaven.  Also sounds like you guys have really done a lot of hard work to get the place to where it is now. Take care and have fun!

piperacharmed1 said...

It sounds as if you are all doing well!  Your new home sounds like heaven....I will enjoy hearing stories about country life.
So glad to see you back!!!


karensull12 said...

Glad to see you are happy and doing well.  Welcome back.

bridgetteleigh75 said...

Sounds like WV, no doubt about it.  :)

I can't say that I've ever heard of Rachel though.  What part of the state?  

I'm on the Ohio border...literally right on the Ohio River.
I grew up in Elizabeth in Wirt Country.  

It really does sound quite lovely, I must admit.

Glad you're happy, Amy.


ryanagi said...

You set the trend, my friend. Kas has pulled up stakes and left the big city too. They got a nice little horse farm out in the country in KY.  It's nice reading about this other side of life.  We are somewhere in the middle.  Closer to the farms than the city, but we can still get a pizza delivered. LOL  It's a sleepy little bedroom community. Very little in the way of businesses.

sunflowerkat321 said...

I can tell you feel at home and it sounds lovely.

Idyllic really....when I compare it to where I find myself on Long Island.

I'm so glad your sweet family has settled there.

screaminremo303 said...

My blood pressure went down about 50 points just reading this. I'm seriously so happy for you guys.

dbaumgartner said...

I love the sound of you place in the world.  I live in an area that is just the opposite and the lack of nature is sorely missed.  I am happy for you guys


lifes2odd said...

You still sound like our same well loved hippie. It's so good to finally hear from you and get a little bit caught up with whats going on in your life! Hope you'll check in on a regular basis. I'll be impatiently waiting to see some current photos. I can only imagine how big pie has gotten. Sure have missed you!
Hugs, Martha

cafeteome said...

Welcome back, Amy! I missed those journal update alerts!
{{{HUG}}} Sharon

mlraminiak said...

I can not even imagine living someplace with no traffic noise.  It sounds heavenly.  Lisa  :-]

Ann said...

You paint a pretty picture. :)