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I Think Our Hawk Has Lost Its Mate
(12-04-2020, 02:50 PM)NightskyeB4Dawn Wrote: Country living will soon only be found in the land of folklore.

In  end, the wild will win.

I think the key is to find a place no one else WANTS to be. Even here, it has gotten crowded over the years, as kids have grown up, married, and started their own families, but settled not too far away. I live in the house my grand parents built. Back then, it was just them, a neighbor couple (my grandma's brother married my grandpa's sister, so my ma and her siblings had "double first cousins" just across the way), and another couple a few hundred yards up the creek, 3 houses visible in line of sight, total. Now from my yard I can see six houses total, including mine, so it has doubled. Add to that a church building and an old school house the church bought for a lunch room, and it's 8 buildings total, not counting storage sheds.

My house is on the side of a mountain, on the brow of a small cliff with a 20 foot drop or so, to discourage visitors. At the foot of the cliff is a narrow dirt and gravel roadway that curls around the mountain and leads up to the house, sandwiched in between the cliff and a creek, with a concrete bridge (used to be wood, but I reckon it got upgraded sometime while I was gone) the other side of which leads to civilization, if someone is of a mind to find any civilization. To get to the house means folks have to first drive under the cliff, which is where I can put a halt to their inquisitiveness if I miss stopping them at the bridge.

Behind the house is a 700 foot tall mountain ridge, which gets steeper the closer one gets to the top. To climb it, one has to get on their belly and crawl the last third of it, because it rises to an angle one cannot stand upright on. I know that for fact, since I've climbed it to get to a cell phone signal.

We built on the sides of the mountains because the bottom lands were more valuable as farming land than they were as housing land, but no one farms here any more on any sort of large scale, just small garden plots. See, this holler was shot full of coal, so when the coal industry came in, folks left off farming to dig holes in the ground, and now that the coal industry is gone, and that economy left lying in wreckage and ruins, no one has returned to farming. These mountain sides are shot full of old, abandoned coal mines. I have one just behind my house that I keep covered with roofing tin to keep unwarranted critters from getting into it and taking up residence. I mean, who wants "the bear next door" to actually BE next door?

There are fresh, relatively new "mountains" all up and down the creek, slate dumps where the miners dumped the slate they dug out of the mines mingled with the coal, but the slate wasn't saleable, so it got dumped into new mountains that weren't here when my ma was growing up. Good places to hunt for 320 million year old fossils, and now the wilderness is taking those back, growing trees and brush on the surface of what ain't nothing but steep hills of loose rock, the roots binding them back together into new mountains, breaking that rock down into new surface soil. 

So it's a cycle - 320 million years ago, that was surface soil on mountains that used to stand to the east of here, but which no longer exist. That surface soil was washed into what was then lowland coal swamps on the edge of an estuary on a bay of an ocean to the west (also gone now), and deposited as silt there, building river deltas out into the estuary. That silt was transformed to slate rock, where mountains would rise and 300 million years later miners would dig it back out of the Earth and deposit in heaps, leaving it to nature to turn it back into... surface soil again. All of life is change, even over eons.

The mines also brought more people in, people who settled this holler all up and down the creek, and then never left when the mines closed down.

So the economy here was originally based on hunting, due to the numerous "salt licks" in this area drawing huntable critters in to it, which drew the original settlers, the Long Hunters. Then the economy transformed to farming, then later it was based on coal, and now, I'm not sure we even HAVE an economy any more. Economies have come and gone, but the people remain from each of them. Biden and Company are hell bent for leather on destroying what little economy remains here, but in a harsh analysis I'm strangely OK with that, since if he can drive enough of the people out, it will leave more resources for those of us who remain, resources that few care to even try to take advantage of any more, but which I am fine with retaining. I ain't going nowhere. I'm at an age now where this will be my last stand.

All in all, the place is too built up for me, but the price was right, so here I am. I grew up about 20 or 30 miles southwest of here, and folks still farm some there, but not like they did when I was growing up. The younger generations wanted easier money than grubbing it out of the Earth I guess. My nearest neighbor there was a half mile away and across a couple of ridges, and the next nearest neighbors were about a mile away, so I couldn't see ANY houses from there, hence why this place feels crowded to me.

The last time I went down to the old homestead, what used to be acres and miles of open pasture for cattle, mixed with forest, turning to forest when one got high enough on the mountains that cattle were no longer viable.... all of that is turning back to wilderness. Cedars have moved in and colonized what were pastures when I was a kid, and now it's starting to look like taiga in the lowlands and deciduous jungle in the higher elevations, with much smaller farming steads pocketed here and there in it.

My family still holds lands up in West Virginia, lands that no one else wants, in a place no one wants to be, and so no one else has moved in. There are still standing two small two room cabins on it, no electricity, and you still can't see any neighbors from there, so there are still wild places to be - you just have to find them... and find the ones no one else wants. As you mentioned, it comes at a price, a trade off - you trade convenience for peace of mind and security.

Change is inevitable, but change can go in two opposing directions. As I said in the beginning, in the end, the wild will win, and I think for me they key was to find a place where that is the direction the Land was taking.

That, too, is "progress" of a sort - it's just not progress in the direction the "Progressives" want to drag us in.

I'm willing to die to defend my freedom. The question you need to be asking yourself is: are you willing to die to take it?

"It's the hillbilly way. We kill people and burn their shit down." -- Jim Powell, in "Blood and Banjos" by Franklin Horton

Got all the fields completed today! Yeah! 

Weather was heavily overcast yesterday, I didn't get much done because I had a community gathering I had to go to.

Today was cool, and beautiful. I saw no critters, and saw not even a feather from my hawks or eagles.

I did have a little egret that kept me company the whole time, today. I thought the noise would scare him away, but it didn't.

I have a bunch of logs, from some felled trees, I will need to pick up next week. And I got a nasty sun burn to my face. But I am so happy to get those fields done, I will suffer the discomfort, it is well worth it.
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Nature has been helping me reflect on the world around me, in the physical, and in my mind. It has been allowing me to make comparisons, and helping me value those things that seem unimportant or insignificant.

I was just out enjoying the beautiful weather. I love it when it is cool enough that you don't sweat, and warm enough that you don't need a sweater. It wasn't just the weather, it felt like I was covered in a blanket of well being. I can't explain it, it is something that has to be experienced.

Anyway, I heard my male hawk say "good morning", in hawk of course. He could have been saying something else, but I choose to translate it as "good morning". So I looked up and said good morning back, he was a good way up, so I don't know if he heard me. At this time lower down, I saw what looked like a grackle, flying in fast from the east. He spotted a tree with other birds and swooped down to seek refuge.

Before he could make it to the tree, another bird came up and shooed if away. It looked almost as it was saying, find your own damn tree. Of course this put both of them in danger, but the hawk was far enough away, enjoying his floating on the gentle thermals, so he paid no attention to the silly birds. The newly arrived grackle settled into a tree not far from the other, and the temperamental bird returned to his refuge.

It was just a simple, normal occurrence in nature, that made me reflect on this morning of 01/04/2021.
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