Snowy driveway with sunset over the Smokies

The Beginning: Standing on the Cusp of Settling Acreage

by Beth

We’ve gone and done it. We’ve closed on 20 bucolic, serene acres of our very own…20 power-and-water-free acres with no fencing, porcupined with invasive plants, 1/2 mile of soupy driveway, creek clogged with tree litter, and a kudzu field.

dsc01847The closing is a relaxed affair in a brick bank building in our quaint downtown. We walk to the courthouse afterwards for the paperwork to get what’s called “a 9-1-1 address” (a.k.a., an address) because our land only has a tax-parcel number. The tax office is closed because it’s cloudy, or it’s Tuesday, or something, so we’ll come back another day.

We drive out of town, pull on work boots, and walk the tax parcel for the first time as our own. It isn’t clear what’s more overwhelming: the crushing hope over the past week that the closing would go smoothly, or the feeling we have now, after the closing went perfectly and we have what we wanted.

Raw land is all potential. We have big dreams of goats and gardens and fruit orchards and a fishing pond and solar and a geodesic dome with an expansive view of the Great Smoky Mountains. But at the moment, we can hardly get our 4×4 up the driveway.

Where to Even Begin? Conversations and Lists
dsc01899My friend Rudy likes to quote Henry Ford, and it’s always comforting. For instance, “Nothing is particularly hard if you break it into small jobs.”

Maybe this is a duh, but talking and writing are both great ways to cognitively process something big down into attainable steps.

Over the next week, as we’re wont to do, we have long talks in the car, during hikes and over coffee and basketball. I make spreadsheets.

We’re two long-time city people with a limited budget and no land settling, farming or building experience. We’ll consult and hopefully befriend plenty of neighbors and experts along the way, but as our goals are unique, so will our journey be. We’re drawing our own treasure map.

It turned out that our map begins with two beautiful words: farm truck. We need to buy a truck immediately to begin to settle this land.

Find out why the farm truck was our very first step.

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