Wednesday, May 20, 2015


It only took a borrowed Sprinter van, a bottle of whiskey, a super organized rock star BFF, an awesome family, and about twenty 500 mile trips up and down I-81 to finally get settled. 

Not really settled, but more like cozily ensconced in my brother's lean-to shed off the back of his garage. I mean, we have internet. And oil lamps and a coleman stove and a cooler. The dogs love the tent, and after a 12 hour day of moving boxes of semi-useless crap all over the south, so do I. 

Tomorrow is the first day of Mud Hut dedicated work. We will be clearing a vehicle accessible trail up the mountain and preparing to haul building materials the following day. And then bracing, jacking and shoring. The picture below tells a pretty grim story about what happens when you don't follow the footing details on the drawings that specify "compacted soil". 

This little adventure started as an escape plan from the traffic, debilitating cost, and hubbub of the DC metro region. A plan to buy a school bus, trick it out as a mobile dwelling, and then buy a piece of land halfway between Baltimore and Erwin, TN was put on hold by the opportunity to rehabilitate a camping "cabin" that i half built ten years ago. Called the "Mud Hut," an apt name derived from the intended cob and cordwood wall construction, it was never completed due to a totally unforeseen sailboat obsession that lasted about, well, ten years. 

Sailboats have been trumped by old time banjo and Appalachian culture. Lucky for us our rent free cabin happens to be in the epicenter of old time mountain music, and where my whole family lives.

If i can stop playing banjo and playing in the garden long enough to build something, maybe this will work out...