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Hellos & Happy Birthdays New members, please use this board to introduce yourselves. Been gone awhile? Let your friends here know you're back! Is it somone's birthday? Wish 'em a happy one!

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  #1  
Old 09-09-2013, 08:28 PM
SharifaAsma Female SharifaAsma is offline
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Default Hello from Ireland

Hello from the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland! Found BHM and the Forum very recently and both are amazing-I'm learning new things all the time. As far as I can tell, Ireland is in Zone 8/9 for growing, mild and temperate. It's very difficult to compare as we're so unbelievably tiny compared to the US and our weather is pretty low-key by comparison. Doesn't stop us talking about it at great length though!

I grow a good proportion of our vegetables-in fact, most apart from really hot-climate things like aubergines (your eggplant)-from about March through to November. We have a couple of horses on about 5 acres so good growing medium isn't a problem! My garden is about a third- to half- an acre at the moment, and I would love a greenhouse and small polytunnel when funds permit.

The raspberries and strawberries were outstanding this year, also gooseberries and currants-we've had some decent sun this summer after 5/6 poor years and it has made a huge difference.

Winters in this area can run down to -10C or occasionally lower, but it's the low light levels that make autumn and winter growing a challenge. This year's winter brassicas have had a good start, though, and most things have come good after a very slow start.

I can see how-in theory-we could as a family be very nearly self-sufficient but, realistically, I'm the only one around all the time and it's not feasible for one person. But each year we manage a little more! We're also blessed in our only near neighbours, who also do a bit of growing and keep hens, so we share what we can.

I'm only one generation removed from a completely rural Irish background: for many country people here, recently past times (up to the 50's and 60's) were very tough indeed, and they have no desire at all to re-experience them and so they embrace the modern world with a mighty grasp! Fortunately though, their skills are still alive and in daily use in very many households, and I try to keep mine alive and learn as much as I can. And while people might be puzzled by why anyone would want to do things the old way, they're usually more than happy to tell you how things were done (safe-they hope-in the knowledge that they will never again have to do that themselves!).

Like so much of rural Ireland, we have well water and a septic system, both of which function properly most of the time, luckily. I've already found some seriously useful information about both here, and it's really heartening to find that people half a world away have similar problems, stresses and successes trying to be more self-determining!

Like a lot of my countrymen, I tend to go on at length if nobody stops me! But I'll try to keep my questions short and to the point.

Many thanks to the Forum Team too for your kind and encouraging welcome message!
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Old 09-09-2013, 09:17 PM
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CarolAnn Female CarolAnn is offline
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Welcome here, SharifaAsma!
You're already living in the one country probably 95% of us in the US would like to go visit! (100% of me would!) We look forward to hearing more about your gardens & the things you're doing to be more self sufficient. Many of us live in town or cities & are only in the planning stages, while others have been in the backwoods to one degree or another. I'm a "have been" and hopefully, will be again when I retire - hopefully back to Arkansas some day. (Zone 7, small bit of winter, snow that only lasts a day or two.)

If you can, post pictures of your gardens or any other part of your own homestead! It's always fun to see what others are up to!
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Old 09-09-2013, 09:45 PM
bookwormom bookwormom is offline
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Wicklow Mountains...I have to take a look on google. My kids wen t to Ireland in their late teens, raving about it, loving Irish music.
I hope you get your green house. I lived in a cooler climate and we needed a green house to grow tomatoes and cucumbers. Yeah, the nights get long, but in summer the days are longer.
Welcome, tell us more about it.
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:04 PM
SharifaAsma Female SharifaAsma is offline
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Hi CarolAnn, and you are so kind to say that! It cuts both ways though: the very, very little I've seen of the US was stunning, no other word for it, and you hear only good things here from friends and relatives who've been lucky enough to settle there. Sad for us but great for them.

In truth, even now with recession and the way the world is, Ireland still is all it's cracked up to be and worth visiting. Scratch the surface and "the old Ireland" is still there, especially away from the bigger urban areas. And we really like our visitors and want to know about them, their lives and where they're from: comes of being a small country on the very edge of a continent, I suppose.

Like you, I did the big city thing (London, where there was work) for a long time, but eventually, when our son turned school age, the pull of home became unbearable. I wanted him to have the childhood I had, not the hectic and fearful rush of a big impersonal city.

It's only when you get older, I think, that you see the value and importance of your home place, or something as close as you can manage. And I take my hat off to the people whose posts I've read here who are doing it their way in environments that are so beautiful, but almost unconquerable in a way you just don't see here.

When you say "backwoods" I think you're describing something totally alien to us here, much bigger and wilder. And to me, very daunting.

If I can manage it I'll try to post some photos but, funnily enough, because where we are has a lot of mountainous (to us! The Rockies it ain't!) woodland, it isn't very like Ireland at all as you might imagine it! For that you need photos of where I'm originally from, in County Kerry. That really is picture-postcard!
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  #5  
Old 09-09-2013, 10:21 PM
SharifaAsma Female SharifaAsma is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bookwormom View Post
Wicklow Mountains...I have to take a look on google. My kids wen t to Ireland in their late teens, raving about it, loving Irish music.
I hope you get your green house. I lived in a cooler climate and we needed a green house to grow tomatoes and cucumbers. Yeah, the nights get long, but in summer the days are longer.
Welcome, tell us more about it.
Bookwormom! Kentucky! Horse heaven! A friend who's now an equine vet did work experience there a few years ago, and insisted on returning to the same stud (sorry, I can't remember where exactly) each year until she graduated, it was THAT great!

"Cool climate" is a nice way of putting it, and you're right about the tomatoes, not a chance here without a greenhouse or a tunnel. I do have outdoor cucumbers right now though, only about a hand's breadth long as yet but if the weather stays reasonable they mind manage a bit more growth. Anything would be a bonus as the season is winding down fast, though I picked the first lot of runner beans (are they what you call "pole beans", I wonder?) today but they're a late-season crop here. Used a bean slicer for the first time today (never had one before)-very clever little gizmo altogether!

One of the many things I've seen on this forum that is really interesting is the canning side of homesteading: lots of people here in Ireland do jams, jellies and fruit preserves (home baking is still very popular all over the country) but putting up vegetables is much, much less common and I really would like to find out a lot more.

Please, can I also say-in case anyone thinks me very rude for not replying to them-the time difference means there might be big gaps between my posts.I wouldn't like to hurt someone's feelings in seeming to ignore a response.
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  #6  
Old 09-09-2013, 11:24 PM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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Those mountains look thinly populated to be so close to a large city. Maybe the Irish don't inflict themselves on the landscape the way people do on this side of the atlantic. Have you tried growing apples? They do well in the Appalachian mountains where the slope and rocky soil make plowing every year troublesome.

I have been meaning to go over to Ireland for a visit, but money and time keep getting taken by other things.
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  #7  
Old 09-10-2013, 12:17 AM
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A big Texas welcome.
So good to have you and look forward to your post.
You have such a beautiful country,I too look forward to some pics.
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  #8  
Old 09-10-2013, 05:38 PM
SharifaAsma Female SharifaAsma is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macgeoghagen View Post
Those mountains look thinly populated to be so close to a large city. Maybe the Irish don't inflict themselves on the landscape the way people do on this side of the atlantic. Have you tried growing apples? They do well in the Appalachian mountains where the slope and rocky soil make plowing every year troublesome.

I have been meaning to go over to Ireland for a visit, but money and time keep getting taken by other things.
Hi macgeoghagen, a slight variation of your username would be very much an Irish one-MacGeoghegan (pronounced Mack-gay-gan), or is it Scottish?

These mountains are indeed thinly populated: it's one of the charms of Dublin that there's very little sprawl and you can be right out from the city centre to the Dublin or Wicklow Mountains, well away from civilisation, inside half- to three-quarters of an hour. Dublin's just over a million people, so more than 25% of our population!

Ireland has had a lot of modern bungalows spring up in the past thirty years or so, usually built on the same land as the family home place which would have become too expensive to renovate. It's understandable really, and came with membership of the Common Market and later the EU. That was really the first sniff of prosperity ever experienced by a large proportion of the rural Irish population!

It's very coincidental that you should mention apples: I put in 3 1-year-old maidens last year and 2 have a handful of fruit this year. I understand I shouldn't have allowed them to fruit but I was so pleased to see it, I let them carry on! I'm hoping that as they're planted in well-rotted horse muck they won't sulk too much.

I wouldn't think the rest of the land in this area would be as tricky as the Appalachians (nor as extensive either) but, yes, picking stones is par for the course before any cultivation-perfectly suited to child labour!

I'd love to say that Ireland is cheap but sadly not. It has become much better value, though, I think, in recent years-a knock on benefit of the recession for our visitors. If you do ever visit you'd enjoy it, I think: I've read some of your posts and you've a terrific dry dark wit-you'd be highly appreciated here!
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  #9  
Old 09-10-2013, 05:58 PM
SharifaAsma Female SharifaAsma is offline
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Originally Posted by Txanne View Post
A big Texas welcome.
So good to have you and look forward to your post.
You have such a beautiful country,I too look forward to some pics.
Thank you very much, Txanne-you're very kind to say Ireland is beautiful, when the US is so huge, varied and awesomely beautiful in so many different ways. I wonder how many times over Ireland would fit into Texas? I envy you the space, the sheer size and scope is wonderful.

I wonder too if you all realise the enormous respect and worth the US has on this side of the Atlantic? Certainly here in Ireland-we haven't forgotten or overlooked all that your country has done and been to us. Just thought that needed to be said, as the world media can be very skewed sometimes.

Well, I did take some pics today of my veggie garden, now I need to work out how to post them! Maybe "garden" sounds a bit grand? Because it's not at all grand and I think maybe "yard" would be a better description. But we use "yard" to describe where livestock are quartered, like stable yard, cattle yard and so on.

Bookwormom said "gardens" and I thought "oops, I've been promoted" because to us, "gardens" implies something enormous and heritage-style with massive borders and hot and cold running gardeners: chance would be a fine thing!
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:55 PM
mountainmama Female mountainmama is offline
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A Big HOWDY from Oregon! Would love to go to Ireland someday. My aunt went there a few ago. As did my aunt -in- law. Some day I hope.
Post some pictures for us. Would love to see your place and country.
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  #11  
Old 09-10-2013, 08:53 PM
SharifaAsma Female SharifaAsma is offline
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Hi Mountainmama and thank you too for such a bighearted welcome! I hope your aunt and aunt-in-law liked it here when they visited? Oregon is the next place for me to look up properly online-it's a bit bewildering to see the huge differences between states in terms of climate and landscape and time zones-all in one country!

It's not that I haven't travelled a bit but the scope of it all is so different from here, it's actually funny! What I think of as severe weather, for instance, would have you rolling around shouting with laughter! And Txanne would just sadly shake her head over us Irish struggling with 27 degrees C this summer, not that we didn't love it!

I've got the slow Internet problem here too, even though we're only 40 miles or so from a city. We're dependent on satellite and a small data allowance, so uploading pictures to share gobbles that up and will take me a little while.

I hope you all won't be really disappointed though, as we're surrounded by trees and -well- you've got a few forests I think?? It's not typically Ireland here but it is very green! In the meantime I'm going to spend some time just absorbing what the forum members here are doing, because it's surely an education!
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:04 AM
Kachad Male Kachad is offline
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Howdy and welcome from Minnesota!

Ireland is on the list of places to spend some time in. Probably do the same there as I do here ... hike around and find good pubs to socialize at.
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  #13  
Old 09-11-2013, 09:00 PM
SharifaAsma Female SharifaAsma is offline
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Hi Kachad and thank you! You'd find Ireland pretty good for hiking: not all "Hiking 101" by any means, we've got a very active mountain rescue base right here in the Wicklow Mountains, but the really good bit is.....you're never too far from a decent pub! In fact, there are pubs in places that don't even have places and very welcome you would be too!
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:47 PM
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Tim Horton Male Tim Horton is offline
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Welcome...... From a rock pile known as northern Wisconsin....

Now you have me curious also.... Will have to google map the mountains you mention.... I had a Granny that was US Appellation mountain/Irish decent. I never knew the part of the isle her family was from.... A very resourceful, interesting person a long time gone now.....

I'm afraid the closest connection I can make to my bit of Irish heritage is to play bluegrass mandolin G and D chords to the music...... I play the same chords for all tunes..... Seems to work..... The one Irish/bluegrass tune I do know all the words to is "Whiskey For Breakfast" but only the Duluth Minnesota version.....

I think it is interesting the different terms for things in the languages. Like "car trunk is a boot".......

Your place sounds interesting..... I think pictures will be mandatory....

Enjoy the forum....
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:00 PM
SharifaAsma Female SharifaAsma is offline
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Many thanks Wyobuckaroo: or, in honour of your part-Irish grandma "go raibh mile maith agat"-thank you a thousand times! I'd imagine she'd have been a very interesting lady to know, it's pretty likely she didn't have it particularly easy (unless they were very wealthy, perhaps) and would have known well how to "make do and mend".

It's sad that by the time those old people are gone, we're only starting to realise how much they would have had to tell us. I'd have so many questions now for my grandmother (who lived to my adulthood, thankfully) and my great-grandmother, who had 13 of her own children all of whom lived, and fostered 6 more, whilst building up a good little farm with little help from an invalid husband: how on earth did they do it? And she lived to 98!

If only we could turn the clock back...

I'm sure you're being too modest about your musical skills: I never heard it said that a mandolin was easy to play! There's a very close connection between bluegrass and Irish traditional music, and they'd both get a dead person up and dancing! Thankfully the trad music is alive and really thriving here, you'd be called on like a shot for a few bars in whatever style you cared to play!

As to the different terms for the same thing, I've come across a few good ones but do you think I can bring even one to mind now as an example??

We knew a couple about fifteen years ago who were originally New Zealanders but lived in Wisconsin for a while (he was involved in farm equipment sales) and they loved it, but said it has serious winters-very testing. They were very happy though, and sorry to have to relocate.

I've done my best with a few photos under "Homesteading" (the "testing photos..." thread) and the Forum is an eye-opener and an education, I can tell you. It's excellent!
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:08 PM
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There's a very close connection between bluegrass and Irish traditional music, and they'd both get a dead person up and dancing! Thankfully the trad music is alive and really thriving here...........
--------
Unfortunately, or may be fortunately for the other players...... I don't do a whole lot with the mandolin..... Some of the best Irish heritage songs I have heard at bluegrass festivals is a mandolin, fiddle, penny whistle, bod-ran, and on a very special day a guy who was really good with a hammer dulcimer... The Appalachian equivalent would be a auto harp / lap harp...... Luckily I also play a little musical spoons, to not be a one trick pony.....

I see you are on or near the east coast... I imagine weather is good there most of the year....

The daughter of a friend of mine moved to London after her dad died... Last I heard she was in the south west of the UK, so not that far from you as the world goes...

Being from this part of the north US, they all presumed she was Canadian.... She said they treated her as a neighbor, and it was amusing at times how they treated obvious Yanks.....

Being a lot of Scandinavians around here also, she says that they don't know what good coffee is there..... However the tea, "pub grub" and music is most excellent.....

I've been invited to come and tour, but don't know if I will ever be able to afford a walk-about like that......

Cheers....
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  #17  
Old 09-13-2013, 06:28 PM
SharifaAsma Female SharifaAsma is offline
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Wow, I've never come across anyone here playing a dulcimer in the context of a trad music combo, but I can see how it would work well-soft but clear and bright at the same time, lovely.

And the Appalachian twist of the auto-harp would be a great sound, no way could you relegate that to background listening!

The eastern side of Ireland does tend to be drier than the Atlantic side, but in fairness it could hardly be wetter! And I say that as a native of County Kerry, which is about as far west as you can get without striking out for the US! And it can be quite cold here in the mountains (well, ok, we consider it cold but I'd imagine minus 10 or so centigrade would be positively balmy in Wisconsin!).

Strangely, even though we're only 50 miles or so from the southwest of England, the climate there is one of the mildest in the entire UK, quite like the southwest of Ireland.

I can see why your friend's daughter would be mistaken for Canadian, and the Brits can come across as being a bit supercilious about anyone who isn't British, but they're all right really-I married one, so they do grow on you! From the southwest too, coincidentally, Devon, in fact. It's beautiful there, with high moors but also rolling English countryside.

Sadly, neither Ireland nor the UK have a complete handle on the coffee situation yet: there are loads of good coffee bars, but you can be taken unawares sometimes! Tea is all very well but it ain't coffee, when all's said and done! I'd be curious to know, is there a strong Scandinavian influence in your local food? Or has it been absorbed over time?

If you do see a chance of getting to visit, you'd be pleasantly surprised by prices in the UK outside of the London and immediate southeast.

And Ireland has got a lot better price- and value-wise especially away from the east coast. Like anywhere close to a city, I suppose, it's more expensive around here because it's within commuting distance. Not a short commute though, and narrow country roads are not much fun in winter weather. We've been snowed in on occasion, believe it or not! It doesn't take long for a narrow lane to become impassable if it isn't cleared regularly and 4x4s aren't a lifestyle statement round here, but an absolute necessity.

You'd be surprised how many people have to get to the local villages by tractor if we do have snow! Not a fraction of what you get, though, as it just doesn't stay put for long here.

Still, most people have at least a couple of freezers and most of us will start stocking up on fuel, feed and fodder and store up board things in the next few weeks-just in case!
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:32 PM
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Checked out your area on Google maps street view, went down Military road to a village called Larragh and went by a hotel named Lynhamp, I think that was the name. Really pretty, but so different from Ky.
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Old 09-15-2013, 07:40 PM
SharifaAsma Female SharifaAsma is offline
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You know, I've never checked this area on Google Street View, too busy looking at other parts of the world! But yes, we're quite close to the monastic site and the Military Road and it is really pretty, particularly in the summer. The village you mentioned is very near the monastic site, and the pub/hotel, Lynhams, is very popular with climbers and walkers throughout the year.

It can be bleak, though, in wintertime, and this whole mountain area is one of the few populated parts of Ireland that can be completely cut off for a week at a time in a bad winter, as there are only a few access roads and they're narrow and overhung with trees, so snow and ice is slow to melt. Still not a patch on the remote parts of the US, though, but we're highly motivated to be prepared all the same as the nearest decent-size towns are a minimum of a half-hour drive away.

That's something that can take people very much by surprise here when they rent a car to tour around: a journey might look like an hour or two but, in fact, take more like three or four in reality because of the country roads. I've had visiting in-laws wonder if it would be nice to drive to Kerry for the day-which would be an 8-10 hour round trip if I was prepared to do it (which I'm not!!).

Kentucky is magnificent, isn't it? There's really nothing comparable here at all in terms of scale or landscape, it's very different.
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Old 11-07-2014, 11:53 PM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SharifaAsma View Post
Hi macgeoghagen, a slight variation of your username would be very much an Irish one-MacGeoghegan (pronounced Mack-gay-gan), or is it Scottish?

These mountains are indeed thinly populated: it's one of the charms of Dublin that there's very little sprawl and you can be right out from the city centre to the Dublin or Wicklow Mountains, well away from civilisation, inside half- to three-quarters of an hour. Dublin's just over a million people, so more than 25% of our population!

Ireland has had a lot of modern bungalows spring up in the past thirty years or so, usually built on the same land as the family home place which would have become too expensive to renovate. It's understandable really, and came with membership of the Common Market and later the EU. That was really the first sniff of prosperity ever experienced by a large proportion of the rural Irish population!

It's very coincidental that you should mention apples: I put in 3 1-year-old maidens last year and 2 have a handful of fruit this year. I understand I shouldn't have allowed them to fruit but I was so pleased to see it, I let them carry on! I'm hoping that as they're planted in well-rotted horse muck they won't sulk too much.

I wouldn't think the rest of the land in this area would be as tricky as the Appalachians (nor as extensive either) but, yes, picking stones is par for the course before any cultivation-perfectly suited to child labour!

I'd love to say that Ireland is cheap but sadly not. It has become much better value, though, I think, in recent years-a knock on benefit of the recession for our visitors. If you do ever visit you'd enjoy it, I think: I've read some of your posts and you've a terrific dry dark wit-you'd be highly appreciated here!
My screen name is a slightly misspelled variant of my real last name, which is a misspelled and cut down version of MacGegoghegan. They lived near Uisneach and castletown Geoghegan.

It's good that your apples are doing well. I planted a young gala apple tree 2 years ago, but it is still a little stick with leaves. My area is more suited to blueberries and blackberries.

Having a modern house on the same land as an old house is common practice across most of the southeast US. Often the old houses were built by ancestors of the current occupants. The old houses were built to last, but weren't built for plumbing and electricity. There are often old houses with trees growing around them with new double wide trailers nearby. In some places the forest takes over completely so that the only thing left is a rectangular outline of daffodils around a flat place in the woods. Once I was able to find an old house that had been wallpapered over a 2 year period in the 1890s with newspapers. The town news was still readable, and yes, it was as mundane as any modern small town newspaper.

Sometimes I wish I had some stones. I garden in raised beds using bricks or blocks to keep the topsoil from spilling all over. Then I remember my childhood garden that was stone and clay, and count it a blessing to not have to dig through packed clay and rocks to plant.
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