Green Nettle Datcha: Before the Land Search

Welcome to Charleston

above: The search for where to build brought us to many places this past summer.

Big news from the six members of what was formerly known only as House Project: We have a name-Green Nettle Dacha, likely to be renamed at anytime to Green Flags, or The Something Garden. We’re not fickle, we simply know that the season will come for us to shed our first skin, when the land of our dreams speaks to us its true name. Green Nettle Dacha is good for now, as we rile up strangers at bars and e-mail Bill Gates and Oprah for money (give give).

In the one year we’ve been a dacha, or the organized hope for one, we have broken many records of progress in both our personal endeavors and as a group. Each of us is alive, fairly well, and in cahoots, even though we’re all on different paths. Sharon started an MFA program in poetry at St. Mary’s in the Bay Area. Marina spent a year sleeping on rocks deep in the Yosemite wilderness and is now applying for “real jobs.” Lily flew into Hawaii, found Joe and heroically took on the role of being my mental health consultant. Joe bought a diesel engine pick-up and made his first trip to the East Coast. Danila brewed beer with one hand and wrote for a coaltion of Russian political parties with the other. And I have tried on many hats, all of which fit, some of which I’ve lost. No joke, if you have seen my blue-and-white checkered baseball hat, with sweat stains on the inside, contact the turkey above and we can reunite.

From where we stand, we we hold a mission statement (official grant stuff), a land ownership contract (official official stuff), and enough money for a lofty down payment (Lily and Marina are some thrifty angels!). Our memories are filled with visits to farms, our minds with the words of building books, and our wallets with scribbled contacts infos of interested people. Last week, I met a lawyer at Ale n’ Wich who was way into it all, so naturally I’m going to hit him up for legal advice. And that’s just the beginning of strangers willing to help list; one day I’ll write the rest.

Tiger LilyTiger Lily

And of course, there was the major decision. After four camping trips last summer we chose the southern part of the Adirondack State Park in New York as the place we want to be our home. In Mohawk, Adirondack means ‘eater of bark’, and not very long ago, this was the tribe’s way of referencing the mountain dwelling Iroquois who ate bark in the wretched winters to survive. Ehhh…xcellent…can’t wait myself. Yummy bark, I hear its good for allergies.

Initially, we headed for the ‘dacks because of proximity. We want to build in the North East, close enough so that families, friends, and cultured civilization are only five hours away from our clinch mountain home. And after going to north central PA we understood that when people say Pennsyltucky, they aren’t being only clever, they are being for real. Having gotten that ridiculous notion out of our heads, we headed for New York. At one point, we were seriously exploring Schoharie Valley, the area between the Adirondack Mountains and the Catskills, which was inspiring, but lacked the benefits we found on our last trip, our trip into the park.

swamp-me-for-blog.jpg Swamp on land for sale

I, for one, fell hard for the ‘dacks as soon as I heard the word park, you know as opposed to the word cul-de-sac. Well sometimes “park” can be tricky, but my intuition screamed park- land that’s well protected against rampant development. A bit of history can attest to this. The Adirondack State Park was created in the 1890’s to calm the nerves of NYC planners who foresaw future swarms of dry-throated New Yorkers descend upon New Jersey’s half toxic reservoirs with a thirst big enough to quench the world. The city was growing so fast that a water source the size of Vermont- they don’t call the ‘dacks the Land of a Thousand Lakes for no reason- was secured “forever” within the state’s constitution. In this, I see security against the souless extension of the universal McMansion Park into our locale. How true this is, I have yet to find out, and so has the rest of the park I assume.

Awesome factiod! Nearly 45% of the land within the park is state property, and come who may we are all free to roam it! Anyone visiting the park can stake out a piece of state land for free and without permit for three days, after which, one is free to move to another spot. You can bathe in the rivers, walk through the woods, and hold communion with the rocks; all without the worry of a hillbilly getting sore at you. If we wanted trouble, we would move to PA after all. Ownership slaughters joy like this often, even though it don’t have to. When we own land, we’ll let people walk on it. So there, evil woman who shooed us off that day, oh yes I remember!

Well here we are, all caught up, and I am relieved to have it out. I will be writing often in the months to come as they will be the ones to witness our search for the right piece of land.

Godspeed and please feel free to comment.