Saturday, December 27, 2008

Holiday letter

Happy Christmas, Everyone!

What a difference a year makes. This time last year, Kari, Allison, and Ben were waiting in Monroe for our house to sell while Jay had been working in Asheville for over 3 months. We had cause to reexamine our life in the suburbs, which led to the search for land in the mountains and a simpler lifestyle.

We have been up here for 9 months, and we suppose we’ll eventually find the simplicity we’re seeking. That is after we’ve found all the hidden surprises this house has to offer. We have built a wall to separate the children’s rooms, replaced a rotted sill plate and installed a much needed leach field. It’s been an adventure so far, and we haven’t even started the demo on the basement!

The best part of moving to the mountains, of Western North Carolina, besides the view and the potential of self-sustainable living, is Kari’s studio. Over the past 3 moves her studio shrunk from 12x24 to 10x12. We haven’t measured how big this studio is, but there is a separate kiln room, complete with an 18 cu ft gas kiln and gallery space. Up until this month, the gallery was our family room, but twice a year the local Arts Council holds an area Studio Tour so we converted the space back to a show room. Her pottery is now called Singing Tree Pottery and her business is up and running. A website is coming soon.

Now if we could only get Jay’s business going we’d never have to leave the mountain, expect to buy clay supplies and beer. Hard to believe, but we live in a dry county. We can hear you laughing! Seriously, Jay is working on a couple of ideas but the economic downturn has slowed those plans. In the meantime, he is honing his carpentry and homesteading skills.

The kids are adjusting to yet another new school, and this one is quite a change. Allison is in 5th grade and is bored beyond measure. She is in the Gifted (hate that word) program, and she is biding her time until middle school where her former 4th grade teacher is now in charge of the G program there. Ben is in 3rd grade and is being “nurtured” for the G program. I know we all think our own children are geniuses, and that holds true for us, however, there is a tremendous difference between the suburban charter school they attended in Monroe and this rural Title 1 school. These teachers have to spend an inordinate amount of time teaching W’s test. If we didn’t have a strong opinion about testing before, we certainly do now.

At home, the kids are outside a lot of the time. They love the snow. We’ve already had 4 snow days and just as many 2 hour delays. We have over 7 acres for them to explore. They’ve already picked out where they want their tree houses.

Life is good up here and we feel very fortunate to have found this place. Now about the beer, there’s always home brewing...

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