Back To The Land

Life used to be really simple living in a small cabin in the hills, another middle class white kid who moved to the country and didn't really know what he was doing. I never went to the dump--I didn't have any garbage! Yeah, the original ecologists: if you don't have money you don't make trash. That still blows my mind: I didn't have garbage. And no running water either so I decided to do something about that and it brings to mind this episode.

The first year on the mountain I carried gallon glass jugs up the hill, maybe five gallons twice a week up from the county road. I didn't pay rent and had never met the owner of the land. I had helped Timothy move out because Tuna Jackson had promised the owner some improvements if he'd let him move in. Then Tuna changed his mind so I wrote the owner a one sentence letter telling him that I had moved in. I never saw him in the three years I lived up there doing whatever I wanted on his land—that's just how things were back then.

I went back home to Indiana during the winter and came back the next Spring with a $300 Dodge Dart station wagon. The first time I drove up that steep dirt road with a 55 gallon barrel of water in the back there were lots of other things in the car wedging in the barrel. At the top of the road I ran the water into another barrel above the cabin; a black plastic line snaked to a faucet over the little sink.

The next time I hauled a barrel up the hill I thought gee I don't remember doing anything special to secure the barrel; I filled that sucker up at a nearby spring and headed up the mountain. When I got to the top the barrel burst out of the back of the car smashing the window and hurtled down the hill--440 pounds of out of control water. If it had hit the cabin there would have been two holes in it.

(After that misadventure I started securing the barrel with an old tire; the next year I got a truck and could haul two barrels--I was on my way.)





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