Wecome to Dragonwood Chronicles

Tucked away deep in the woods at the southern edge of the Tug Hill region of New York. Dragonwood is our off-grid sanctuary. Six acres of pond and gardens bordered by forest on three sides.

The project began in 1995, when after a long search, Debe and I purchased the property from a local logger. To date we have built a cabin, a bridge, out house, two sheds in addition to expansive gardens and stone work. We have a generator, propane lights, refrigerator and grill, a wood stove and modest solar system. A dug well and small stream suitable for watering gardens and other needs and a nearby spring for drinking water.

The Dragonwood Chronicles will serve to document the project with photographs and notes. Future projects will include additions to the cabin, a root cellar and a studio building.

Comments and questions are always welcome.

We enjoy hearing from people who visit Dragonwood Chronicles. Please feel free to leave a comment or ask questions.

Monday, September 28, 2009

To Yurt Or Not To Yurt

Photos - Pacific Yurt Inc. http://www.yurts.com/

Yurts have always intriqued me ever since I first learned of them back in the early 1970's. You see there was this hippy fellow who erected this round insulated tent thingy and he actually lived in it year round. Even through Vermont's cold and snowy winters. In fact he actually lived in that Yurt for the better part of a decade.

I later helped erect several Yurts at the Salmon Hills Cross Country Ski Center in New York's Tug Hill. The Tug Hill gets more snow each winter than any place east of the Rockies. The lake effect snow off the eastern edge of Lake Ontario averages around 300" annually. How can anyone live comfortable in a tent in that kind of weather? How can a tent withstand that kind of snowfall?

Trust me you can and they do.

The first thing most people have to overcome is, that although Yurts have some things in common with tents they are not tents, far from it. They are structurally very strong. They can be insulted, heated, plumbed, wired etc.. They can be made very cozy in even the most extreme weather.

My son Kevin II or K2 as we call him is now planning to put one up on Dragonwood next summer. I will document his progress on the project here and explain the wonders of the Yurt as we go.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Burning Brush

Owning rural property is a lot of work if you want to take care of it and keep it nice. Even suburban property owners know the amount of work it takes to keep lawns and gardens looking good.

Dragonwood is essentially a woodlot with a pond and a one acre clearing. It is a constant battle to keep the forest from trying to reclaim the clearing. Small trees and brush have to be cut back from the edge of the clearing and from around the pond every year.

We pile the brush in the clearing and burn it when conditions are safe and the risk of the fire getting out of control are minimal. Here in the northeast we are essentially in a northern rain forest so growth is fast, but most years we have adequate rainfall to make burning safe.

Larger trees, anything about 2 inches in diameter or bigger are cut up for firewood. Junk species (Poplar, Hemlock, etc) we use for campfires, but the hardwoods (Maple, Black Cherry and Beech) are saved for the wood stove.

Each weekend I try to bring some wood home for heating during the winter. Today I have two spindly standing dead Black Cherry trees. These trees have no value as timber but will make excellent firewood. They are a good 40 feet tall but not very big around or straight. Disease or shade out killed them and they have now dried completely out and await the chain saw. I love these finds as the wood needs no drying time and clearing them is all part of good wood lot management. Free heat is a beautiful thing!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Carolyn and Mike Chute

Novelist Carolyn Chute and husband Mike at their Maine Homestead.


I thought those of you who follow Dragonwood Chronicles might enjoy this article from the NY TIMES.

*I am experiencing difficulty with my hyperlink functionality so you will have to copy and paste the link. Sorry!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Whenever any form of government is destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness]

it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it,

and to institute new government in such form

as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

Declaration of Independence, 1776

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Second Vermont Republic

The Second Vermont Republic is a nonviolent citizens' network and think tank opposed to the tyranny of Corporate America and the U.S. government, and committed to the return of Vermont to its status as an independent republic and more broadly to the dissolution of the Union. Members of the Second Vermont Republic subscribe to the following set of principles:

1.Political Independence. Our primary objectives are political independence for Vermont and the peaceful dissolution of the Union.
2.Human Scale. We believe life should be lived on a human scale. Small is still beautiful.
3.Sustainability. We celebrate and support Vermont's small, clean, green, sustainable, socially responsible towns, farms, businesses, schools, and churches. We encourage family-owned farms and businesses to produce innovative, premium-quality, healthy products. We also believe that energy independence is an essential goal towards which to strive.
4.Economic Solidarity. We encourage Vermonters to buy locally produced products from small local merchants rather than purchase from giant, out-of-state megastores. We support trade with nearby states and provinces.
5.Power Sharing. Vermont's strong democratic tradition is grounded in its town meetings . We favor devolution of political power from the state back to local communities, making the governing structure for towns, schools, hospitals, and social services much like that of Switzerland. Shared power also underlies our approach to international relations.
6.Equal Opportunity. We support equal access for all Vermont citizens to quality education, health care, housing, and employment.
7.Tension Reduction. Consistent with Vermont's long tradition of "live and let live" and nonviolence, we do not condone state-sponsored violence inflicted either by the military or law enforcement officials. We support a voluntary citizens' brigade to reduce tension and restore order in the event of civil unrest and to provide assistance when natural disasters occur. We are opposed to any form of military conscription. Tension reduction is the bedrock principle on which all international conflicts are to be resolved.
8.Mutuality. Both our citizens and our neighbors should be treated with mutual

To learn more click on the Second Vermont Republic Flag in the side bar.


Off The Grid

Off The Grid
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