As most of you know, I’ve been living at High Cove, primarily Firefly, since June. I stayed on Howell Rd in one of Byrne Tinney’s houses for a few weeks, then moved back to High Cove proper, the Firefly apartment. Being fully immersed in the culture here has really given me a chance to reflect on just how much has changed, and how far we’ve come in realizing the vision we share.
The first time I came to High Cove was October 2011. Just over a year ago. And at that time I could not possibly have imagined that one year later, I would be living here. And working here. And discovering how well our community and the surrounding area nourishes my spirit. A good friend and I drove from Raleigh, awash in the adornments of our urban, corporate lifestyle, for the 2nd annual New College reunion weekend. I had no idea what to expect.
Then we met Olga. And learned about what she really wanted to do here. To really build a new village. To start from scratch, from lessons learned and experiences garnered, and from the collective strengths of the founders, partners, and community members… to do it right. And the more we talked the more I could see it. A farm. A village center to draw in the greater community and provide community for us. More homes. More trails. More eco-friendly than we could even conceive at the time. And I’ve known David Brain since college, and was thrilled he was involved. I soon met Anne, and then Marc, and Carol, and I knew things were headed in the right direction.
I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I had to be a part of it. So my friend and I came back in April, for a longer visit and some more time with Olga. We talked about the possibilities of what could be here for me. And we both wanted it to be soon. I’d be a personal chef, working with locally sourced ingredients, and help with the farm. Then in June opportunity presented itself.
It was a Summer of significant firsts, that spilled into the Fall and continues as we speak. Dan and Iris’ home is well under construction, and Tracy and Victoria are into the design phase of their home. Marc and Carol joined the partnership, and 18 acres on the East side of Rebels Creek Road became part of High Cove, as did the Tinney house on Howell Rd, adjacent to Castanea Street.
With the new construction in the second neighborhood, Appalachian Way, Rosebay Lane, and Talking Leaves Lane all have signs, and the Firefly address changed to 75 Appalachian Way. And more often than not, the Lodge was full and then some, which meant good times with old friends, and bonding with new ones.
The first High Cove Music Festival took place in August, and was an amazing success. And the partners held another successful charette in October. The landscape at Firefly changed with some much-needed renovation. And we started the farm, small but mighty. Duck meat, duck eggs, and 7 kinds of culinary mushrooms, in the garden near the ridgetop. We even ate our own duck for Thanksgiving.
And then there’s the major changes to us, the people we interact with here on Ellis Mountain. John had his first wood sculpture show at TRAC. Jane took up mushroom foraging and quickly became a local expert. Carol built a new garden outside Firefly. David’s band released an album and went on tour. I formed a local poultry cooperative. Bryan finished his new book. Marc completed the Six Peaks bicycle ride in Georgia. Ron started a monthly singing group, Sing Out. Anne taught her family how to build a snow woman.
We learned the best way to get skunk off a dog. And how to make bear chili. We learned that it’s best to grade the roads after a rain, [actually that new to Marc, but not to Dan and me] and that ducks are smarter than they look. We started a Tuesday Taiji class. And we all endured some of the hottest summer temperatures on record.
It’s been an amazing journey. And it’s just beginning.