The Wattlebee Project

Piedmont Pine Coffins and Melleray Farmstead had visitors Mel, Michael and Emma this past weekend from The Wattlebee Project near Adelaide, Australia. They’re on a study-travel tour of, well, the world. India and Nepal are next, part of a walkabout intended to gather ideas for a project they want to start back home that revolves around […]

Why use pine, plus bonus ruminations

Why I use pine, in seven reasons, as follows. Most are poetical, as you’ll see. First is for green burial: Pine degrades quickly in contact with earth and water. This trait is great for ashes-to-ashes, dust-to-dust. The second is for business. Pine is not expensive. The last five – the five senses of taste and touch, etc. […]

Green small business on UNC-TV

As a green small business, Piedmont Pine Coffins has benefitted greatly over the last few years from programming sponsored by the Small Business Center at our local community college. So we were happy to talk about it last month with cameras from UNC-TV in Raleigh. I say “we” because half the story below is about my wife’s […]

Harvesting black walnuts

Black walnuts are my favorite free gift of Nature — even beating out morels and poke salad — here at Melleray Farmstead, the cottage industrial manufacturing facility of Piedmont Pine Coffins. For readers joining in recently, at Piedmont Pine Coffins we make simple boxes for burial and we help families reclaim the power of caring […]

Six feet under is too deep

Six feet under is too deep for a green burial. I’ll demonstrate with a recent animal burial from Melleray Farmstead. For those of you just joining in, Melleray Farmstead is the cottage industrial home of Piedmont Pine Coffins. Here in the summer-lush piedmont of central NC, we live off the grid and have animals and […]

Bucket Bath Tiny House Style

A bucket bath in a tiny house. Hmm. As Steve Martin once said, “Let’s get small.” After moving in 2007 to an off-grid tiny house at Melleray Farmstead in North Carolina, I’ve got the 7-year itch. It’s 2014. Confess! Yes, I’m itching for a hot shower. But not that badly. Let me tell you how I […]

Melleray Latin Academy 2014

Melleray Latin Academy 2014 — it’s our second summer of free enrichment in heritage skills and languages for local high schoolers. For those just joining in, we are Piedmont Pine Coffins, a company that makes green burial coffins and helps families reclaim the right to care for our own dead. We are based at Melleray […]

To be a saint: market day @ Melleray Farmstead

If you’d like to know how to be a saint, don’t necessarily follow me, but do read on. The first market day — Sunday 8 June — for the Garden Project at Melleray Farmstead netted about $180. Garlic, potatoes, shallots and sugar peas were going like sourdough pancakes at a gold miners’ camp. The Garden Project […]

The garden gates of Melleray Farmstead

The garden gates at Melleray Farmstead, the cottage industrial home to Piedmont Pine Coffins, have in their design a nod to our inspiration from monks and monasteries. No, we’re not monks — we’re a small family with a unique small business — but our lives have brought us through twists and turns to an appreciation of the […]

Chatham County, of thee I sing

Live in Chatham County? Then you count yourself lucky. Don’t? Move and likely you will. It was Chatham County’s predilection for the fringe of possible on the fringe of the Research Triangle that attracted us — my father and me, in 2006 — when we were looking for land. At that point Piedmont Pine Coffins and […]

Simple pine box bookshelf

Last week I built a simple pine box bookshelf for a shepherd. Now I know what you’re thinking, but stop it. Shepherds can too read. It’s time we stopped imagining them illiterate and waiting around for the Word to be born. David the sheep shearer and yes, shepherd, came in April to visit Melleray Farmstead, […]

Mount Athos, “kingdom of monks” — part 2

Find below the second part of a 1990 travelogue about Mount Athos. If you’re just dropping in now, here’s the backstory. Mount Athos is the famed monastic republic in northern Greece. I count Mount Athos as one of the foundations for Melleray Farmstead and Piedmont Pine Coffins. Since I like to talk about monastic inspirations for our […]

Mount Athos, “kingdom of monks” — part 1

Mount Athos is the famed monastic republic in northern Greece. I count Mount Athos as one of the foundations for Melleray Farmstead and Piedmont Pine Coffins. Since I like to talk about monastic inspirations for our place, here’s a peak into the old file cabinets and into the archives — into the past that forms us in the […]

Affluenza, green burial, and tiny house life

Is there an affluenza vaccine, and is green burial part of it? Is living in a tiny house the cure for consumerism? Would it were so, would it were so. I wish. Then we’d have an easy answer to the question I posed in a recent post, For what sort of life is a green […]

Melleray Farmstead Holy Week freeze

Melleray Farmstead is the substrate of Piedmont Pine Coffins. It is our cottage industrial home, so to speak. Here’s a mid-April update from the farm, cold and green, to help color in some background to the web impression of Piedmont Pine Coffins. Should you ever like to visit and see for yourself, call. We enjoy […]