GoFundMe funerals vs John 19:39-40

GoFundMe funerals. You’ve probably heard of them. Suddenly, on the motorway, a mother and her two toddlers are killed in an accident. The mother happens to be “too poor to die,” so her Christian church rallies to pay funeral expenses in excess of $20K. One member mounts a GoFundMe campaign that makes the rounds on […]

So that our love may blossom

I always listen to this one special song in December, and I catch a weep. Listen below, and you’ll catch some monastic wisdom. If you’re just joining us, we are Piedmont Pine Coffins. In our death work and off-grid farmstead life here in central North Carolina, US of A, we take inspiration from monks and […]

Top 4 Ways to Reduce Funeral Costs

How can a family bring down funeral costs for a loved one? Here are four top ways, tried and true. Enacting even one of these can save you thousands. First off, this PSA is brought to you by Piedmont Pine Coffins. We make green-manufactured pine coffins (actually, rectangular caskets, to be precise), and we help […]

What’s a Weep, and why I wish you one

Do you ever catch a Weep? I caught a Weep this morning from a memory 35 years old. The Spirit moves over the face of the waters, and these days maybe via blogs and FaceBook too, so permit me to explain. But first, for the many new readers: This is Don from Piedmont Pine Coffins, […]

Countercultural coffins and urns

In a radio interview I did recently, here are words that came out of my mouth: We always wanted to be countercultural — in an ADMIRABLE way.  Revelatory. Never knew I thought that till that moment. Really, the things a soul will pronounce on when you’re distracted by wires and microphones. I was referring to the […]

Decline and fall of the Romaine Empire

At Melleray Farmstead, cottage-industrial home to Piedmont Pine Coffins, there’s a big garden with a deer-proof fence. Go to market with lettuce? Yes, please, that’s the dream. But that was before the decline and fall of my romaine empire. For new readers just joining in, we operate on 32 pleasant acres of fields and woods […]

The outhouse joke

The outhouse joke. Recently, when coffinworks visitors Marshall and Donald toured our place, it called to mind their growing-up years on a dairy farm in Iredell County and the following outhouse story: My father had an outhouse with two seats. One day one of the hired hands went down to use it. Well he was […]

DIY Coffin and Edge-Glued Panels

DIY coffin enthusiasts: here’s news from the industrial woodworking complex: Edge-glued panels. Read on below for the details. For new readers, we are Piedmont Pine Coffins, and we help families hold more affordable funerals — naturally. We make and sell pine coffins (using hand tools only!) and we also offer a set of DIY coffin plans […]

The freedom to hoist one sail

I am ever and still caught in the breeze of a smile I once saw. The smile of a certain young monk. For new readers, we are Piedmont Pine Coffins. We help families do more affordable funerals, naturally. In our work and in our life, we take some inspiration from monks and monasteries down through […]

Grave digging DIY

Grave digging DIY: Yes, you can. Recently a family nearby bought a coffin from us and buried on their own land. Here’s how they prepared the gravesite. For readers just joining in, we are Piedmont Pine Coffins in North Carolina, USA. We spread the news about natural burial, and we make pine box coffins with only […]

In Belize, the empty tomb

There’s an empty tomb in Belize. Many, in fact. More on that below. In traveling, death conversation opens people up. During a stay in San Ignacio, I’m talking to people about funerals and cemeteries. For new readers, we are Piedmont Pine Coffins. We enthuse about natural burial and, in NC, USA, we make pine coffins. […]

Spilt milk: a monastic lesson for activists

It was during the time I left teaching to make coffins that our Dexter cow had her first calf and began to give milk. For readers just joining, we are Piedmont Pine Coffins. We make our boxes with hand tools and take our inspiration from farmsteads and monasteries through the ages: self-sufficiency, hospitality, and a […]

We get to carry each other

A recent sale of $5 coffin plans to one Ann-Marie in NC got me going on “get to.” Read on, I’ll ‘splain. For the many of you just joining (thanks!), we are Piedmont Pine Coffins, and we spread the gospel of green burial. Also, we like the kind of thing that Ann-Marie and her family just did. She bought […]

What’s the use of profit?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here, then maybe pipe down. I want to die (and live?) poor. But Piedmont Pine Coffins is a business, and the purpose of a business is to generate profit. What are the uses? B-corps, donations, foundations, community action, and the rest. I’ll let you read up on […]

Mid life crisis and the skulls of Mt. Athos

Mid life crisis wants metanoia. Metanoia is Greek for a “change of heart” — a transformation and conversion — and it’s a monastic specialty. For those just joining in, we are Piedmont Pine Coffins. We advocate natural burial and make pine boxes for it. We take some of our inspiration from the examples of monks and […]