What is too much? What is enough? Tiny houses, green burial, simple living, and seize the day.

 

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 […]

Aiken Mason makes own funeral plans

Making your own funeral plans takes some guts. Or, in the case of Danny, a 32nd degree Mason from Lodge 156 in Aiken, SC, just foresight and a sense of humor will do. “I don’t want to sound morbid,” Danny tells me. “But I’m the last of my line, and if I don’t make funeral plans for […]

Honey Creek Woodlands

Joe Whittaker and his wife Sherry visited us this past weekend at Melleray Farmstead, the cottage industrial home of Piedmont Pine Coffins. Joe manages Honey Creek Woodlands, the conservation burial ground tucked into the woods at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA. The monks there are of the Christian Benedictine variety, and most […]

Life, a romantic poem

This poem of a young mother’s delight at her baby girl’s beauty comes from the 1920s. What romanticism: Lord Byron done proud! The author is Susannah Brooks Overton, and her daughter, the little girl of the lyrics, is Sarah Frances Overton Partridge. Sarah died in April this year. Her family printed this poem in the bulletin for the memorial service. Thanks […]

Cool Spring Natural Cemetery

At a monastery in Virginia, death is like a cool spring: the Cool Spring Natural Cemetery at Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville. Piedmont Pine Coffins and its cottage industrial home, Melleray Farmstead, proclaim to take inspiration, in part, from monks and monasteries. And it’s true! The retreats and visits I’ve made during the course of […]

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 […]

Green burial cemetery — what is it?

So what is a green burial cemetery? It’s come up in conversation lately because I’ve been asking family members, How do you want to be buried? Trying, as I should, to walk the talk of a green burial advocate — and plan ahead! One relative said he’d prefer to be buried in a green burial cemetery. […]

Pine coffin party planned

Hand tool pro and Popular Woodworking editor Christopher Schwarz is planning a party to build his own coffin. Foresightful of him! He wrote a blog post about it recently. Word on the street is that they’ll use kerf-bending to make the sides of the coffin. Here at Piedmont Pine Coffins, we plan to develop a […]

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 […]

It’s illegal, plus other green burial myths

Interested in a simple pine box coffin? It’s illegal, goes one of the top green burial myths. Who wants to be a scofflaw for all eternity? So we better look into this and find out. For those readers just joining in, we are Piedmont Pine Coffins. At our cottage industrial home, the off-grid Melleray Farmstead […]

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, […]

The perfect green burial

I don’t own horses, and I don’t care to. They’re too big and they cost a lot to keep. So why can’t I get them out of my head for the perfect green burial? Readers of this blog may recall discussion of the perfect life that precedes a green burial, but now let’s turn time’s arrow. […]