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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

New Monasticism in the Garden at Melleray Farmstead

Let there be a garden for the New Monasticism at Melleray Farmstead, the cottage industrial home of Piedmont Pine Coffins. Before I get to the New Monasticism, however, here are some borrowings from the Old. We’re not old monks here — we’re a young family — but we do echo some old ways. The official […]

Tiny Houses: Melleray Farmstead American Gothic

Thanks to IndyWeek for this recent tiny house profile of Melleray Farmstead, the cottage industrial hub for Piedmont Pine Coffins! For more tiny houses, see Tiny House Listings and its collected expertise courtesy of Steven Harrell. Indy Week, if you didn’t know, is the central NC arts, entertainment, and politics newsweekly. Check out the photo of […]

Pine coffin workshop on ice at Melleray Farmstead

If I wasn’t convinced before, I am now. After weathering the great Valentine’s Day Ice Storm of 2014, it’s time to build a new workshop for Piedmont Pine Coffins. If you didn’t know, our current workshop is out in the open air. There’s an overhang, yes — call it a porch. There is a tool […]