Overlooking the White Mountains in the distance, our land sits at the head of a watershed for the Waits River, known as either Michigan Hill or Blood Mountain. The west side of our ridge looks at Camel's Hump and drains into the Winnoski. Bordering us to the East is 1,700 acres of forest owned by a timber company. We are 1/3 of a mile up a class 4 road. Electricity was brought as far as the "Red House" and barn about 25 years ago. We still use solar panels, though, on the new house.
The Blood Mountain Collaborative, itself, was started by the youngest son (who also has a studio on this hill). It facilitates projects that benefit from the energy and input of multiple persons - as well as being a residency program. Still in its infancy, a feature film was produced, a cd recorded, and an outdoor kitchen is being constructed, etc.
When the kids were young, we cleared some areas, and built the "Red House," garage and barn. During that period, we generally kept a few animals: goats for milking, meat calves and pigs, etc. Mostly, though, either a single or team of horses for working in the woods, which was the primary source of income. Over the years, various arrangments were made with neighbors for use of additional hay fields, pasture and commercial gardens.
Then for a couple of decades, work out West took precedence and the land was left untended. Since returning full time, we built the new house, put in a number of fruit trees and berry bushes, 50 grape vines, started re-clearing land, and planted various hardwood trees in forest areas (oaks, walnuts, chestnuts, etc).
This spring, we intend to put 3 Highland steers into areas we are clearing. As those areas improve, possibly go back to a team of work horses (The options to drive to town and get work done without gas is still attractive). We would like to put one, or more, green houses dug into the South facing hillside, as well as add to the fruit trees, berry bushes and grapes.
Although we are starting to keep a mix of hardwoods in the forsest area (especially now, since the Elm and Butternuts are long gone, Ash is on its way out and Beech trees have a disease), our forest is primarily Maple. 12-15 acres of that is South facing and potentially a good sugar bush. Not being fans of endless maple sugar lines in the woods, we'd like to work it with trunklines and dump stations. Another project!
Additionally, there is a plethora of wild herbs (Mullein, St John's Wort, etc). We like the idea of putting up a solar drying shed and harvesting some of these.