Camping out on Verdant Ground, with presents!

Posted on April 28, 2016


Verdant Ground Under the Spreading Willow Tree

Aldo Leopold-style bench under the spreading willow tree on Guyer Creek, Verdant Ground.  The bench is not a present.  Sitting on the bench is a present. 

Yesterday I delivered an Aldo Leopold-style bench to Verdant Ground so that I will have something to sit on while I watch Sue Swain and Shirley Johns renovate the guest cabin on the property.  I have a particular interest in this enterprise.

1. This is the land where Grace Hooper was born.

I told you a little about Grace back in 2012: One day Shirley Johns showed me how her house enfolds the log cabin where Grace Guyer Hooper grew up.  It’s not the same cabin where her father Thomas Guyer grew up, along with his brothers Theo and Herman, but it’s on the same land . . . .  The Pioneer Road climbs the ridge behind the house, rocking along over axle-breaking boulders just as it did a century and a half ago when horsepower came with hooves.

Grace Guyer Hooper (1888-1984) knew the Civil War veterans I haul around with me wherever I go. She grew up listening to their stories, wrote their obituaries for the Central Lake Torch, walked the back roads wrapped in a long cloak gathering the details of their lives, always hoping to write a book. Nora Metz says Grace was no kind of housekeeper at all.  Betty Beeby says she was an inspired eccentric.  The Cowboy says she reminds him of someone he knows.

Grace was the storycatcher of Antrim County.  The book she hoped to write was published after her death as Grace Hooper’s Pioneer Notes.  The tales about her father and his brothers became the beloved Whistle Up the Bay by Nancy Stone and Betty Beeby.

If you would like to claim your very own copy of either Whistle Up the Bay or Pioneer Notes, read on.

Prizes - Whistle Up - Pioneer Notes

Whistle Up the Bay (Nancy Stone and Betty Beeby) and Grace Hooper’s Pioneer Notes. The presents will be nice new copies, not these, which are my beloved and somewhat dog-eared copies.

2. I might find myself staying in the guest cottage at Verdant Ground for a few weeks while my house is up on stilts.

The Writing Studio and Bait Shop is long overdue for fluffing up.  I have major renovations in mind, and Miss Sadie, the Cowboy and I are not going to live there while they’re going on.  Fortunately, Sue and Shirley think having us camp out at Verdant Ground is a fine idea.  That is a different post entirely, and I will tell you all about it in due course.

If you would like to drop by to visit me at the guest cottage at Verdant Ground, and sit on the Aldo Leopold-style bench I built with my own hands–and a lot of help from some friends–read on.

Verdant Ground Guest Cottage

Verdant Ground Guest Cottage, Before.  The cottage is not the present.  Staying at the renovated cottage is the present.

3. Sue and Shirley fed me.

Last year I was pretty sick for awhile.  All my family and other friends were keeping me upright and hopeful and offering to do anything, what did I need?  Sue and Shirley cut to the chase.  “We will feed you!” they said.

They fed me and my sister Mary, the New York Farmer, and visiting firefighters.  There were quantities of excellent treats from Verdant Ground: heirloom beans and tomatoes, squash, kale, beets, and hand-crafted meals.  (That means home-cooked; I’m trying to learn to write like a foodie.)

The least I can do is to write this post.

If you would like to claim your very own pound of heirloom beans, read on.

Prizes - Cherokee Black Beans from Verdant Ground

Another present choice, a pound of Cherokee Black Beans. Not these very beans, these are mine. But you can have some just like them from this year’s crop.


I’m writing today with an ulterior motive.

Sue and Shirley have an Indiegogo campaign going to fund materials for the renovation of their guest cabin.  When the guest cabin is all shipshape, they will be able to generate a little extra income and/or house the folks who spend part of each year helping them keep Verdant Ground going.

You can read all about Sue and Shirley’s campaign at Verdant Ground Cottage Project.  (Please note: The campaign has nothing to do with the renovations at the Writing Studio and Bait Shop, which are fully funded by the cashing in of the Cowboy’s retirement account. Miss Sadie, the Cowboy and I are Funders of Sue and Shirley’s project, along with several dozen other people so far.)

There are presents for Funders, like the ones I described above.  If you would like to help, you can pick your present and then go to the Paypal part.  If you mess it up you can just send me a note and we’ll figure it out. (I say this because I messed it up and didn’t mark my present so I know how that can happen.)

You can come sit on the bench with me even if you don’t become one of the Funders, but you’ll have to brush the Cowboy.

If you want to learn more about Verdant Ground, you might like these posts: